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Airport policy must not stifle the UK, says ICE

The ICE has urged the government to rethink its decision to veto new runways at the country’s busiest airports.

In a new report published today, Rethinking Aviation, the ICE warns that without new runway capacity the UK’s global competitiveness would come under threat from European rivals that have been boosting their hub runway capacity at a considerable rate.

The government has ruled out building more runway capacity in the south east as part of its aim to reduce carbon emissions.

The ICE said it accepts that unrestrained growth in demand for air travel without quick improvements in aircraft efficiency would damage the environment and needs addressing.

“We agree the green agenda must be a priority, and realise that when it comes to the UK’s airport infrastructure needs, there are some tough political and public choices,” said ICE aviation expert Simon Godfrey-Arnold.

“But air transport and airport infrastructure are vital for the UK’s international connectivity and prosperity. As a trading island nation and popular tourist destination we depend on our ability to connect with the rest of the world,” he said.

Readers' comments (2)

  • By 2050 we'll have to exist within a tiny carbon budget. It takes gigantic amounts of carbon to support a job associated - directly or indirectly - with aviation. The more of our carbon budget we devote to aviation, the less jobs there will be - unless we accept going back to the land to enable the rich to continue flying. If aviation continues expanding, carbon trading will end up forcing jobs & industiries to be outsourced to china where they'll rely on coal based electricity for manufacturing and even more energy to bring (fly?) the goods back again. (So we'll need to keep expanding the airports even more.)
    On top of all this, bearing in mind the current forecasts regarding oil availability and cost, what are we doing pinning our future on oil dependant economic development?
    Rethinking Avaition needs a rethink.

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  • Whilst I understand Mr Weight's concerns, it should be borne in mind that the demand for air travel in any country is directly linked to the well being of any country's economy and the general population's expected standard of living (which the Government could reduce if everyone is in agreement). It follows that a healthy economy needs aviation and aviation needs a healthy economy. The link is well studied and well proven. It is therefore incorrect to assume that "more of our carbon budget we devote to aviation, the less jobs there will be". In fact, it is more likely to be to the contrary, but that will very much depend upon how future legislation and policy is drafted and how broadly embraced it is and how effectively it is enforced.

    Rethinking Aviation is in fact a document that neither promotes nor denigrates air travel, but is more about how we look to deal with it. For many years there has been a growing demand for air travel, and notwithstanding some fluctuations, that demand remains today, and all the evidence points to a growing demand in the future. As engineers and planners what we have to do is deal with it in the most sustainable way. This is not an easy task, but the ICE should be commended in attempting to work out how best to do so.

    [Please note that these are my own personal views and opinions and therefore they should not be taken as being the views of any particular company or organisation]

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