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House of Lords

Wednesday, 7 November 2012.

3 pm

Prayers—read by the Lord Bishop of Norwich.

Armed Forces: Olympic and Paralympic Games 2012

Question

3.07 pm

Asked by Lord Empey

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what measures they propose to take to recognise the contribution made by the Armed Forces to the success of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): My Lords, I pay tribute to the efforts and the hard work of all those who so admirably made the Olympic and Paralympic Games such a success this summer. Your Lordships will no doubt be aware of the public thanks given by the Prime Minister, the Mayor of London and many public dignitaries. Members of the Armed Forces involved with the Games will receive a commemorative coin as a mark of appreciation for their outstanding contribution. This is an episode that the services can look back on with great pride.

Lord Empey: In the aftermath of the G4S debacle, our Armed Forces once again came to the rescue and saved our country from a massive humiliation in front of the whole world. They helped to provide a safe environment for the most successful Games ever and we owe them a great debt of gratitude. Will the Minister tell the House what financial contributions have so far been made by G4S to compensate the taxpayer as a result of that company’s failure to meet its contractual obligations?

Lord Astor of Hever: My Lords, I agree with the noble Lord that we owe the members of the Armed Forces a huge debt of gratitude for what they have done. Negotiations are ongoing between the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games and G4S over the fee that the Government will pay as a result of its failure to meet the contractual agreement. I can tell the noble Lord that as a good will gesture, G4S made a donation of £2.5 million to service charities in recognition of the fine work done by our service personnel to fill the void in G4S’s delivery. This donation will be used to support Armed Forces sporting and welfare organisations, including through the purchase of additional sports equipment and support to service sports associations.

Lord Anderson of Swansea: My Lords, this could so easily have been a security and public relations disaster. Instead, following the failure of that private sector firm, the military stepped in and showed that it can always be relied on. Surely the public would want

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some form of recognition and it is for the Government to be creative to show the public that they appreciate the way in which our military saved what otherwise would have been a very difficult time.

Lord Astor of Hever: My Lords, as I said in my original Answer, we are giving a coin to members of the Armed Forces, and I have information here on it. All the feedback that I have had from members of the Armed Forces about this coin is that they are very grateful and hugely appreciate the offer.

Lord Addington: My Lords, does my noble friend agree that the Armed Forces did a remarkably good job and that we should congratulate those who had the back-up plan in place when the G4S thing went? Will he make sure that, if the Armed Forces want to offer a sort of volunteer service, using their authority and discipline in future events, they will be welcomed and embraced?

Lord Astor of Hever: My Lords, I entirely agree with my noble friend on his second point. It is a very good example of volunteering. As for my noble friend’s first point, the feedback from the public has been extremely positive. Many people have expressed their gratitude to the members of the Armed Forces who made the Games such a resounding success. Indeed, at the Ministry of Defence we have received many letters that praised the professionalism, effort and huge contribution from the Armed Forces.

Lord West of Spithead: My Lords, does the Minister not agree that this highlights the dangers of privatisation in certain areas that are fundamental to UK security? Does he not believe that the GOCO arrangements for the defence equipment and support areas might put us in a position where a failure by private enterprise actually puts service personnel and the security of the nation at risk?

Lord Astor of Hever: My Lords, I do not want to be tempted by the noble Lord to go down that route. We will be able to debate that when we get to that point.

Lord Selkirk of Douglas: My Lords, can the Minister say whether additional leave was allocated to the members of the regular armed services who were deployed? If so, was it not thoroughly deserved?

Lord Astor of Hever: My Lords, the chiefs of staff have authorised commanding officers to grant additional leave for eligible members of the Armed Forces in recognition of the traditional burdens placed on all personnel during the summer. As my noble friend said, it was very well deserved.

Lord Ramsbotham: My Lords, as it was only 24 July when the order was given for the additional military to be deployed in support of the Olympic Games, that suggests that something had gone badly wrong with the planning for the deployment of security arrangements. Can the Minister say whether lessons have been learnt about this and whether improvements will be made to make certain that, if this happens again, the Armed Forces will get longer warning of such requirements?

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Lord Astor of Hever: My Lords, the noble Lord makes a very good point. We did monitor the situation very closely and we were aware early on of the fragility of the G4S business plan. So we were able to come forward with the extra numbers in good time. We were prepared for that.

Lord Flight: My Lords, could the Minister also touch on other groups and individuals to whom thanks are due for the success of the Olympics—and if it is not inappropriate, particularly Paul, now the noble Lord, Lord Deighton, introduced to this House last week, who has not put himself forward but who was the brain that organised the Olympics to be a great success and to whom this country has a debt of gratitude?

Lord Astor of Hever: My Lords, my noble friend makes a very good point. It was not just the Armed Forces but huge numbers of people, including my noble friends Lord Coe and Lord Deighton, and as my noble friend Lord Addington said, the huge numbers of volunteers, who helped to make it such a successful Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Lord Harris of Haringey: Could the Minister tell us how many government contracts for infrastructure support are going to G4S in future, and whether the armed services will be ready to step in if need be in the event of G4S again failing to win a gold for logistics?

Lord Astor of Hever: My Lords, I am very sorry to disappoint the noble Lord but I am unable to answer that question.

Lord Burnett: My Lords, living in London is expensive, but could my noble friend tell the House whether any additional allowances are paid or payable to members of the Armed Forces for their services at the Olympics, which was such a resounding success and in which they played such a wonderful part?

Lord Astor of Hever: My Lords, regular service personnel deployed as part of the security presence at the Olympic Games did so as part of their normal duties. Service personnel did not receive additional pay or bonuses for this deployment, but some personnel were entitled to claim additional allowances, such as the long separation allowance, dependent on where their home bases were.



Health: Cancer

Question

3.15 pm

Asked By Lord Hunt of Kings Heath

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what are their plans for the future funding and number of cancer networks.

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question standing in my name on the Order Paper and refer noble Lords to my interests in the register.

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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): My Lords, £42 million has been allocated by the NHS Commissioning Board to support strategic clinical networks in 2013-14. Networks will cover a number of priority conditions and patient groups, including cancer. It is for local health communities and the board to determine the number and size of networks, based on patient flows and clinical relationships, and to deploy their resources appropriately.

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: My Lords, does the noble Earl accept that cancer networks have done an outstanding job in improving the quality of service and outcomes? Does he agree that there is widespread expectation that the number of cancer networks will be reduced, the staff in many places will be made redundant and the new set-up will not be as effective as the current one? Will he respond to that?

Earl Howe: My Lords, I agree that clinical networks are a success story in the NHS. They have raised standards, supported easier and faster access to services and encouraged the spread of best practice. We very much want to see that continue. The final number of strategic clinical networks and the number of clinical staff who support them have not been finalised yet. Those numbers will be determined locally so it is too early to speak with any certainty about final staff numbers. We do not anticipate many compulsory redundancies at all. A number of staff have been deployed to other posts already. The aim of all this is to achieve not only a more effective series of networks but a more efficient system as well. We believe that that will be delivered.

Baroness Morgan of Drefelin: My Lords, I, too, declare an interest, as chief executive of the Breast Cancer Campaign. Does the Minister agree with the charities Cancer Research UK, Macmillan, and Cancer 52—which represents the rare cancer charities—that this is a real issue of concern? The uncertainty is causing a real haemorrhaging of expertise out of the networks that have been such a success in driving up standards in cancer services.

Earl Howe: My Lords, I accept that the uncertainty has been unfortunate and, in some cases, damaging. The noble Baroness is right in her broad observations. However, the intent to maintain networks was signalled very early on this summer by the Commissioning Board. The standard operating framework, which will apply to all clinical networks, will be published very shortly. I think that that will provide helpful additional clarity. However, I repeat to the noble Baroness that the aim here is to maintain networks and to ensure that the good work continues and that the expertise which we still have in networks is translated across into the new system.

Lord Clement-Jones: My Lords, the NHS strategy document TheWay Forward stresses that, as regards cancer, the new networks will focus very tightly on what is called domain 1 of NHS outcomes, which is reducing mortality. But surely for all those who have

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experience of cancer, is not enhancing the quality of life absolutely crucial too, and should not the networks be concentrating on that as well?

Earl Howe: Yes, my Lords. While the document to which my noble friend refers does make explicit that the cancer strategic clinical network will be focused around domain 1, which is reducing mortality, nevertheless improvements to patient experience and patient safety underpin all NHS care and those matters will be similarly embedded in the work of all strategic clinical networks.

Lord Turnberg: Does the noble Earl agree that the cancer networks have been invaluable in supporting research into new treatments and that any reduction here would be regrettable?

