Airports Commission Publishes Guidance Document and First Discussion Paper
The Airports Commission, under Sir Howard Davies, has now published 2 documents that will begin its dialogue with stakeholders, including the public, on the subject of aviation capacity. The first publication is a guidance document which serves as an invitation for parties with an interest in the future of the UK’s aviation policy to submit their ideas for making best use of existing capacity and on adding new capacity in the longer term. The document seeks views on the short, medium and long term options and provides parties making submissions with information on the commission’s timetable of work, as well as guidance on the factors that are of interest to the commission. The second paper is a discussion paper on demand forecasting. The paper seeks to examine the role of forecasting as a tool to help enable the commission in addressing the range of issues that will play a part in their assessment of the evidence on the nature, scale and timing of the UK’s future aviation capacity and connectivity needs. There are a range of deadline dates for comments on different aspects – the two earliest deadlines being 15th March 2013.
Airports Commission begins dialogue on airport capacity
1.2.2013 (Airports Commission press release)
The Airports Commission has today published 2 documents that will begin its dialogue with stakeholders, including the public, on the subject of aviation capacity.
The first of today’s publications is a guidance document which serves as an invitation for parties with an interest in the future of the UK’s aviation policy to submit their ideas for making best use of existing capacity and on adding new capacity in the longer term.
The document seeks views on the short, medium and long term options and provides parties making submissions with information on the commission’s timetable of work, as well as guidance on the factors that are of interest to the commission.
Alongside this, the commission has begun a separate process of public and stakeholder engagement to inform its assessment of the UK’s capacity needs by publishing today a discussion paper on demand forecasting. [Deadline for comment – 15th March 2013].
The paper seeks to examine the role of forecasting as a tool to help enable the commission in addressing the range of issues that will play a part in their assessment of the evidence on the nature, scale and timing of the UK’s future aviation capacity and connectivity needs.
The paper takes the Department for Transport’s approach to forecasting UK aviation demand as a starting point for the commission’s work and seeks views on how this approach might be enhanced or supplemented to ensure that it is as effective as possible in supporting their analysis.
Howard Davies, the Chair of the Airports Commission, said:
“The publication of these documents marks an important milestone for us. Since the Airports Commission was announced last year, I have been impressed by the enthusiasm we have seen from the public and our stakeholders to engage with us. I have also been struck by how much has changed since the last government review of airport policy in 2003.
“We welcome the debate that we have generated so far and we are determined to run an open and transparent process. By publishing the guidance document, we will enable everybody who wishes to make a contribution to do so as effectively as possible. I would encourage a wide range of organisations and individuals to offer their views. We cannot afford to have this debate dominated by a narrow spectrum of opinion.
“The guidance document explains that we will take a broad view of proposals and an integrated approach. We will not consider airport capacity as an isolated transport issue, but will seek to assess a range of economic, environmental, social and technical factors.
“Our demand forecasting paper makes it clear that we are not jumping to any conclusions on the nature, scale and timing of any need for additional capacity. If we are to draw such conclusions, they must be based on a firm understanding of likely future demand. This paper invites evidence on how we might approach some of the difficult issues and questions around forecasts.”
Today’s publications will enable the commission to deliver the initial tasks that government has set for it by the end of 2013. These tasks include:
- making an assessment of the scale, nature and timing of the UK’s airport capacity needs
- producing recommendations on making the best use of existing capacity within the next 5 years
- identifying those proposals for the medium term and for providing new capacity in the long term which merit further exploration by the commission, in advance of its final report in mid-2015
The Commission want parties with an interest in developing proposals to send notification of their intention to do so by 28 February 2013.
Following the submission of expressions of intent in February, the next deadline for submissions will be 19 July 2013. By this date, the Commission will need to receive outline proposals. These should give an overview of the level of additional capacity that would be provided, along with some of the key economic, social and environmental considerations.
The Commission welcome suggestions for criteria that might be used to identify the most plausible options ahead of the interim report and would ask that they be submitted by 15 March 2013.
The Commission also want responses to their consultation document on demand forecasting by 15th March 2013.
