Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has published a revised draft Airports National Policy Statement, including conditions which Heathrow airport would need to adhere to for planning consent to be granted. These include:

  • The delivery of at least six more domestic routes across the UK by 2030
  • The provision of a world-class package of support for communities affected, including noise insulation for homes and schools
  • The setting of legally binding noise targets, periods of predictable respite and a ban of six and a half hours on scheduled night flights
  • Payment to home owners 25 per cent above market value rate plus costs for the compulsory purchase of their homes if needed to make way for the new runway

Grayling said that the case for Heathrow was “as strong as ever”, adding that updated analysis of the National Air Quality Plan “shows that the Heathrow north-west runway scheme can be delivered without the UK breaching its air quality obligations”.

The Transport Secretary said that updated aviation demand forecasts “show that the need for additional runway capacity is even greater than originally thought”, with all five of London’s main airport expected to be “completely full by the mid-2030s, and four of them within a decade”.

He added “Crucially, they also show us that the north-west runway scheme at Heathrow is the one which delivers the greatest benefits soonest”.

“In addition, it continues to offer the greatest choice in terms of destinations and frequency of vital long-haul routes,” said Grayling.

“Heathrow handles more freight by value than all other UK airports combined and it has superior connections to the rest of the UK through road, rail and domestic flights.”

The public has until December 19 to respond to the revised document, with the government set to publish final proposals for expansion in the first half of 2018, to be put to a vote in Parliament.

Grayling also said that the government’s work to develop a new aviation strategy “will look beyond a potential new runway at Heathrow”, including considering “how we can make best use of existing capacity at all airports around the country” and “any future need for new capacity away from Heathrow”.

In response to the revised statement Gatwick airport said that it continues to offer “a credible privately-financed runway plan to the Government”, adding that it would “Look carefully” at the new consultation material “which is long and detailed”.

Meanwhile Heathrow airport has issued the following statement:

“The consultation launched today is a key milestone in developing the Airports NPS which will strengthen the policy framework for expanding Heathrow. The forecasts show expanding Heathrow, the UK’s only hub airport, is even more important than previously realised. A third runway will ensure Britain’s place in the world as an outward looking trading nation. That’s why the Government has committed to a final vote on expansion in the first half of 2018.

“We remain on track to build an expanded Heathrow and deliver a once-in-a-generation boost for the economy in a way that is affordable, financeable and deliverable. We have already pledged to meet or exceed the conditions recommended by the Airports Commission to address impacts on local communities and the environment. Expansion will support our plan to make Heathrow a great place to live and work, doubling the number of apprenticeships at Heathrow to 10,000, with fewer people impacted by noise than today, and an ambition for carbon-neutral growth.

“Today’s consultation will be welcomed by business groups, trade unions and the majority of MPs who all recognise that expanding Heathrow is the only option to connect all of Britain to global growth.”