New runway will swallow up village

Expansion plans will mean Heathrow gaining another runway but losing an entire village.

The community of Sipson will cease to be once work on the building of the third runway begins.

All told, 700 properties will be lost to the runway, which will be sited to the north of the existing runways and which will be 2,406 yards (2,200m) in length.

In operation by around 2020, the new runway will mean that the number of annual take-offs and landings at Heathrow will rise from around 480,000 to at least 605,000 in 2020 and to 702,000 by 2030.

In its public consultation on Heathrow, the Government said it expected targets for air quality and noise limits would be met under the planned increase in flights.

Local residents who fought long, hard and unsuccessfully to prevent a fifth terminal being built at Heathrow now face the prospect of a sixth terminal to accompany the third runway.

Terminal 5 was the subject of a record-breaking four-year planning inquiry from 1995 to 1999 with the terminal finally opening - to cancellations and delays - in March 2008.

A sixth terminal would have direct access to existing rail services and would reduce the need for aircraft to taxi across the existing northern runway.

While a third runway is still some years off, the number of aircraft at Heathrow is set to increase through a change in the way the existing two runways are used.

At the moment the runways are used in segregated mode in that they are used for take-off or landing at one time.

This alternation system means that planes land on one of the runways until a certain time in the day and then switch to the other runway to give residents some respite from the noise.

The Government supports a mixed-mode system where both runways would be used for take-offs and landings throughout the day.

A full mixed-mode operation will mean the average number of aircraft arriving and departing will rise from 80 an hour to 88 an hour, providing for up to 60,000 additional movements a year and taking annual movements to 540,000 a year by 2015.

The Government believes such an increase could be delivered to meet the noise levels it set in its 2003 aviation White Paper and would meet EU air quality limits.

Under mixed mode, residents in some areas, such as Windsor in Berkshire and Feltham in west London, are likely to have fewer planes going over but other areas near the airport, such as Cranford and Hounslow, will have more.

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