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New Heathrow runway given the go-ahead

Wednesday 06 June 2018

Plans for a controversial third runway at Heathrow airport have finally been given the go-ahead by Government, following years of delays and hold-ups.

Speaking to the House of Commons yesterday, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling MP, told MPs that the move represented a “historic moment” that showed a clear vision to build “a Britain fit for the future”. However critics have argued that the expansion will damage the environment and add to the already dangerous air pollution levels surrounding Heathrow.

As part of their National Policy Statement, the Department for Transport produced an impact assessment, giving clear indications of how it plans to tackle noise, air and carbon pollution, as well as conservation and land allocation issues.

But whilst the Government have insisted the addition will provide huge economic growth for the UK, they have recognised that the airport expansion will have a negative impact upon local communities. The housing market is expected to be hit hard, with some 2,000 households needing to be re-homed within the surrounding areas and property prices around Heathrow expected to fall up to 20 per cent.

Additional aircraft noise alone is expected to affect an estimated two million people and Councils have challenged Heathrow on the breach of air quality limits, which could have a significant adverse effect on residents. Earlier in the year the UK Government declared toxic air a national health emergency, and the increase in emissions during the construction and operational phases of the scheme is likely to result in the worsening of local air quality.

As part of the deal, Mr Grayling announced £2.6 billion in compensation and noise abatement measures for residents. £2.2 billion of this will be set aside to compensate residents within the compulsory purchase zone whose homes are to be knocked down. They are expected to receive compensation worth 125 per cent of their property's value, as well as having their legal fees and stamp duty costs paid for. Whilst £700 million will be made available to fund noise insulation measures for those in the wider property offer area who will be affected by the expansion, but who choose to remain in their homes.

It's not all doom and gloom however, as a suspected fall in house prices spells out a potential boost for the buy-to-let market. Assuming that demand for rental properties in the surrounding Heathrow and nearby Hounslow and Hillingdon area remains strong, a drop could make for a good investment for landlords. 

NAEA Propertymark Chief Executive, Mark Hayward commented: “While a third runway will bring Heathrow’s surrounding areas better infrastructure and accessibility in the long-term, there will be a period of disruption while it’s being built. In the long-term there will also be a significant uplift in the number of low-flying aircraft, which will be detrimental to communities in the surrounding area. As a result, house prices are likely to fall for neighbourhoods close to the airport and on the flight path.”