| GOVERNMENT AVIATION POLICY SINCE 2003
In December 2003 the Government published 'The Future of Air Transport' White Paper (ATWP), setting out its policy for air transport for the period to 2030 and giving support to the massive expansion of air travel in the UK and particularly the South East. Specifically, this included maximum use of Stansted's single runway and the construction of a second runway by 2011/2012, with a third runway at Heathrow (subject to meeting environmental concerns) to follow from 2015.
The 2003 White Paper was issued after the consultation (known as SERAS) in which almost 500,000 responses were submitted to the Department for Transport. The great majority of respondents to the consultation had opposed the building of further runways in the South East or elsewhere.
In March 2011, the Coalition Government published a 'scoping' consultation document on a new aviation policy and - in its Foreword - the Secretary of State finally sounded the death knell for the 2003 ATWP by declaring: "The previous Government's 2003 White Paper, 'The Future of Air Transport', is fundamentally out of date, because it fails to give sufficient weight to the challenge of climate change. In maintaining its support for new runways - in particular at Heathrow - in the face of the local environmental impacts and mounting evidence of aviation's growing contribution towards climate change, the previous government got the balance wrong. It failed to adapt its policies to the fact that climate change has become one of the gravest threats we face."
SSE Press Release (5 April 2011)
SSE'S Response to the Reform of Air Passenger Duty Consultation (17 June 2011)
SSE'S Response to the Labour Transport Policy Review (5 August 2011)
SSE'S Paper "Aviation, jobs and the UK economy" (August 2011)
SSE'S Paper "For richer and poorer? Who really benefits from cheap flights?" (August 2011)
SSE'S Covering Letter to the Department for Transport on its response
to the Aviation Scoping Consultation (17 October 2011)
SSE'S Response to the Aviation Scoping Consultation (October 2011)
SSE'S Response Annex A to the Aviation Scoping Consultation (October 2011)
SSE'S Response Annex B to the Aviation Scoping Consultation (October 2011)
In July 2012, the Government published its long awaited draft aviation policy framework, which SSE welcomed and immediately said that it was time for UK aviation policy to be built around quality of life and climate change considerations and that the Government should not pander to the vested interests of the aviation industry who simply argue for expansion at all costs.
SSE Press Release (12 July 2012)
SSE AVIATION POLICY RESPONSE (31 October 2012)
SSE Submission to House of Commons Transport Committee (19 October 2012)
In March 2013, the Government published its long awaited new aviation policy entitled Aviation Policy Framework. However, this only set out some general principles. It contained no specific proposals for expanding airports or for tackling the adverse environmental impacts. It was generally viewed as a 'damp squib' and criticised by the industry and campaign groups alike.
THE POLITICALLY THORNY ISSUE OF NEW AIRPORT CAPACITY
The Coalition Government found the issue of new airport capacity - and in particular, the question of new runways in the South East - too hot to handle. So, in September 2012, it ducked this issue by setting up the Airports Commission, chaired by Sir Howard Davies.
The Commission's remit is "to identify and evaluate how any need for additional capacity should be met in the short, medium and long term". The Airports Commission has been asked to publish its final report in the summer of 2015, shortly after the General Election. It will then be for the new incoming Government to consider the Commission's recommendations and make the final decisions.