Heathrow third runway: Night flights banned under new proposals

Night flights will be banned at Heathrow and legally binding noise targets introduced under plans to build a third runway released today by the Government.

Announcing the nationwide consultation, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said planes will also take new routes to the west London hub to minimise noise pollution.

The public will be given 16 weeks to give feedback on proposals for what is deemed the first major project of the Brexit era.

What are the key new proposals?

A third runway at Heathrow is not expected to be operational until around 2025. Credit: PA

Six more UK airports will be served by Heathrow once the northwest runway opens, the Department for Transport (DfT) has projected.

The department said it "expects" Belfast International, Liverpool, Newquay, Humberside, Prestwick and Durham Tees Valley to be added to domestic network by 2030, bringing the number of internal routes to 14.

The DfT also pledges the following planning commitments:

  • Measures to mitigate the impacts of noise including legally binding noise targets, periods of predictable respite and a ban of six and a half hours on scheduled night flights.

  • Measures to ensure no increase in airport related road traffic and more than half of passengers using public transport to access the airport.

  • Paying home owners 25% above market value rate plus costs for homes which are compulsory purchased to make way for the new runway.

  • A "world-class package" of support for communities affected by expansion including noise insulation for homes and schools and improvements to public facilities.

The draft National Policy Statement (NPS) also sets out why Heathrow expansion is the Government's preferred option for boosting airport capacity in south-east England, having chosen it in October over a rival bid from Gatwick.

How will the expansion affect passengers and the economy?

An additional 260,000 take-off or landings will be permitted each year from the expanded airport. Credit: PA

The Dft said the expansion project will mean reduced fares, fewer delays and more daily destinations for passengers, while creating tens of thousands of local jobs by 2030.


The number of new take-offs or landings permitted each year, up from the current cap of 480,000.


The number of extra long haul seals created for passengers travelling from UK airports by 2040.


The government's estimated boost the expansion project will bring to the UK economy over 60 years.

What are those who opposed a new runway saying about the proposals?

Liberal Democrat MP for Richmond Park and North Kingston, Sarah Olney, accused the Government of being "so desperate" to reassure businesses about its Brexit plans that it is "willing to steamroller over those communities opposed to Heathrow expansion".

The leader of Wandsworth Council expressed concern that the public exercise was "more like a marketing exercise than a genuine consultation".

Protests continue to be held against the expansion of Heathrow Airport. Credit: PA

Ravi Govindia said Mr Grayling's comments suggest "his mind is firmly made up".

The council was involved earlier this week in a failed bid to bring a High Court challenge against the third runway.

What is the Government's response?

Announcing the proposals, Mr Grayling said: "The National Policy Statement is a big step forward for what is one of the UK's most important, major infrastructure projects.

"By backing the northwest runway at Heathrow airport and publishing our proposals, we are sending a clear signal that when we leave the EU, we are open for business."

The Transport Secretary told ITV's Good Morning Britain he accepted the expansion was "challenging" but said new technology would lessen the impact on local communities.

What happens after the 16 week consultation?

A final NPS is expected to be voted on by Parliament in winter 2017/18.

If the project is given the green light, Heathrow will produce detailed plans for consultation and a planning inquiry.

The runway is not expected to be operational until around 2025.