Clarification on Heathrow Report

Minister says White Paper does not propose end to alternation

Issues regarding Heathrow
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Tony Colman has received clarification from Tony McNulty MP, Minister with responsibility for aviation on the proposal to end alternation at Heathrow.

The Department for Transport has clarified that the White Paper only mentions the end of alternation as one possible course of action. Any decision will be preceded by extensive consultation and studies into the environmental implications of ending alternation and this consultation will take until at least 2006/7.

Tony Colman said, "I welcome this clarification by the Department for Transport which should help remove confusion arising out of coverage of the White Paper. I will continue to campaign against extra capacity at Heathrow and to protect the wellbeing of Putney residents during any future consultation process."

In a letter to Tony Colman, Tony McNulty writes: ' The White Paper does not expressly advocate or support mixed mode - the use of runways for both departures and arrivals - which would inevitably mean the end of runway alternation at such times. As previously stated, it simply notes that the introduction of partial mixed mode might be one way of getting better use out of Heathrow's two existing runways; and that, as such, the possibilities should be investigated further, with a view to consultation in due course. In that respect, it is not even a ''proposal'' in the strict sense of the word and the Government has not prejudged the outcome in advance of the necessary analysis and assessment being undertaken. We will need to see what this work suggests is both technically and operationally feasible, as well as the likely environmental impacts.

' On timing, this work will all be taken forward in the context of the wider "Project for the Sustainable Development of Heathrow" which will be considering how the environmental conditions attached to further development at Heathrow - whether through intensification of use of the existing runways or the possible addition of a third, short runway - can be met. It is difficult at this early stage to be more precise about the timescale for this work and the point at which there might be public consultation. But overall there is a substantial body of work to be done and on a preliminary assessment it seems unlikely that any proposal for mixed mode, even if it were agreed, could be proceeded with before 2006/7 at the earliest.

May 7, 2004