Almost £47million has been spent on rail link projects with Heathrow, which could now be shelved.
The Department for Transport (DfT) has spent £46.9million consulting and planning Network Rail’s £900million rail link between Heathrow Airport and the Great Western Mainline, according to a report. Written response from Railway Secretary Wendy Morton.
The rail link plan is on hold after the Court of Appeal ruled against Heathrow Airport’s wider expansion plan last February. The court said the plan to add a third runway did not take into account the conditions included in the Paris Agreement on climate change, as the government was required to do under national law in the Planning Act 2008.
Plans for the rail link, which were due to be submitted in 2019, were later scrapped in late 2020 due to the impediment to airport expansion and uncertainty surrounding future air travel demand, which has dropped due to the pandemic. It still has not submitted a new development permission order for the airport expansion.
Plans for the rail link included the construction of two twin-bore tunnels and a 5km line linking the existing rail tunnels at Heathrow Terminal 5, as well as the construction of a tunnel at Langley Junction near Stevenage to connect the line to the existing Great Western Main. Line.
Network Rail published a contract notice in September 2020, which suggested a new contract award date of June this year.
A spokesman for Heathrow Airport said: “We continue to strongly believe that the UK will need an expanded hub airport to meet the country’s global ambitions. The increased proportion of passengers and colleagues traveling by sustainable transport remains a key objective for us and we continue to work with stakeholders to increase the offer of public transport to the airport”.
The DfT has been contacted for comment.