3rd April, 2012
During the last two weeks we had the news that the draft aviation policy, due out at the end of March, is to be delayed until summer, the official justification for which is to allow a call for evidence on UK hub capacity to be drawn up. The aviation industry has been lobbying hard for new runway capacity in the South East and there had been talk of judicial review by BAA if the Government did not include consideration of a third runway at Heathrow in its consultation. We provided a brief commentary on recent lobbying reports that have focussed on economic arguments for expansion.
Meanwhile, with pressure mounting on the International Civil Aviation Organisation, ICAO, to agree on a global alternative to aviation’s inclusion in the EU Emissions Trading System, ICAO’s Council met to discuss how to take forward its work programme on possible ‘market-based measures’ to tackle aviation’s greenhouse gas emissions. Tim, representing a coalition of environmental NGOs, will be participating in ICAO’s discussions about this over coming months. In the past fortnight, he also addressed the 6th Environmental Summit organised by the industry body Air Transport Action Group, on a panel discussing aviation’s role in ‘sustainable development’.
Back in the UK, AEF has been engaged in various discussions about the role of industry regulator the CAA in managing environmental impacts. While we await a date for the report stage of the Civil Aviation Bill, at which we expect possible environmental duties to be raised again, the CAA’s consultation on its proposed environmental strategy is ongoing. We are currently working on a written response; in the mean time Tim presented AEF’s views at a workshop for key stakeholders. He also attended CAA’s Airport Performance Facilitation Group which is focused on the trials of ‘operational freedoms’ at Heathrow and airport performance charters.
Finally, we have been considering UK and EU approaches to noise management. EC Directive 2002/30, which sets out how European member states should approach noise mitigation around airports, is due to be reviewed, and we met with the UK’s Department for Transport to exchange views about proposed changes to the legislation. We also met with Defra for an update on their noise work, including on the economic cost of damage to health from environmental noise.