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Responding to the Airports Commission on connectivity and to the Government on night noise

21st May, 2013

Discussions on a possible global measure to tackle aviation emissions continue and Tim has spent most of Aprilparticipating in a series of international teleconferences. Our UK work, meanwhile, has focussed on engagement with the Airports Commission as well as finalising our response to the Government’s consultation on night flights.

The Airports Commission has published another of its issues papers – part of a series of documents scheduled for the first half of this year to gather evidence on questions affecting national aviation policy including passenger demand forecasting, climate change, and economics. The latest paper is on aviation’s climate change impacts and AEF provided comment the same day.  We subsequently met with Commission Chair Sir Howard Davies, bringing in also a number of other environmental NGOs, to discuss both our views and the Commission’s analysis on climate change.

The deadline for responses to the previous paper – on economics and connectivity – also fell in April, and AEF submitted a response arguing that there is no guarantee that an increase in aviation connectivity will benefit the UK economy. We also cited the conclusions of a report launched this month in parliament (in an event attended by AEF) by the consultancy CE Delft which found no convincing evidence that an increase in aviation connectivity generates an increase in trade.

Finally, we this month submitted a response to the Government’s consultation on night flights, arguing that the policy (which controls night noise at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted) lacks a convincing evidence base and instead appears to be based largely on historical precedent, and on avoidance of any significant financial impacts for airlines. For the regime to have any credibility, we said, it should aim to deliver meaningful health-based noise objectives.