Comments on the launch of the Airports Commission by SSE, FoE, and WWF

Comments on the news of the membership and terms of reference of the Airports Commission from Stop Stansted Expansion, from Friends of the Earth UK and WWF UK.

Comment from Stop Stansted Expansion


2.11.2012 (SSE)

Eight weeks after being appointed by the Government to head up the ‘Airports Commission’, Sir Howard Davies today [2 November 2012] announced the other members of his team and provided details of how the Commission intends to go about its work.

These announcements were made to an all-invitation gathering of representatives from the aviation industry, business, environmental groups and local community groups – including Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) Chairman, Peter Sanders, and Economics Adviser, Brian Ross.

The Airports Commission has been asked by the Government to examine the issue of UK airport capacity and to make recommendations and Sir Howard Davies made clear that his first task will be to look at the long term demand forecasts for air travel.  He said that he hoped to produce a paper on the demand forecasts by next January.

SSE welcomed this approach and, in discussions with SSE immediately after the meeting, Sir Howard Davies agreed that, if the demand forecasts indicated that no additional runways were needed, his Commission would have the much easier task of simply trying to make better use of the existing airport capacity.

SSE also welcomed Sir Howard Davies’ commitment to publish on the Commission’s website (which has not yet been set up) all the evidence it receives, as the inquiry goes along, and to allow other parties an opportunity to comment on it.

The Airports Commission is due to produce its interim report by the end of 2013 and its final report by the summer of 2015.


·      Today’s announcement by the Secretary of State, listing all the members of the Airports Commission and setting out its terms of reference and method of working can be found at

·      The Secretary of State’s announcement of 7 September 2012 appointing Sir Howard Davies to lead the Airports Commission can be found at




Comment from Friends of the Earth UK

Launch of UK Airports Commission

2 November 2012

Responding to the launch today (Friday 2 November 2012), of the UK commission on aviation capacity led by Sir Howard Davies, and welcoming the news that the Commission will be required to consider environmental impacts, Friends of the Earth’s Senior Campaigner Jane Thomas, said:

“Without significant changes to the already hugely privileged aviation industry, we will fail to meet our climate change targets – the Commission must be led by the requirement to reduce carbon emissions.

“Aviation emissions cannot carry on growing in the years ahead – as this will lead to UK households, industry and commerce bearing more than their fair share of emissions cuts.

“Airport expansion makes no economic sense – the effect on the environment and on local communities is devastating.

“We welcome Sir Howard Davies comments this morning that climate change targets for 2050 will provide the framework for discussions on airport capacity.”


1.    The UK Aviation industry was allowed to increase its 2005 emissions by 122 per cent from the 1990 Kyoto baseline whereas all other economic and social sectors have had to decrease emissions.

2.    The Committee on Climate Change recommends that the aim for the aviation sector should be for emissions in 2050 that are no higher than 2005 levels.

3.    The Climate Change Act 2008 requires the Government to make a decision by the end of 2012 on whether aviation and shipping should be formally included in the UK’s carbon targets. For further information please see




Comment from WWF UK:

Keeping an open mind on the need for airport expansion

2 November 2012

Responding to the launch of the Airports Commission, headed by Sir Howard Davies, that will assess the options for maintaining the UK’s importance as an international aviation hub, WWF-UK said that it hopes the Commission will be questioning whether major airport expansion is required to ensure UK connectivity.

Jean Leston, senior transport policy advisor at WWF-UK, said: “Let’s hope that Sir Howard Davies is true to his word and that this Commission will be genuinely open minded in exploring the evidence on whether airport expansion is even needed to improve UK connectivity. The current options for expansion are like a bad line up of ugly beauty contestants. Surely we can do better in trying to judge the best way forward to ensure UK connectivity without massively increasing aviation emissions and endangering UK climate targets.

“This week’s news of Hurricane Sandy should be making all of us question the wisdom of making long term decisions which will continue to lock us into a high carbon future. WWF challenges the new Airports Commission to find a solution that keeps aviation growth within the environmental limits recommended by the Committee on Climate Change. Our research (1) shows that there’s plenty of existing airport capacity to spare, even in the South East, to offer more flights to emerging markets without building new runways or airports.”


Notes to editors:

(1). A recent WWF/AEF report, Available UK airport capacity under a 2050 CO2 target for the aviation sector, shows that there is available runway and terminal capacity to meet demand to 2050 in most regions of the UK including the Southeast, and in line with CCC limits to aviation growth, without the need for further expansion:

For more information:

Kellie Rollings, Press Officer WWF-UK
Tel: 01483 412 340, email: