The Heathrow Expansion is a bit of a headache for any of us within the freight forwarding commerce. The creation of a third runway could potentially put an end to capacity issues and with Brexit looming allow the UK to compete in the global trade market. The FTA have even said that the completion of a third runway is vital to continued freight growth.

The FTA have commented;

“…our members believe it will deliver greater economic benefits to the whole of the UK from what is the key logistics hub for the entire country. Cargo is currently sent to and from Heathrow to 185 destinations in 84 countries – it is a vital link in the UK’s supply chain. Now that the Government has made a decision on its preferred option for expansion it is imperative that the decision-making process is concluded rapidly and that expansion work starts swiftly to protect the airport’s reputation as the UK leading airfreight gateway.”

This strong belief is warranted by a governing body of the industry; however, freight forwarding isn’t exactly synonymous with environmentally friendly actions and many have pointed towards the reputational damage this could have on the industry.

Whilst our impact on global trade needs to be constantly checked, as does the impact we have on the planet. Whilst the Department of Transport have stated in a statement regarding the Government meeting air quality legal requirements as a condition of planning approval, and proposing compensation for those effected by noise pollution. However, more recent government calculations suggest a new runway would still have a negative impact on nearly a million households, or 2.2 million people.

With Labour on the cusp of pulling their support for the runway due to other government official failing to mitigate the environmental impact of the new runway, claims such as this will result in ‘no more cars on the road’ have been placed under the spotlight and MP’s have decided to take a closer look at the plans. Measures around justifying any additional noise ‘lack ambition’ and there is ‘no precision’ around the timing of the night flight ban, with ‘little evidence’ it will offer a ‘predictable respite’ for those living nearby.

This is a very tricky situation for freight forwarders to be in. Greater capacity and an emphasis on getting airline passengers to take public transport will always lead to forwarders having an efficient journey, however, the promises of little environmental impact have clearly been exaggerated and if everyone wants this to work full transparency must be made with more realistic objectives and ways to appease everyone it could result in more headline news, and not the good kind.

Matt Dailly | Editor |FORWARDER Magazine