Philip Hammond speech talks of prosperous aviation without harming climate targets


Transport Secretary Philip Hammond today gave a  speech  to the Association of Airport Operators.     It is his first major speech on aviation.   He talks about working to build
a prosperous and sustainable aviation industry for the future to support economic
growth objectives, without undermining climate change targets.   The transcript
can be found at:

What the speech said:


Economy / Spending Review

[The first section of the speech gives a general over view of the economic difficulties
the government is facing.]  


Role of aviation

So growth – green growth – is the key. And I see transport – and the aviation
sector – as integral to securing that future growth.

Our airports, airlines and associated industries generate billions of pounds
of economic output.   They also create, and sustain, hundreds of thousands of jobs,
while bringing people, communities and countries closer together than ever before.

Now, I know you have been through some tough times in the last few years.

First, a worldwide recession that dented consumer confidence, cut passenger numbers,
and hit jobs and profits.

Then an Icelandic volcano that blasted millions of tons of ash into the atmosphere,
leading to unprecedented airspace restrictions across Europe.

Add that to an intense debate on the environmental impact of aviation, and the
need to protect against the ever-present risk of terrorist attack, and it is clear
that your industry has had its fair share of challenges.

I accept that.   And I know, too, that some of you harbour fears that this government  
is somehow anti-aviation.

So let me be clear:   This government understands the social and economic benefits
of aviation. We understand the important role aviation plays in our economy. And
we want to work with the industry to address the challenges of climate change
so that aviation can play its part in securing sustainable future economic growth.


3rd Runway

We will not agree on everything. Our first act was to cancel the third runway
at Heathrow. A decision that the majority of you will not support.

Nor has it been greeted with universal acclaim by the wider business community
– although it is also true that not all businesses favoured the runway project.

In taking that decision, we listened not just to business, but also to those
who would be most affected by the local environmental impacts of proposals for
expanding Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted.

And we carefully considered the wider environmental impacts in the context of
our – and our predecessors’ – clear commitments on climate change.   I believe
we made the right judgement call for the right reasons.

No government with a commitment to carbon reduction targets can adopt a crude
"predict and provide" approach to aviation capacity while aircraft CO2 remains
an unresolved issue.

And no responsible government can ignore the local environmental impacts – especially
noise – of airport development.

I hope we can now draw a line under the decision we have taken on runways and
work together to map out how best to secure the future of the sector within the
constraints that we have accepted.

Ensuring that, while that decision marks the closure of a chapter in the aviation
debate, it can also mark the opening of an important new one.


Better not bigger

Our immediate challenge is to modernise and improve our major airports – to make
them ‘better not bigger’.

When you travel, your first encounter with any city is often through its airport.

And, when you arrive in a country, the airport should say something positive
about the kind of place that country is – a great place to visit; a great place
to do business.

Our forthcoming Airport Economic Regulation Bill will help ensure that this country’s
largest airports always give the right greeting and leave the right memory.

And we will achieve that through better alignement of the economic incentives
facing operators with the interests of passengers.

We will replace the outdated one-size-fits-all framework with a new regulatory
licensing regime that is better tailored to meet the circumstances of individual

And we will give the Civil Aviation Authority a new primary duty to promote the
interests of passengers and a duty to encourage investment
– as well as new powers to tackle anti-competitive behaviour.

Meanwhile, our South East Airports Task Force – chaired by my Minister of State, Theresa Villiers, and comprising key sector
stakeholders – is looking at ways to make the best use of existing airport infrastructure
and improve conditions for all users.   [AEF is a member of this task force].

The initial focus of the Taskforce is action at our three biggest airports –
Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted.

But we recognise the vital importance of Britain’s regional airports in supporting
the economies of areas outside London. Wherever they are located, all of our airports

So I am delighted that the AOA is a member of the taskforce – and I hope you
will continue to play an active role in it over the coming months.

And yes, Ed, [Ed Anderson, Executive Chairman of the AOA]  it will be looking
at UKBA [UK Border Agency] activity and the roll out of new technology at the
border as part of its work.

Policy framework

However, I also agree with Ed [Anderson] when he calls for the Government to
provide a positive policy framework for aviation.

I recognise the need for a policy framework which supports economic growth and
protects Heathrow’s status as a global hub as well as addressing aviation’s environmental
impacts, and it is my intention to develop such a policy framework over the next
year or so.

