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Giving evidence at the London Assembly, challenging the case for new runways, and participating in UN processes tackling noise and emissions

Having an office next to the river Thames has both advantages and disadvantages, and we came back to our building after Christmas to find it flooded. But since the doors reopened, there’s been a lot going on.

We had two important publications coming out from Government this month: a consultation on the night flight regime at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted and an update to the passenger demand and CO2 forecasts. We’ve started looking at both documents in detail.

Cait gave evidence to the London Assembly as part of its inquiry into airport capacity in London, and addressed an audience of over 200 at a Westminster Energy, Environment and Transport Forum event, arguing in both cases that ever-decreasing demand forecasts have greatly weakened the economic case for airport expansion, and that the deciding blow comes from climate considerations, which indicate that no new runways should be built. She also took part in a CAA event to explore how it might discharge its new environmental duties.

A report was published this month by a private lobbying firm making the case against a Thames Estuary airport, but – although none of the questions put to consultees had mentioned it – in favour of a third Heathrow runway. AEF had contributed to the ‘key influencer survey’, and Nic attended the parliamentary launch event for the report. Gateway Associates was founded in 2010 by former MP Paul Clark after he lost his seat in Gillingham, an area that would be heavily impacted by the building of an estuary airport. Clark was a junior transport minister under the Labour administration that supported a Heathrow third runway.

Towards the end of January, Tim, on behalf of the global environmental coalition ICSA left to observe the second meeting of a special high-level body on climate change established by the UN’s aviation organisation ICAO. This process brings together policy-makers to try to agree a framework for the role of market-based measures to achieve emissions reductions in international aviation ahead of the Assembly in September. The EU’s Emissions Trading System has been suspended for one year pending the outcome of these discussions, which will resume in May. Tim has also been preparing for ICAO’s Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection ‘plenary’ meeting which, amongst other issues, is set to agree a new noise standard for subsonic jet aircraft.

Finally, we’re delighted to have taken on a new intern this month. Masters student Xueyun will be making some improvements to our website, and helping us understand the Chinese position on international climate change measures for aviation.