PLANS for a high-speed rail link to Heathrow would 'paralyse' Richmond's roads, opponents have warned.

BAA submitted its application for the Airtrack scheme to transport secretary Lord Adonis on Friday last week. If approved, the proposals would see dozens of extra trains running between the airport and stations in the south and west every day.

BAA claims the scheme will take potentially thousands of cars off the road around Heathrow and boost business in the area.

But critics are concerned the extra trains would lead to massive queues at level crossings along the route.

In Richmond, the crossings at Sheen Lane, Mortlake, and Manor Road, North Sheen, would be worst affected.

Under the proposals, the length of time for which the barriers are closed every hour would increase from 33 to 39 minutes at Sheen Lane and 32m40s to 39 minutes at Manor Road.

Between them the two crossings are used by an estimated 1,426 cars an hour and BAA predicts the increased delays will lead to an extra 1,897 vehicles waiting at the lights every day.

The other crossings affected would be those at Vine Road and White Hart Lane, both in Barnes. However, these are both much quieter and there would be little change in the amount of time the barriers stay down.

Richmond Park MP Susan Kramer said the scheme would cause 'unbearable traffic problems'. “It is vital we continue to push BAA to come up with proper plans that won’t cause gridlock,” she added.

Nicki Urquhart, Conservative councillor for East Sheen, said the scheme would 'paralyse' roads in the area.

“Sheen already accommodates heavy traffic on the South Circular Road and residents struggle at peak times to meet school, medical and business appointments. With these new proposals Sheen would simply grind to a halt,” she added.

A spokesman for BAA said it had listened to concerns about the impact on level crossings and was working with local authorities, Network Rail and the highway authorities to 'investigate solutions'.

If the proposals are approved, work is due to start in early 2011 and is estimated to be completed by the end of 2014.

The full plans are available at:

You can have your say by writing to: Transport and Works Act Orders Unit, Zone 9/09, Southside, 105 Victoria Street, London SW1E 6DT or emailing:

The closing date for submissions is September 18.