My right honourable friend the Minister of State for Transport (Sadiq Khan) has made the following Ministerial Statement.
The first Transport Council of the Spanish presidency will take place in Brussels on 11 March.
The council will be asked to reach a general approach on a directive on transportable pressure equipment. The UK supports this directive. It will align with the changes to the international agreements on the carriage of dangerous goods by rail and road (RID and ADR) which form the annexes of directive 2009/68/EC. This proposed directive has been developed by the Commission with the assistance of member states, including the UK, and industry. The proposed directive also takes the opportunity to provide greater clarity on the responsibilities of users, including owners, importers and manufacturers, and so should improve compliance and enforcement.
There will be a progress report on the proposal for a directive on aviation security charges. The UK will as ever work towards achieving a fair and proportionate outcome that balances the interests of passengers and airports.
The council will be asked to reach a general approach on a regulation on investigation and prevention of accidents and incidents in civil aviation. The UK supports this measure in principle, as improved assistance and co-operation in the investigation of accidents and incidents would facilitate improved understanding of the causes of such events and lead to improved safety in aviation across Europe. My officials have been negotiating to secure amendments to the proposed regulation which better align it with UK interests. Good progress has been made on those areas of concern to the UK.
There will be information from the Commission on progress in the negotiations on a second stage EU-US air transport agreement. This will be followed by a policy debate aimed at giving guidance to the Commission on taking forward the negotiations, with the aim of completing them this year.
The council will receive information from the presidency followed by a policy debate on the outcome of the European single sky conference (Madrid 25-26 February). The UK continues to be a firm supporter of the single European sky and its supporting technology programme, SESAR, and endorses the conclusions reached at the conference in Madrid on the single European sky second package and its associated road map. The road map sets out actions under four pillars—performance, safety, technology and airport capacity, and under an overarching fifth pillar (human factors) integral to the other four. A very tight deadline of 2012 is stipulated in the amended legislation.