The Airports National Policy Statement was designated as government policy in June 2018 following the overwhelming support of MPs, but the Government is clear that expansion cannot come at any cost.
The Airports National Policy Statement includes strict requirements that must be met, covering a range of environmental impacts from water and soil quality to biodiversity and habitats. For example, permission will only be granted if an applicant for development consent can demonstrate that the scheme would not materially impact the UK’s ability to meet its carbon reduction targets and that, with mitigation, it would be compliant with legal obligations on air quality.
In regard to noise, the development consent application must also include a detailed assessment of how proposed noise mitigations will deliver against the Airports National Policy Statement requirement to limit – and where possible reduce – the impact of aircraft noise compared to the 2013 baseline assessed by the Airports Commission.
An applicant for development consent will need to produce a detailed assessment of all environmental impacts of their scheme, including a robust and effective package of mitigation measures. This will be assessed by the Planning Inspectorate during examination, with input from statutory consultees such as Natural England and the Environment Agency.
Should development consent be granted, the Planning Inspectorate will recommend an enforcement regime – with appropriate monitoring and reporting – to ensure that the scheme meets it environmental obligations.