Airports NPS (Heathrow runway) – new inquiry launched by Parliament’s Transport Committee

The Transport Committee is to carry out an inquiry into the DfT’s  revised proposal for an Airports National Policy Statement (NPS) – tabled by the Government on 24 October. The DfT consultation is to end on 19th December, after just 8 weeks.  The NPS must receive Parliamentary approval before Heathrow Airport can submit a development consent application to the Planning Inspectorate, which then makes a recommendation to the Secretary of State on whether planning consent should be granted. The Transport Committee (Chair is Lilian Greenwood) will run this second inquiry, as the work of the previous committee was cut short by the general election in June.  Some members of the committee have changed since before the election – and the previous Chair was Louise Ellman. This inquiry will specifically look at, and want submissions on, “whether the DfT’s revised passenger demand forecasts and air quality assessments have been satisfactorily completed and are represented accurately in the final version of the NPS and Appraisal of Sustainability” – and on “whether any other changes to the NPS based on clarity intention and/or Government policy since February 2017 are suitable.” The deadline for submissions to the Transport committee is Thursday 30 November 2017.

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Airports National Policy Statement inquiry launched by Parliament’s Transport Committee

01 November 2017

The Transport Committee is to carry out an inquiry into the revised proposal for an Airports National Policy Statement (NPS) tabled by the Government on 24 October.

Inquiry background

The final report from the Airports Commission (July 2015) (PDF 6.8MB) concluded that the proposal for a northwest runway at Heathrow Airport provided the best option for runway expansion in South East England. In October 2016, the Government announced that the runway was its preferred scheme.

The plans have been included in the draft Airports National Policy Statement (NPS), subject to consultation in accordance with the wider procedures laid down in the Planning Act 2008.

The NPS must receive Parliamentary approval before Heathrow Airport can submit a development consent application to the Planning Inspectorate, which then makes a recommendation to the Secretary of State on whether planning consent should be granted.

Draft NPS and previous Committee work

The draft Airports National Policy Statement (NPS) was published by the Department for Transport in February 2017, setting out:

  • The need for additional airport capacity in the south-east of England
  • Why Government believes that need is best met by a north-west runway at Heathrow Airport
  • The specific requirements that the applicant for a new north-west runway will need to meet to gain development consent

The Committee’s predecessor in the last Parliament started an inquiry into the proposal for an NPS. It called for submissions on:

  • The clarity of the NPS in terms of scope and its applicability to other airport expansion applications in the South East, outside of a Northwest Runway at Heathrow
  • How well the proposal reflects Government policy on airports and aviation more generally
  • The suitability of the Government’s evidence and rationale for the need for a Northwest Runway at Heathrow
  • How well the proposal takes account of other aspects of the Government’s transport strategy
  • How comprehensive the proposal is in terms of the supporting measures for those communities who will be impacted by expansion
  • How well the proposal takes account of sustainability and environmental considerations and the adequacy of relevant documentation and information published alongside the draft proposal
  • The extent to which the NPS provides clear guidance to the Secretary of State about how to assess the proposed scheme
  • The effectiveness of the Government’s consultation on the proposal

Our predecessor’s inquiry was terminated by the dissolution of Parliament ahead of the general election on 8 June 2017.

Submit your views

We are launching an inquiry into the revised proposal for an NPS tabled by the Government on 24 October. We will draw on the evidence submitted during the previous Transport Select Committee inquiry and there is no need for anyone to resubmit evidence previously submitted to our predecessors. However, the Committee welcomes further submissions from those that have previously submitted evidence or new submissions addressing the points set out above.

The Committee would like to receive additional submissions from stakeholders based on the latest round of consultation launched by the Government on the 24 October 2017. The Committee is particularly interested in receiving submissions on:

  • Whether the revised passenger demand forecasts and air quality assessments have been satisfactorily completed and are represented accurately in the final version of the NPS and Appraisal of Sustainability
  • Whether any other changes to the NPS based on clarity intention and/or Government policy since February 2017 are suitable

Submit your view through our Airports NPS inquiry page.

Deadline for written submissions is Thursday, 30 November 2017.

