Government publishes draft Airports National Policy Statement consultation, to pave the way for Heathrow runway
The government has announced the start of the DfT’s consultation on the draft “Airports National Policy Statement: new runway capacity and infrastructure at airports in the South East of England”. It is the necessary first stage in the process of getting consent for a Heathrow 3rd runway. The consultation will last for 16 weeks, and end on 25th May. The text associated with the draft NPS says little new, that we had not heard before. It is rich in statements like: “..proposals show this Government is not only making the big decisions but getting on with delivering them” and “…will ensure Britain seizes the opportunity to forge a new role in the world after Brexit ….” No real practical, enforceable constraints appear to be placed upon Heathrow, other than it will have to put in place “measures to mitigate the impacts of noise including legally binding noise targets, periods of predictable respite and a ban of six and a half hours on scheduled [note, scheduled only] night flights” … and “implementing measures to deliver on its commitments of no increase in airport related road traffic…” And that: “Planning consent will only be granted if the new runway can be delivered within existing air quality limits and climate change obligations.” The only noise body offered is the “Independent Commission on Civil Aviation Noise” – ie. a Commission, with no powers, not an Authority with powers.
The DfT page is at
The DfT consultation document is at
Consultation ends 25th May 2017.
There will also be a number of consultation information events in the London area. Details at https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/heathrow-expansion-draft-airports-national-policy-statement
The Government will be holding a series of events during the consultation period. These will be undertaken in two phases: • Phase one – local events. The local events will take place in the local authority areas around Heathrow Airport, and will be open to all. The events will provide information on the proposals in the draft Airports NPS to help inform responses. In particular, we want to hear from local communities on the measures proposed to mitigate negative impacts of expansion. • Phase two – regional events. The regional events will be held across the UK with invited stakeholders, facilitating consultation responses nationwide.
You will probably find it most convenient to submit a response online. Please visit www.gov.uk/dft/heathrow-airport-expansion to submit your response.
If you choose not to use the online system, for example because you use specialist accessibility software that is not compatible, you may download a Word document version of the form and email it or post it:
Post: FREEPOST RUNWAY CONSULTATION
Hard copies of the draft Airports NPS, consultation document and response form are also available by calling 0800 6894968.
Have your say on a new north-west runway at Heathrow Airport
Below are the documents, from the DfT website, that form part of the consultation
We are consulting on the draft Airports National Policy Statement. An independent consultation adviser has been appointed to oversee the consultation process.
- Open consultation
- Policy paper
- Research and analysis
- Impact assessment
- Impact assessment
- Impact assessment
- Independent report
- Research and analysis
- Promotional material
- Oral statement to Parliament
- News story
- Written statement to Parliament
National Policy Statement on airports capacity
February 2nd 2017 (DfT press release)
[There are many bits of wording in the text below that will cause eyebrows to be raised – read with all critical faculties fully engaged ….. AirportWatch note]
“MAJOR STEP FORWARD IN BUILDING A GLOBAL BRITAIN AS PUBLIC HAS ITS SAY IN AIRPORT EXPANSION
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling will take a major step forward in preparing Britain for leaving the EU, by publishing proposals for a third runway at Heathrow Airport.
A national public consultation will begin into one of the UK’s most important infrastructure projects which will help build a Global Britain.
The planning policy proposals show this Government is not only making the big decisions but getting on with delivering them.
This will ensure Britain seizes the opportunity to forge a new role in the world after Brexit, supported by the right infrastructure.
On 25 October 2016, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling confirmed that the Government’s preferred scheme for adding new runway capacity in the South East is through a new Northwest Runway at Heathrow Airport, in line with the recommendation made by the independent Airports Commission, and that the policy for this would be brought forward by way of a draft National Policy Statement (NPS) which would be subject to public consultation.
This move, taken for the country as a whole, will ensure Britain has the connections it needs to thrive in the global market, sending a clear signal that Britain is open for business, and we are creating an economy that works for everyone.
The Government’s draft NPS, “Airports National Policy Statement: new runway capacity and infrastructure at airports in the South East of England”, lays down the planning policy framework which the applicant for a new Northwest runway would have to comply with in order to get development consent. It also sets out the need for additional airport capacity in the South East and the reasons why a Northwest runway at Heathrow is the Government’s preferred scheme.
An NPS is more appropriate for this proposed development because it provides clarity, is speedier and less costly to the taxpayer.
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling is to say: “Aviation expansion is important for the UK both in boosting our economy and jobs and promoting us on the world stage.
“Leaving the EU is a new chapter for Britain and provides us with a great opportunity to forge a new role in the world.
“We are determined to seize that opportunity and having the right infrastructure in place will allow is to build a more Global Britain.
“By backing the Northwest runway at Heathrow airport and publishing our proposals, we are sending a clear signal that when we leave the EU, we are open for business.
