Government must do more on Heathrow Southern Rail Link

The Government has published a report on a market sounding exercise exploring options to create, with private sector involvement, a Southern Rail Link to Heathrow.

The report found that while responses did not support a market led approach to Southern Rail Link to Heathrow, the market indicated significant interest for involvement in the development and financing of the Southern Rail Link to Heathrow.

It concluded that the Department of Transport should provide greater detail on minimum requirements and objectives, and should consider an appropriate commercial model for early market involvement.

The Government accepted the findings from this research.

In response to the publication of the report, Hounslow Council made the following statement:

“The council welcomes the publishing of research into the potential for private sector investment into delivering a new rail link between Feltham and Heathrow. The report confirms that there is a huge appetite for this infrastructure amongst stakeholders but that the Department for Transport now needs to do more to develop the concept, and in particular to confirm the optimum and service specification route, before the private sector is likely to get further involved. The council remains committed to promoting our proposal for a link from Feltham to Terminal 5, via Bedfont, inclusive of a station in the vicinity of Clockhouse Roundabout.

“This delivers a cost effective solution for providing this connectivity, removing trips off the highway and therefore reducing pollution and congestion. By providing a new station in Bedfont the route could also transform public transport provision in this part of the borough as well as help facilitate the council’s vision for up to 11,000 new homes and 14,000 new jobs in the Heathrow Opportunity Area, as designated in the London Plan.”

The Leader of Hounslow Council, Councillor Steve Curran said: “It is helpful to have some clarity on the private sector appetite to deliver this link, however the ball is clearly now firmly back in the Department’s court to better define the scheme. We call on the department to commence a proper optioneering exercise early in 2019 to keep this project moving.

“The council and all neighbouring authorities agree that this link is a necessity to mitigate the impact of a two runway airport, let alone an expanded Heathrow. Our fear is that if government does not get moving on defining this scheme quickly there is a chance that a third runway could be up and running before this new rail link is built, which would bring unacceptable impacts on the transport network and for borough residents.”

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