Extra Heathrow runways urged by transport group

TWO new runways should be built at Heathrow to cope with the growth in air travel, the Chartered Institute of Transport recommends in a report published yesterday, writes Christian Wolmar.

To meet environmental objections to a new runway fully separated from the existing two, which would involve demolishing 3,300 homes, the CIT recommends that parallel runways, perhaps as little as 200m from those existing, should be built. These could be built within the airport perimeter.

Although parallel runways cannot be used as intensively, the report suggests the capacity would be the same as on one fully separated. It says that such arrangements exist at several airports in the United States, and there are similar plans for Manchester.

The report is a response to the Government's working party on runways in the South-east which last summer suggested that no extra capacity was needed until 2015. The CIT disagrees, arguing that extra runways will be needed by 2005 if Heathrow is to not to lose out to its European rivals.