Chair’s comment

Chair of the Transport Committee, Lilian Greenwood MP, said:

“The Committee has a vital role in scrutiny when it comes to the important issue of expanding runway capacity in the South East. The Department for Transport has launched consultation on the revised version of the draft Airports National Policy Statement. Our inquiry will examine, in detail, the Government’s plans for delivering the new runway, including the economic benefits, mitigating the environmental impact and the action proposed to support affected communities. The Committee will report back with findings, making sure that the evidence base and supporting measures are sufficient for the third runway at Heathrow to gain Parliamentary approval.”

http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/transport-committee/news-parliament-2017/airports-nps-inquiry-launch-16-17/

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Members – Transport Committee

Lilian Greenwood MP was elected as Chair of the Transport Committee on Wednesday 12 July 2017.

The remaining members of the Committee were formally appointed on Monday 11 September 2017.

Member Party
Lilian Greenwood (Chair) Labour
Ronnie Cowan Scottish National Party
Steve Double Conservative
Paul Girvan Democratic Unionist Party
Huw Merriman Conservative
Luke Pollard Labour (Co-op)
Laura Smith Labour
Iain Stewart Conservative
Graham Stringer Labour
Martin Vickers Conservative
Daniel Zeichner Labour

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The members of the Transport Committee, before Parliament was dissolved for the June 2017 election, were: 

Transport Committee – members

Mrs Louise Ellman was elected as Chair of the Transport Committee on 17 June 2015.

The remaining members of the Committee were formally appointed on 8 July 2015.

Member Party  Constituency
Mrs Louise Ellman (Chair) Labour (Co-op) Liverpool
Robert Flello Labour Stoke on Trent South
Mary Glindon Labour North Tyneside
Karl McCartney Conservative Lincoln
Stewart Malcolm McDonald Scottish National Party Glasgow South
Mark Menzies Conservative Fylde
Huw Merriman Conservative Bexhill and Battle
Will Quince Conservative Colchester
Iain Stewart Conservative Milton Keynes South
Graham Stringer Labour Blackley and Broughton
Martin Vickers Conservative Cleethorpes

 

so while many MPs remain on the committee now, many are new.  They did not assess the evidence from their earlier inquiry.


See earlier:

Transport Committee announces start of its inquiry into (Heathrow) Airports NPS (24th March deadline for evidence)

When he was Transport Secretary, Patrick McLoughlin told the Transport Select Committee that there would be a 3 month inquiry, by a select committee, into the draft National Policy Statement for a Heathrow runway. He said in February 2015 that the inquiry would take place after the end of the NPS consultation. Now the Transport Select Committee has announced, just 20 days after the publication by the DfT of the draft NPS consultation, the start of their own inquiry into the NPS. They are only taking written evidence until the deadline of 24th March. The committee’s website does not say what happens next, if or when witnesses would be called, etc.  The Committee says they are interested to hear more about a variety of issues including:  “How well the proposal reflects government policy on airports and aviation more generally” … “The suitability of the Government’s evidence and rationale in support of a north-west runway at Heathrow” … “How well the proposal takes account of other aspects of the Government’s transport strategy.” … “How comprehensive the proposal is in terms of the supporting measures for affected communities” … “How well the proposal takes account of sustainability and environmental considerations and the adequacy of relevant documentation and information published alongside the draft proposal.”  And so on.   

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2017/02/transport-committee-announces-start-of-its-inquiry-into-heathrow-airports-nps-24th-march-deadline-for-evidence/

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Surprise! None of the Transport Select Committee members, wanting rapid Heathrow decision, live anywhere affected by a vast airport

“Colnbrook Views” has pointed out that, while the Commons Transport Select Committee is very eager to get a new runway built at Heathrow as soon as possible, none of its members live anywhere at all near London.  The Committee have asked the government to make a rapid decision, to back a Heathrow runway,  apparently not having much grasp of the extent of the environmental (or social, or even economic) problems involved. Their attitude is that: “We accept that the package of measures to mitigate environmental impacts needs careful consideration and further work. We do not accept that all of this needs to be done before a decision is taken on location. In fact a decision on location would give more focus and impetus to this work.”  ie. decide first. – see if the problems can be sorted out afterwards.  None of the MPs on the Committee themselves experience the problems of living near an airport of the scale of Heathrow. The Chair is Louise Ellman, the MP for Liverpool. The constituencies of the others are:  Stoke on Trent South; North Tyneside; Lincoln; Glasgow South; Fylde; Bexhill and Battle; Colchester; Milton Keynes South; Blackley and Broughton; Cleethorpes.  Perhaps if the problems facing the Heathrow Villages were in any of these constituencies, they might not be so gung-ho?   

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2016/05/surprise-none-of-the-transport-select-committee-members-wanting-rapid-heathrow-decision-live-anywhere-affected-by-a-vast-airport/

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