Lord Attlee (Conservative), government spokesperson, opened the debate. Of the government Amendments 1, 4, 7 and 9 he said: ‘Following extensive debate on environmental matters throughout the progress of the bill, I hope that these amendments offer your Lordships the comfort desired. The government take environmental matters seriously and wish to ensure that investment by airport operators at regulated airports to reduce, control or mitigate environmental effects where to do so is in the interests of passengers and cargo owners may continue to be included in the regulatory settlement.’
Lord Davies of Oldham (Labour) moved Amendment 2 which sought to go further, making licence holders’ environmental duties obligatory: ‘I am as dissatisfied as other members of the House with the word desirability because, in legislative terms, that does not look like an expression of the will to get things done. There is no point in enjoining the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to do things, encouraging it to do so or hoping that it will; it is a serious body with serious functions to carry out, and it will do what is established in statute for it to do.’
Amendments 1 and 2 on the general duties of the CAA were agreed by the House.
Lord Rosser (Labour) moved Amendment 56 , he explained: ‘This amendment adds an additional requirement on the CAA to publish information and advice to assist users of air transport services to compare the full cost of travel for users of such services, including all relevant surcharges that they might be expected to pay’.
He added: ‘If the CAA does not provide this comparative information, in a transparent, impartial and objective manner, nobody else will.’
Countess of Mar (Crossbench) referred to how the CAA ‘must publish, or arrange for the publication’ of the full cost of travel which would be beneficial to airline passengers. She said: ‘There is no reason why it should not arrange for the publication of these figures by the airlines themselves, as part of the contract that it has with the airlines.’
Lord Attlee (Conservative) argued: ‘It is not right that a business should try to hide the true costs of its services by implying that its prices are made up of elements beyond its control when they are not. Your Lordships will be aware that consumers are already protected against misleading pricing under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008. The CAA has been able to enforce the principal obligations imposed by Article 23 through these regulations.’
Lord Rosser (Labour) expressed regret at the minister’s response and withdrew the amendment.
About the bill
The Civil Aviation Bill was introduced in the Lords at first reading on 23 May.
The bill makes new provisions for operator regulation at major airports. It focuses on the functions of the Civil Aviation Authority under competition law and in relation to services provided at airports.
The bill will also look at aviation security, regulation of flight accommodation and the Civil Aviation Authority’s membership, administration and functions in relation to enforcement and regulatory burdens.
Third reading of the bill by members of the Lords will take place on Tuesday 13 November.
What is report stage?
Report stage gives all members of the Lords further opportunity to examine and make changes, known as amendments, to a bill.
Report stage usually starts 14 days after committee stage. It can be spread over several days (but usually fewer days than at committee stage).
Before report stage starts, all member's amendments are recorded and published. The day before a report stage debate the amendments are grouped and placed in order - a marshalled list.
During report stage detailed line by line examination of the bill continues. Any member of the Lords can take part and votes can take place.
After report stage the bill is reprinted to include all the agreed amendments. The bill then moves to third reading for the final chance for the Lords to debate and amend the bill.
Next stage: Third reading
Third reading is the final chance for the Lords to debate and clarify the contents of the bill.
The day before third reading starts, amendments are published in a marshalled list.
Amendments at third reading in the Lords are often used to clarify specific parts of the bill and to allow the government to make good any promises of changes to the bill made at earlier stages.