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MPhil in Engineering for Sustainable Development

global challenges, engineering solutions

The Assessment of the Heathrow Third Runway and Alternatives


The aimof this research is the appraisal of sustainability in comparing different projects for additional capacity at Heathrow Airport.

The practical options discussed in the dissertation are a new runway at three different locations in Heathrow Airport, extension of existing two runways, and the second runway at Gatwick with dedicated high‐speed rail link between Heathrow and Gatwick (‘Heathwick’).

The research is of importance to deliver a comprehensive study on the implication of sustainability of five projects in one report for the first time.

The research approach adopted in this dissertation includes background literature review, Fenner et al.’s sustainability framework, and HalSTAR framework for making comparison between options in diverse aspects.

The main findings from this research show the indicators that need to consider for a sustainable air transport proposal. The comparison between the five practical options demonstratetThat the Gatwick option can meet the requirement oof capacity demand with the least environmental impact and foster the competition of airports and airlines to improve the performances. In addition, It also support for social and economic regeneration aswell as a rebalancing ofeconomic around London. However,the proposals are only outlined concept and some impacts are not identified yet. It is recommended that further assessment should be studied after the full proposals are revealed.


Sustainability assessment, Heathrow third runway, eight-­‐point framework


Course Overview


The need to engage in better problem definition through careful dialogue with all stakeholder groups and a proper recognition of context.


An ability to work with specialists from other disciplines and professional groups acknowledging that technical innovation and business skills also must be understood, nurtured and combined as precursors to the successful implementation of sustainable solutions.


An understanding of mechanisms for managing change in organisations so future engineers are equipped to play a leadership role.


An awareness of a range of assessment frameworks, sustainability metrics and methodologies such as Life Cycle Analysis, Systems Dynamics, Multi-Criteria Decision making and Impact Assessment.