The UK government has published a draft Airports National Policy Statement (NPS) that lays down the planning and decision-making framework for a third runway at Heathrow Airport and has opened it to a 16-week public consultation. The draft NPS sets out the measures that Heathrow will have to comply in order to get development consent for the airport expansion. These include noise insulation measures for homes and schools, above market value compensation for home owners having to make way for the new runway, mitigation of noise impacts and a commitment to no increase in airport-related road traffic. However, the NPS has been criticised by environmental groups for a lack of detail on how an expansion of air traffic sits with the UK"™s climate change targets. The government has also announced separate proposals and a consultation on modernising UK airspace and managing aircraft noise. The proposals include setting up an independent aviation noise commission.
Following the government"™s decision last October to support a third runway at Heathrow, the draft NPS sets out the reasons for the choice as well as the requirements the airport will have to meet in order to get development consent. At the same time as the public consultation, Parliament will also scrutinise the draft and a final NPS is expected to be laid before Parliament for debate and vote next winter.
"Aviation expansion is important for the UK both in boosting our economy and jobs, and promoting us on the world stage," said Transport Secretary Chris Grayling. "By backing the north-west runway at Heathrow and publishing our proposals, we are sending a clear signal that when we leave the EU, we are open for business.
"The NPS is a big step forward for what is one of the UK"™s most important, major infrastructure projects. This is an important consultation and I encourage everybody to get involved across the country."
Under the government"™s proposals, Heathrow will have to put in place noise mitigation measures that include legally binding noise targets, periods of predictable respite and a ban of six-and-a-half hours on scheduled night flights. It will also be required to provide "a world-class package" of support for communities affected by the expansion, including noise insulation for homes and schools and improvements to public facilities…