Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments Sixteenth Report


Memorandum by the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions


  1. The Committee has requested a memorandum on the following point:

    A number of the increases in charges effected by this instrument (specified in paragraphs (1) (Aberdeen), (3) and (4) of the Explanatory Note) are substantially in excess of inflation. Explain the reason(s) for these increases.

Explanatory Note (1) Aberdeen (Dyce)

  2. Charges are increased from £2.92 to £3.38 per tonne. The first reason for this increase is a refund made to aircraft operators in 1999/2000. This amounted to 33p per metric tonne and was effected through a reduction in charges. The refund was made up of an over-recovery in 1998/99 of 21p per metric tonne together with a profit from the disposal of assets used in connection with the provision of air navigation services from Aberdeen (Dyce) of 12p per metric tonne. Excluding this refund the comparison of charges is from £3.25 to £3.38, an increase of 4%.

  3. The second reason charges are increased in 2000/01 is the introduction of improved safety related facilities for air navigation services provided from Aberdeen (Dyce), in particular a new radar.

Explanatory Notes (3) and (4) North Sea Helicopters

  4. Charges per round trip are increased as follows:

    Northern North Sea—from £147 to £189.

    Southern North Sea—from £55 to £74.

The reason for the increase is a significant decline in flights in 1999/2000 (23.3% for Northern and 18.8% for Southern). As a consequence 1999/2000 will see an under-recovery in costs and this is being recovered over the next two years. The Northern North Sea and Southern North Sea charges effective from 1 April 2000 include a charge of £9 and £6 respectively to recover half of the predicted shortfall. The remainder is to be recovered in 2001/02.

  5. Current predictions assume no increase in flights in the next two years. As a result there is a significant impact on the level of charges necessary to recover costs incurred in 2000/2001. New radar and radio facilities for enhanced safety for flights in the Northern North Sea sector have also had an impact on the round-trip charge.

  6. The United Kingdom Offshore Operators' Association and the British Helicopter Advisory Board were consulted about the proposed charges in August 1999. Areas of possible cost saving to offset the reduced traffic levels were considered. No cost saving measures acceptable to these two representative bodies were identified due to the adverse impact on service delivery in a hostile operating environment for helicopters.

4th April 2000

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