To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will take steps to ensure that the public purse is not liable to cover costs arising from (a) increased construction costs of the expansion of Heathrow airport, (b) loss of income owing to lower than estimated passenger demand at that airport and (c) delays to the opening of the new runway and connected facilities there owing to failure to meet air quality standards.
The Government has always been clear that any scheme for additional airport capacity should be financed by the private sector. The Airports Commission concluded that all three of its shortlisted schemes were financeable without Government support.
As set out in the revised draft Airports National Policy Statement, independent financial advisers have undertaken further work for the Government, and agree that all three schemes are financeable without Government support.
Heathrow has a strong track record of proven demand, which has proven resilient to previous economic downturns. However, in the extreme scenario of financial distress, there would be no predetermined basis for Government intervention.
The Government has assessed the impact of the Government’s Air Quality Plan and the latest aviation demand forecasts on the Heathrow Northwest Runway scheme’s compliance with air quality limit values. Its analysis demonstrates that the Heathrow Northwest Runway scheme can be delivered in compliance with air quality obligations, alongside a suitable package of policy and mitigation measures.