The government have formally stated that they are in support of the third runway at Heathrow airport being developed.
They government have stated they are in support of the first new full length runway in south-east England due to the £61bn boost to the UK economy it will bring. Having said that, Heathrow faces the potential of a list of legal challenges to its airport capacity decision. Zac Goldsmith, a Conservative MP, has already resigned over the issue.
A National Policy Statement (NPS) draft is set to be published in 2017 regarding why the government believe that the scheme is appropriate for the UK.
It was claimed by ministers that the runway will be bringing economic benefits to passengers, and to the wider economy with a worth of up to £61bn.
Chris Grayling, the Transport Secretary had the following to say:
“A new runway at Heathrow will improve connectivity in the UK itself and crucially boost our connections with the rest of the world, supporting exports, trade and job opportunities. The government’s preferred scheme will be subject to full and fair public consultation. That is why we have made clear that expansion will only be allowed to proceed on the basis of a world class package of compensation and mitigation worth up to £2.6bn, including community support, insulation, and respite from noise, balancing the benefits and the impacts of expansion.”
It has also been noted by the UK government that a third runway will, “support new connections to the UK’s regions as well as safeguarding existing domestic routes.”
It’s been propositioned by Heathrow that after the expansion, the following six additional routes be added:
- Belfast International,
- Durham Tees Valley.
Currently, the routes offered are:
- Belfast City,
- Leeds Bradford.
Although there will be an increase in the number of flights from Heathrow Airport, ministers have assured they will make a conscious effort to reduce noise.
Proposed by the governments is a six-and-a-half-hour ban introduced for the first time at Heathrow on scheduled night flights, in the hope of creating more stringent night noise restrictions, a requirement of expansion.
In line with the ‘National air quality plan’, published last December, the government has come to the conclusion that the third runway at Heathrow is deliverable within air quality limits, and if necessary, mitigation measures will be put in place. The promised NPS will be discussed, and will be subject to a vote in the Commons. Following on from this will be a planning application by the airport to the Planning Inspectorate, who will then be putting forward a recommendation to the Secretary of State for Transport.
Over time, a redesign of the airport’s flightpaths will be necessary due to the new runway. In the new year, the government expect to consult on a range of national proposals, including noise and airspace. The Department for Transport have established a working group with the Treasury and the Department for the Environment Food and Rural Affairs on air quality.
It is trusted by the government that a new runway at Heathrow airport can in fact be produced within the UK’s international obligations to reduce carbon emissions. In the meantime, the government has stressed it’s want to see the sustained wealth of Heathrow (second busiest airport in the UK) as well as the world’s busiest single runway airport, Gatwick, which was one of the alternative expansions. Heathrow expect the runway has a potential to be built by 2025, however this seems enthusiastically hopeful.
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