In order for the Commisson to make best use of existing capacity in the short and medium term, evidence and ideas on this should be received by 17 May 2013.
How to respond to the Consultation document:
Submissions of evidence should be no more than 15 pages long and should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
clearly marked as a response to the ‘Aviation Demand Forecasting Discussion Paper’.
Evidence will be reviewed thereafter by the Commission.
If further information or clarification on your submission is required, the Airports Commission Secretariat will be in touch.
The Commission are inviting submissions and evidence by 15 March 2013
In exceptional circumstances they will accept submissions in hard copy.
If you need to submit them in hard copy form, please provide two copies to the Commission Secretariat at the following address:
20 Great Smith Street
The Airports Commission
The Airports Commission was launched on 2 November 2012. Its terms of reference require that it should report no later than the end of 2013 on:
- its assessment of the evidence on the nature, scale and timing of the steps needed to maintain the UK’s global hub status
- its recommendation(s) for immediate actions to improve the use of existing runway capacity in the next 5 years – consistent with credible long term options
Its terms of reference also require that it should report no later than summer 2015 on:
- its assessment of the options for meeting the UK’s international connectivity needs, including their economic, social and environmental impact;
- its recommendation(s) for the optimum approach to meeting any needs
- its recommendation(s) for ensuring that the need is met as expeditiously as practicable within the required timescale
The documents published (on 1st February 2013) set out the commission’s approach to the tasks required of it by the end of 2013. The guidance document also sets out the process and timetable that the commission will follow for the early consideration of long term options.
Further information about the Airports Commission.
For interview requests or other media enquiries relating to the work of the Airports Commission please call 0207 944 3108.
- Submitting evidence and proposals to the Airports Commission
- Discussion paper on aviation demand forecasting
The submitting evidence document contains these comments (just a small selection below):
Overall aviation demand forecasts have been adjusted downwards, partly attributable to the recession, but also to higher oil prices and taxation. On the other hand, the Open Skies agreement and other changes in the aviation industry have seen more long-haul traffic shifted to Heathrow, leaving it full even after the opening of Terminal 5.
The 2003 White Paper referred to climate change and the particular impact of aviation on global warming, but did so at a time when policies were far less developed. Since the Stern Review, the Climate Change Act 2008 and the Committee on Climate Change’s report of 2009, the policy context has changed significantly
To help us to form our assessment of need, we will be publishing a series of papers summarising the evidence and seeking views on the most important background issues.
The first of these will be on demand forecasting. It is clear that we need a baseline view of the likely demand for flights in the future, both on an unconstrained basis, and within the context of the Government’s policies, including, in the context of the Climate Change Act, anything it might conclude or decide about climate change, before we can make sensible decisions on capacity.
1.10 We plan further papers on, for example, the arguments surrounding the concept of a hub airport, and on environmental issues, including noise and climate change. We will hold focused discussions around these papers, inviting written submissions and holding public evidence sessions, to inform our thinking further.
Each paper will include information on how people and organisations interested in the topic can contribute to the debate, so those issues are not covered further in this guidance document.
For the time being, we have identified six broad categories of factors which we would encourage scheme promoters to consider in developing their proposals:
● economic factors;
● social factors;
● climate change impacts;
● local environmental factors;
● feasibility considerations.
Climate change impacts
3.18 There are two issues relating to climate change which the Commission will need to consider in preparing its interim report.
3.19 The first is the overall compatibility of growth in air travel with the national and global climate change targets. We intend to consider this as part of our assessment of the scale and timing of any need for additional aviation capacity in the UK, taking into account both existing evidence, and new evidence as it emerges, and providing opportunities for those with an interest to submit evidence and make their views known.
We do not therefore require those developing proposals for new aviation capacity to provide evidence on this issue as part of their submissions, though they may wish to engage in that wider debate.
3.20 The second is the relative climate change impacts of different options for providing additional capacity – resulting for example from the scale of construction required, or the operational efficiencies that might be generated. Scheme promoters may therefore wish to consider whether there are specific factors related to greenhouse gas emissions in respect of which their proposal might differ from other schemes, and how any such emissions might be managed or avoided.
