Airports National Policy Statement inquiry launched

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."

Further information

Image: Pexels (published under Creative Commons Zero licence)

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