Aviation Policy & DfT Workstreams

 Flight Path to the Future”- a strategic framework for the aviation sector was published by the Government in May 2022.  The strategic framework focuses on four key themes:

  • Enhancing global impact for a sustainable recovery
  • Embracing innovation for a sustainable future
  • Realising benefits for the UK
  • Delivering for users.

These themes are underpinned by a ten point plan. The plan highlights key priority areas which will help deliver the Government’s commitment to growth, as well as supporting a modern, sustainable, and innovative sector for the future. The delivery of the new 10-point plan will be supported by a new Aviation Council  made up of airlines, airports and wider representatives from the aviation sector, as well as ministers and officials from both the UK government and devolved administrations. The Council will work to use the lessons learned from the pandemic to support recovery and make air travel better for passengers and the planet.

Government's "Generation Aviation", is the new recruitment and engagement campaign launched by the Aviation Minister, Baroness Vere, on 31 October.  Generation Aviation is part of the government’s 22-point plan to support aviation as it recovers from the pandemic and forms part of the wider aviation strategy ‘Flightpath to the future’. The recruitment campaign builds on £1.5 million announced by the government over the summer to boost recruitment into the sector.  Full details of this campaign are given in the DfT's press release

 Jet Zero strategy: delivering net zero aviation by 2050

 This policy framework and plan for achieving net zero aviation by 2050 was published 19 July 2022.  Chapter 4 of the Strategy sets out the five year delivery plan.  The Government will review progress against its emissions reduction trajectory annually (first annual review is expected in 2025 due to the current uncertain impacts of COVID-19), and against the KPIs and its overall approach every five years (first five year review in 2027).

 The Government’s ambition is for all airport operations in England to be zero emission by 2040. The Government will work collaboratively with airports to develop the requirements to meet this target over the coming months. To aid in this the Government published a Call for Evidence on the best approach to implementing the target. The 2040 target relates to airports in England as elements of relevant policy are devolved to the Scottish and Welsh Governments plus the Northern Ireland Executive. The Government will however engage with the Devolved Administrations in developing the target to share knowledge and support all airports in the UK to decarbonise.

The Government continues to support sustainable airport growth where it is justified. It is supporting the sector to recover from COVID-19 whilst putting in place the framework to ensure the sector reduces its emissions over time.

The Government is also pressing for international action.  On 28 September the Transport Secretary called for international action to decarbonise global aviation at the International Civil Aviation Organization Assembly  – see press release.

 Noise Policy Review

Flight Path to the Future states that in terms of a clearer noise policy framework (such as and including measures to incentivise best operational practice to reduce noise, to improve airport noise insulation schemes) the Government will set out next steps in 2022/23.  The Government issued a revised overarching aviation noise policy statement on 27 March 2023 which is as follows:

"The Government’s overall policy on aviation noise is to balance the economic and consumer benefits of aviation against their social and health implications in line with the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s Balanced Approach to Aircraft Noise Management. This should take into account the local and national context of both passenger and freight operations, and recognise the additional health impacts of night flights. 

The impact of aviation noise must be mitigated as much as is practicable and realistic to do so, limiting, and where possible reducing, the total adverse impacts on health and quality of life from aviation noise."

 Further detail can be found at:  Overarching aviation noise policy - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

The Government intends to publish a noise policy paper later in 2023 - click here for more details.

Noise Action Plans – next round of reviews

 Those airports in UKACCs’ membership required to produce and revise their statutory END noise action plans are:

Birmingham, Bristol, East Midlands, Leeds Bradford, Liverpool John Lennon, London City, Gatwick, Heathrow, Luton, Stansted, Manchester, Newcastle, Southampton and Southend.

The fourth round of noise mapping and action planning has commenced.  Defra has issued Guidance to airports on how to revise their statutory noise action plans.  Defra’s expectation is that airports should follow the process set out in the Guidance to update their Noise Action Plan and are encouraged to work with the ACC, community groups and other stakeholders.  Regulations require that Noise Action Plans are to be formally adopted by Defra’s Secretary of State.  The date by which the fourth round of reviewed noise action plans are to be submitted to Defra is February 2024. 

 Union Connectivity Review and Surface Access Strategy

The Final Report of the Union Connectivity Review led by Sir Peter Hendy CBE, which made recommendations to improve transport connectivity across the UK was published in November 2021.   

 CAA Independent Review

 DfT is planning to review several of its public bodies over the next three years as part of the Cabinet Office Public Body Review programme. The CAA has been prioritised for review because of significant changes that have been made since it was last reviewed, including it taking on new responsibilities for aviation security compliance, drones, sustainability and spaceflight. A call for evidence closed on 29 January 2023. Recommendations are expected in Spring 2023.