Earl Howe: I absolutely accept that one of the benefits we have seen from the clinical networks is the spread of innovative best practice through the health service, particularly in local areas. That is very much what we wish to preserve. The networks will help local commissioners of NHS care to reduce unwarranted variation in services and encourage innovation. We are determined to see that continue.

Lord Patel: As the Minister responsible for quality outcomes in healthcare, will the noble Earl report to the House on whether he is monitoring the effects on cancer outcomes of the reduction in the staffing of cancer networks?

Earl Howe: We will certainly be monitoring the outcomes in the field of cancer, but I would just like to impress upon the noble Lord that the creation of the clinical support teams—the network support teams—will ensure that the whole service is more efficiently delivered. By having 12 support teams there to underpin all the networks, we will ensure that we have a more cost-effective system.

Baroness Masham of Ilton: My Lords, does the Minister agree that our cancer outcomes are not as good as those in some other countries in Europe? What is the reason for that? Does he agree that it would be a very retrograde step if the cancer networks lost expertise which we badly need?

Earl Howe: I agree with the noble Baroness, and it is part of the reason why we felt that the recent health service reforms to align clinical decision-making with financial decision-making were so important. The reason why this country lags behind has been clearly set out in a number of documents and, broadly speaking, it is because patients do not present early enough with their symptoms and doctors do not refer early enough to specialist consultants for treatment. There is a lot of work to do there, and I am sure that the noble Baroness will be reassured to know that there will be no let-up in that area.

Lord Colwyn: My Lords, we are five, six or seven minutes into this Question, but I am not sure I understand what a cancer network is.

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Earl Howe: My Lords, the essence of a cancer network is the web of relationships between individual clinicians. Networks are a source of advice and support and they are there to drive quality improvements locally. The networks will be established to cover patient groups or conditions where improvements to services can be made through an integrated approach. I hope that I have emphasised sufficiently that networks are there to support commissioners in their work.


Electricity Generation

Question

3.22 pm

Asked By Lord Tombs

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking in response to the recent projection by Ofgem of a fall in the generating plant margin from 14% at present to 4% in the next four years.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Baroness Verma): My Lords, Ofgem’s capacity assessment emphasises the importance of action to ensure that we continue to enjoy electricity security in the medium and long term. That is why the Government are taking decisive steps to secure our supplies, including reforming the electricity market to drive the investment that we need and consulting later this year on options to reduce demand for electricity. Recent announcements on investment in a new gas power station at Carrington and from Hitachi on nuclear investment demonstrate that the Government’s approach to securing investment is having real impacts.

Lord Tombs: My Lords, as the Minister will expect, I found that Answer wholly unsatisfactory. We are in the early stages of a major crisis. At present, a lot of our supply comes from nuclear and coal stations, which provide about 40% of our national demand, with the rest coming from gas. Much of this plant is 40 years old and quite a lot of it is 50 years old—well beyond the date by which one would have expected it to have been retired. The task of replacing it is enormous and will take a long time. We ought not to feel complacent at all, because estimating the date of the necessary retirement of this plant is not easy. Can she assure me that the dates and programmes for the retirement of 40 or 50 year-old plant are clearly specified, together with plans for replacing it?

Baroness Verma: My Lords, I should like first to reassure the noble Lord that this Government are not being complacent. That is why we are taking action to ensure that the UK economy continues to enjoy high levels of security of electricity supply. Our comprehensive proposals for electricity market reform will drive investment, ensuring that we have a diverse mix of energy sources. This includes legislating for the capacity market, which I am sure the noble Lord will be pleased to hear. We have sufficient reliable capacity in the system for the long term, but we need to build a stronger framework, which we are doing. We are investing in renewables and maximising the recovery of oil and gas from the UK continental shelf. There is a lot to do—I agree with the noble Lord—and we are doing it.

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Lord Jenkin of Roding: My Lords, is my noble friend completely satisfied that the Ofgem forecast is not being a bit cautious, particularly—to pick up the point made by the noble Lord, Lord Tombs—with regard to extending the lives of the AGR nuclear power stations? Is she aware that some of us heard a very compelling address to the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee by one of the research experts in this field saying that science now shows that extending those lives is distinctly feasible, perhaps up to the end of the decade and even beyond? If that happens, would that not significantly improve the figures that the noble Lord’s Question has quoted?

Baroness Verma: My Lords, I recognise and pay tribute to my noble friend’s expertise on this; having been in post for only eight weeks, I am sure that there is much that I can take away from him. However, I emphasise that the report has been prepared independently by Ofgem. It is important to acknowledge that the projections of future electricity capacity are dependent on a range of assumptions. I hear clearly what the noble Lord says about the nuclear power stations having extended life. All I can say to reassure him is that there are a lot of discussions going on and much of that will be relevant to what he has raised.

Lord Kennedy of Southwark: My Lords, could the Minister give the House some figures, please? What is the total installed generation capacity required to meet our peak demand and what is she going to do about it?

Baroness Verma: My Lords, I am sorry, but I missed part of that.

Lord Kennedy of Southwark: Could the Minister give the House some figures, please? What does she think is the total installed generation capacity needed to ensure that we meet our peak demand?

Baroness Verma: My Lords, I reassure the noble Lord and the House that we have enough capacity to ensure that the lights do not go out. We have been in this place before. As noble Lords will know, in the last decade we had a similar prediction that we would have a drop in supply, but of course the lights remained on. We are working with all our efforts to ensure that, through renewables, gas and coal, those lights stay on.

The Lord Bishop of Chester: My Lords, could the Minister tell the House to what extent we already depend on the interconnectors with France and the Netherlands? What potential is there to go cap in hand to our European friends for more supplies in the years to come?

Baroness Verma: The right reverend Prelate raises a point of which I am sure noble Lords are aware, which is that we have a very good relationship with our European friends, particularly with Norway. We are focused on ensuring that our renewable marketplace will assist us to be self-sufficient and have our own security of energy. We will do that through our energy Bill. However, these issues are of long standing. This Government have taken a very proactive, positive step to ensure that we address these issues.

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Lord Teverson: My Lords, the Government’s national policy statement for energy says that there is currently 85 gigawatts of total generating capacity in the UK, while the average demand across the year is only half that, so there is a 50% margin. Will the Minister tell us how the Government intend to reduce the peaks in demand, which could save us billions of pounds on investment, and how this might be brought into new energy legislation to ensure that we reduce the demand side as well as put up the supply side?

Baroness Verma: My noble friend is absolutely right. Of course the Government recognise that we need to make sure that we are reducing demand. We are also making sure, through our energy Bill, that our capacity mechanism will be able to bring down prices, which is something that we all want to see.

Baroness Worthington: My Lords, a careful reading of the Ofgem report will show that, although we will reach low levels in 2015-16, capacity will pick up again in 2016-17. That is partly because of an increased contribution from renewables, chiefly biomass and wind. Given that, will the Minister reconsider the fact that the renewables obligation is set to close in 2017, because there might be a hiatus as a result?

Baroness Verma: My Lords, the noble Baroness raises an important point. She is absolutely right that the report is not all doom and gloom. Our work towards ensuring that renewables account for 30% of the electricity that we generate is part of a big mix. I am sure that, when we come to consider the energy Bill, the noble Baroness and I will have further discussions on how to improve our security of supply.


United States: Presidential Election

Question

3.31 pm

Asked By Lord Triesman

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, in the light of the United States presidential election, what plans the Prime Minister has to meet the successful candidate; and which areas of policy they regard as the priorities for United Kingdom-United States relations in the next four years.

Lord Wallace of Saltaire: I congratulate the noble Lord on the timeliness of his Question and hope that he got some sleep last night. The Prime Minister has congratulated Barack Obama on his successful re-election as President of the United States. We will continue to work closely with President Obama on the full spectrum of international issues that are essential to our mutual prosperity and security, including the global economy, the situation in the Middle East and progress in Afghanistan.

The Prime Minister said of Barack Obama:

“I have really enjoyed working with him over the last few years and I look forward to working with him again over the next four years … we need to kick start the world economy and I want to see an EU-US trade deal”.

The Prime Minister also emphasised the need to do more to solve the crisis in Syria.

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Lord Triesman: My Lords, I am sure that the House will want to congratulate warmly President Obama on an outstanding victory.

Noble Lords: Hear, hear.

Lord Triesman: What approach will the Prime Minister suggest to reinvigorate the peace process in the Middle East, given the authority that President Obama certainly will enjoy as a second-term victor? Will the Prime Minister support the President’s commitment to a growth stimulus programme to mitigate uncertainty and a flat-line lack of growth—a strategy we sorely miss in the United Kingdom?

