The Government has confirmed its backing for a new runway at Heathrow airport ahead of a Commons vote on the issue within weeks.
Transport secretary Chris Grayling told MPs he was laying before Parliament the Government’s final proposal for an Airports National Policy Statement (NPS), which he said ‘signals our commitment to securing global connectivity, creating tens of thousands of local jobs and apprenticeships, and boosting our economy for future generations by expanding Heathrow'.
He added: ‘It is an example of how this government is taking forward its Industrial Strategy.’
Mr Grayling said ministers ‘welcome and have acted upon’ 24 out of 25 of the recommendations made by the Transport Select Committee in a recent report on their draft NPS.
He pointed out that the committee had ‘like me, accepted the case for expansion and concluded that we are right to pursue development through an additional runway at Heathrow’.
The transport secretary announced that the bill to mitigate the impact of the new runway on local communities would now be up to £2.6bn, to cover compensation, noise insulation and improvements to public amenities.
In addition he said, transport links to the airport ‘will be further strengthened by future improvements to the Piccadilly Line; new links to Heathrow through Crossrail; connections to HS2 via an interchange at Old Oak Common and plans for western and southern rail access to the airport’.
Labour’s shadow transport secretary, Andy McDonald, told MPs that ‘expansion should only happen if it can effectively deliver on the capacity demands, if noise and air quality issues are fully addressed, if the UK’s climate change obligations are met in their entirety and that growth across the country is supported’.
Although Mr McDonald described these tests as ‘well established’, the first test, in respect of delivering on capacity demands, appears to have been revived more recently, with noise and air quality issues again combined as a single test.
Labour’s 2017 election manifesto said that its tests ‘require noise issues to be addressed, air quality to be protected, the UK’s climate change obligations met and growth across the country supported’.
Prior to this, one of Labour's tests was: 'Is there robust and convincing evidence that the required increased aviation capacity will be delivered with Sir Howard Davies’ recommendation?'