Britain's Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has taken a major step forward in preparing the country for leaving the EU by publishing proposals for a third runway at Heathrow Airport.
This week, a national public consultation into the construction of a third runway at Heathrow Airport - one of the UK’s most important infrastructure projects which will help build a Global Britain, began.
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.
Heathrow 3rd Runway consultation
According to a statement from the Department for Transport (DfT), "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," the DfT statement said.
Key benefits of the new Northwest runway are expected to be:
* A £61 billion boost to the UK economy over 60 years;
* Tens of thousands of additional local jobs by 2030;
* An additional 260,000 flights a year, with an extra 16 million long haul seats for passengers travelling from UK airports in 2040; and
* Reduced fares, fewer delays and more daily destinations for passengers.
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Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said: "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 in having the right infrastructure in place that will allow us 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 is now 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.
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.
The DfT said "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.