As Heathrow expands…

By | Category: Travel news
panoramic view of Heathrow

Heathrow showing, to the north, where a new runway might go

The government won its vote on the expansion of Heathrow last night. Comfortably. All the hubbub about lots of MP’s opposing it from the Labour side didn’t come to pass because Labour is as split as the Conservatives are. And the SNP which supported Heathrow expansion decided to tactically abatsain. Except their tactics didn’t amount to anything of consequence as did Boris’s mysteriously timed trip abroad.

Now it is full steam ahead for a new runway.

Except that it isn’t. As I mentioned about three weeks ago, various councils and lobbyists will seek legal rulings trying to stop the expansion. That will take a year or so but even then, work isn’t expected to start for another two years, maybe three.

But passengers might want to start planning now because the work in creating the third runway – the tunnelling, the demolition, the additional hundreds of trucks bringing materials and the additional workforce is going to make travelling around west London and the M25 rather grim. The government says that up to 114,000 local jobs and 5,000 apprenticeships will be created. That is a lot of extra people trying to get to Heathrow.

If you are planning on flying from Heathrow anytime in the first six years of the twenties, prepare for delays. Transport planners can’t even resolve the problems that exist at the moment on the M25 between the Chertsey and M40 turns. Even in the middle of the day on a Saturday it took me 50% longer to travel between the two compared to the time I regularly took just five years ago. Now the M25 has four lanes, five in places compared to the three when it first opened. Extra lanes haven’t alleviated traffic problems so stories of people being late for flights or taking longer to reach the channel ports than they had hitherto thought have grown.

The answer is probably to consider regional flights. The might cost a bit more but it will take the hassle out of being Heathrow snared!

I for one, would like a little more thought on how both Heathrow and the Department for Transport plan to help us travellers cope with the years of construction, roadworks and upheaval.

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