Aviation Scoping Document published today – a chance to “drag UK aviation policy into the 21st century”

Secretary of State condemns Labour’s Aviation White Paper as Government starts to draw up new transport policy

New Approach welcomed by HACAN:  “It aims to drag aviation policy into the 21st century”

30.3.2011 (HACAN)

The Transport Secretary, Philip Hammond, condemned Labour’s 2003 Aviation White
Paper as “fundamentally out-of-date” when he launched the Government’s Scoping
Document which marks the start of the process of drawing up a new aviation policy

Hammond said the previous government had “got the balance wrong” because it failed
to give enough weight to climate change and the local environmental impacts of
aviation.  He described climate change as “one of the gravest threats we face.”

Hammond has confirmed the Government’s stance to block expansion at Heathrow
and to rule out new runways at Stansted and Gatwick.

He has thrown out a challenge to the aviation industry to get its noise and emissions
under control in order that it can grow within a “genuinely sustainable framework”.

On noise, the Government floats the idea of creating a ‘noise envelope’ around
airports.  The aim would be to “define an envelope within which growth would be
possible, as technology and operations reduce noise impacts per plane.”

John Stewart, Chair of HACAN, which represents residents under the Heathrow flight
paths, said, “We welcome this document.  It aims to drag aviation policy into
the 21st century.”

The document is out to consultation until 30th September.  In July the Government
will issue revised forecasts for aviation.  Also in July it will outline its response
to the Committee on Climate Change on how much aviation can grow and still remain
within the national targets to reduce CO2 emissions.

A consultation document on a revised night noise regime at Heathrow, Stansted
and Gatwick is expected shortly,


Notes for Editors:

(1).  The Scoping document has just been published on the Department for Transport’s
website:  Sustainable Framework for UK Aviation   (details below)

The Scoping Document is announced in a written statement to parliament today..

In terms of coverage it will focus on 3 themes:

– aviation and the economy,

– aviation and climate change and

– aviation and the local environment.

The starting point will be that aviation should be allowed to grow because of
its economic contribution but that it should do so within environmental limits.
It will reiterate its position on no new runways at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted
and will explicitly state that the ATWP is now out of date (although some provisions
may be retained). Although this goes against recent planning decisions that have
cited the ATWP, the DfT position is at the time of those decisions, ministers
had not offered an opinion on the continued validity of the ATWP.



Sustainable Framework for UK Aviation

Date published:  30 March 2011
Closing date:   30 September 2011
The Scoping Document frames the debate and asks a series of questions to initiate
a dialogue with a wide range of stakeholders on the future direction of aviation

Download documents

Developing a sustainable framework for UK aviation: Scoping document (375 kb)

Reply to consultation    Email: aviation.policyframework@dft.gov.uk

see also more details at

Greener Growth of aviation – Views sought in new aviation policy consultation

Date Added: 30th March 2011

Britain’s aviation industry should be able to grow and prosper but not at any
price, Philip Hammond said as the Government set out to define the debate for
a new sustainable UK aviation policy. Government is seeking views on the shape
its future aviation policy should take and issues it must address. The central
theme will be how aviation can support economic growth while addressing its environmental
impacts – CO2 emissions, local noise and air quality issues.

Click here to view full story…


On Noise  (Pages 32 and 33 of the consultation document)

section 4.16 of which says
Looking forward, the Government wants to explore options to refresh noise policy
with a view to providing clear objectives for industry and other key actors to
improve aircraft technology and operating procedures. In respect of larger airports
where growth might lead to a significant increase in noise impacts for local communities,
we would like to seek views on the concept of setting a ‘noise envelope’. Such
an approach would aim to limit the total noise impact from airport operations,
thus defining the ‘envelope’ within which growth would be possible, as technology
and operations reduce noise impacts per plane. Local circumstances would also
need to be taken into account in such an approach.
Comment from an AirportWatch member:
We should welcome the idea that on noise, the Government floats the idea of creating
a ‘noise envelope’ around airports.  The aim would be to “define an envelope within
which growth would be possible, as technology and operations reduce noise impacts
per plane.” 
But we need to ensure that the noise envelope is smaller than at present and
that it gets smaller still in the future so that residents can enjoy an improving
quality of life.  We should suggest that the benefits of the technological advances
should be shared between the industry and local residents, not used entirely tofacilitate expansion within the envelope.

And the envelope somehow needs to take account of the fact that average noise
is not a good measure of annoyance, so we need an annoyance envelope rather than
an average noise envelope.
Otherwise as planes get quiter, some people will be condemned to ever more frequent
flights with only an impercetible reduction in noise per flight and so, possibly, even more serious annoyance than at present.  This could be even more the case if all the noiseimprovement is on take-off, and none on landing.