Lord Wallace of Saltaire: My Lords, we are all conscious that the Middle East peace process will be a very delicate and urgent issue over the next few months. Indeed, the Palestinian Authority has suggested that it may take back the question of its status at the United Nations to that body next week. We will be in urgent discussions with our American and European partners on our approach to that extremely difficult conflict. The strategy for global growth is of course a matter that we are discussing within the G8, the G20 and the OECD.

Baroness Falkner of Margravine: My Lords, will my noble friend give the House the Government’s assessment of the nature of the relationship? Is it now increasingly bilateral, given our diminishing role in the European Union, or would the Americans prefer the United Kingdom to be a stronger player both bilaterally and multilaterally through the EU?

Lord Wallace of Saltaire: My Lords, Washington sees the United Kingdom as a valued friend in Europe—within the EU and other European institutions. The issue of the UK’s place in Europe is an important matter for the USA.

Lord Anderson of Swansea: My Lords, the conventional wisdom is that in a second term the President need not be constrained by the same sort of considerations as apply in a first term. In what areas does the Minister feel that the President is now less constrained, in spite of Congress and in spite of the facts in the Middle East being the same? For example, does he see that the President’s commitment to the crisis posed by climate change, as opposed to that which Governor Romney would have had, is a real window of opportunity for us?

Lord Wallace of Saltaire: My Lords, I think that most people here would welcome the extent to which President Obama has flagged up climate change in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Indeed, he mentioned in his acceptance speech the importance of combating climate change. We look forward very much to a more positive American policy towards global co-operation in combating climate change.

Lord Stirrup: My Lords, can the Minister reassure the House that Her Majesty’s Government will work with the second Obama Administration to ensure that when the Afghan national security forces take on sole responsibility for security lead in their own country,

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they will be given all necessary support by NATO and will not be left wholly in the lurch, as seems to be the proposition at the moment?

Lord Wallace of Saltaire: My Lords, I am sure the noble Lord is well aware that the British are already in active discussions about providing training for officers in the Afghan national security forces and we are working with all other NATO forces within ISAF to ensure that there is a smooth handover.


Civil Aviation Bill

Report

3.35 pm

Clause 1 : CAA’s general duty

Amendment 1

Moved by Earl Attlee

1: Clause 1, page 2, line 13, at end insert—

“(ca) the desirability of each holder of a licence under this Chapter being able to take reasonable measures to reduce, control or mitigate the adverse environmental effects of the airport to which the licence relates, facilities used or intended to be used in connection with that airport (“associated facilities”) and aircraft using that airport,”

Earl Attlee: My Lords, in moving Amendment 1, I shall speak also to Amendments 4, 7 and 9.

Aviation and the environment have been raised throughout the Bill’s proceedings both here and in another place, and rightly so. It is impossible to separate these important matters. Noble Lords who were present at the relevant Committee sitting may recall that I had some sympathy with several of the amendments regarding environmental matters and undertook to give detailed consideration to the points raised with a view to returning to them. That is why I am pleased to move these amendments today which, if accepted, will introduce an environmental supplementary duty to the CAA’s airport economic regulation functions in Chapter 1 of the Bill.

I am also aware that noble Lords opposite have tabled some amendments that look to address environmental issues. These include two amendments that seek to amend the amendments that I am going to speak to right now. I would like to take the opportunity to respond to those once I have heard noble Lords’ arguments rather than pre-empt them.

I now turn to the government amendments. Amendment 1 would add to the list of matters to which the CAA must have regard when performing its duties in Clause 1(1) and 1(2). However, I wish to make it clear that this supplementary duty does not override the CAA’s primary duty at Clauses 1(1) and 1(2). The primary duty for the CAA to carry out its functions in Chapter 1 in a manner that it considers will further the interests of passengers and cargo owners in the provision of airport operation services is central to the reforms set out in this Bill, and the Government have always wished to preserve this. It was also the policy intent of the previous Administration. This means that the CAA should carry out its functions in a manner that furthers those interests. In doing so,

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it must have regard to the desirability of licence holders being able to take steps to mitigate relevant adverse environmental effects.

Amendment 4 sets out a non-exhaustive list of environmental effects as referred to in Amendment 1, including, among other listed matters, substances, noise, vibration, emissions and the effects of works carried out at the airport. Amendment 7 would add an equivalent environmental supplementary duty to the list of matters to which the Secretary of State must have regard when discharging functions under Chapter 1 and under some provisions in Chapter 3. Amendment 9 ensures that the same non-exhaustive definition of “environmental effects” is applied under the Secretary of State’s duties as for under the CAA’s duties.

The intention of these amendments is to provide clarity that in exercising its functions under Chapter 1 of the Bill, in accordance with its Clause 1 duties, the CAA must have regard to the desirability of a regulated airport operator being able to take reasonable measures to reduce, control or mitigate adverse environmental effects that are generated by the activity of the airport and aircraft using the airport to which the licence relates. They also provide clarity that the reasonable costs of environmental measures taken by licence holders may continue to be taken into account in the regulatory settlement where the measures are in the interests of passengers and owners of cargo in the provision of airport operation services.

We have always been clear that airport operators, whether or not they are subject to economic regulation, should be able to invest in the appropriate environmental measures. For example, if a non-regulated airport undertook investment in environmental measures that benefit passengers, the CAA will be able to look to this and approve the reasonable similar investment in the regulatory settlement at a regulated airport.

The Government do not believe that the absence of an environmental supplementary duty would prevent the CAA from approving environmental investment where this is in the passengers’ and cargo owners’ interests. However, following detailed consideration of the matter, I believe that there is benefit in making this clear in the Bill. Certainly, the Bill should not be seen as placing a restriction on investment in environmental measures at licensed airports where these benefit passengers and freight owners in the provision of airport operation services.

I can also assure your Lordships that time has been taken to ensure that the drafting does not have the capacity to create distorting effects by putting greater obligations on regulated airports relative to non-regulated airports. For example, a regulated airport should not be required to spend on environmental measures where a competitive airport would not do so, because this could create market distortions by placing greater burdens on regulated airports than non-regulated airports.

I remind your Lordships that this environmental supplementary duty is not the only environmental provision within the Bill. Clause 84 provides that the CAA must publish or arrange for the publication of such environmental information as the CAA considers appropriate. Nor is the Bill the only vehicle through

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which the environmental effects of aviation are considered and addressed. The draft aviation policy framework, which the Government intend to finalise by March 2013, lays out the objective of ensuring that the aviation sector makes a significant and cost-effective contribution towards reducing global emissions. It describes the strategy for tackling aviation’s climate change impacts at an international, EU and national level.

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.

I look forward to hearing the arguments put forward by noble Lords opposite regarding their own amendments. I beg to move.

3.45 pm

Amendment 2 (to Amendment 1)

Moved by Lord Davies of Oldham

2: Clause 1, line 2, leave out “desirability of each holder of a licence under this Chapter being” and insert “need to secure that each holder of a licence under this Chapter is”

Lord Davies of Oldham: My Lords, Amendment 2 seeks to amend the government amendment which the noble Earl, Lord Attlee, has commended to the House. I commend his work to the House, too, because he has responded to the pressure exerted in Committee about the failure of the Bill to address significantly the role of aviation and the regulated airports in relation to the environment. Environmental issues are high on the nation’s agenda and the contribution of aviation in this regard is of considerable concern. The Opposition have sought to work constructively to improve the Bill and I am grateful to the Minister for his attempts to do so.


I do not shy away from the fact that, were his amendments carried, they would represent an improvement to the Bill, but not significant enough an improvement for the issue concerned. After all, the Government constantly seek to bask in their green credentials, but in recent months, tensions have been exposed as they wrestle with the practicalities of the green agenda. The nation is conscious of the fact that a certain amount of backsliding has been going on. That showed itself in the support offered to home insulation and in the clash between Ministers in the Department of Energy and Climate Change when the Secretary of State was effectively forced to correct the position adopted by a junior Minister on the issue of wind farms.

Of course, on the issue of aviation, we are all too aware of dither and delay. We all know that the most significant issue of all facing the Government is the future of airports in the south-east and how they are meant to cope with the demand predictions of the future. This issue—I refer in particular to the graphic

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case of London Heathrow—has been kicked into the long grass of a post-election report. Sir Howard Davies is not to produce his analysis of what needs to be done until after the next general election.

The Bill had its origins under the previous Administration and under that Administration it was clearly indicated that there would be significant concern about aviation as regards the environment and that the Bill would set out to make provisions to meet the necessary responsibilities. We were to expect clarity in the Bill, yet we seem to have the same evasion in the Bill as we have seen with regard to other crucial areas of policy.

