Terry Newcombe refers to the traffic generated by the proposed Terminal 5 at Heathrow and asks 'What price public transport?' (Letters, aj 30.7.98). Perhaps I could enlighten him.
baa has spent £450 million on the new Heathrow Express rail link connecting Heathrow with central London in 15 minutes, a service which is expected to remove 3000 cars a day from busy roads. In addition to this, baa is pushing ahead with Railtrack and other partners to introduce a sister service that would connect Heathrow with the City of London. Two further localised rail schemes, at Hayes and Feltham, are also on the way, thanks to the planning and funding of baa.
All this and much more in terms of providing and promoting public transport is happening already, regardless of Terminal 5. If the new terminal is approved, baa is committed to spending a further £150 million to extend the Heathrow Express and Piccadilly Line right into the heart of the building, creating a world-class public-transport interchange. In the longer term, work is under way to assess the feasibility of further rail links out of Terminal 5 to the west (towards Slough, Reading, Newbury etc) and to the south (for Staines, Guildford etc).
Providing quality public transport does not come cheap, and persuading the public to use alternatives to the car is a major task, but baa is leading the way in respect of both these objectives.