Heathrow to invest £105m in green space if third runway approved

Heathrow Airport has promised to build parkland "four times the size of Hyde Park" - if it gets approval to build a third runway.

Artist's impression of parkland near Heathrow. Image: Heathrow Airport
Artist's impression of parkland near Heathrow. Image: Heathrow Airport

Politicians are currently divided over whether a planned extra runway in London should be built at Gatwick Airport or Heathrow Airport. Critics of the Heathrow option say the airport is already missing its emissions targets and pollution levels nearby are well above safe limits for local residents.

Heathrow said as part of its expansion plans it would invest £105m in creating "new and enhanced" public parkland and wildlife habitats in west London, giving local communities more recreational opportunities and improving the area's look, feel and biodiversity.

Potential changes would include the southern part of the Colne Valley Regional Park, where Heathrow is promising to "work with interested parties to create new wet meadows for flood protection, boosting biodiversity, pastures for grazing animals, bridleways, a cross country course, natural ponds, sports facilities, formal gardens, allotments and even a mountain bike trail for the public to enjoy".

Heathrow is collaborating with the Colne Valley Regional Park Community Interest Company (CIC) on developing this vision if the airport is chosen to expand. The green spaces redevelopment plans would be subject to public consultation as part of the planning process.

New green areas to the east, north and south of the airport would also be created. Heathrow would work with the Friends of the River Crane to improve the quality of the habitat for watercourses to the east of the airport and increase their public amenity value.

To the north, there is an opportunity to create wetland areas with public boardwalk access, an improved cycle network connecting with local boroughs. Finally, to the south, potentially new and enhanced green spaces would include new, publicly accessible sports facilities.

Heathrow director of sustainability Matt Gorman said: "Heathrow expansion is an opportunity to provide once in a generation improvements to the physical environment for the communities around the airport.

"Our new plan means this airport can be world-leading in environmental performance and guarantee that those most impacted by expansion get both the greatest benefits and fair treatment."

Heathrow provides an annual donation to the CIC of £5,000 which goes to fund the park and CIC activities.

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