On October 25, 2016, the UK Government announced its support for a new north-west runway at Heathrow as its preferred option for airport expansion. This announcement followed an in-depth independent study by the UK Airports Commission which looked at whether increased UK airport capacity was needed and, if so, where it should go.
The Airports Commission is set up by the Government to examine the need for additional UK airport capacity and to make recommendations on the timing and location of any new runway in the South East.
The Commission, chaired by the economist Sir Howard Davies, carries out a very thorough investigation over three years, involving public consultations, evidence sessions and site visits.
In July, Heathrow submits a number of proposals to the Airports Commission for a new runway at Heathrow airport, alongside a diverse range of alternative proposals submitted by other airports and organisations.
Our runway proposal to the north west of the airport is shortlisted as one of three options in the Airports Commission’s Interim Report, published in December. The other shortlisted options are a second runway at Gatwick and an extended northern runway at Heathrow; the latter is a proposal put forward by a company called Heathrow Hub.
Heathrow carries out two extensive public consultations on our proposals in 2014, one on our North West Runway proposal and the other on the principles of any mitigation and compensation proposals that we might introduce. The feedback received leads to a number of beneficial changes to reduce the impact of our proposals, including moving the proposed runway further south, as well as outlining our proposals for a generous and extensive noise mitigation and compensation package.
Following further consultation and analysis, the Airports Commission issues its final report on 1 July 2015, making a unanimous and unambiguous recommendation to Government that Heathrow is best placed to provide the additional hub capacity that the UK urgently needs.
Heathrow confirms that it will meet and, in most cases, exceed the conditions set out in the Airports Commission’s recommendations for Heathrow’s expansion. Measures include support for an early introduction of a ban on scheduled flights for six and a half hours every night once development consent is received and the necessary changes to airspace have been made.
On 25 October 2016, the Government announces that Heathrow is its preferred option for expansion of airport capacity in the South East. Although the decision is still subject to consultation, this announcement gives Heathrow a clear direction from Government that allows us to further develop our plans for a new runway to the North West of the airport.
In December, Heathrow announces its intention to commence preparation of the Heathrow Expansion Development Consent Order application.
In February, the Government launches a 16-week consultation on its draft Airports National Policy Statement, which supports a third runway to the North West of Heathrow. The consultation closed on 25 May. The Government is currently analysing and considering the feedback it received.