Aviation: regional airports - Commons Library Standard Note

Published 06 March 2014 | Standard notes SN00323

Authors: Louise Butcher

Topic: Aviation

This note looks at airport development in the UK, outside London and the South East of England, under the present and previous governments, including the December 2013 interim report from the Airports Commission.

The Labour Government’s 2003 aviation White Paper generally supported a ‘predict and provide’ approach to aviation. It envisioned demand for air transport increasing over the following 25 years. Consequently, it generally supported the growth of regional airports outside the South East to grow those economies and divert flights away from the congested London area. The Coalition Government published its Aviation Policy Framework in March 2013 – this is largely a collection of technical changes that could be made to airports to increase capacity, improve efficiency and ensure that aviation growth in the UK is sustainable in terms of noise and environmental pollution.

The Airports Commission, under the chairmanship of Sir Howard Davies, was set up in September 2012 and tasked with making recommendations as to the timing and scale of any future airport capacity. It will not publish its final report and recommendations until after the 2015 General Election but in December 2013 it published an interim report indicating that demand would increase in London and the South East and that no regional airport option could replace the need for existing capacity in that area.

Information on airports in the South East and London generally can be found in HC Library Note SN2893; and there are a separate notes on London Heathrow, SN1136, and proposals for a Thames Estuary airport, SN6144.

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