BAA “incapable of keeping a New Year’s Resolution”

Campaign group releases footage of older broken promises made by BAA about Heathrow expansion

To mark the beginning of the year in which BAA will be hoping to get the green light from the Government to expand Heathrow, the campaign group HACAN has released footage of promises made by BAA over ten years ago insisting it did not want a third runway and that it was committed to retaining runway alternation, the practice where planes landing over London switch runways at 3pm in order to give residents a half day’s break from the noise.

The video footage shows Sir John Egan, at the time the BAA chief executive, making firm promises that BAA did not want a third runway or a 14 lane M25 and supported the retention of runway alternation (1). Egan also wrote to residents to say BAA ruled out a third runway (2). Just before Christmas 2008 the current Director of Strategy at BAA, Mike Forster, admitted to the Heathrow Consultative Committee that Egan had lied in order to get Terminal 5 approved (3). When asked about Sir John Egan’s promise that BAA did not want a third runway, Foster said, “Well, that’s what he had to say to get permission for Terminal Five”.

Towards the end of November BAA made a new promise which the Government is thought to be taking seriously. On the 27th November it said that, if it got permission to expand, it would ask the Government to appoint an independent watchdog to monitor noise and pollution. Colin Matthews, the BAA chief executive, said, “By calling on an independent assessor to scrutinise the airport’s performance against these limits, we are providing an uncompromising assurance that we will operate Heathrow airport within the limits laid down by government.”

John Stewart, the Chair of HACAN, said, “No number of uncompromising assurances in the world will persuade us to believe anything BAA promises. They have got form. And that form suggests they are incapable of keeping a New Year’s Resolution. We’ve got the pictures to prove it!”

The Government has said it will announce a decision on Heathrow expansion towards the end of January.

Notes for Editors:

(1). This was a ’Question Time’ meeting on T5 chaired by David Dimbleby and held in Richmond Theatre on November 13, 1994. It was not a BBC event – footage taken by a company now out of existence. Dimbleby chaired in his capacity as local newspaper owner. If you have difficulty use to open them.

(2). In a letter dated 16 May 1995 , Egan wrote. “”T5 does not call for a third runway”

(3). Forster was addressing the Heathrow Consultative Committee on Wednesday 10th December

For further information:

John Stewart on 0207 737 6641 or 07957385650


On January 1st, 2009, posted in: Heathrow ExpansionPress Release by Zac Goldsmith