MPs on the Transport Committee have called for “safeguards” to be put in place before Heathrow’s third runway can be approved by Parliament.
The committee says that plans for a new northwest runway should be approved but only after the government addresses key concerns, such as the project’s costs, airport charges, air quality, noise, regional connectivity, and community impact and compensation.
The government backs building a third runway at Heathrow and the Airports National Policy Statement (NPS), which would approve the scheme, is set to be voted on in Parliament by the end of June.
The committee now wants sections of the draft NPS to be revised to take into account its key concerns about the project before any Parliamentary votes take place.
MP Lilian Greenwood, who chairs the committee, said: “The committee’s recommendations improve the NPS and reduce the chance of a successful legal challenge.
“The northwest runway scheme, as set out in the draft NPS, is the highest cost expansion option and one of the largest privately financed infrastructure projects anywhere in the world.
“At present, the draft NPS does not guarantee that passengers will be protected from the cost risks associated with the scheme. The secretary of state [Chris Grayling] must set out how airport charges will be held down.
“During our inquiry, we heard how communities might be affected. Thousands of people across London could be exposed to worse levels of noise, air quality and traffic congestion - there must be sufficient measures to protect or compensate them.
“The government and Heathrow have made efforts to mitigate these significant impacts, but safeguards on air quality, surface access, connectivity, costs and charges and noise should be strengthened.
“As a matter of urgency, we also want to see how the government plans to deliver the necessary airspace change. This must all be done before a final NPS is tabled for approval by both houses of Parliament.”