Quicker, quieter, more productive: Heathrow submits new expansion plan

Heathrow has submitted an expansion plan to the Davies commission, arguing it could actually reduce noise levels by building a new runway.

The plan said a new runway could be in place by 2029, increasing the number of flights by 260,000 to allow 740,000 a year.

If true, it would almost double the number of passengers, from 70 million a year to 130 million, but it would involve building a new terminal.

London mayor Boris Johnson called the plans "disastrous" but they are supported by many influential figures in Westminster.

Planners say a westerly runway would reduce noise pollution by getting rid of the need for planes to fly low over London.

They insisted it would leave ten to 20% fewer people affected by noise pollution – a key complaint about Heathrow expansion.

However, building north of the airport would be cheaper and faster, even though it entailed more noise and a more severe impact on residential property.

All three options would involve compulsory purchase orders and demolitions as well as major work on the M25.