A parliamentary vote approving a third runway at Heathrow may be delayed, again, this time to allow further consultation on some new passenger number projections.
Secretary of State for Transport, Chris Grayling, has announced a “short period of further consultation” to allow an updated evidence base, including revised aviation demand forecasts and the government’s final air quality plan, to be considered. The initial intention had been to present these documents for consideration during the initial consultation, but, said Chris Grayling, the timing of the general election meant this was not possible.
The consultation is expected to begin later this year.
The former Senior President of Tribunals, Sir Jeremy Sullivan, was appointed to provide independent oversight of the consultation process, aiming to “ensure that the consultation was as open, fair and transparent as possible”. He has also agreed to oversee the period of further consultation.
Government feels there will be no further delay, Grayling said: “In my statement in July I said …. we now expect to lay any final NPS in the first half of 2018 for a vote in the House of Commons.
“I can confirm that we do not expect this additional period of consultation to impact on the timetable for parliamentary scrutiny of the NPS.”
However, reports suggest that the further consultation will make that timetable difficult to stick to, and that the vote could be delayed by up to another year until 2019.