Lord Trefgarne: My Lords, my noble friend has moved Amendment 1 and the noble Lord, Lord Davies, has moved Amendment 2. Amendment 2 may have some merit to it but I am having some difficulty in connecting his speech to the amendment.

Lord Davies of Oldham: My Lords, I was coming to that. The noble Lord has anticipated my very next sentence. It was necessary to identify the context because that explains why, on a consensual Bill, on which we have sought to work with the Government to improve the Bill and on which we recognise the efforts of the Government represented in Amendment 1, there is still a crucial area of difference. The government amendment is expressed in terms of the desirability of each holder of a licence. Power does not seek to emphasise desirability; power seeks to define will: what the Government want to see happen, not what they would like to see happen, as if in some way they can rely on a general response of good will. Of course, in many areas they can, but this is an area of crucial aviation policy with regard to airports. Our amendment to the government amendment says that, in place of a fairly wishy-washy concept of desiring that things should happen, there should be an obligation.

That issue is clear enough, and important enough, for us to press this issue despite the good will of the Minister and the efforts to respond. The response is too mealy-mouthed to achieve the objectives that this Bill should achieve with regard to the protection and improvement of the environment. It will become clear during the proceedings today that on many aspects of the Bill we agree with a great deal of what the Government are doing. However, in this area, the government amendment does not stand the test. That is why I have tabled this amendment. I beg to move.

Earl Cathcart: My Lords, I am by and large happy with the government amendments in this group and will talk particularly to Amendments 1 and 7. The wording is not precisely what we asked for, but my noble friend Lord Attlee has clearly listened to the arguments expressed in Committee, on all sides, and has gone a long way to addressing these concerns.

I will say something on Amendments 2 and 8 in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Davies. I share his concern that “desirability” is rather limp—I think the noble Lord used the word “wishy-washy”. I would much rather have seen the word “duty” in there, as I feel we all have a duty to the environment in whatever

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we do and the aviation industry should be no exception. I would like to have seen the licence holder having a duty, using the words of the government amendment,

“to take reasonable measures to reduce, control or mitigate the adverse environmental effects of the airport”.

However, that is not where we are. The Government have used the word “desirability” in their amendment, for the reason given by my noble friend Lord Attlee, and I do not suppose that they are inclined to accept any amendment to that.

Is the Government’s amendment fit for the purpose that we argued for in Committee? I believe that it is. Although there is no mention that the licence holder should have a duty to have regard to the impact of airports on local communities, which is something that I argued for in Committee, I believe that these amendments will deal with the impact of airports on the environment. Importantly, these amendments will provide the CAA with the flexibility it needs to allow regulated airports to invest in sensible measures to reduce the environmental impact of their operations, without fear of legal challenge from an airline, whose main preoccupation, in this regard, is simply to minimise airport charges. That was the kernel of the argument in Committee, and my noble friend Lord Attlee has addressed it. I welcome these government amendments as they stand, and I thank the Minister and his team for listening and responding.

The Earl of Caithness: My Lords, I apologise to the House for not being able to take part in the Committee stage of this Bill, although I have read with interest what was said. I congratulate my noble friend on bringing forward these amendments. They have gone a very long way towards meeting the concerns raised.

The noble Lord, Lord Davies of Oldham, understands this House, and I am sure that he will make representations to his party that it is really against the good will of the House to put down nothing but starred amendments from the Opposition. He was a workhorse of the previous Government and I know that he appreciated, as did the House, that amendments put down in good time lead to a better debate than those put down at the last minute. I exonerate him totally in this matter—I do not think that it is his fault. I believe that he has been overruled on this and I am sure that if he had had his way, he would have put the amendments down at an earlier stage.

With regard to the arguments on Amendment 2, the noble Lord rather lost me, as he was not as succinct as usual in putting forward his case. From what I managed to understand, I believe that he does have a point—this was echoed by my noble friend Lord Cathcart—in that we need to make the wording a little stronger. Will my noble friend Lord Attlee look at that again?

The Countess of Mar: My Lords, I support the noble Lord, Lord Davies. I have never found “desirability” in legislation before and I have been here quite a long time. I find it rather strange. It does not fit with the beginnings of the three preceding paragraphs in this clause, which all talk about “the need to promote” or “the need to secure”, and I believe that we should keep the phraseology in line with what is already in the Bill. Therefore the noble Lord, Lord Davies, has my support.

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Lord Rotherwick: My Lords, I support the Minister in his amendments. Although one might be seduced into agreeing with the amendments of the noble Lord, Lord Davies, there is a balance to be found here. It is interesting to note what has happened when past Governments have overregulated, or put in place harsher regulation than their competitors. One has only to look to the agricultural sector to see what happened to our pig industry and our veal industry: they went abroad. We are not doing our environment any favours. The carbon footprint will just move from our shores to our competitors.

Baroness McIntosh of Hudnall: My Lords, I add my gratitude to that expressed by various Members of this House for the movement that the noble Earl has made in respect of environmental regulation. But I want to pick up the point that was made by the noble Earl, Lord Cathcart, who focused on the word “duty”. My recollection of what the noble Earl said when moving his amendment was that he used the word “duty” in relation to what he anticipated would be the effect of the amendment. Can he either correct me in the impression that I have formed, or when he comes to sum up, explain how the desirability of these environmental matters can actually be enforced by the regulator? To those of us who do not have direct experience of how regulation actually operates, this feels like warm words with not quite enough behind them. I say that without wishing in any way to undervalue the contribution that the Minister has made in going as far as he has.

4 pm

The Lord Bishop of Chester: My Lords, in this House I intermittently find that the words of St Augustine come to my mind: “Lord, make me chaste, but not yet”. This is such an occasion and the use of “desirability” raised my interest, as it did of the noble Baroness when she saw it. When the Minister responds to the debate, I would like him to give us one or two examples of what these words might mean. What are,

“reasonable measures to reduce, control or mitigate the adverse environmental effects”,

when aeroplanes have a major adverse effect simply by being aeroplanes? It would be helpful to know just what obligation is meant, whether it be desirability, a duty or whatever, because I am rather unclear what impact any of these statements will have.

Lord Trefgarne: My Lords, like most noble Lords I think that the amendment moved by my noble friend has gone a long way to meet the concerns that were expressed at the earlier stage of this Bill. However, when the noble Lord, Lord Davies, eventually got to the purport of his amendment it, too, had some merit and I hope that my noble friend will feel able to consider it. Taken together, the two amendments represent a measurable improvement to the Bill and I hope that they can be agreed to.

Lord Soley: I, too, recognise and understand that the Minister has tried to meet concerns. In a way, the noble Countess, Lady Mar, put her finger on the point here: throughout most of Clause 1(3), “need” is used,

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so to introduce “desirability”, as the right reverend Prelate also indicated, makes its meaning unclear. I have one simple question for the Minister. What impact in law does it have to put in a clause which uses “desirability”? I am not sure that in law it would have any meaning.

Earl Attlee: My Lords, I thank the noble Lord, Lord Davies of Oldham, for his measured and eloquent explanation of the purpose and effect of his amendments in this group. The noble Lord touched on London airports and I am grateful for his wise decision to adhere to the subject of the Bill in his various amendments and resist the temptation to table an amendment about Heathrow airport. However, I have some difficulty with his amendments.

I urge noble Lords to consider the merits of the amendments that the Government have tabled to address the specific concern of the impact of the airport economic regulatory regime on the environment. Amendments 2 and 8 seek to amend the Government’s amendments, which themselves add an environmental supplementary duty for the CAA and the Secretary of State in respect of their airport economic regulatory functions. The Government have broadly proposed a duty such that the CAA and the Secretary of State have regard to,

“the desirability of each holder of a licence … being able to take reasonable measures to reduce, control or mitigate the adverse environmental effects”.

In answer to the noble Lord, Lord Soley, if he reads my initial comments I think it will answer the question that he was posing. If it does not and there is more I can add, I will obviously write to noble Lords but I am confident in my position.

The amendments in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Davies of Oldham, seek to change the wording slightly so that the CAA and the Secretary of State must have regard to the “need to secure that” a licence holder is,

“able to take reasonable measures to reduce, control or mitigate the adverse environmental effects”.

I am grateful to the noble Lords for tabling these amendments as it provides the opportunity to acknowledge the importance of allowing appropriate investment at airports to mitigate their environmental impacts and those of activities associated with them, where to do so furthers the interests of passengers and freight owners in the provision of airport operation services.

