The full details of the SLR proposal were put to the Government in the summer of 2018 as part of a national scheme to bring forward what are known as Market Led Proposals for infrastructure schemes actors the country. This effectively means schemes which can be wholly funded by the private sector and do not rely on government subsidy in any way. The Department for Transport (DfT) have analysed and market tested the options and reported back. View the report at https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/766639/southern-rail-link-to-heathrow-market-sounding.pdf
The report outlines the need to provide more direction to the market on requirements which will apply to both heavy and light rail, so they are keeping an open mind at this stage.
It is very positive that the Government seems to be recognising the potential of light rail in terms of providing quick, cost-effective and sustainable infrastructure. We will certainly be responding to the Government's call for further evidence and will also be taking the opportunity to promote our scheme with DfT direct. We want a fully privately funded light rail link into Heathrow delivered before the third runway is operational and will continue to push hard for a clear and quick timetable for this to happen. We will also be submitting evidence to the DfT call for evidence for light rail which is currently out for comment.
In July 2018, Spelthorne Council successfully registered its interest to be an Innovation Partner for the Heathrow Expansion Programme.
As part of the Expression of Interest, the Council proposed to enter into a Joint Venture with Heathrow to deliver a number of facilities for the local area such as:
The SLR proposal has successfully progressed through all three stages of the Innovation Partners process. Heathrow announced in July 2019 that it was inviting Spelthorne Borough Council to become an Innovation Partner of the Heathrow Expansion Programme, which would involve looking at a feasibility study into the proposal for Southern Light Rail. It is currently anticipated that this work will be completed by the end of 2019.
Unfortunately, the Council did not succeed with the proposals to deliver community/leisure facilities or permanent accommodation for construction workers on behalf of HAL. We have, however, set out our expectations around community provision as one of the Councils 16 requirements in our response to Heathrows' recent Airport Expansion Consultation which closed on 13 September 2019.