Airport works with top consultants on cheaper, quicker proposal for third runway

Heathrow is working up plans with top consultants Arup, CH2M, Mace and Turner & Townsend to build a fast-track third runway that could save £3bn.

The new plans could see Heathrow re-route the M25 rather than build an expensive 600m long, 14-lane tunnel under the new runway. Other options being looked at include shrinking the proposed Terminal 6 central hub and scaling back a planned transit system.

The plans could help cut the £16bn development cost by around a fifth. Plans will be officially unveiled later this month.

The news came after Channel Four revealed on Friday that Theresa May’s government is considering giving MPs a free vote on airport capacity, which could see ministers take opposing positions, as in the EU referendum campaign.

John Holland-Kaye, chief executive of Heathrow, said: “Leaving the EU means that it’s more essential than ever that we create trading links to the growing markets of the world and that Britain controls its own trade routes.

“We all need to play our part, and we need to get on with it. That’s why we are working to bring the benefits of Heathrow expansion quicker and cheaper, while delivering our environmental and local community commitments including jobs and apprenticeships.”

Jason Millett, chief operating officer for major programmes and infrastructure at Mace said: “As infrastructure experts working with Heathrow to deliver the third runway, we are applying the same rigorous industry practices we did on the London 2012 Olympics, The Shard and at Birmingham New Street station to optimise the programme and find efficiencies.

“This should make a decision to give the green light to a third runway at Heathrow, and show that Britain is open for business, even easier.”