Heathrow congestion charge ponderedPA


The M25 could be extended to a mammoth 14-lanes should Heathrow be granted permission to build a third runway, the airport revealed in new plans yesterday.

It is believed that included in Heathrow's £15.6billion proposal, which requires £1.2billion of taxpayer funds to complete, are plans to extend the M25 to 14 lanes via a 600m tunnel underneath the existing runway network.

The road between junction 14 and 15 on the M25 already boasts six lanes either side, as traffic joins and leaves the M4, but new plans will see a tunnel add an extra lane either side of the motorway.

Airport chiefs insist the work would take three to four years to complete but would not require the closure of one of the UK's busiest road networks.

John Holland-Kaye, Heathrow's development director and chief executive designate, said: "Expansion at Heathrow matters to the whole country.

"Only Heathrow will connect all of the UK to fast-growing international markets. The plans we are submitting to the Airports Commission demonstrate major economic benefits from a third runway for the whole of the UK."

He added: "Our plans are deliverable. Heathrow offers the fastest, most cost effective and practical route to connect the whole of the UK to growth and we have proven our ability to deliver a world-class hub that will make Britain proud," according to The Daily Mail.

But fierce opposition from both Gatwick airport and the Mayor of London Boris Johnson has met the plans. Gatwick's chief executive, Stewart Wingate, claims that a second runway at the south London site would not require funds from the taxpayer nor a larger road network.

Wingate said: "Why would you choose to fly a quarter of a million more planes every year over one of the world's most densely populated cities when instead you can fly them mostly over fields?

"Why tunnel part of the busiest motorway in Europe - the M25 - causing serious traffic disruption, when you can build on land already set aside for expansion? The choice is an obvious one. Expand the best and only deliverable option - Gatwick - and create a market that serves everyone."

But Boris Johnson is still rallying behind his so-called 'Boris Island' scheme that sees a brand new airport created in the Thames estuary.