Development Consent Order*

Provides an overview of the Development Consent Order requirements and process

*This page contains one (1) question located within the “Have your say” section at the bottom of the page.

The Planning Act 2008 establishes the consenting process for nationally significant infrastructure projects (often referred to as NSIPs). NSIPs are projects considered to be so large and important that permission to build them must, by law, be given at a national level by a Secretary of State.

The construction or alteration of an airport falls under the Planning Act 2008 regime, where the proposed increase in passenger capacity would be at least 10 million additional passengers per year. Our proposed expansion of Heathrow will exceed this threshold and so is classified as an NSIP.

Our proposed diversion of the M25 is also classified as an NSIP for which the National Networks National Policy Statement is the principal policy document. Because our expansion proposals are NSIPs, we need to obtain development consent from the Secretary of State for Transport in the form of a Development Consent Order (often referred to as a DCO). A DCO is a piece of legislation (law) that combines consent to develop, operate and maintain a project, alongside a range of other approvals that would normally have to be obtained separately, such as listed building consent and environmental consents. A DCO can also contain powers for the compulsory acquisition and temporary possession of land.

We will submit our application for development consent (our DCO application) to the Planning Inspectorate, and an independent examining authority will then be appointed to examine it on behalf of the Secretary of State. During the examination stage, anybody with an interest in the Project can participate and make representations in writing or orally at

Once the examination is complete, the examining authority will submit a report and recommendation on the application to the Secretary of State for Transport, who will then make a decision on whether or not to grant the DCO.

For further information please see the How do we obtain approval to expand Heathrow document.

Where can I find information on previous consultations?

To find out information on previous consultations, please visit .

A summary of previous consultation responses and how they have been taken into account can be found in our two separate Consultation Feedback Reports:

Have your say

To get permission for our expansion proposals we will need to apply for a specific type of permission called a Development Consent Order (DCO). The DCO will contain the legal powers we need to build and operate the expanded airport. It will also place certain constraints on us, including obligations to minimise and reduce the effects of expansion and to pay compensation for land that has to be compulsorily acquired.

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