It is crucial that airport operators, whether or not they are subject to economic regulation, should be able to invest in appropriate environmental measures. This is, without doubt, something this Government support. There was a concern frequently raised in the House of Commons, as well as in Grand Committee. However, it is crucial that obligations should not be put on some airports but not on others, depending on their economic regulatory status. Our position is that a licensed airport operator should not be unable to recover through the regulatory settlement costs arising from undertaking environmental investment where an unregulated competitive airport would choose to incur similar costs for similar purposes. After all, the overall aim of economic regulation is often cited as delivering the outcomes that would occur in a competitive market.

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Therefore, it is my belief that environmental investment that is in passengers’ interests in the provision of airport operation services should be capable of being included in an airports regulatory settlement. In answer to the detailed question asked by the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Chester, I would prefer to write to him, but I suspect that my answer will hinge on the point that this part of the Bill is concerned with the regulation of airports, not of airlines and aircraft. If noble Lords want to check up, they should carefully read my letter. In answer to the question asked by the noble Baroness, Lady McIntosh of Hudnall, we believe that the government amendments are clear. I hope that noble Lords will agree that Amendment 1 goes to the heart of their concerns and that these further changes are unnecessary. I therefore hope that the noble Lord, Lord Davies of Oldham, will be willing to withdraw his amendment.

Lord Davies of Oldham: My Lords, I apologise to the House if I was rather long-winded in the introduction, but as I was slow to start, I therefore hope to be succinct to finish. The debate has clarified, even if I did not succeed in doing so, exactly the issue at stake. Let me make it absolutely clear that we are not asking for the CAA, as an economic regulator, to have any other powers that other economic regulators, such as Ofwat or Ofgas, enjoy. We are merely pressing the Government to show proper concern for the environment. I praised the Minister for the extent to which he has moved down that path, but 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 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. We need to be precise about—

Earl Attlee: The noble Lord, Lord Davies of Oldham, is very insistent and persuasive. He is clearly convinced that his amendments will improve the Bill. My Bill team manager will probably kill me, but I can accept Amendment 2 and Amendment 8, which is consequential on Amendment 2. Both these amendments amend Amendment 1, but I would like to make it clear that only Amendment 8 is consequential.

Lord Davies of Oldham: My Lords, I am astonishingly grateful.

Amendment 2 (to Amendment 1) agreed.

Amendment 1, as amended, agreed.


Amendment 3

Moved by Baroness Worthington

3: Clause 1, page 2, line 17, at end insert—

“( ) the need to work with NATS, the Secretary of State, the Committee on Climate Change and air transport service providers towards meeting the United Kingdom’s greenhouse gas emission reduction obligations as set out in the UK’s Carbon Budget, including the UK’s share of international aviation emissions,”

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Baroness Worthington: My Lords, I praise the Government for listening and taking on board the very serious concerns we have about integrating environmental concerns into the work of the CAA. This part of the Bill relates to the regulated airports, but this amendment addresses a specific aspect of environmental legislation and regulation, which is working towards meeting legally binding carbon budgets. It inserts a new clause that requires the CAA to have regard to the need to work with air traffic control, the Secretary of State, the Committee on Climate Change and airport transport providers to help to meet the UK’s greenhouse gas reduction obligations.

We single out this issue of greenhouse gas reductions because, as noble Lords will be aware, aviation has an odd status within the Climate Change Act—domestic emissions are in, international emissions are not. We know that the Government are under some pressure to clarify the situation and that they have, under the terms of the Act, until the end of this year to make a decision on whether to put international aviation into the budgets.

A specific clause making reference to greenhouse gas targets is necessary to demonstrate that we do not see the addressing of climate change as simply an add-on—a desirable thing—but as something that is essential. It is fundamental to the future of this industry and sector. The amendment outlines how we would want the CAA to work in the future, under the regime of the carbon budgets, and who it should work with. We hope that this will be a useful additional part of the Bill, to clarify that greenhouse gases are a huge issue. The three regulated airports are significant sources of greenhouse gases as are the airlines and the transport service operators which operate out of them.

This is an important issue. Aviation currently occupies an odd, different place in our climate change legislation. I hope the Government grasp this opportunity to make it absolutely clear that this sector will play its full part in helping us reach our climate change targets. I beg to move.

Lord Clinton-Davis: I find it quite astonishing that, as far as I know, the Bill makes no mention of greenhouse gas emissions. It is vital that an industry which is often attacked for not having sufficient regard to environmental considerations should not be so exposed, and including the amendment would have that effect. The Minister has been very generous so far. Will he continue that generosity?

The Earl of Caithness: My Lords, I am not certain that I agree with the noble Baroness’s argument that the amendment should be in this part of the Bill. Although I understand exactly the valid point she is making, the amendment sits pretty awkwardly with the rest of this part of the Bill, in Chapter 1, which we are discussing. It does not make good law suddenly to put in a clause like this which is so out of place.

My other concern—and here I admit that, because of the short notice of these amendments, I have not done the amount of work that I would like to have done; that is one of the many disadvantages of the behaviour of tabling amendments late—is that the proposal restricts who the CAA has to talk to. It has

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to talk to NATS, the Secretary of State, the Committee on Climate Change and air transport service providers. I wonder whether there are others who the CAA should talk to. If it is written down in law that these are the people, it does not have to talk to the other groups.

Although I understand the noble Baroness’s point, this is the wrong place for an amendment of this type. However, the principle behind it is surely right. It might be better if one discussed this and looked at a way of getting it into the Bill in another format and another place.

4.15 pm

Earl Attlee: My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Baroness for her explanation of this amendment, which we debated at length in Grand Committee and in the other place—although there is no reason why we should not look at it in detail again. The noble Lord, Lord Clinton-Davis, remarked that the Bill does not cover greenhouse gases, which, of course, is right. However, the reason is that that is not in the Long Title and that the main function of this part of the Bill is regulation of the airports. It does not deal directly with the problem of greenhouse gas emissions, but that does not devalue the importance of the issue.

I cannot accept this amendment for two reasons. Let me try to explain why. First, the amendment is unnecessary. Both the Government and the CAA already take environmental matters very seriously and the Government’s approach is to ensure that the aviation sector makes a significant and cost-effective contribution towards reducing global emissions. The emphasis therefore is on global action as the best means of securing this objective, with action at European level after this and action at national level where it is appropriate and justified in terms of benefits and costs.

The noble Baroness set out her view of the operation of the Climate Change Act, which requires the Government to set out the circumstances and extent to which emissions from international aviation should be included in domestic greenhouse gas emissions targets before the end of 2012, or explain to Parliament why they have not done so. In April this year, the Committee on Climate Change advised that aviation emissions should indeed be included. The Government are considering this advice, along with other available evidence, and will make a decision as soon as this process has been completed. In the aviation policy framework consultation document the Government recognised that if airport capacity is allowed to grow, the aviation industry must continue to tackle its noise impact. The Government consulted on an objective to limit and, where possible, reduce the number of people in the UK significantly affected by aircraft noise.

The consultation document sought views on a variety of proposals to incentivise noise reduction and mitigation, encourage better engagement between airports and local communities and ensure greater transparency to facilitate an informed debate. These included more realistic noise limits linked to penalties which incentivise noise reduction and reflect the severity of noise disturbance, complemented by more independent monitoring and enforcement; effective use of non-regulatory instruments, such as differential landing

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fees; the development of noise envelopes around airports to incentivise noise reduction and share the benefits of technological improvements; and further use of noise abatement operational procedures. The consultation closed on 31 October and the final aviation policy framework is due to be adopted by March 2013. It will be informed by this extensive consultation.

Not only is Amendment 3 unnecessary, I fear that it is also technically flawed. Although I appreciate the noble Baroness’s aim that the listed parties should work together with the CAA towards meeting the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions targets, Part 1 is not the right vehicle to address her underlying aim. As your Lordships will be aware—I think that the noble Baroness recognises this—Part 1 deals with the economic regulation of our major airports and the CAA has various functions under this part applicable to this objective. My noble friend Lord Caithness queried whether the noble Baroness has placed her amendment in the correct part of the Bill.

The CAA’s general duties in Clause 1 govern how the CAA should go about carrying out these functions. As noble Lords are doubtless well aware, these duties are focused on furthering passengers’ and cargo owners’ interests in the provision of airport operation services at the airport. Against that background, it does not seem clear to me how the CAA would usefully go about using these airport economic regulation functions to work with NATS and others to meet the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions targets.

If there was a need for such a duty—I hope that I have persuaded noble Lords that there is not—it would be neither sensible nor fair to apply it to the regulation of just these three airports, particularly as the majority of the aviation sector’s contribution to greenhouse gas emissions does not come directly from the activity of the airport operators but from the activity of airlines, which this part does not have a remit over.

