A commission tasked to find the best location for an additional runway in the southeast of England has plumped firmly in favour of Heathrow to allow it to offer 250,000 more flights a year. What does that mean for landlords?
That depends. If your rental is one of the 783 homes that will have to be demolished to make way for the runway at Heathrow, or one of the half a million properties that will suffer from increased noise pollution and fumes, it’s not great news.
On the other hand, If you’ve got a property close to Gatwick, which was the other location under consideration for an additional runway, I’m sure you’re feeling mightily relieved. For the rest of us, especially those with properties in the southeast of England, an additional runway at Heathrow would be good, economically speaking.
It will boost the UK economy by £147billion by 2050 and create 70,000 jobs, said the Airports Commission. Airlines are champing at the bit to launch more flights from Heathrow, especially to emerging economies such as China, and a new runway will allow them to serve an additional 40 destinations, creating further trade links and bringing additional investment to the UK.
Another runway will also allow more flights between London and the rest of the country, making it easier for those flying into the capital to reach other parts of the UK. Currently, only seven cities have flights to Heathrow but budget airline easyJet, which doesn’t presently have any flights from the airport, is planning to offer up 200 a day to domestic destinations, including Inverness, the Isle of Man and Jersey.
Tourism bodies have suggested tourism to the UK could double, which is great news for those who offer short-term and holiday rentals.
However, this is far from being a done deal.
What was announced this week by the Airports Commission was only a recommendation to the Government, which must make the final decision. PM David Cameron is expected to mull over the findings for the rest of the summer and we’re not likely to hear his conclusion until the autumn at the earliest.
Although Sir Howard Davies, who led the Airports Commission, made a very strong case for a third runway at Heathrow, expanding London’s premier hub at a cost of more than £17 billion is extremely controversial. Even if the Government approves the recommendation, years of legal wrangling lie ahead.
Property owners whose places will be compulsory purchased to make way for the new runway, which are mainly in the village of Harmondsworth to the northwest of Heathrow, should get 125 percent of their value, but they’re still a long way from finding out what that will be.
For those whose properties will lie under the new flight path, the Commission said Heathrow passengers should pay a levy to pay for double-glazing. Night flights should also be banned, it said, with the airport shutting down between 11.30pm and 6am. The earliest flight into Heathrow at the moment is a British Airways service from Hong Kong, landing at 4.30 (It used to wake me every morning until I moved!).
Construction of the new runway isn’t expected to start before 2020, it might be delayed much longer, and it will take at least 10 years to build.
New runways at Gatwick and Stansted could be constructed much faster, for much less money, but Sir Howard decided that Heathrow will bring the most economic benefit. However, London Mayor and Uxbridge MP Boris Johnson has vowed to stand in front of a bulldozer to prevent a third runway being built at the airport, which lies adjacent to his constituency. Others, including residents of local villages whose properties are already blighted by noise and pollution from the airport, are equally vehemently opposed to the new runway and it could yet be sited elsewhere.
Watch this space.
What do you think? Do you think the economic benefits are worth the sacrifice for West London's rental market? And vice-versa for London Gatwick's surrounding properties? If you are a landlord in another part of the UK will it affect you?