In my statement on 13 July this year, I said I would set out the next steps of the draft airports national policy statement (NPS) process following the summer recess.
The Government consulted on a draft airports NPS between 2 February and 25 May this year.
We received over 70,000 responses, and work to analyse them is ongoing. I would like to thank everyone who took the time to feed in their views.
In the consultation document, my Department was clear that further work was under way to update the evidence base, including revised aviation demand forecasts and the Government’s final air quality plan. It was intended these documents would be presented for consideration during the initial consultation, but the timing of the general election meant this was not possible.
I am therefore confirming that there is a need to conduct a short period of further consultation to allow this updated evidence to be taken into account. This further consultation will focus mainly on the specific elements of the NPS affected, and is expected to begin later this year.
I appointed the former Senior President of Tribunals, Sir Jeremy Sullivan, to provide independent oversight of the consultation process. I am very grateful to him for his hard work in helping to ensure that the consultation was as open, fair and transparent as possible. Today I am publishing his report on the initial consultation, and can announce that he has agreed to oversee the period of further consultation.
In my statement in July I said that the timing of the election—in particular the need to re-start the Select Committee process—meant we now expect to lay any final NPS in the first half of 2018 for a vote in the House of Commons. This Government remain committed to realising the benefits that airport expansion could bring, and I can confirm that we do not expect this additional period of consultation to impact on the timetable for parliamentary scrutiny of the NPS.