DfT launches consultation on its Aviation Strategy, out to 2050 – closes 13th October

The DfT has launched – for consultation – its plans to develop a new UK Aviation Strategy, “to help shape the future of the aviation industry to 2050 and beyond.”  The DfT strategy is to support future growth in the aviation industry (which it claims “directly supports 240,000 jobs and contributes at least £22 billion to the UK economy each year.” With no mention of the money it takes out of the UK too …]  One issue is possible new forms of compensation for noise or designing targets for noise reduction. The document looks at how all airports across the country can make best use of existing capacity, and expand the industry. Chris Grayling said: “Our new aviation strategy will look beyond the new runway at Heathrow and sets out a comprehensive long-term plan for UK aviation. …. [it] also recognises the need to address the impacts of aviation on communities and the environment.”  The consultation closes on 13th October.  ie. a large part of it is over the summer holiday period. On environment it just says the strategy “will look at how to achieve the right balance between more flights and ensuring action is taken to tackle carbon emissions, noise and air quality.” Consultations on various aspects of the strategy will run throughout 2017 and 2018 and will be followed by the publication of the final aviation strategy by the end of 2018.


This is the consultation document 



AEF calls for halt to Heathrow expansion as Government launches call for evidence on aviation strategy


AEF (the Aviation Environment Federation) has responded with disbelief that the Government still plans to ask parliament to give its approval to a new runway before the strategy has been developed.

AEF Director, Tim Johnson, said
“Heathrow expansion presents huge environmental challenges, and would mean lower passenger growth at regional airports as more demand gets concentrated in the South East. Why is the Government only just starting to consider a national strategy for the UK’s airports, and for tackling the sector’s impact on climate change and the local environment?
“It’s a classic case of the ‘cart before the horse’. How can MPs take a view on whether or not to support the Government’s plan for a new runway before there’s any plan in place to ensure that it won’t compromise our ability to get to grips with London’s air quality problem, or to deliver on legal climate change targets?”   
There will be further consultations on climate and other issues. This consultation is on scope of the strategy and the questions they should be asking – including whether to set noise limits (that allow for growth). It closes 13th October. There will then be two phases of mini thematic consultations over the next year including climate change.

Government sets out vision for future of UK aviation

21.7.2017 (DfT press release)

Launch of plans to develop a new UK Aviation Strategy to help shape the future of the aviation industry to 2050 and beyond.

Shaping aviation to help boost economic growth, connectivity and skills will be at the centre of a new strategy to prepare the industry for the next 3 decades and beyond, the government announced today (21 July 2017).

The public are being asked to have their say on how this vital sector should respond to a range of technological, security, environmental and customer service challenges.

It also looks at how the government can support future growth in an industry which directly supports 240,000 jobs and contributes at least £22 billion to the UK economy each year.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling will today launch a public discussion to help shape and promote the future of the aviation industry both up to 2050 and beyond.

Airport bag check-ins in town centres and a ‘luggage portering’ service are among a series of innovative ideas the public is being asked for views on.

Other issues include possible new forms of compensation for noise or designing targets for noise reduction.

The government is also keen for views on how it should support and regulate emerging technologies around personal travel.

The document also discusses how we can make best use of existing capacity at all airports around the country.

The Secretary of State announced the strategy at the launch of a £1 billion programme to double the size of Manchester Airport’s Terminal 2.

The project will create 1,500 jobs, allow for more international destinations, and grow passenger numbers from 27 million to 45 million a year.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said:

Aviation is central to our future prosperity as we leave the European Union. As a global, trading nation we want to build on the great industry we have today and create opportunities for people up and down the country

Our new aviation strategy will look beyond the new runway at Heathrow and sets out a comprehensive long-term plan for UK aviation. It will support jobs and economic growth across the whole of the UK.

Our vision puts the passenger at the heart of what we do, but also recognises the need to address the impacts of aviation on communities and the environment.

Charlie Cornish, Chief Executive of Manchester Airports Group, said:

Today, work will begin at Manchester Airport on a £1 billion investment programme that will provide passengers and airlines with world-class airport facilities, and deliver a major boost to the UK’s growth prospects and international competitiveness.

We welcome the Secretary of State’s recognition of the important role that airports across the UK will play in driving economic growth, and commitment to looking at how airports like Manchester and London Stansted can make best use of their existing capacity.

The government is today setting out 6 important themes that it will consult on over the coming months:

1) Customer service. Which will look at:

how to ensure the industry is accessible for all and caters for an ageing population and passengers with restricted mobility
the consumer protection arrangements that should be in place when things go wrong
how to deal with disruptive passengers
It also highlights new ways of working in other countries such as check-in facilities in town centres or luggage portering services, where bags are picked up from passengers before they reach the airport.

2) Safety and security. Which will look at the technology that could be introduced at UK airports to counter the threat from terrorism; what more could be done to raise security standards; and whether current safety standards are acceptable.

3) Global connectivity. Which will look at how the UK can improve our global connectivity for passengers and freight as we leave the EU; and how we can remove barriers to trade.

4) Competitive markets. Which will look at whether existing regulation produces the best outcome for consumers; how to encourage connectivity across UK nations and regions and how to stimulate competition to ensure the consumers have a wide choice of airports, airlines and destinations.

5) Supporting growth while tackling environmental impacts. Which will look at how to achieve the right balance between more flights and ensuring action is taken to tackle carbon emissions, noise and air quality.

6) Innovation, technology and skills. Which will look at which emerging technologies could significantly change the aviation market or bring benefits to passengers; and how the industry should address skills shortages and improve its diversity.

Dr Adam Marshall, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, said:

It is crucial that the government’s future aviation strategy supports the continued growth and development of our airports, and frees them to make the best use of their capacity to link British businesses to markets all across the world.