Relevant areas could include:
● Impacts upon the efficient use of airspace, such as the reduction of “stacking”;
● Greenhouse gas emissions resulting from construction works associated with proposals;
● Emissions from airport buildings;
● Emissions associated with ground operations, or take off and landing procedures, at the airport;
● Emissions relating to surface access options for the proposed scheme;
● Any climate change adaptation measures that might be necessary to ensure the long term resilience of the proposal.
3.21 We would suggest that those developing proposals which contain assessments of greenhouse gas emissions limit their assessments to the six gases covered by the Kyoto protocol. (Carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) perfluorocarbons (PFCs) and sulphur hexafluoride (SF6))
Local environmental impacts
3.22 Airports and airport development have substantial local environmental impacts. Noise is perhaps chief among them, but other important issues, such as air quality and impacts upon conservation and habitats are also relevant.
3.23 There is no firm consensus on the way to measure the noise impacts of aviation and this is an issue on which we will carry out further detailed work and public engagement. Until that work is completed, to help us make objective comparisons between proposals, those giving rise to noise implications should set out the details of the methodology and assumptions used to calculate and assess those implications.
● The size and rough distribution of the population affected by noise from the proposal, including potential impacts on communities affected by noise from other airports
● The scale of noise impacts
● The implications for the need for night flights
● Any current and future measures that might be taken to mitigate noise impacts, as well as the potential costs of these measures.
● The impact of the proposal upon local air quality through the emissions and distribution of: sulphur oxides; nitrogen oxides; particulate matter; and other emissions with direct health impacts.
● Any measures that might offset or reduce the health impacts of these emissions
● Any possible breaches of the legal framework governing air quality
● The overall health impacts of atmospheric pollution generated by the airport and its associated surface transport.
Other local environmental impacts
● Other implications of proposals for the local environment, including (but not necessarily limited to) impacts on:
– biodiversity (including the impact on bird life);
– conservation – including impacts on protected sites;
– landscape and townscape;
– heritage sites;
– water resources;
– flood protection; and
– disposal of waste associated with airport activities, particularly of potentially hazardous chemicals.
● Environmental assessments of proposals deemed credible will be carried out as part of the detailed development phase following the publication of the interim report.
Below are the questions being asked, in the
Discussion Paper 01: Aviation Demand Forecasting
6.4 To inform those preparing submissions on demand forecasting, we have set out below a number of specific questions of interest. This should not be considered an exclusive list, however, and we would welcome submissions covering any other relevant topics or issues.
●●To what extent do you consider that the DfT forecasts support or challenge the argument that additional capacity is needed?
●●What impact do you consider capacity constraints will have on the frequency and number of destinations served by the UK?
●●How effectively do the DfT forecasts capture the effect on UK aviation demand of trends in international aviation?
●●How could the DfT model be strengthened, for example to improve its handling of the international passenger transfer market?
●●What approach should the Commission take to forecasting the UK’s share of the international aviation market and how this may change in different scenarios?
●●How well do you consider that the DfT’s aviation model replicates current patterns of demand? How could it be improved?
6.5 In addition, the following questions of interest focus on the forecast approach in more detail.
●●Do you agree with the source of the input data and assumptions underpinning the DfT model?
●●Do you agree with the choice of outputs modelled?
●●Do you consider that the DfT modelling approach presents an accurate picture of current and future demand for air travel? If not, how could it be improved?
●●Is the DfT model suitable to underpin an assessment of the UK’s aviation connectivity and capacity needs?
●●What alternative or complementary approaches could be used to assess the impact of international competition?
●●What factors, if any, are missing from the DfT’s modelling approach? How can these be more effectively analysed?
●●Is the DfT model granular enough to underpin the Commission’s assessment of future demand?
●●Does the DfT approach to demand uncertainty capture a reasonable range of uncertainty? Could the approach be improved?
●●Would a probability based approach to dealing with uncertainty help the Commission to test the robustness of the model’s outputs?
●●We have reviewed four alternative forecasts. Do you consider that there are others we should be looking at and why?