I hope I have convinced the noble Baroness that this amendment is unnecessary; and if not, I hope she appreciates the flaws that I have highlighted. If that is the case, I hope she will be willing to withdraw her amendment.

Baroness Worthington: My Lords, I thank the Minister for his considered response. There is a great sense that there is something lacking in the Bill as a whole—that climate change and greenhouse gas in particular are largely absent. Given everything that we know about climate change and the urgency of the problem, that is a failing of the Bill as it stands. However, I have listened to the arguments that this is perhaps not the right place to make this amendment. I urge the Government to listen to my noble friend’s comments that perhaps there is still time for the Government to put climate change at the heart of policy-making and to bring forward another amendment to do that in the general duties part of the Bill.

Earl Attlee: Unfortunately, I can make no undertaking to come back on this at a later stage in the Bill.

Baroness Worthington: I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment 3 withdrawn.

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Amendment 4

Moved by Earl Attlee

4: Clause 1, page 2, line 30, at end insert—

“(5A) For the purposes of subsection (3)(ca) the environmental effects of the airport, associated facilities and aircraft include—

(a) substances, energy, noise, vibration or waste, including emissions, discharges and other releases into the environment,

(b) visual or other disturbance to the public,

(c) effects from works carried out at the airport or the associated facilities or to extend the airport or the associated facilities, and

(d) effects from services provided at the airport or the associated facilities.”

Amendment 4 agreed.

Amendment 5

Moved by Lord Stephen

5: After Clause 1, insert the following new Clause—

“CAA’s economic duty

(1) The CAA, in carrying out its functions, must have regard to the economic and social impact of services, provided by airport operators and users of airport facilities, on the UK as a whole.

(2) In performing its functions under subsection (1) the CAA must evaluate any changes to regulations governing airport operators and prepare a report for the Secretary of State.”

Lord Stephen: This amendment is about the very important economic and social impact of air services. It is a very live and current issue. By way of background, I should explain that Nestrans, the North East of Scotland Transport Partnership, and Hitrans, the Highlands and Islands Transport Partnership, met at the end of September with the CAA to discuss these issues. They have been lobbying on this issue along with Northern Ireland. Part of the reason for their lobbying is that air links are absolutely vital to business and economic growth in these regions. It is worth mentioning that a rail journey from here to Inverness takes around eight hours and from Aberdeen to London it is more than seven hours. There are others better qualified than me to explain the journey time from Northern Ireland.

In the discussion at the end of September, these bodies requested that the CAA’s remit be extended from just reviewing consumer interest and the concept of “all passengers”, which gets mentioned a lot by the CAA—all passengers carrying equal value—to one of a more balanced approach that recognises a broader range of issues, including economic impact, social cohesion, and the EU policy of reducing peripherality. Separately—and this is not part of the amendment—they are also anxious to explore what the Department for Transport could do in terms of the use of PSOs and PSO protection for vital regional routes to the London hub, to prevent them being substituted by even more profitable long-haul services. This already happens extensively across Europe, but it is not something that the Department for Transport has gone with, despite its powers. When I was Transport Minister in Scotland, I was well aware of the extensive network of PSOs inside Scotland, but there are none from Scotland to

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London—and, indeed, introducing such a PSO would no doubt not be without controversy outside Scotland, in other parts of the UK.

That is the background. It is topical and live because, on the same day, the CAA released a letter to the chief executive of the Chamber of Commerce in Aberdeen & Grampian, Bob Collier. It says:

“In March 2011, Flybe complained to the CAA that Gatwick’s charging structure”—

this is not to do with slots; it is to do with the charging structure—

“unreasonably discriminated against operators of small aircraft at the airport in favour of larger aircraft on long-haul routes. We have now issued our provisional decision following our investigation. We have provisionally concluded that Gatwick airport’s objective of increasing the efficient use of its single runway justified the changes to its charging structure. We recognise that some passengers are likely to be harmed by Gatwick’s changes but our provisional conclusion was that any such adverse effects would be balanced by benefits to other passengers. We do not have legal powers to ensure that an airport’s charging structure supports wider goals such as regional policy, which was the main concern of your letter”.

As a consequence of that decision, just a few weeks ago Flybe withdrew the Aberdeen to London Gatwick route. That is on top of the loss of the Inverness to Heathrow route in 2008. These are real pressures with real consequences. The impact on regional economic growth is very important for us as a nation. For example, the oil and gas industry—the energy industry—that is centred on Aberdeen employs 40,000 people in Aberdeen and the north-east of Scotland directly, another 80,000 across Scotland and an estimated 400,000 across the UK, all focused on that energy industry that has its centre, heart and headquarters in Aberdeen. There is, therefore, a real multiplier effect if we can get regional growth happening. The oil and gas business has been one of the very few drivers of economic growth over the past couple of years. I am disappointed that more sectors have not delivered the same success and growth.

The CAA and its “all passengers” remit is the focus of this amendment. It seems to me, although I will be happy to be corrected by the Minister, that no distinction is made between a planeload of tourists going to Spain and a planeload with the same or a slightly smaller number of business people going overseas to win business. There is a reasonable argument that there could and should be such a distinction. An environmental remit is rightly being introduced in the Bill, so why should there not also be an economic and social dimension framed and shaped to reflect government policy? I believe that that remit could be included in the Bill. Let us give the CAA the legal powers to do more to support the UK economy. If that is what Ministers wish and if this amendment also stimulates discussion on the use of PSOs and a more proactive regional policy, perhaps in support of the approach suggested in the recently published report of the noble Lord, Lord Heseltine, then in my view so much the better because we have a problem right here, right now and action is needed on this issue now. I beg to move.

Lord Soley: I am very sympathetic to the comments of the noble Lord, Lord Stephen. Indeed, I have said on many occasions that the problem we have with the

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lack of expansion in the south-east is mainly the impact on the regions of the United Kingdom. The three cities most at risk from lack of expansion in the south-east are Belfast, Aberdeen and Inverness. They are the most squeezed. I am sure the Minister will say that this is not the place for an amendment of this nature. He is already nodding. I am not surprised as I think that that is a fair analysis of the structure of the Bill. However, the noble Lord, Lord Stephen, has given us an important opportunity, which we should not duck, to recognise that the regions of the United Kingdom need access to the global market and do not have sufficient access at the moment. I have named three of the cities, but I could go on to mention Bristol, Exeter or Cardiff in the west. A number of them are hit by this problem. He and probably a lot of the country will be relieved that I do not intend to wax lyrical about the need to expand Heathrow or an alternative but, believe me, we need that report from Howard Davies very rapidly. We are in serious trouble.

4.30 pm

The Minister kindly circulated the letter he sent in response to the letter from Kevin Stewart, the MSP for Aberdeen Central, which states:

“Access to Heathrow as the main UK hub is hugely important for the oil and gas industry”,

which is particularly important around Aberdeen, and which the noble Lord, Lord Stephen, mentioned. He is absolutely right. Inverness and that region also need growth because they obtain a lot of work related to the oil and gas industry. Expansion of a hub airport in the south, which in the short term means Heathrow, is therefore important and has to be given serious consideration.

In response to that letter, the Minister rightly and encouragingly states that he does,

“not believe this matter is best addressed through the Bill,”

but that he,

“would be happy to meet with any member of the House who wishes to discuss the longer-term options to address regional connectivity”.

I am sure that he means that and it is important.

I wish to make another point in relation to Kevin Stewart’s letter. He is right and has hit the nail on the head. What puzzles me—I say this knowing of the debate in Scotland on independence—is that in the House of Commons his party has consistently voted against the expansion of Heathrow. Angus Robertson, the MP for Moray, which more or less covers the Inverness area in terms of the link to the airport, has also been consistently against Heathrow expansion. I can understand the argument—although it is a poor one—that Scotland will be better off outside the UK. My strong hope is that the majority of the British people will take the view that Scotland is not better off outside the UK and that we are all much stronger together. However, my point is that it is utter madness if you believe that you can take Scotland outside the UK and then not have a premier hub airport that your other airports and major cities have a link to. It is economic suicide, whether for a Scotland in the UK or out of it.

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The noble Lord, Lord Stephen, made his point powerfully and I see the noble Lord, Lord Empey, nodding because, again, Belfast is in an exposed position. We cannot make a success of our manufacturing and service industries unless we have a premier hub airport with enough slots to enable the regions of the United Kingdom to reach out to European and global markets.

