Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has failed to incorporate 22 of the 25 changes put forward by the Transport Select Committee (TSC) in his updated national planning statement (NPS) – despite telling Parliament this week (5 June) that he had ‘acted upon’ 24 of the recommendations.
TSC members who examined the airports NPS earlier this year called for changes on a broad range of concerns including noise, air quality, road traffic and costs.
But a detailed study of the recommendations show that the vast majority were not carried forward in the version of the report published on 5 June.
Measures left out included calls on the Government for:
- More detail on the evidence on environmental, health and community impacts on all three short-listed schemes.
- Updated population estimates to reflect the increased number of air traffic movements from a Northwest Runway scheme
- A more stringent interpretation of air quality compliance including ‘headroom’ to manage future increases in pollution
- Planning approval to be granted only if the target for no more airport-related traffic can be met
- A clear definition of how the requirement for 15 per cent of new slots will be secured for domestic connections
- Updated noise modelling to reflect a range of flightpath scenarios
- A definition of an acceptable maximum number of people newly exposed to noise
- A condition that planning consent would only be granted if the Secretary of State was satisfied that the scheme would avoid ‘significant adverse impacts on health and quality of life from air quality’
Council Leaders are now calling for the Transport Secretary to return to Parliament and explain why so many of the TSC’s recommendations were omitted.
Cllr Simon Dudley, Leader of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, said :
“It’s disappointing the conditions put forward by the Transport Committee, which relate to the impact a third runway would have on the health of the millions of people who live around Heathrow, have not all been met. There is still time to address these concerns and I would encourage this is looked at again before MPs make their final decision in the House of Commons.”
Cllr Ray Puddifoot, Leader of Hillingdon Council, said:
“It is a disgrace that the government has failed to address the TSC’s significant concerns regarding exposure to noise and pollution in its final NPS report, showing little regard or protection for those people whose lives will affected by increased noise and air pollution from a third runway at Heathrow.