UK airports set to be served by Heathrow after third runway opens are named

Six UK airports set to be served by Heathrow following the opening of a third runway have been named.

The Department for Transport (DfT) said it "expects" Belfast International, Liverpool, Newquay, Humberside, Prestwick and Durham Tees Valley to be added to the west London hub's domestic network by 2030.

Heathrow must work "constructively" with airlines to increase its number of domestic routes, which currently stands at eight, in order to get expansion consent, the DfT added.

It will also have to provide a "world-class" package of support for communities affected by expansion, ban scheduled night flights for six and a half hours and honour its commitment to pay home owners 25% above market value plus costs for homes which are compulsory purchased.

The measures are included in a draft national policy statement (NPS) setting out why Heathrow expansion is the Government's preferred option for boosting airport capacity in south-east England.

An additional 260,000 take-off or landings will be permitted each year from the expanded airport, up from the current cap of 480,000.

With the Government shortly setting out its strategy for withdrawal from the European Union in a White Paper, Transport Secretary and Brexit supporter Chris Grayling claimed a third runway at Heathrow would enhance the UK's global links.

He said: "Leaving the EU is a new chapter for Britain and provides us with a great opportunity to forge a new role in the world.

"We are determined to seize that opportunity and having the right infrastructure in place will allow us to build a more global Britain."

A 16-week public consultation will open on Thursday, with scrutiny by the Commons Transport Select Committee beginning this summer.

Information events will be held near the airport and around the UK.

Liberal Democrat MP for Richmond Park and North Kingston, Sarah Olney, accused the Government of being "so desperate" to reassure businesses about its Brexit plans that it is "willing to steamroller over those communities opposed to Heathrow expansion".

John Stewart, chairman of anti-Heathrow expansion group Hacan, said it is important that the Government assesses the consultation "in an even-handed way" and rejects the plan if the expected impact on issues such as noise is found to be "too great".

Ravi Govindia, leader of Wandsworth Council, which earlier this week was involved in a failed bid to bring a High Court challenge against the third runway, expressed concern that the NPS is "more like a marketing exercise than a genuine consultation".

He claimed Mr Grayling's comments suggest "his mind is firmly made up".

A final NPS is expected to be voted on by Parliament in winter 2017/18.

If the project is given the green light then Heathrow will produce detailed plans for consultation and a planning inquiry.

The runway is not expected to be operational until around 2025.

The Government is also publishing separate proposals to modernise the way UK airspace is managed, including on the role of an independent noise commission.

This will influence decisions taken later in the planning process for a third runway at Heathrow.