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Government confirms support for airport expansion in the south-east

Government statement on airport expansion in the south-east.

  • location decision subject to further consideration on environmental impacts and the best possible mitigation measures
  • government agrees with the Airports Commission that the south-east needs more runway capacity by 2030
  • government agrees with the Airports Commission’s shortlist of options, all of which it concluded were viable

The government has accepted the case for airport expansion in the south-east and the Airports Commission’s shortlist of options for expansion. It has also identified the most appropriate way of delivering planning consents for new capacity, it was decided today (10 December 2015) at the Airports Sub Committee.

The government will undertake a package of further work and we anticipate that it will conclude over the summer.

The government will do this quickly so that the timetable for delivering capacity set out by the Airports Commission can be met.

The Airports Commission published a large amount of very detailed analysis on air quality and greenhouse gas emissions for their 3 shortlisted schemes. The government faces a complex and challenging decision on delivering this capacity.

The Airports Commission’s air quality analysis will be tested using the latest projected future concentrations of nitrogen dioxide.

The next step is to continue to develop the best possible package of measures to mitigate the impacts on local people and the environment. This will include a package for local communities to include compensation, maximising local economic opportunities through new jobs and apprenticeships, and measures to tackle noise.

More work will be done on environmental impacts. The government expects the airports to put forward ambitious solutions.

The mechanism for delivering planning consents for airport expansion will be an ‘Airports national policy statement’ (NPS), following which a scheme promoter would need to apply for a development consent order.

Secretary of State for Transport Patrick McLoughlin said:

The case for aviation expansion is clear – but it’s vitally important we get the decision right so that it will benefit generations to come. We will undertake more work on environmental impacts, including air quality, noise and carbon.

We must develop the best possible package of measures to mitigate the impacts on local people. We will continue work on all the shortlisted locations, so that the timetable for more capacity set out by Sir Howard is met.

At the first opportunity I will make a statement to the House to make clear our plans.

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