Gatwick and Heathrow airports found to have RAAC concrete

Gatwick Airport sign

RAAC has been found onsite at Gatwick and Heathrow airports, amid the school concrete crisis.

Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (RAAC), which is estimated to have a lifespan around 30 years, is less durable than traditional concrete and has been used in the construction of public sector buildings – predominantly from the 1960s to the 1990s.

The recent revelations that a number of school buildings across the UK contain RAAC has brought to light news that both Gatwick and Heathrow contain the concrete.

Fears have mounted that the potentially dangerous concrete could lead to the structural collapse of buildings, particularly as pupils have now returned from their summer holidays.

Heathrow Airport said RAAC was found in Terminal 3 last year and that mitigations are already in place to safely manage this before permanent solutions are made.

These surveys and mitigations took place prior to the recent news coverage surrounding RAAC in public buildings, but in light of ongoing coverage, the airport has gone back and reviewed its management plans for this material.

The airport added that it believes these plans remain suitable and that it will continue to monitor and mitigate across its sites.

A spokesperson said: “Industry has been aware and acting on the remedial steps that should be taken in buildings that contain this material. We, like many others, have been assessing our estate and will continue to successfully mitigate the risk where this material is found.

“Passenger and colleague safety will always be our first priority and we will continue to update stakeholders across the sector as our plans for permanent solutions progress.”

They added that media reports are “sensationalist”, and that the news is only being reported now in light of the crises at schools across the country.

Gatwick Airport has carried out regular inspections on the concrete and is not worried about its findings.

A spokesperson said: “We have a register of locations containing RAAC on the airport campus, which are closely monitored through a regular comprehensive structural inspection regime.

“Our most recent inspection in June 2023 did not present any concerns and we will continue to monitor on a regular basis.”

Image credit: @Shawn/Adobe Stock