I have seen various comments suggesting that an applicant for a DCO must consider other ways in which they can deliver the stated aim of the NISP they are seeking to define. In the case of RSP the aim would appear to be to increase the freight capacity of the UK which of course could be achieved in a variety of ways. If RSP felt certain that another airport was required they could for instance consider buying another facility, I understand Mildenhall, Lakeneath and other UK airfields are currently up for sale by willing sellers.
Can you please confirm whether a DCO applicant is obliged to consider other alternatives as I've described above in order to fulfill their stated objective and confirm whether RSP have indeed considered such alternatives ?
The Applicant is required under Schedule 4 of the Infrastructure Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2017 to undertake:
“2. A description of the reasonable alternatives (for example in terms of development design, technology, location, size and scale) studied by the developer, which are relevant to the proposed project and its specific characteristics, and an indication of the main reasons for selecting the chosen option, including a comparison of the environmental effects.”
National Planning Practice Guidance for EIA states that "Where alternative approaches to development have been considered, the Environmental Statement should include a description of the reasonable alternatives studied which are relevant to the proposed development and its specific characteristics and provide an indication of the main reasons for the choice made, including a comparison of the environmental effects".