Driving to Heathrow? Rethink your journey urges former Deputy Mayor of London

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Heathrow announced today the appointment of Val Shawcross as Chair of the Heathrow Area Transport Forum (HATF), an independent group established to help improve accessibility and public transport around the airport.

At the Energy, Environment and Transport Westminster Forum, Heathrow confirmed Val will replace current independent chair John Pope, who is stepping down following five excellent years in the role.

Under John’s lead, the HATF have helped the airport prove that it is possible to grow while keeping airport-related road traffic down. Over the last 20 years, Heathrow’s passenger numbers have risen by almost 80 per cent yet efforts to move more people onto public transport has seen airport related road traffic remain broadly static. The baton is today passed onto Val who will be tasked with working with Heathrow in the development of its surface access strategy for expansion, overseeing its implementation and then monitoring Heathrow’s performance against the targets contained within it – ultimately aiming to increase public transport use, protect local air quality and reduce emissions.

During her distinguished political career, Val held the role of London’s Deputy Mayor for Transport and so brings extensive experience that will help ensure Heathrow continues to develop a strong and environmentally focused public transport system as the airport expands. Having previously voiced concerns over some aspects of Heathrow’s expansion plans in her role at City Hall, Val is now working with the airport to ensure expansion delivers on its promises, by leading a 10-strong team of HATF Board members who hold expertise in including improving accessibility, increasing public transport and influencing public behaviours. The Forum will play a primary role in providing the necessary oversight and monitoring of Heathrow’s surface access strategy against the National Policy Statement targets for expansion.

Speaking at the Westminster Forum, Head of Surface Access Tony Caccavone, said:

“I am delighted to announce that Val Shawcross will bring her expertise to Heathrow as the new Chair of the Heathrow Area Transport Forum. Val will play a pivotal role in developing our public transport strategy and will hold us to account on our commitments to protect air quality and improve our integrated transport network, helping more passengers to reduce their emissions.”

Chair of the Heathrow Area Transport Forum Val Shawcross, said:

“With expansion in progress, it’s more important than ever that Heathrow makes serious efforts to reduce the environmental impact of passengers and workforce travelling to and from the airport.

“There’s a huge job to be done shifting people from polluting traffic into cleaner, more environmentally friendly transport – walking, cycling and using buses and rail as well as zero pollution vehicles. My job will be to help push Heathrow along the right path, holding them to account very robustly and facilitating the input of stakeholders.”

The HATF was first established in 1995, tasked with developing and delivering initiatives to encourage more sustainable patterns of travel to and from the airport. To date, the group have helped to make Heathrow the UK’s best-connected transport hub, with one of the busiest bus and coach stations and the only dedicated non-stop express airport rail link in the UK.

The HATF Board is set to formally meet quarterly with the first Board meeting led by Val kicking off in this Summer.

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