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Aviation minister Theresa Villiers addresses AEF/AirportWatch conference

1st July, 2011

Our main event from the last two weeks has been the conference held by AEF and AirportWatch for our members, to discuss the government’s consultation on its forthcoming aviation policy. We were delighted to be joined this year by Aviation Minister Theresa Villiers, who addressed the conference in the afternoon and responded to questions. Officials from the Department for Transport, Defra and the Environment Agency took part in group discussions on economics, climate change and noise.

The scoping document, on which the government is seeking comment, will set out a new approach to aviation policy for the UK, following and the conclusion of the Committee on Climate Change in December 2009 that the previous airports policy was not compatible with climate policy, and the cancelling of plans for South East airport expansion by the Coalition Government last May. Tim recently participated in the final scheduled meeting of the South East Airports Taskforce which was set up by the Government to help deliver on its commitment to make airports in the capital ‘better not bigger’. AEF was the only environmental and community representative in the group, which is due to publish its final report shortly.

We have also, in the past two weeks, been working on EU issues. Tim joined EU representatives for a meeting between the USA and EU, which was held in Oslo and discussed a number of issues including the inclusion of EU emissions trading system from 2012. And a letter from AEF board member Jeff Gazzard about whether revenues from the EU emissions trading scheme should be used for airlines to invest in new technologies appeared in the Finanical Times (full text requires subscription).

We’ve also published the latest edition of our newsletter, Flying Green, which has been sent to AEF members, and this time covers the forthcoming aviation policy, a win from our memers at Wycombe Air Park (who have secured a commitment from the Aviation Minister to have operating conditions imposed on the airfield if it fails to respond to community concerns), and recent news on aviation taxation.