UK is open for world trade with go-ahead for third runway at Heathrow

  • 26 Oct 2016

howardchapmanHoward Chapman, Buildingtalk Editor, reviews the government decision to approve a new runway at Heathrow and how it will impact trade, jobs and the environment.

Heathrow chosen for UK airport expansion

I began my working life at London Airport in 1966, the year that it was renamed Heathrow. I worked for Customs & Excise processing XS107 documentation to assist in forwarding freight from the north-side of the airport, based in a draughty wooden building built during the war.

The construction of Terminal 1 was about to begin to complete a cluster of buildings at the centre of the airport site. By the time I left in 1968, Heathrow airport was handling14 million passengers annually. Now it handles over 70 million passengers each year, and it is the third busiest airport in the world.

The first proposals for a third runway were submitted in 1971 and it has been a long, acrimonious and controversial process to get to yesterday’s decision. And perhaps it wil still be halted. It was a very politicised decision and is opposed by Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London and ex-Mayor Boris Johnson and many more who believe it is the wrong decision for both London and the UK.


Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said the expansion at Heathrow will support business, create 77,000 additional local jobs and signal that post-Brexit vote, the UK is preparing for an expansion in world trade.

Environmentalists see it as a catastrophic decision – link to 10 reasons why

Here is a link to Government Heathrow Airport announcement and a summary of why they believe it is the right decision.

We are already getting some industry comments (see below) – so do add your thoughts and insights too.

Later today I will be at London Build 2016 Expo at Olympia London to listen to an update from Heathrow Airport’s Development Director Phil Wilbraham. I will feedback what he has to say.


Howard Chapman with Phil Wilbraham at London Build 2016


Great to meet a very upbeat and delighted Phil Wilbraham, Heathrow Airport’s Development Director, at a  busy London Build 2016 conference and exhibition.

He gave a 30 minute update on why the Government has now approved a third runway at Heathrow Airport to expand UK airport capacity and the latest on Heathrow‘s development plans.

More on this shortly.

One comment on “UK is open for world trade with go-ahead for third runway at Heathrow

  • Comment from Vincent Clancy, CEO Turner & Townsend, project managers of Heathrow’s Terminal 5 and the new Terminal 2

    “Today’s announcement is the right decision for the right reasons. It will give a shot in the arm to Britain’s construction industry and create thousands of jobs as the delivery phase begins. But the long-term economic prize is likely to be the huge trade potential that will be unlocked by Heathrow’s extra capacity. Heathrow’s business case has been successfully made. But now it must be successfully delivered. The challenge for Britain’s construction industry is clear – together we must ensure that the third runway cements Heathrow’s position as the world-class, sustainable hub airport that the UK needs, and that global airlines demand”.

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