SASIG Meeting Dates

Regional News

Government News

House of Commons Questions 

House of Lords

Media News


SASIG 2013/14 Meeting Dates

28 June 2013

25 October 2013

7 March 2014

Meetings are held at 11am, Local Government House, Smith Square, SW1P 3HZ, with lunch provided afterwards,  location map.


Regional News

25 Feb 2013 – Homeowners under the Heathrow Airport flightpaths will be offered free or discounted noise insulation products in a new pilot scheme. The scheme is being piloted in three zones around Heathrow, chosen according to the level of noise from the overflight of aircraft. Assessors will start visiting homes from April and works will be completed during the year.

25 Feb 2013 – A transport consultancy is set to be appointed by Wandsworth Council with the task of developing the business case for a direct rail link connecting Clapham Junction and Heathrow. If given the go ahead it is hoped that a journey time of around 30 minutes will be possible, which would avoid the need to travel north into London in order to catch a connecting train from Paddington or a Piccadilly line service.

25 Feb 2013 – Unite, Britain’s largest union, has announced its support for the expansion of Luton Airport. Under the plans submitted to the local planning authority – Luton Borough Council, the scheme might create over 5,000 new jobs in the local economy, according to the airport operator’s forecasts.

28 Feb 2013 – Ryanair has announced that is to reduce its capacity at London’s Stansted Airport by about one million passengers over the next year. The airline operator stated that this move was in response to a “further unjustified” increase of 6% in landing charges from April.


Government News

28 February 2013 – The DfT’s response to their consultation with aviation industry stakeholders on a timetable for the transition to the new airport licencing regime indicates that parties are sufficiently in agreement for the transition to be progressed. Concern was expressed that airport operators may be subject to regulation without proper market power analysis; the DfT clarified that the CAA will undertake – by 5 December 2013 – market power assessments of airports currently designated for economic regulation, in order to issue licences appropriately and ensure an operator does not fall out of regulation. The Commencement Order will now be passed to the Minister to be signed on 6 April 2013; this will be the date on which the Order comes into force. The interim period will therefore be between 6 April 2013 and 31 March 2014, completing the transition to the new regime taking effect from 1 April 2014.

28 Feb 2013 – The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has published its advice to the Department for Transport (DfT) on how the market works for terminal air navigation services (air traffic support for take-off and landing) at the 16 largest airports in the UK. The CAA’s view is that there is not evidence to demonstrate a working market for terminal air navigation services at the eight UK airports that fall European regulations (those airports with at least 70,000 flights per year). However, the CAA believes there is potential for the market to work better in the future, and would like to work with aviation stakeholders to identify changes that may strengthen these prospects.


House of Commons Questions

Stringer – Air Pollution

27 February 2013

Graham Stringer, Labour; Blackley and Broughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans he has to reduce the annual quantum of emissions to air in the UK of (a) particulates, (b) hexavalent chromium, (c) ammonia, (d) arsenic, (e) nitrogen dioxide, (f) black carbon and (g) hydrofluorocarbons.

Richard Benyon, Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Minister: For particulates (including black carbon), ammonia and nitrogen dioxide, the revised UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Gothenburg Protocol set new Emission Reduction Commitments (as a percent reduction from 2005) to be achieved by 2020 for the four pollutants currently covered by the National Emissions Ceilings Directive (NECD). 

These are oxides of nitrogen (NOx), ammonia, sulphur dioxide (SO2) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). The Protocol also set a target for a new pollutant, fine particulate matter (or PM2.5). The UK targets are detailed in the table. These emission reductions will help to reduce trans-boundary air pollution and damage to health and ecosystems.

The UK currently meets all four 2010 national emission ceilings as set out in the NECD. As part of its 2013 review of air quality policies, we expect the European Commission to propose revisions to the NECD to implement the revised Gothenburg Protocol at EU level.

