The government’s national policy for airports won’t be presented to the House of Commons until next year as a further round of public consultation will have to take place, the transport secretary Chris Grayling has announced.
Grayling has made the decision to conduct a “short period” of further consultation on the draft Airports National Policy Statement following receipt of a report on the initial consultation undertaken by Sir Jeremy Sullivan, senior president of tribunals.
The government consulted on a draft Airports NPS between 2 February and 25 May this year. However, the timing of May’s general election meant that aviation demand forecasts and the draft national air quality plan were not able to be presented to the public. Grayling also pointed out that the general election had also required the re-start the Select Committee process.
Grayling said: “In the consultation document, my department was clear that further work was underway 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.”
The consultation received over 70,000 responses and work to analyse them is ongoing. The further consultation will focus mainly on the specific elements of the NPS affected, and is expected to begin later this year.
Grayling said the government remains committed to realising the benefits that airport expansion could bring, and that it does not expect this additional period of consultation to impact on the timetable for parliamentary scrutiny of the NPS.
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