I hope that in his response, the noble Earl, Lord Attlee, will make it clear, rather as he hints in his letter, that he is acutely aware of the needs of the regions. Although this may not be the right place for the amendment of the noble Lord, Lord Stephen, I hope that the Minister will make it clear that we are acutely aware of the need for the regions to expand. The SNP simply voting against expansion at Heathrow or anything else does not answer the problem. The answer for the regions is to have a premier hub airport through which they can give their markets access to the wider world and have import/export opportunities, which are widely open in the rest of Europe. I hope that the Minister, in his answer, even though I am sure he will not be able to accept the amendment, will indicate strongly that this is an urgent need that the country as a whole must face up to.

Lord Empey: My Lords, it will come as no surprise that I am sympathetic to the amendment in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Stephen, albeit that I accept that it may not be in the right place today, as the noble Lord, Lord Soley, said. However, it chimes with what I have been trying to do over the past 18 months. As I said earlier to the noble Earl and the noble Lord, Lord Davies of Oldham, we will have the pleasure, on the graveyard shift on Friday afternoon, of discussing my Private Member’s Bill, the Airports (Amendment) Bill, which is designed to deal with this issue, but in a different way.

Things in my region are fine right now—there are 10 or 11 flights a day to Heathrow—but the airline sector is very volatile. Already, Mr O’Leary of Ryanair is trying to buy out Aer Lingus, while Etihad has taken a small stake and is looking to increase it; they are not known for their interest in the regions. The point made by the noble Lord, Lord Soley, is that there is a key economic driver here. I have spent quite a lot of time over the years in politics and economic development. One thing is absolutely clear: if you cannot get businesspeople quickly to and from a region, the opportunities to develop economically are severely restricted. People will not go all round the countryside for hours, waiting to get flights. They need to come to a hub and get quickly to a region. Any other route is just a huge obstacle in their way. That is just common sense.

I have attempted to deal with this at two levels, both within the UK and at a European level, because there is a major European component to this. I know that I will have the opportunity to share this with the noble Earl on Friday, but a major piece of work has been undertaken in Europe; by sheer coincidence, it happens to be working in parallel on reviewing its whole slot activity and related matters. I am pleased that the European Parliament, because it accepts the Europe

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of the regions, understands and is sympathetic to a lot of these issues. We are gradually moving in a positive direction in Europe, to the extent that the Government will not ultimately be in the position of saying, “Well, we may be sympathetic to what you need, but we cannot do it because it is against European law, and we will have to get that law changed in parallel”.

As the noble Lord, Lord Soley, said, in quoting the letter from the Minister, the connectivity issue is at the core of regional development policy and has been for donkey’s years. That is why we have regional policy in the UK. For years, Europe has been putting large amounts of money into the regions, to improve their connectivity and their infrastructure. There is not much point in doing that if we cannot then fly from a region to a major hub; all the investment is wasted. At least in Scotland, and to some extent in the south-west, there are alternatives, albeit slow ones—that is, road or rail. In our part of the country, we do not have the luxury of that option. In practice, it is basically air or nothing. That is the dilemma that we are faced with. So while I have a lot of sympathy with what the noble Lord, Lord Stephen, is trying to do, I suspect that he will probably suffer a technical knockout this afternoon. Nevertheless, his heart and his aspirations are in the right place and I hope that the sentiments expressed in the Minister’s letter will be followed up positively.

Lord Rosser: My Lords, this amendment is fairly wide-ranging in calling for the CAA to,

“have regard to the economic and social impact of services, provided by airport operators and users of airport facilities, on the UK as a whole”.

In moving his amendment, the noble Lord, Lord Stephen, referred in particular to services between London and Aberdeen. That is presumably the issue that has primarily prompted this amendment. We are aware of the concerns about the present arrangements for determining slots and charges at airports and about the operation of routes in such a way that cities such as Aberdeen may lose out, which would not be to the economic advantage of the UK either, bearing in mind the importance of Aberdeen and north-east Scotland in the global oil and gas market.

Reference has already been made to the letter from the Minister in which he expressed some sympathy with the concerns that have been raised. However, he went on to say that he did not think that this Bill was the appropriate vehicle to address them. Interestingly, he also said that he did not believe that air services between London and Aberdeen were under threat since it was a commercially attractive route for airlines. I will not go through the other points made in the Minister’s recent letter. However, as he said that he had some sympathy with the concerns raised, I am sure that he will want to put on the public record through his response to this debate what action the Government feel should be taken by others and by them to address the issue that has been drawn to the attention of your Lordships’ House through the amendment.

Earl Attlee: My Lords, I thank my noble friend Lord Stephen for tabling the amendment, which provides us with an opportunity to discuss the deeply important

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issue of regional connectivity. I certainly have sympathy for the underlying issues, and I hope that I will not have to deal a “technical knockout” to my noble friend. He mentioned rail journey times. I hope that he will join me, the noble Lord, Lord Adonis, and, I suspect, most of the opposition Front Bench in supporting HS2 when we come to debate it.

The amendment would impose wide and unclear obligations on the CAA, as the noble Lord, Lord Rosser, observed. It could be construed as requiring the CAA, when performing any of its regulatory functions, to take into account the economic and social impact not only of the services provided by UK airports but of the people who use them on the entire UK. However, the duties in Clause 1 of the Bill relate only to the CAA’s economic regulation functions. While the intention of the amendment is not clear, I am aware of my noble friend Lord Stephen’s particular concern over connectivity between Aberdeen and Heathrow. The noble Lord, Lord Soley, suggested that this was not the place for this matter. Fortunately, in your Lordships’ House we have great flexibility to discuss whatever we want. I always find the noble Lord’s contributions very illuminating and I am very happy to debate the issue.

The issue of regional connectivity was raised previously in Grand Committee with specific reference to connectivity between Belfast and Heathrow airports. My noble friend referred to the economic activity around Aberdeen, with the oil and gas industry. When I was on holiday in the area, I was definitely aware of that activity. On the issue of connectivity, I will take the opportunity to commend the work of the noble Lord, Lord Empey, who has been extremely active and effective both in Westminster and Brussels on this issue. As the noble Lord observed, he will be promoting his Private Member’s Bill this Friday, and I am sure that he will succeed in breathing life into the Chamber on Friday afternoon.

Noble Lords will be aware that the primary objective of the Bill is to reform the framework for airport economic regulation. However, the amendment appears to apply to all the CAA’s functions, including safety and the enforcement of European consumer protection law. I am sure that that is not my noble friend’s exact intention. For many functions, such as safety, it is not appropriate for the CAA to have regard to economic and social impacts because the safety of an aircraft is of paramount importance. Furthermore, the CAA has well established duties set out in Section 4 of the Civil Aviation Act 1982. These duties are disapplied for some of the CAA’s functions, such as airport economic regulation, where the CAA has alternative duties as set out in Clause 1 of the Bill. It is unclear how the duty contained in the amendment would interact with existing duties. Which set of duties should the CAA prioritise?

Despite these concerns, the duty in the amendment appears to be most relevant to the CAA’s airport economic regulation functions. However, I fear that the amendment would not have the desired effect of improving regional connectivity. Airport economic regulation concerns the regulation of the services provided at an airport by the airport operator, as well as the regulation of the landing fees that the airport operator charges to airlines. The noble Lord made a point

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about landing fees and I will write to him about that. Airport economic regulation is not concerned with the allocation and regulation of landing slots, which are governed by EU law, and an airport operator does not have control over where airlines fly to. Consequently, this Bill is not the right vehicle to address my noble friend’s concerns. In the UK, airlines operate in a commercial market environment and thus it is for an airline to determine what services it operates between Aberdeen and Heathrow, doing so based on its own assessment of the commercial viability of the route. These are not matters for economic regulation. Therefore, seeking to impose a duty like the one in this amendment will not influence which routes airlines decide to operate.

4.45 pm

There are also EU regulations that govern the allocation, transfer and exchange of slots at Heathrow Airport and other slot co-ordinated airports in the UK. The UK Government and the Civil Aviation Authority have no role in this process. We will no doubt go into greater detail on that on Friday. However, as part of the EU’s better airports package, the European Commission has proposed amendments to EU slot regulations aimed at making the slot allocation process more transparent and efficient.

In the context of this review, the UK Department for Transport has highlighted the issue of regional connectivity with the European Commission and sought the inclusion of measures in addition to the existing public service obligation mechanism to help to secure the ongoing provision of air services between congested London airports and Scotland, Northern Ireland and the English regions. However, it has proved challenging to devise a mechanism to protect well trafficked, commercially viable air routes without distorting the aviation market and competition across Europe.