  Nitrogen oxides (NOx) Sulphur dioxide (SO2) Ammonia (NH3) Non methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOC) PM2.5
2010 emissions 1106 406 284 789 67
2010 Gothenburg Protocol target 1181 625 297 1200 n/a
2020 Gothenburg Protocol ERC—percentage reduction from 2005 55 59 8 32 30
2020 Gothenburg Protocol ERC(1) 711 289 282 740 57
(1) Emission reduction commitments under the Gothenburg Protocol are declared as a percentage reduction. The figures given in this table have been calculated for illustrative purposes and may change if the 2005 base year emissions change due to future inventory revisions.

UNECE, UK annual emissions and targets 2010-20 (ktonnes) [Reproduced from Hansard]

Plans and measures are in place at both national and European level to achieve reductions in emissions of particulate matter and oxides of nitrogen (including nitrogen dioxide). These include tighter vehicle emission standards for all forms of road transport. Other measures to promote low and ultra low emission vehicles and decarbonise the transport sector will also help achieve significant reductions in emissions of these pollutants.

The trend for increased nitrogen use efficiency in the arable sector and improved production efficiency in the livestock sectors will help reduce emissions of ammonia.

Arsenic and chromium emissions arise from a range of sources, but policies to improve energy efficiency and decarbonise fuel use are projected to reduce emissions in the future.

Industrial sources of all these pollutants are controlled through the system of integrated pollution prevention and control (IPPC) which now forms part of the industrial emissions Directive (2010/75/EU). In IPPC, where the regulator considers that any of these pollutants is likely to be emitted in significant quantities from any installation, it has to set emission limit values (ELVs) for that installation. These ELVs are based on the application of best available techniques.

Regulation (EC) No. 842/2006 provides a comprehensive regulatory regime to control emissions of fluorinated gases, including hydrofluorocarbons, as part of our commitments under the Kyoto Protocol and is fully implemented in the UK. We are currently considering a draft proposal from the European Commission for further controls on fluorinated gases which, should it be agreed and implemented, could deliver significantly greater reductions in future hydrofluorocarbon emissions. We continue to support efforts under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Montreal Protocol to secure an international phase-down in the production and use of hydrofluorocarbons.


Shannon – Sale of Stansted Airport – Government protection of employees

28 February 2013

Jim Shannon Democratic Unionist; Strangford: I thank the Minister for his response about Stansted airport. Obviously the sale of any airport in the United Kingdom, for example, Belfast international airport alongside Stansted airport, would cause uncertainty to the workers. Will he confirm that the sale of any airport in the United Kingdom, be it Stansted or Belfast international, would be a matter that the Government would look after for the workers?

Patrick McLoughlin, Transport Secretary: Let me address the issue of Stansted airport. I am pleased that the Stansted sale has taken place, as it brings competition into the airport system, and I know that my right hon. Friend the Member for Saffron Walden has supported and advocated that for some time. As for the hon. Gentleman’s point about wider airports, obviously every case has to be looked at individually by the proper authorities.


Haselhurst – Stansted Airport – rail connections

28 February 2013

Alan Haselhurst,  Chair of the Administration Select, Conservative; Saffron Walden: When he expects to meet the new owners of Stansted Airport.

Patrick McLoughlin,  Transport Secretary:I have no immediate plans to meet the new owners of Stansted airport, as the sale has not yet been completed. However, I have no doubt that effective working relationships established between my Department and the airport will continue under its new owners, and I look forward to meeting the management team at an appropriate time in the future.

Alan Haselhurst: What assurances can my right hon. Friend give to Manchester Airports Group, which will shortly be taking charge at Stansted, about improved train journey times from Liverpool Street to the airport, over and above the welcome but insufficient addition of the third track between Tottenham Hale and Angel Road?

Patrick McLoughlin: I am grateful to my right hon. Friend for the acknowledgement that the third track will make a difference to the areas he mentioned. Obviously, we are always willing to discuss with airport operators how best to improve infrastructure connections, and I will be more than happy to do that once the new ownership arrangements are finally in place.


Stringer – Air pollution

28 February 2013

Graham Stringer, Labour; Blackley and Broughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment his Department has made of sources of emissions to air in the UK which are on a rising trend which are (a) particulates, (b) hexavalent chromium, (c) ammonia, (d) arsenic, (e) nitrogen dioxide, (f) black carbon and (g) hydrofluorocarbons; and if he will make a statement.

