On 25 June 2018, Parliament formally backed Heathrow expansion, with MPs voting in support of the Government’s Airports National Policy Statement (Airports NPS).
The Airports NPS sets out Government policy for new airport infrastructure including support for a new north west runway at Heathrow.
This is an important milestone and it means Heathrow will continue to proceed with its application for development consent, subject to any successful legal challenges. Throughout the planning process there will be opportunities for local communities and stakeholders to continue to influence and shape our proposals. This will include a public consultation in 2019.
Development Consent Order
With the Airports NPS in place, Heathrow will apply to the Planning Inspectorate for what is known as a Development Consent Order (DCO). This is required for Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects like Heathrow. The DCO will contain most of the consents and powers that we need to build and operate the third runway.
The DCO process places real importance on engagement with residents and stakeholders and there will continue to be opportunities to influence the proposals through the planning process over the coming months and years.
Airspace change process
The expansion of the airport is not just about the physical changes required on the ground. Expanding Heathrow will also lead to changes to where and how planes fly in the future. Changes to flight paths are subject to a separate airspace change process which is overseen by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).
The Airspace Change Process is running alongside the DCO process although there will be a final stage of consultation after the decision is taken on the DCO for the expansion of Heathrow. There will be three stages of consultation on airspace change – the first was held earlier this year to inform a set of principles or ‘rules’ that will form the basis for designing future flight paths. The second consultation will seek to understand what local factors should be taken into account when designing flight paths.
More information about Heathrow expansion can be found on our expansion website www.heathrowexpansion.com