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The Airports National Policy Statement (NPS) requires us to consult on five areas of the Fund: eligibility, size, duration, delivery, and source of funding. We have generated ideas on all of these areas, and we want to hear your feedback so that you can help shape how the Fund works for your community in the coming years.
The Proposals for Mitigation and Compensation document provides detailed information on our ideas. We summarise our initial proposed approach to the Fund below.
Eligibility for the Fund
We have developed some draft guiding principles for the types of things the Fund could cover. These have been informed by research the Department for Transport undertook with local communities over the last year, that asked what things they thought the Fund should be spent on.
In principle, we think the Fund could be used for:
- Enhancements to quality of life, which could include spending relating to community activities, health, transport, or the environment (e.g. spending on community clubs, subsidised public transport and investment in local green spaces);
- Initiatives which help enhance the benefits of expansion for local communities, such as support for the Heathrow Academy, skills and jobs initiatives, and apprenticeship schemes;
- Enhancements of re-provided facilities or services which are linked to the Project and which deliver a wider community benefit (e.g. additional play areas and school places); and
- Additional or ongoing mitigation measures, particularly where it is not possible to identify or quantify the measures necessary at the time of submitting the Development Consent Order (DCO) application or when the DCO is granted consent.
The draft guiding principles would apply during both construction and operation of the airport providing clarity on what the fund can and cannot be spent on.
In order for the Fund to be proportionate to environmental impacts, we consider it would be helpful to focus eligibility on areas which are close to construction sites, close to the airport itself, including key roads and public transport routes, and areas within a particular noise contour (a line on a map that represents equal levels of noise exposure).
Size of the Fund
The Airports NPS states that the size of the Fund should be proportionate to the environmental harm caused by the Project. Until we have completed our full assessment of effects, we cannot know the likely variety of measures needed and necessary size of the Fund. We do think, however, that it may be appropriate for the size to vary over time, as the Project moves through its different phases.
Duration of the Fund
Depending on what the Fund is used for, it is possible that it could start funding measures during the construction period or when the new runway opens. Some parts of the Fund could end when the relevant impacts end, or when the necessary outcomes have been achieved. Other elements of the Fund could be on-going, managed by a review process which takes account of how the Fund is performing.
Source of Funding
We are considering a range of potential funding sources for the Fund, including:
- Heathrow funding of transport, environmental, community and health measures for an expanded airport that meet our draft guiding principles;
- A passenger levy, similar to the noise levy concept recommended by the Airports Commission, ensuring that travellers who benefit from an expanded airport contribute directly to measures that address and compensate for the negative effects;
- Further funding, raised through an airport charge paid by the airlines, that could also be used for mitigation and compensation measures which enhance quality of life or have a clear community benefit.
The Fund is likely to be made up from one or more of these funding sources and will require Civil Aviation Authority approval.
It is also possible that a ‘match funding’ approach could be used where appropriate to support measures and initiatives where there is already scope for funding from other sources. This would help to top-up the funding available, helping to bring beneficial projects forward and potentially quicker than would otherwise be the case.
Delivery of the Fund
We need to make sure the Fund is spent in the right ways and is effective, but it also needs to be simple for local communities to access in a timely way and without long and complicated processes.
Potential approaches to governance and oversight include designing an over-arching spending strategy which runs over a period of time; individual spending strategies for different elements of the Fund; or crowd-sourcing of ideas. We want to and would need to retain a key role in how some elements of the Fund are operated, including a role in monitoring any residual effects of the Project. A range of other bodies could also be involved, including the Heathrow Community Engagement Board, Heathrow Strategic Planning Group, Heathrow Strategic Noise Advisory Group and others.
We anticipate different elements of the Fund will require different approaches to delivery, with different partners involved. These approaches could include collaboratively partnering with Local Authorities and Local Economic Partnerships to deliver local skills and apprenticeships, and/or extend opportunities through match funding and/ or working with local public service providers such as the NHS or local schools to deliver health and education related mitigation.