“The National Policy Statement is a big step forward for what is one of the UK’s most important, major infrastructure projects. Now we want to hear your views on it. This is an important consultation and I encourage everybody to get involved across the country.”
The draft NPS will be open to a 16-week extensive public consultation to ensure people have the opportunity to contribute their views. The Secretary of State for Transport will use the NPS as the basis for making decisions on any future development consent application for a new Northwest runway at Heathrow Airport.
Although the NPS will apply to England only, given the national significance of a Northwest Runway at Heathrow, the Government is consulting across the UK. This will include people who could benefit from expansion at Heathrow and communities who may be directly affected by expansion.
During the consultation, there will be a series of local information events. Around the airport, there will be 20 one-day events for members of the public. There will be a further 13 events taking place in the nations and regions across the UK for business, industry and other interested parties.
At the same time, and as required by the Planning Act 2008, a period of Parliamentary scrutiny will begin for the draft NPS, ending in 2017. Following consultation and Parliamentary scrutiny, a final airports NPS is expected to be laid before Parliament for debate and vote in winter 2017/18.
The draft NPS sets out the measures with which Heathrow Airport Ltd will have to comply in order to get development consent.
o demonstrating it has worked constructively with airlines on domestic connectivity – Heathrow has committed to 6 more domestic routes across the UK by 2030, Belfast International, Liverpool, Newquay, Humberside, Prestwick and Durham Tees Valley to be added after expansion, bringing the total to 14;
o providing a world-class package of support for communities affected by expansion including noise insulation for homes and schools and improvements to public facilities;
o putting in place measures to mitigate the impacts of noise including legally binding noise targets, periods of predictable respite and a ban of six and a half hours on scheduled night flights;
o implementing measures to deliver on its commitments of no increase in airport related road traffic and more than half of passengers using public transport to access the airport; and
o honouring its commitment of paying home owners 25 percent above market value rate plus costs for the compulsory purchase of their homes if needed to make way for the new runway.
Key benefits of the new Northwest runway are expected to be:
o a £61 billion boost to the UK economy over 60 years;
o tens of thousands of additional local jobs by 2030;
o an additional 260,000 flights a year, with an extra 16 million long haul seats for passengers travelling from UK airports in 2040; and
o reduced fares, fewer delays and more daily destinations for passengers.
Heathrow is already the UK’s biggest freight port by value and a new runway will provide a post-Brexit boost for exports. Heathrow’s expansion will open up new links between the UK and markets around the world. It will connect UK goods and services to global customers and make the UK a more attractive location for inward investment.
We are building on Heathrow’s pledges on compensation to put forward a world-class package worth up to £2.6 billion. Planning consent will only be granted if the new runway can be delivered within existing air quality limits and climate change obligations. Proposals for expansion also include a six and a half hour ban on scheduled night flights for the first time.
The Government has appointed Sir Jeremy Sullivan, the former Lord Justice of Appeal, to independently oversee the consultation process and ensure it is run fairly. Airspace and noise consultation
Alongside the draft NPS, the Government will also published today separate proposals to modernise the way UK airspace is managed. This consultation; “UK Airspace Policy: A framework for balanced decisions on the design and use of airspace” is seeking views on how aircraft noise is managed effectively while updating airspace policies. Proposals will look at how the number of aircraft entering and leaving our airspace can be managed effectively – using the latest technology to make airspace more efficient, reducing the need for stacking and making journeys faster and more environmentally friendly. They will also include draft guidance on how noise impacts should be assessed and used to inform decisions on airspace.
The consultation also includes proposals on the role of an Independent Commission on Civil Aviation Noise, which we will establish. The Commission would build relationships between industry and communities and ensure an even fairer process for making changes to the use of airspace and flight paths.
These proposals will influence decisions taken later in the planning process for a Northwest runway at Heathrow, including how local communities can have their say on airspace matters and how impacts on them are taken into account.
Both consultations start on 2nd February and last for 16 weeks, closing on May 25th. Public consultation events are taking place across the country. ”
See also (from AirportWatch)
Heathrow NPS – summary of the main (probably) insuperable obstacles the runway faces
The government hopes to get a 3rd Heathrow runway approved, but it realises there are a large number of massive obstacles. The purpose of the NPS (National Policy Statement) consultation is to attempt to persuade the country, and particularly the MPs who must ultimately vote on it, that these obstacles can be successfully overcome. At present, there are no apparent solutions to many of the problems. Below are some very brief outlines of what some of the insuperable hurdles are – and why the government is a very long way from resolving the difficulties. The issues listed here are the three main environmental issues – noise, carbon emissions, and air pollution. The economics is complicated, but there is a note on that too. When Chris Grayling makes bland PR statements about the runway, or the papers regurgitate undigested blurb from the DfT, it may be useful to remember how very thin some of these statement are, and how far the government would have to go, in order to find even partial solutions.
