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Environment division to be scrapped, but aviation programme promising

12th November, 2010

DfT, along with most other government departments, is taking hefty cuts following the spending review.

DfT cuts

The DfT has got away lightly with cuts to its capital budget. The capital budget does not affect aviation directly as the infrastructure is provided privately, but rail access to airports (due to London Crossrail etc) and rail substitution (due to HS2 etc) are affected by rail budgets.

However ‘administration’, comprising largely of staff resources, will be cut by 33%. Jonathon Moor is confirmed as Director for aviation, but other senior staff still face uncertainty.

The Aviation Environment Division is to go, with functions and staff being dispersed across the aviation directorate.  It remains to be seen whether the reorganisation will result in a lower priority for environmental issues, especially for aircraft noise, but we hope Ministers will regard these as priority areas given the DfT work programme (see note below).

Research funds will be very limited, and there is unlikely to be a follow-up to either Omega or ANASE.

DfT programmes

The ConLib government is changing work of the departments from big issues and targets to more focussed ‘programmes’.  The DfT business plan has 5 programmes, one of which is on aviation – ‘promote sustainable aviation’.  Within this, there are 3 areas:

  • Cancel plans for additional runway capacity at Heathrow and set out position at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted, and cancel all work streams for R3
  • Reform civil aviation regulation to improve the passenger experience
  • Ensure aviation contributes to delivering low carbon goals

This is quite encouraging because environmental issues are highlighted whereas growth is not.

See  DfT web site for more detail on the Business plan and programmes.