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Planning Policy Context

Planning Policy Context

Airports National Policy Statement

The  Airports National Policy Statement supports the sustainable growth of the UK’s aviation industry; recognising the significant economic and social benefits this brings. It also sets out measures to ensure that adverse impacts are weighed against the positive impacts in determining whether to grant development consent.

The Airports National Policy Statement primarily relates to the proposed new runway at Heathrow Airport. However, it also confirms that the Government is supportive of airports beyond Heathrow making best use of their existing runways, subject to economic and environmental considerations. 

Aviation Policy Framework

The Aviation Policy Framework was published in March 2013 and sets out Government aviation policy for airports within London and the south east of England.

The Aviation Policy Framework recognises that the aviation sector contributes significantly to the UK economy. However, it also notes that airports in the south east of England (including Heathrow and Gatwick) face capacity challenges. The Aviation Policy Framework identifies a number of other challenges in the aviation sector, noting that aviation needs to grow, delivering benefits essential to economic wellbeing, while respecting the environment and protecting quality of life. 

The Aviation Policy Framework states that a key priority in the short term is to make the best use of existing capacity at all UK airports to improve performance, resilience and passenger experience.

Beyond the Horizon – The Future of UK Aviation: Making Best Use of Existing Runways

In June 2018, the Government reaffirmed its policy on making best use of existing runways, as part of the overall aviation strategy (HM Government, 2018).  This confirmed Government support for airports beyond Heathrow making best use of their existing runways and recommended that any proposals should be judged taking careful account of relevant considerations, particularly economic and environmental impacts and proposed mitigations.

National Policy Statement for National Networks

The Project includes works (such as proposed improvements to the North Terminal and South Terminal roundabouts) that constitute Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects in their own right.  Therefore, the National Policy Statement for National Networks contains policy relevant to the highways elements of the Project (see footnote 1) .

National Planning Policy Framework

The EIA process has had regard to the National Planning Policy Framework, which is read alongside the National Planning Practice Guidance online resource where appropriate.

The policies contained within the National Planning Policy Framework articulate the Government’s vision of sustainable development, which should be interpreted and applied locally to meet local aspirations. The framework also identifies a presumption in favour of sustainable development which has three dimensions: an economic role, a social role and an environmental role. These should not be seen in isolation, as economic growth can, for example, contribute to higher environmental standards.

The EIA process has taken into account existing and emerging local planning policy from the following local authorities:


In addition, relevant supplementary planning documents are also considered.  In some cases where the study area for a technical topic extends beyond the boundary of the administrative areas listed above, the planning documents relevant to additional administrative areas have also informed the assessment.  


1 - it is noted that the Transport Decarbonisation Plan published by Department for Transport (DfT) on 14 July 2021 announced DfT's intention to review the NPS for National Networks in due course once demand patterns post-pandemic become clearer. It is understood DfT intends to commence the review by the end of 2021 and complete it by Spring 2023. In the interim and whilst the review is undertaken, DfT has confirmed the NPS for National Networks remains relevant government policy and has full force and effect for the purposes of the Planning Act 2008.


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