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Liberal Democrat ploy to bring airports outside Planning Act

Liberal Democrat MP Susan Kramer has tabled a Bill that, if passed, could pave the way to bring approval for airport expansion outside the new Planning Act, and instead require Parliamentary approval.

Under the Planning Act, Government ministers will set out National Policy Statements (NPS) detailing national infrastructure priorities for the country in areas such as energy, aviation, road and rail transport, water and waste.

However, whether to allow individual projects to go ahead will then be taken independently by a new Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC), operating within the framework set by ministers.

Kramer's new Bill, if passed, could open the door to make exceptions for airport expansion, and require Parliament to give final approval.

With expansion at Heathrow airport dividing opinion, this move could be a way to prevent a third runway being built there.

AIRPORT EXPANSION (PARLIAMENTARY APPROVAL) BILL:

  • That leave be given to bring in a Bill to amend the Planning Act 2008 to require Parliamentary approval for proposals for the building of new major airports and additional runways at existing major airports; and for connected purposes.

The 'Ten minute Bill' will be introduced on 24 February. Kramer will outline her argument for ten minutes only, and then an MP who opposes the Bill may counter her argument for a further 10 minutes.

If passed at this stage, then the Bill will move to a second reading, but will require considerable support from rebel Labour MPs if it is to become law.

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