The DfT website says:
Consultation on the draft Airports National Policy Statement
By Chris Grayling
Today I will be laying before Parliament a draft Airports National Policy Statement and beginning a period of extensive public consultation on the policy proposals it contains. National policy statements were introduced under the Planning Act 2008 and are used to set out government policy on nationally significant infrastructure projects. This draft Airports National Policy Statement sets out the need for additional airport capacity, as well as the reasons why the government believes that need is best met by a north-west runway at Heathrow.
- draft Airports National Policy Statement
- Appraisal of sustainability of the draft Airports National Policy Statement, incorporating a strategic environmental assessment
- Assessment of the policy under the Habitats and Wild Birds Directive
- Health impact analysis
- Equality impact assessment
will be made available online.
The Airports National Policy Statement, if designated, will provide the primary basis for making decisions on any development consent application for a new north-west runway at Heathrow Airport.
For a scheme to be compliant with the Airports National Policy Statement, the Secretary of State would expect Heathrow Airport Ltd to:
- demonstrate it has worked constructively with airlines on domestic connectivity – the government expects Heathrow to add 6 more domestic routes across the UK by 2030, bringing the total to 14, strengthening existing links to nations and regions, and also developing new connections
- provide compensation to communities who are affected by the expansion including noise insulation for homes and schools, improvements to public facilities and other measures – this includes establishing a community compensation fund and a community engagement board
- honour its commitment of payments for those people whose homes need to be compulsorily purchased to make way for the new runway or for those who take up the voluntary scheme of 25% above the full market value of their home and cover all costs including stamp duty, reasonable moving costs and legal fees
- put in place a number of measures to mitigate the impacts of noise, including legally binding noise targets and periods of predictable respite – the government also expects a ban of 6 and a half hours on scheduled night flights
- set specific mode share targets to get more than half of airport users onto public transport, aimed at meeting its pledge of no more airport-related road traffic with expansion compared to today
- implement a package of industry-leading measures to limit carbon and air quality impacts both during construction and operation
- demonstrate that the scheme can be delivered in compliance with legal requirements on air quality
I have appointed Sir Jeremy Sullivan, the former Senior President of Tribunals, to provide independent oversight of the draft Airports National Policy Statement consultation process and ensure best practice is upheld.
Consultation on airspace policy
We need to think about how we manage the rising number of aircraft in an efficient and effective manner. By taking steps now to future-proof this vital infrastructure, we can harness the latest technology to make airspace more efficient as well as making journeys faster and more environmentally friendly.
I am therefore also publishing proposals to modernise the way UK airspace is managed, which will be consulted on in parallel. The policy principles set out in this airspace consultation influence decisions taken later in the planning process for a north-west runway at Heathrow, if the Airports National Policy Statement were to be designated, including how local communities can have their say on airspace matters and how impacts on them are taken into account.
It is an important issue and one that will define the principles for shaping our airspace for years to come. It is therefore sensible to allow members of the public to consider both matters at the same time.
The proposals being published for consultation today include the functions, structure and governance of an Independent Commission on Civil Aviation Noise, which we will establish. The commission would build relationships between industry and communities, embed a culture of best practice, and ensure an even fairer process for making changes to airspace.
The proposed new call-in function for a Secretary of State on airspace changes, similar to that used by the Secretary of State at the Department for Communities and Local Government for planning applications, create a democratic back-stop in the most significant decisions, much called for by communities.
The consultation on airspace policy, new Air navigation guidance and the Strategic rationale for upgrading the UK’s airspace will be made available online.
The aviation sector is a great British success story, contributing around £20 billion per year and directly supporting approximately 230,000 jobs across the United Kingdom. It also supports an estimated 260,000 jobs across the wider economy.
I want to build on this success. My department is currently progressing work to develop a new strategy for UK aviation.
This strategy will champion the success story of the UK’s aviation sector. It will put the consumer back at the heart of our thinking. The strategy will also explore how we can maximise the positive role that our world class aviation sector plays in developing global trade links, providing vital connections to both the world’s growing economies and more established trading partners. Connections that will only grow in importance as our trading network expands.
I will come back to the House to update you on our plans for the strategy as they develop over the coming weeks.
Consultation and Parliamentary scrutiny
These 2 consultations will last for 16 weeks and close on 25 May 2017. At the same time, and as required by the Planning Act 2008, a period of Parliamentary scrutiny (the ‘relevant period’) now begins for the Airports National Policy Statement, ending by summer recess 2017.
I will be placing copies of all relevant documents in the Libraries of both Houses. Following consultation and Parliamentary scrutiny, and assuming that in the light of these processes the decision is made to proceed, we expect to lay a final Airports National Policy Statement before Parliament for debate and an expected vote in the House of Commons by winter 2017-18.