Memorandum by the Department
of the Environment, Transport and the Regions
2000 (S.I. 2000/599)
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
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 Seafrom
£147 to £189.
Southern North Seafrom
£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