Stronger airports help our cities and counties attract more investment and visitors, and connect our firms to trading opportunities overseas – so we must enable them to grow and change to meet the demands of the future.

Consultations on each of these areas will run throughout 2017 and 2018 and will be followed by the publication of the final aviation strategy by the end of 2018.



This is the rather bland statement by the DfT about it:



Beyond the horizon: the future of aviation in the UK
A call for evidence on a new aviation strategy

The aviation industry contributes billions to our economy, supports thousands of jobs, strengthens the union and develops skills. The Department for Transport is looking at how the government, working with our partners across the sector, can help airports and the industry to grow in a way that:

  • is sustainable
  • increases competition
  • offers consumers greater choice and a quality experience

We are seeking views from across industry, business, consumers, environmental groups and anyone with an interest in aviation.

Read and respond to our call for evidence

This call for evidence begins the consultation process. We have set out our overall aims and approach, but we want to be steered and guided by you. This is your opportunity to shape the future of aviation.

The call for evidence period will be followed by a series of consultations that will run throughout 2017 and 2018, culminating in the launch of the aviation strategy at the end of 2018.

Our 6 objectives for a new aviation strategy

Aviation matters – it drives economic growth across the whole United Kingdom, connects us with the world, removes barriers to trade and supports jobs and skills. We have an aviation history to be proud of and we’re building on a track record of success.

But we also recognise the challenges that our aviation sector faces in maintaining this leading position. So the time is now right to develop a new aviation strategy that will set out the long-term vision for aviation taking us to 2050 and beyond.


These are our 6 objectives for a new aviation strategy.

Help the aviation industry work for its customers

Enhancing the consumer experience through improved accessibility, better information and support when things go wrong.


Ensure a safe and secure way to travel

Championing the UK’s aviation security and safety record and ensuring our approaches remain cutting edge and responsive to new challenges.


Build a global and connected Britain

The importance of aviation to building a global Britain that is outward looking, with a strong economy that benefits the whole of the UK.


Encourage competitive markets

Examining the sector to see whether market failures exist and how government can encourage more competition.


Support growth while tackling environmental impacts

Building capacity and promoting regional growth and connectivity whilst balancing this with the need to tackle environmental impacts.  [No details given…]


Develop innovation, technology and skills

How we can make best use of new technology and build on the aviation sector’s track record of success in encouraging innovation.



The consultation document is at



This is what it says on carbon emissions:


Carbon emissions

7.14 On climate change, which is a global
rather than a local environmental
issue, the government’s position is that
action to address these emissions is
best taken at the international level.
Global action allows for progress in
reducing aviation’s climate change
impacts whilst minimising the risks
of competitive disadvantage to the
UK aviation industry. This position is
shared internationally. Emissions from
international aviation are tackled at the
sectoral level through ICAO, which has
been working for a number of years on
measures to achieve its goal of carbonneutral
growth for the sector from 2020.

7.15 Measures include technological
improvements, operational measures,
sustainable alternative fuels and marketbased
measures. The government
agrees that a combination of measures
and approaches are needed to tackle
this issue. The government is also
looking to make progress at a domestic
level, including by encouraging the
production and use of new aviation
fuels in the UK. It has consulted on
a proposal to extend the Renewable
Transport Fuels Obligation35 eligibility
to aviation fuels, and has announced
capital support for UK-based
sustainable aviation fuel plants.

7.16 Emissions from international aviation
(along with international shipping
emissions) are currently excluded from
the legally-binding 2050 target which
was set by the Climate Change Act
2008 and from the five carbon budgets
which have been set to date (covering
the period up to 2032). However, the
UK’s carbon budgets have been set at
a level that accounts for international
aviation and shipping emissions, so
that the UK is on a trajectory that could
be consistent with a 2050 target that
includes these emissions.

[Note – the vaguest language – it COULD be consistent.  Not would, or will.   The DfT knows perfectly well that this much aviation growth will NOT be consistent.  AW note]




Comments by two AirportWatch members: 

It seems to me wholly irrational for the DfT – at the stage of merely calling for evidence – to signal its support for “all airports who wish to make best use of their existing runways”.

That could result in the provision of capacity for up to 7 million ATMs p.a. – more than three time the current number and twice as many as have ever been shown could be needed by 2050, in the last (2013) set of DfT demand forecasts.

This isn’t a policy  – this is the replacement of a national aviation strategy with an anarchic policy of letting a thousand flowers bloom.

The DfT hasn’t published any new demand forecast to support such a policy; nor has it published any assessment of carbon emissions that could ensue from such a policy; nor does there seem to be any  consideration of the local environmental impacts, including needless destruction of landscape and habitats to support maximum use of runways all over the country – much of which additional capacity would lie idle.  And would DfT be prepared to fund the road and rail infrastructure to support all this excess capacity?

None of this makes any sense to me.



The DfT is in a World of its own. Why as a society do we pay a statutory committee on climate change to give us the benefit of its paid expertise and then the DfT either ignores it or states that it will conduct its own research?

The CCC 2017 Report to Parliament summary states that “Set stretching targets to limit emissions per kilometre for new cars and vans beyond 2020; and ensure aviation and shipping policy is consistent with carbon budgets. This will require continued support for the roll-out of electric vehicles through time-limited support to buy them and effective roll-out of new charging infrastructure; as well as a new aviation strategy. Fiscal incentives could also support these ambitions”.

Under “Fiscal incentives” you can list the abolition of the VAT exemption on aviation fuel. Transport must be one area, if the not the one area, where market forces should not be left to their own devices. If they are, then anti-climate change protection goes out of the window.

We are being warned time and time again from the highest and most respected sources  – yet the civil servants in the DfT take no notice.