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Frequently Asked Questions


Who decided to set up the Task Force?

Heathrow Airport Ltd (HAL) included the idea in their May 2015 Stage 2 Submission to the Airport’s Commission; both DfT and the Airports Commission showed interest in the proposal and so HAL approached Lord Shipley to help them establish the Task Force as an independent entity and then subsequently to Chair it.

What is the rationale for the Task Force?

 The Task Force’s aim is to provide an independent evidence based assessment of:

  • The current and future requirement for enhanced connectivity between the nations, regions and Crown Dependencies of the United Kingdom and London and the major South East airports that have been short-listed by the Airports Commission as potential locations for additional runway capacity.
  • How any new capacity can be maximised for the economic benefit of all parts of the UK, not just London and the South East
  • The remit encompasses both passenger and freight traffic.

It is intended the Task Force’s conclusions will form the basis of a submission to the Airports Commission, and offer new perspectives on the regional, home nation and Crown Dependency dimensions of the short listed runway proposals it is consulting on.

Who is paying for it?

Heathrow Airport is sponsoring the Task Force’s Secretariat and research programme, but the remit of both is entirely within the control of the Task Force. This is a fundamental stipulation for participation from all the Task Force Members. HAL’s sponsorship is, therefore, effectively entirely at its own risk, since it will have no say over the direction of the Task Force’s work and its recommendations.

How were the Task Force Members chosen?

The Task Force Secretariat identified potential Task Force Members in consultation with Chair, Lord Shipley, with the focus being on relevant knowledge and experience, but also collectively ensuring a wide range of expertise. Between them they agreed that it should comprise:

  • Members with relevant travel industry or business backgrounds, but no direct commercial interest in the schemes under review.
  • Academics with relevant research interests and experience.
  • Representation from the UK’s nations, regions and Crown Dependencies.

Moreover, that collectively Task Force Members should be capable of offering both UK and international perspectives and wider business and transport sector insights.

Are they being paid?

 Task Force Members are not being paid for their membership of the group, but HA is covering their reasonable travel, accommodation and other expenses arising from their participation.

How was the Chair selected?

 From a short-list of candidates with the following common characteristics:

  • A senior figure haling from outside London and the South East.
  • With no direct ties to the aviation industry.
  • Respected across a wide spectrum of political and non-political interests and stakeholder groups including the business and environmental lobbies.
  • A sound understanding of local and central government policy-making processes.
  • A deep, ideally first hand, knowledge of local economic development, urban regeneration and the role of transport infrastructure therein.
  • Sufficient availability and interest in Chairing the Task Force to commit to doing it over a six month timescale.

Is the Chair being paid?

No, like other Task Force Members the Chair is not being paid although his reasonable expenses will be covered.

What influence does Heathrow Airport have on the workings/findings of the Task Force?

 Heathrow Airport Ltd. has observer status only at meetings and will not participate directly in the Task Force’s work or influence its conclusions. They understand and accept this.

Who will have final 'sign-off' of the report?

 The Task Force Chair and members will sign-off the final report.

Is the Government/DfT involved?

No, they are not directly involved, although they have indicated interest in the Task Force’s work, and the final report will certainly be shared and discussed with them.