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The Future of Air Transport

Volume 454: debated on Thursday 14 December 2006

I am today publishing a progress report on “The Future of Air Transport” White Paper, 2003. Copies are available in the Libraries of both Houses and Vote Office. This document fulfils a commitment to report on progress made in implementing the White Paper by the end of 2006.

The progress report confirms the detailed strategy set out in 2003 for the sustainable development of air travel to 2030, balancing the growing aspirations to travel and the economic benefits that it brings with the need to protect the environment. The progress report confirms our earlier assessment that demand for air travel will continue to grow strongly. In line with the conclusions of Sir Rod Eddington’s recent study on transport infrastructure, it acknowledges the benefits that meeting this demand brings to business and to individuals across the UK.

The Government reaffirm their commitment to the development of the aviation sector, predominantly through making the best use of existing capacity, and ensuring that where new capacity is required its provision is in line with our environmental obligations.

In 2003, the White Paper made clear the importance of taking effective international action to tackle aviation’s contribution to the global challenge of climate change. The report demonstrates the action that we are taking to ensure that the aviation sector meets its external climate change costs. The Government intend to introduce a new emissions cost assessment, which will be an assessment of whether the aviation sector is meeting its external costs of climate change. This will inform Ministers’ decisions on major increases in aviation capacity. We intend to consult on this proposal next year.

The report confirms our continued strong support for the inclusion of aviation in the EU emissions trading scheme. We are committed to achieving this as soon as practicable. Since aviation is excluded from the Kyoto protocol we will push hard for the modernisation of the Chicago convention and the International Civil Aviation Organisation, to make it easier for negotiations there to deliver international progress on this issue.

The document clearly sets out our intended next steps in delivering the Government’s aviation policy. We are committed to reporting again on our progress in implementing these policies in three to five years’ time.