Airports Policy Debate House of Lords


Airports Policy Debate

Debate in the House of Lords on the Revised Draft Airports National Policy Statement, from Thursday 15 March.


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Transcript


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My Lords, can I start by giving the

apologies for my noble friend the

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minister who is under a three line

mother whip today. Who is at the

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palace receiving an honour and there

was no way my noble friend was going

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to miss that day. Noble friend and I

welcome this debate on the

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Government's revised draft airports

national policy statement. And from

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now on I will refer to the

abbreviation NPS. It might be

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helpful to put the debate in context

in terms of the process the

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Government has followed to date. The

commission reported in July 2015 and

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following detailed consideration of

their findings, and further work,

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the Government announced its

preference for the Heathrow North

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West runway scheme in October 2016.

Since then, we have published a

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draft airports NPS and conducted two

periods of consultation, receiving

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over 80,000 responses in total. And

we are now carefully considering the

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responses. It is worth reemphasising

that we are still in a period of

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consideration following public

consultation and no final decisions

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on the airport's NPS have been

taken. Should Government decide to

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proceed, any proposed airports NPS

would be laid before Parliament and

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an opportunity provided for both

debate in both Houses. So my Lords

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what is the purpose of NPS? The

concept was introduced by the

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planning Act in 2008 enacted after

the Heathrow Terminal 5 inquiry

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which lasted four years. The draft

airports NPS has a specific purpose,

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if it is adopted it would provide

planning guidance for the promotor

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of the additional runway and

establishes clear policies by way an

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application for development consent

to the additional runway would be

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decided. It might be also help ffl

ful if I say what it does not do. It

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does not give permission for a new

runway. It would require public

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examination of the proposals in the

light of the policies set out in the

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NPS. It is then the role of the

Secretary of State, taking into

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account the advice of planning

inspectorate, to determine whether

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or not to grant develop tment

consent. Clearly there is need for

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expansion. The UK has the third

largest aviation sector in the

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world. Second only to the United

States and China. Contributing more

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than 22 billion to UK GDP. In 2016.

2 .5 million tonnes of freight were

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handled. Our airports continue to

grow their business with more

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passengers passing through their

doors each year. Heathrow is the

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busiest two runway airport in the

world and evidence shows that unless

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we take action, all five of London's

main airports will be full by the

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mid 2030s. Let me set out why a new

north-west runway is the

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Government's preference for

additional capacity. Our analysis

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shows that new north-west runway

would deliver benefits of up to 74

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billion to passengers and the wider

economy over 60 years. Of the short

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listed schemes assessed, the

north-west runway scheme delivers

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the greatest benefits soonest and

expanded Heathrow would offer the

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greatest choice on long haul routes.

It would secure our status as a

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global aviation hub and advance our

ability to compete with other

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European and other airports. It

would provide new domestic

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connections, moving from eight to 14

domestic routes and greater

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frequency. I mentioned freight and

Heathrow handles more freight than

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all other UK airports combined. It

has superior connections to the rest

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of the UK through road and rail and

flights. Expansion is also expected

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to generate up to 114,000 additional

jobs. I want to emphasise the draft

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NPS makes clear that expansion would

only be allowed to proceed if

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accompanied by world class package

of compensation along with

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mitigation measures. Let me without

going through all these measures

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just give a flavour of some of the

proposals. Community compensation,

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the proposed package includes above

statutory level of compensation for

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property owners. Heathrow Airport

limited have pledged home owners in

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compulsory and voluntary purchase

zones would receive 125% of market

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value. The airport have pledged in

excess of 700 million to noise

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insulate properties. Providing a

contribution of £3,000 for

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qualifying homes further from the

airport. They have promised to set

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aside money for school buildings. It

requires the creation of a community

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compensation fund worth up to 50

million a year to benefit local

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communities. Moving on to

environmental mitigation. For

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communities around Heathrow, noise

is the major concern and under the

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Government's draft proposals the

scheme promoter would be expected to

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deliver a number of mitigating

measures to reduce the impact of

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noise. Initial to the comprehensive

noise insulation package it will

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include a 6.5 hour man on night

flights. This ban would help address

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noise from early morning arrivals,

one of the most frequently expressed

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concerns. Expansion would result in

more reliable periods of respite.

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The draft NPS says the government

expects noise to limit and reduce

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the impact of aircraft noise.

Turning to air quality, the

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Government have made clear that

expansion would only be allowed to

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go ahead if it could delivered in

compliance with legal obligations on

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air quality. It is the Government's

view, based on expert analysis, that

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the Heathrow north-west scheme can

be delivered in compliance with the

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obligations. Importantly this

analysis does not take account of

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any of the additional measures the

scheme promoter would take to

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address emissions. For example the

NPS proposes a public transport mode

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share of at least 50% by 2030 and

Heathrow has a plan to consider a

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low emission zone. The Government

also considered the impact of the

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demand forecast on carbon emissions.

Our analysis provides further

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support for the airports

commission's assessment that any of

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the three schemes including Heathrow

north-west would be delivered within

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our obligations under the climate

change Act. I appreciate that there

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are many views on airport expansion

and we look forward to hearing these

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views and I beg to move.

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SUBTITLES WILL RESUME AT 11PM.

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