Royal Opening of Terminal 5 ‘a Sad Day for Residents’

‘Not so much a sparkling new terminal, more another broken promise’
Campaign group HACAN has branded Heathrow Terminal Five, which will be opened by the Queen tomorrow, as yet ‘another broken promise’. HACAN has called it a ‘sad day for residents’.

John Stewart, the Chair of HACAN, said, “If governments had kept their promises, Terminal Five would never have been built’.

In 1980 the Public Inquiry Inspector gave the go-ahead to Terminal Four on the condition that “there will be neither a fifth terminal nor any other major expansion of Heathrow.”(1) The Government of the day agreed with him. Lord Trefargne, the Aviation Minister, said, “The Government conclude that the idea of a Fifth Terminal should not be pursued.” (2)

During the Public Inquiry into Terminal Five, the longest in UK history lasting nearly four years, BAA gave an undertaking that a fifth terminal would not lead to a third runway. In its newspaper, Heathrow News, it wrote in capital letters, “BAA has said repeatedly THERE WILL NOT BE A THIRD RUNWAY.” (3)

When Terminal Five was given the go-ahead in 2001 the Government agreed with the Public Inquiry Inspector, Roy Vandermeer, that there should be a limit on the number of flights using Heathrow of 480,000 a year.

Within nine months the Government had come up with proposals for a third runway. The plans for a third runway and more flights on the existing runways, subject of a recent consultation, would lead to over 700,000 flights a year using the airport.

Stewart said, “This is a sad day for residents. The Queen will be unveiling another broken promise rather than a sparkling new terminal. The pall of deceit and collusion will hang over the entire proceedings.”

Stewart added, “HACAN is not opposed to good terminal facilities for passengers. But Terminal Five was never about that. It was about creating enough terminal capacity to allow BAA to bring more flights into the airport.”

The opening takes place less than a week after newspaper revelations that BAA had colluded with the Department for Transport over the recent consultation into further expansion at Heathrow.


Notes for Editors:

(1). “If they decide to permit T4, the Secretaries of State should reiterate that it is the Government’s policy that there will be neither a fifth terminal nor any other major expansion of Heathrow.” Public Inquiry Inspector Sir Ian Glidewell

(2). “The Government conclude that the idea of a Fifth Terminal at Heathrow and a second runway at Gatwick should not be pursued. This effectively limits expansion at these airports.” Aviation Minister Lord Trefargne the House of Lords, 14th February 1980.

(3). “For months now BAA has been accused by highly vocal, yet minority groups such as HACAN, of not telling the truth about a third runway. BAA has said repeatedly Terminal 5 did not require and would not lead to a third runway. BAA has said repeatedly that it was pressing the Secretary of State to rule out a third runway. BAA has said repeatedly THERE WILL BE NO THIRD RUNWAY……..What now of those who claimed BAA was not telling the truth? Will they perhaps show a little humility and accept that the company does listen and can actually help local people argue their case?” Heathrow News (a paper produced by the airport) February 1995.

For further information:

John Stewart on 0207 737 6641 or 07957385650