The Future of Heathrow

Articles, LondonUnlockedEditor


BAA is to call for both a third runway at Heathrow, and a high-speed rail link to the terminal at a conference today:

BAA will point out that in Paris and Frankfurt, airport capacity is built to complement high-speed rail travel.

Whilst there is certainly greater integration in Paris and Frankfurt (and Amsterdam... and Hong Kong), one has to wonder if this is BAA positioning itself to accommodate the views of an incoming Tory government.

The Conservatives continue to stand by their position that high speed rail will negate the need for an additional railway at Heathrow, a position which received stinging criticism at the same conference by a DfT adviser:

Robert Cochrane, an adviser to the Department for Transport on long-distance travel, said Britain could not assume the success of high-speed rail networks in Europe would be replicated here. The UK has a different distribution of population and economic centres compared with countries such as France and Germany where high-speed rail is well established, he said.

The Conservatives seem entrenched in their position, and Boris Johnson in his desire to see a new airport in London. Meanwhile, it is still not clear how any of this will develop. Until the next General Election, London's ability to forward-plan for transport may well be placed on hold.