And I recognise that, just as we have done with strategic roads, we need a policy
not only to address the situation we face now, but to be able to look ahead to
potential technological changes that will affect aviation’s future   environmental
impacts – both local and global.

Of course I will want to draw on the expertise of those who understand best the
benefits and impacts of aviation – and the likely future development of technology.

So in the New Year DfT will issue a scoping document setting out the questions we are seeking to answer as we develop this policy.

Then we will   open a dialogue with a wide range of stakeholders to seek their
views and to draw on their knowledge and experience.

My intention is to publish a draft policy document for formal consultation early
in 2012.
    [An Aviation National Policy Statement (NPS) had been due to be published
and consulted on in 2011, but it is not known whether this will go ahead, or if
the policy document mentioned by Hammond here is the NPS or something different].

Climate change

Of course, any aviation policy framework we set out cannot duck the climate change

We must work together to create an aviation sector that continues delivering
social and economic benefits, while reducing carbon emissions.

The Committee on Climate Change has provided valuable advice about how reductions
in aviation emissions can be achieved.   And, building on this, my Department is
working on a robust assessment of the abatement potential and cost-effectiveness
of a range of different policy measures, which will inform our response to the
CCC next year

Let me be clear: just as with road transport, the enemy is not the car, or the
motorist – it’s the carbon…..

……So with aviation, the enemy is not the airlines, or their passengers. The enemy is the carbon emissions.

So I want to look at how we can incentivise the decarbonisation of air travel
– and encourage businesses in the industry to invest in low-carbon technologies and

How we can lead the global debate and shape a low-emission aviation sector of
the future – without disadvantaging UK airlines or UK airports.

So far, the progress that’s been made is encouraging.

At the 37th session of the ICAO assembly, the UK led the way in pushing through
the first global deal for the international aviation sector. The agreement reached
wasn’t perfect – we concede that – but it was an agreement and that in itself
is a major step forward. [The ICAO meeting came up with no real targets on teh environment.  
Link ].

And as Ed highlighted, there’s the AOA’s own scheme to reduce ground CO2 – an
innovative programme that will help airports, airlines, air navigation service
providers and ground handling companies cut their emissions.

Meanwhile, we’re seeing the development of aircraft that pollute less and carry
more passengers; the development of lightweight composite materials; more fuel-efficient
operations; the future use of sustainable biofuels – all of these have the potential to make a real difference.

With a new aircraft today typically using 70% less fuel than sixty years ago, it is clear that technology can and must provide a convincing answer to those
who see demand management as the only solution in the medium term to aviation-produced
carbon – just as electric and plug-in hybrid cars will, over time, provide a robust
answer to those who say the car can have no place in future transport policy planning.

If technology can play a role in mitigating the carbon impact of flying, so can
it too in mitigating the noise impacts that are often the principle objection to airport expansion.

Noise contours around airports have shrunk dramatically of course over the last 40 years [? only by the rather inaccurate method by which they are managed, of averaging
sound over a time period, rather than the individual sound events]
– but at the same time, so has the tolerance of those who live in them.

I want to understand where the industry believes it can get to in the next ten,
twenty, thirty years

I want to understand what technology is likely to deliver and I want to understand
what scope there may be for noise-beneficial changes in operating practice, when and if the principle focus becomes noise mitigation rather than carbon reduction.

Of course, reforms to aviation taxation can play a key part in changing behaviour.
But let’s be frank – they can also play a key role in deficit reduction. I know
the industry has serious concerns about what these reforms might look like, their
impact on route viability, and their interaction with aviation’s forthcoming inclusion
in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme.

APD reform is, of course, a matter for the Treasury. But I and my officials will
work closely with Treasury colleagues as the government develops its proposals.


Security / User pays

[Section on security, and the need to reform the regulatory framework for aviation



These are times of challenge and change – no doubt about it.

But I know that the aviation sector has the talent, the capacity for innovation,
and the determination to meet the challenges head on.

I want to see you playing a full part in our future transport strategy.

I cannot promise that we will agree on everything.   But I can promise that I
will continue to engage with you, with an open mind and an open door, as we develop
our strategy for aviation over the coming months.

Working together we can build a prosperous and sustainable aviation industry
for the future. An industry that can support our economic growth objectives, without
undermining our climate change targets.

Thank you.

(This speech represented existing departmental policy but the words may not have
been the same as those used by the Minister.)