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CIVIL AVIATION BILL PUBLISHED

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The Civil Aviation Bill is published today to fulfil a number of...
The Civil Aviation Bill is published today to fulfil a number of

commitments contained in The Future of Air Transport White Paper.

If approved by parliament, the Bill would:

* Clarify and strengthen the measures available to airports for

dealing with aircraft noise. This includes a greater ability to

introduce and enforce noise control measures beyond airport

boundaries and to impose financial penalties if aircraft stray from

routes designed to minimise noise.

* Clarify airports' ability to set charges which reflect local

emissions from aircraft. The secretary of state would also be given

powers to direct them to levy such charges.

* Provide powers for a levy on the aviation industry to replenish the

Air Travel Trust Fund which, along with the ATOL scheme, protects

customers of failed tour operators.

The Bill would also:

* Authorise local authority airport companies to undertake specified

activities - such as making their expertise available to other

airports and taking part in joint ventures - which at present are

outside their powers. It would allow local authority airports to be

more competitive with privately owned airports.

* Enable the Civil Aviation Authority to recoup the costs of its

Aviation Health Unit, which offers advice to the aviation industry

and its customers and to government, by a levy on the industry.

* Remove airlines' existing right of appeal to the Secretary of State

in aviation route licensing cases decided by the Civil Aviation

Authority. By eliminating a layer of bureaucracy and speeding up the

process this will contribute to better regulation.

Secretary of state Alistair Darling said:

'The Bill aims to implement commitments we made in our White Paper on

the future of air transport on protecting the environment and

safeguarding passenger interests.'

Notes

1. The Bill will be introduced in parliament for the first time today

and is now subject to parliamentary scrutiny.

2. The Future of Air Transport White Paper was published in December

2003. It sets out a measured and balanced approach providing a

strategic framework for the development of air travel over the next

30 years.

3. Paragraph 3.14 of The Future of Air Transport states that:

'The Government intends that new legislation should be introduced,

when Parliamentary time allows, to strengthen and clarify noise

control powers both at larger commercial airports and at smaller

aerodromes. There are two main measures:

* An amendment to section 78 of the Civil Aviation Act 1982 so that

controls such as night restrictions could, subject to public

consultation, be set on the basis of noise quotas alone, without a

separate movements limit. This would mean that the primary control at

an airport regulated by the Government could be related more directly

to the noise nuisance, providing a more effective incentive for

airlines to acquire, use and develop quieter aircraft. The amendment

does not signal any intention to make the controls any less stringent

than they are currently; and

* New powers to extend these controls so that they can relate to

overall use of the airport, thereby enabling clearer environmental

objectives to be set. At present, overall contour or similar controls

may only be set voluntarily or through the planning system, which

means that generally they must be directly related to a specific

development, such as in recent years for the Manchester second runway

and around the Heathrow fifth terminal.'

Further details about these proposals, and other issues were covered

in Control of Noise from Civil Aircraft, Department of Transport,

December 2003.

4. Paragraph 3.31 of The Future of Air Transport states that:

'The Government intends to bring forward legislation, enabling the

Secretary of State to require an emissions-related element to be

included in landing charges at airports where there are local air

quality problems.'

5. Paragraph 4.20 of The Future of Air Transport states that:

'Within the UK, further action to promote and strengthen consumer

interests will include:

* Seeking statutory powers to impose a new levy to ensure future

solvency of the Air Travel Trust Fund.'

This would remove the need for the government guarantee in place

since 1992, and ensure the government meets its obligations under EU

law.

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