In October 2016, the Government announced, that a third runway, the North West Runway (NWR) was its preferred option for delivering additional runway capacity. It said that a National Policy Statement (NPS), under the provisions of the Planning Act 2008 would be the basis for planning approval ahead of a NWR's construction. In short, government will have to approve the NPS before Heathrow Airport Limited (HAL) can make an application for a Development Consent Order (DCO).

Airports National Policy Statement (ANPS) Designation
Development Consent Order (DCO) Process