Surrey CC is to look at a possible rail link to Heathrow from the south, irrespective of whether the airport expands.
It said around 9,000 people from the county work at the airport but the lack of a direct rail link means that more than three-quarters of them commute on the county’s roads.
Thousands of people travel to Heathrow from Surrey every day
A recent Network Rail report suggested there was a case for new connections between the airport and Waterloo, Guildford and Basingstoke – generally referred to as ‘southern rail access’.
Last year the council called for a new rail service to Waterloo from the airport via Staines. Its rail strategy previously identified improved rail access to Heathrow as key to boosting economic growth.
It has now commissioned Arup to carry out a study into the issue.
Mike Goodman, the council’s cabinet member for environment and planning said: 'Thousands of people travel to Heathrow from Surrey every day, whether it’s to go to work or fly for business or pleasure. But rail links to the airport from the county are poor and Surrey’s roads are among the country’s busiest. That’s why we have decided to launch this study, irrespective of whether Heathrow expands.’
The council said the report is expected to be published by the summer and that discussions are now taking place about what it should cover.
In March, the cross-party Transport Select Committee heavily criticised the Government’s approach to transport access to airports.
MPs said the absence of a decision on the Airports Commission’s recommendation that Heathrow should have a new runway was ‘a major obstruction to progress'.