Richard Benyon,  Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Minister [holding answer 25 February 2013]: The UK Government compiles a National Atmospheric Emissions Inventory (NAEI) annually. Air pollutants estimated through this inventory include (a) particulates, (b) chromium, (c) ammonia, (d) arsenic and (e) oxides of nitrogen. Emissions are not routinely estimated for hexavalent chromium or primary emissions of nitrogen dioxide. However, an inventory of black carbon is under development. The NAEI estimates for air pollutants are compiled following the guidelines published jointly by the European Environment Agency and UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Convention on Long Range Transboundary Air Pollutants. Each year the inventory is updated with the latest data available. Emissions estimates of fine and coarse particulates (PM2.5 and PM10), ammonia, and oxides of nitrogen for the years up to 2011 were published as National Statistics on 18 December 2012. The remaining inventory data, including chromium and arsenic, were submitted to the UNECE on 15 February 2013 and are available on the UNECE website at:

The UK data will be available in more detail from the NAEI website at: 

The UK compiles an annual national inventory of greenhouse gas emissions, including hydrofluorocarbons, in accordance with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. As per the NAIE [sic], this inventory is annually updated to include latest data available. Greenhouse gas emissions statistics for 1990 to 2011 were published on 5 February.

Emissions of ammonia, arsenic and hydrofluorocarbons have risen slightly in recent years (although emissions of ammonia have remained within their NECD ceiling). However, there have been continued declines in emission for particles including black carbon, as well as declines in chromium and oxides of nitrogen.



House of Lords

Truscott – High Speed 2 (HS2) – aviation hubs

25 February 2013

Lord Truscott, Crossbench peer: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what research they have undertaken on the impact on HS2’s forecast passenger numbers should Heathrow be downgraded as a result of the findings of the Independent Airports Commission, and another airport take its place as the United Kingdom’s hub airport.

Earl Attlee, Spokesperson for Transport: The Independent Airports Commission will consider all representations and proposals submitted. The ongoing debate on the UK’s status as a hub for global aviation has generated a wide range of options that need to be properly evidenced and assessed. It would not therefore be appropriate to speculate about the implications of a hypothetical situation such as the one proposed. At an appropriate point in the future, the Government will consider any recommendations generated by the commission’s work. 


Media News

28 Feb 2013Government announces ‘Paving Bill’ to make money available for High Speed 2 (HS2). The Transport Secretary, Patrick McLoughlin, has announced that the Government plan to introduce a ‘Paving Bill’ for HS2 in the Queens Speech in May, meaning they can spend more money on the project quicker. Paving Bills are used to make money available that would not normally be available until Royal Assent for a full Bill. The extra money would be for design work and the letting of contracts for designing the construction of the line, planning the realignment of existing railways and rerouting utilities, and making ecological and geological surveys. Campaigners have started a new national Government e-petition, calling for the scrapping of plans for a Paving Bill.

27 February 2013 – Industry executives ask Government to look at Air Passenger Duty (APD). A TripAdvisors Flights Survey of 1,100 people found that over two thirds (68%) of UK travellers said the recently-increased air passenger duty (APD) would affect their travel plans, with 9% saying the impact would be “substantial”. Nearly two thirds (64%) believed APD to be “unfair”, with 11% thinking it was “fair”. Over three quarters (77%) of those questioned believed that APD should be scrapped. A previous poll of more than 2,000 people by ComRes (October 2012) found that 82% of the public want to see APD cut or frozen. Darren Caplan, Chief Executive of the Airport Operators Association, urged “policy makers across Government must look at the effects of APD on the UK economy and listen to the views of the general public”. While Mary Rance, Chief Executive of UKinbound said the Prime Minister should “consider taking urgent action to address the UK’s rising flight taxes. The combination of APD and the cumbersome, expensive visa process are a disincentive for anyone planning to visit the UK and certainly do not help the Prime Minister to convey the message that Britain welcomes businesses and tourists.”

The Parliamentary information in this Bulletin is sourced from De Havilland Information Services plc.