Transport secretary Chris Grayling will today set out the government’s proposals for Heathrow expansion with a draft national policy statement.
It comes after the High Court delayed a legal challenge to the third runway earlier this week.
This marks the start of a 16-week national public consultation for the huge infrastructure project, giving people across the UK a chance to air their views, while kicking off a year-long parliamentary process.
Grayling is expected to say:
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.
The draft will set out the measures Heathrow needs to comply with to get development consent, including working with airlines on domestic connectivity, providing sufficient support for communities affected by the expansion and putting in place measures to mitigate noise including a ban of six and a half hours on scheduled night flights.
Alongside the draft national policy statement, the government will also set out proposals on UK airspace and managing it effectively.
This airspace and noise consultation will feature proposals considering the number of aircraft entering and leaving the airspace and using technology to make airspace more efficient.
Both consultations will last for 16 weeks, closing on Thursday 25 May. There will also be a period of Parliamentary scrutiny for the draft national policy statement, with a final version set before Parliament to vote on in winter 2017/18.
Heathrow’s new northwest runway is expected to provide a £61bn boost to the UK economy over 60 years and tens of thousands of additional local jobs by 2030.
The government has set the wheels in motion for the process after a legal challenge by a coalition of local councils and Greenpeace UK was grounded by the High Court on Monday. It said the challenge could not be heard until after the national policy statement had been designated.
The coalition, including Hillingdon, Richmond, Wandsworth and Windsor and Maidenhead councils, said the government was “putting off the inevitable”.
Ravi Govindia, leader of Wandsworth council, said: “The government has taken a colossal gamble by delaying this legal action for at least a year. The country is now going to waste more time developing a scheme that will never pass a simple legal test on air quality. Nothing is going to change between now and 2018 to make this scheme any less polluting so they should face this challenge now or abandon the third runway.”