Examination of Witnesses (Questions 535
WEDNESDAY 24 MAY 2006
Q535 Joan Walley: I welcome the witnesses.
I have to apologise that we are expecting a vote and this session
may be a little chaotic in that sense. I hope that you will bear
with us. For the benefit of the Committee, perhaps each of you
will briefly introduce himself so we know exactly into which bit
of the picture he fits.
Dr Walmsley: I am Tim Walmsley,
Head of Environment at Manchester Airport.
Mr Paling: I am Chris Paling,
an environmental adviser at Manchester Airport.
Mr Dowds: I am Donal Dowds, BAA
Group Planning director.
Mr Irvin: I am Joe Irvin, Director
of Public Affairs at BAA.
Q536 Joan Walley: We are grateful
to you for coming along. We want to kick off by asking you the
way in which the chairman of the Environment Agency, Sir John
Harman, has recently called for the Government to set itself a
specific target for reductions in carbon dioxide emissions in
the transport sector. Do you agree with that? If so, should aviation
Mr Dowds: We do not agree with
that particular approach. This is a global problem. To move forward
we have to concentrate on the ultimate issue which is the global
impact of CO2. We therefore believe that an emissions
trading scheme is the most efficient and effective mechanism to
approach this. Of course, that is the ultimate global solution
but we believe that initially it should start as a scheme that
affects all the industries within the EU.
Q537 Joan Walley: Does Manchester
want to add to that?
Dr Walmsley: We concur with that.
Q538 Emily Thornberry: Let us say
that airlines buy their fuel from Heathrow Airport. Presumably,
you know how much fuel you are selling to airlines; you do not
sell it to anyone else. Is not another way to ensure that we keep
some tabs on the environmental impact of the amount of fuel that
is being used for you to impose some sort of tax or environmental
levy? While we are waiting for a European trading scheme to be
established why can BAA not voluntarily undertake that?
Mr Dowds: To make one correction,
it is the oil companies that sell fuel to airlines.
Q539 Emily Thornberry: But you know
how much is being sold on your sites?
Mr Dowds: Certainly, through the
fuel farms on our airports we know the total volumes that are
moving around. We believe that taxation is a blunt instrument
that fails to recognise the source of emissions. At the end of
the day to tackle it by taxation or depression of demand does
not deal with the source of the problem. We believe that an emissions
trading scheme is the best way to do it because the scheme itself
creates a cap which then means that the allowances available drop.
The successful industries and countries that can get below their
limits and allowances can then sell those. I do not think there
is any dispute on this side of the table that initially aviation
will grow and it will have to buy those allowances and the market
mechanism will make those more expensive over time, so additional
cost and downward pressure on those industries and countries which
are growing will ultimately help us to achieve the only goal that
matters which is an overall reduction in the impact on climate
change. We believe that the taxation instrument is inappropriate
because it does nothing to solve the problem at source.