Heathrow must set 50% public transport target


Heathrow must show half of its users will take public transport to get approval for its expansion plans, ministers have said, however there is no clear method of enforcement yet.

The airport will also have to meet legally binding air quality and noise targets, implement a night flight ban and service six more UK airports by 2030 - Belfast, Liverpool, Newquay, Humberside, Prestwick and Durham Tees Valley.

In a written statement to MPs, Chris Grayling said he would publish a draft Airports National Policy Statement on Thursday, setting out why the Government believes the need for additional airport capacity is best met by a north-west runway at Heathrow and its criteria for giving final approval to such a scheme.

The statement, if approved, will provide the primary basis for approving the Heathrow third runway.

How people will get to an expanded Heathrow is a key issue

‘We need to think about how we manage the rising number of aircraft in an efficient and effective manner. By taking steps now to future-proof this vital infrastructure, we can harness the latest technology to make airspace more efficient as well as making journeys faster and more environmentally friendly,’ Mr Grayling said.

For a scheme to be compliant with the Statement, Heathrow Airport Ltd must:

  • provide compensation to communities who are affected by the expansion including noise insulation for homes and schools,
  • honour its commitment of payments for those people whose homes need to be compulsorily purchased to make way for the new runway or for those who take up the voluntary scheme of 25% above full market value of their
  • put in place measures to mitigate the impacts of noise, including legally binding noise targets and periods of predictable respite - the government also expects a ban of six and a half hours on scheduled night flights
  • set specific mode share targets to get more than half of airport users onto public transport, aimed at meeting its pledge of no more airport-related road traffic with expansion compared to today
  • implement a package of measures to limit carbon and air quality impacts both during construction and operation
  • demonstrate that the scheme can be delivered in compliance with legal requirements on air quality

John Stewart of anti-expansion group HACAN said: 'The Government has for the first time made permission for a new runway conditional on it serving unfashionable UK destinations for which there is a limited market and on Heathrow ensuring there will be no increase in airport related road traffic if the runway is built. These are very big asks indeed.'

Mr Grayling added that the Department for Transport is currently ‘progressing work to develop a new strategy for UK aviation’.

He said he would also be publishing proposals to modernise the way UK airspace is managed, to be consulted on in parallel with the documents on Heathrow expansion.

The proposals on wider airspace policy include an Independent Commission on Civil Aviation Noise, to ‘build relationships between industry and communities, embed a culture of best practice, and ensure an even fairer process for making changes to airspace’.


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