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Aviation Policy Framework

Volume 560: debated on Friday 22 March 2013

Britain has a successful aviation sector that provides 220,000 jobs directly and underpins our place in the world economy. The Government’s job is to support this and allow expansion while recognising the effect it has on the environment.

That is why today I am publishing the “Aviation Policy Framework” which provides the baseline for the Airports Commission to take into account on important issues such as aircraft noise and climate change. It sets out Government’s objectives on the issues which will challenge and support the development of aviation right across the UK, not just in the south-east of England.

This document sets out the Government’s policy to allow the aviation sector to continue to make a significant contribution to economic growth across the country. It is also a key step towards tackling our airport capacity challenge in the south-east. This is being addressed by the independent Airports Commission, led by Sir Howard Davies, who will look at the issue in a way which seeks to establish a broad consensus on the solution. This document will frame the debate for Sir Howard’s work.

This Government have already taken an important step in recognising that any decision on how to meet the airport capacity challenge in the south-east and maintain our excellent connectivity is a decision bigger than any one Government. I look forward to the Commission’s initial report this December and I would like to thank MPs for their constructive engagement with Sir Howard’s work thus far.

In setting out the benefits of aviation, the “Aviation Policy Framework” makes it clear its importance to the UK economy, both at a national and regional level. In particular, it highlights the economic benefits the UK derives from it. In tackling aviation’s climate change impacts, the policy framework sets out Government’s aim to ensure that the aviation sector makes a significant and cost-effective contribution towards reducing global emissions, with the emphasis on effective global action.

The “Aviation Policy Framework” addresses the real impact that aircraft noise can have. Policies such as noise envelopes will help ensure that benefits of future improvements are shared between the industry and local residents. The Government recognise the UK aviation industry’s efforts to tackle noise and challenges it to continue to lead the way in best practice. For example, last month we steered a decision at the UN International Civil Aviation Organisation which will mean tougher noise standards for new civil aircraft from 2017.

I would like to thank the individuals and organisations that have taken the time to contribute to and shape this document. I have today placed a summary of the consultation responses in the House Library and it is available at: GOV.UK.

The Government believe that aviation needs to grow, delivering the benefits essential to our economic well-being, while respecting the environment and protecting quality of life. The Government believe that the “Aviation Policy Framework” is a vital step forward in achieving this.