My noble friend talked about the possibility of using a PSO. EU law provides some scope to protect regional air services by allowing member states to impose public service obligations to protect air services to airports serving a peripheral or development region, or on so-called “thin” routes considered vital for a region’s economic and social development. It would be open to a relevant regional or devolved body in Scotland to apply to the Secretary of State for Transport to establish a PSO on an air route between Aberdeen and London, should it feel that a business and legal case can be made that satisfies the European regulation. However, I think that my noble friend recognises some of the difficulties in that approach.

Lord Soley: I understand that and the Minister is right, but I wonder if he could be absolutely clear. This problem would not be a problem if we had expansion at a hub airport in the south-east, wherever it was.

Earl Attlee: Yes, my Lords, I agree with the noble Lord’s analysis. Heathrow is one of the few airports running at 98% capacity, so we have a specific problem that is probably not copied around Europe in exactly the same way.

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It would be for the applicant to seek their own legal advice on the compatibility of any PSO proposals with EU law. If approved, the PSO would permit the ring-fencing of slots at a relevant London airport. Another difficulty is that, by introducing the amendment, the Bill would run counter to the Government’s policy on economic regulation as set out in their Principles for Economic Regulation. These state that the role of economic regulators should be concentrated on protecting the interests of end users and not society as a whole.

Finally, in light of existing traffic levels, there is no reason to believe that the connectivity between Aberdeen and Heathrow is under threat. Additionally, BA CityFlyer operates three daily return flights to London City Airport, and easyJet operates services to Gatwick and Luton airports, although—before the noble Lord, Lord Soley, jumps up—I recognise that people want to go to Heathrow, because it is a hub airport. Recent reports also suggested that Virgin Atlantic was considering starting an Aberdeen-Heathrow service from next March. I hope that my response has given my noble friend the reassurance that he seeks and, if so, that he will consider withdrawing his amendment.

Lord Stephen: I thank the Minister for that detailed and technical explanation. I understand the points that he made. Of course, it is easy to talk about commercial decisions taken by the airlines, but these are taken in a heavily regulated environment, and both Heathrow and Gatwick, in particular, as hub airports, are heavily regulated. It is important to consider all the consequences of the regulatory framework. Some of those consequences are unintended or are worthy of further exploration of the kind that we have given today. We should try to encourage regional economic growth, which will consequently be very important for the future of the UK economy, and I welcome the Minister’s supportive comments.

Obviously, I think that this is a good proposal, which should be supported. However, the argument that the routes between Aberdeen and Heathrow are vibrant is a well made one. For example, 54% of passengers from Aberdeen to Heathrow are business passengers, which is double the percentage from Edinburgh and Glasgow airports; and 23% of Scottish traffic to Heathrow comes from Aberdeen airport despite only 9% or 10% of the Scottish population being served by that airport. So the driver for growth in the success of the energy industry is clear. However, despite that, we have lost a Flybe route to Gatwick. There are important issues here that need to be carefully monitored, with action taken when necessary.

If the Minister was willing to meet to move these issues forward—to explore and find ways of bringing forward a better solution—I would welcome that. Something has to be done and there may be another technical way in which we can achieve it. My simple plea would be, “Let’s do it”. Whether it is to be achieved through the Bill of the noble Lord, Lord Empey, through government exhortation, encouragement or direction of the CAA, or through primary or secondary legislation, let us find a way.

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This is a serious and important issue and we need to see change. On that note, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment 5 withdrawn.


Clause 2 : Secretary of State's general duty

Amendment 6

Moved by Lord Rotherwick

6: Clause 2, page 2, line 37, after “air transport services” insert “and airport operation services”

Lord Rotherwick: My Lords, I shall speak also to Amendment 10 and to Amendment 11, which seeks to add a new clause after Clause 2. Together these three amendments cover the first point of principle that I wish to address at this stage of the Bill. I have given notice to the Government that I wish to decouple my Amendments 23, 26, 28 and 29, to which I intend to speak later.

First, I again declare my interest as an aircraft owner and pilot. Secondly, I declare an interest as a director of the Light Aircraft Association, the UK body which serves the interests of sports and recreational powered flying in the UK, and as vice-president of the General Aviation Alliance, a body that was formed to co-ordinate the regulatory interests of various UK aviation associations representing pilots, aircraft owners and operators in the general and business aviation—GBA—sector.

I am sorry that I have to return to this important subject at this stage of the Bill. I am grateful to my noble friend the Minister for his time and attention since the Bill was considered in Committee, but I have to say to the House that I am not fully persuaded that the Government have entirely grasped the point that I and the vast community of the GBA pilots, owners and operators are trying to make. I shall be moving three groups of amendments today, all of which address aspects of the Bill and its implications which are of vital concern to the GBA community.

Let me preface my more detailed points in respect of those amendments by saying that this Bill is not what we had hoped for. It is a missed opportunity and it is regrettable. The opportunity to reconsider by way of legislation the strategic and regulatory approach to civil aviation, and the GBA sector in particular, has not arisen for decades. The way has been prepared. There have been reviews and reports and the role and functions of the Secretary of State and the CAA have been examined in depth. All of that work seems destined to gather dust. Is that too harsh a criticism? The legislative opportunity will not arise again for many years, I suspect, and this Bill does not provide the scope for the changes that the GBA sector feels is necessary. The CAA initiatives that led to the strategic and regulatory reviews of 2006 demonstrate that the CAA and the Department of Transport have made progress in their relations with the GBA sector. Those reviews were very much a consultation exercise. But listening is one thing; acting is entirely another.

I shall not detain the House with a summary of those reviews and reports, many of which were touched on in Grand Committee. However, I would mention

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just one which has only recently been published, the European General Aviation Safety Strategy. That was prepared by a group appointed to consider a request from the European Aviation Safety Agency—EASA—management board in March 2012 to produce a summary of proposed principles and guidelines to inform the future regulation of general aviation—or general and business aviation as we term it—in Europe. In meeting its remit, that group encountered exactly the same problems that I have with the Bill; namely, its restricted scope. That group, however, took a bold step and widened its view.

I commend to my noble friend this broader and bolder approach and I commend to him and to the House the report and its contents and conclusions. The European General Aviation Safety Strategy identifies key rationales that make it necessary and possible to adopt a specific new approach for GBA. The report concludes that this new approach is an urgent necessity in order to ensure a sustainable development for GBA in Europe and avert a dramatic loss of activity as a result of overregulation. The report affirms that GBA is essential to European excellence in aeronautics and contributes to the current strength of major European airlines and aircraft manufacturers. Yet, in this country, the comprehensive new framework that we had hoped for to replace the outdated Civil Aviation Act 1982 has not been presented to us.

I remind my noble friend of the resolution of the European Union Parliament, EC2008/2134, which I commended to him when my previous attempts to construct a suitable legislative basis for the promotion of GBA were found wanting. This resolution calls upon member states to adopt policies promoting growth and sustainability in GBA. My noble friend assured me—at col. GC 143of Hansardof 27 June 2012—that he would ask for briefing on the resolution. I look forward to him informing the House how it is that the Government intend to respond to that resolution. Has my noble friend been able to hold discussions with the new Minister of State which he gave an undertaking to do at the Committee stage?

My first point of principle is that GBA comprises 96% of UK aviation. My noble friend recognised in Committee the economic and wider importance of the sector. The European report confirms its importance, yet this Bill ignores GBA. It goes no further than the economic regulation of major airports and placing new duties on the CAA in respect of airline passengers and owners of air cargo. Who then is to promote and to protect the interests of GBA? Who will demonstrate to Europe that the UK is open for aviation business in all its forms?

5 pm

When this Bill was before your Lordships in Grand Committee, I endeavoured, in a rather roundabout way, to persuade my noble friend of the benefits of placing in Clause 1 a duty on the CAA to state how it would meet its obligations to promote and safeguard the interests of GBA at our major airports. I see I was too timid. Encouraged by the European example, I now present these amendments and a new clause. Taken together, they would oblige the Secretary of State—not the CAA—to further the needs and interests

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of the GBA community, resolve conflicts of interest, make his policy and strategy towards the sector clear, and consult the community when preparing or modifying his policy.

My amendments cannot extend Part 1 of the Bill beyond dominant airports. However, by extending the scope of Clause 2 to require the Secretary of State to exercise his functions to further the interests of the users of airport operation services, I bring the GBA into the forefront of policy thinking and oblige the Secretary of State to publish a statement of policy and consult the GBA community before preparing or revising it. Airport operation services include—I refer to Clause 68:

“the landing and taking off of aircraft … the manoeuvring, parking … of aircraft … the supply of fuel … the arrival or departure of passengers and their baggage”.

All these matters are of keen interest to the GBA community and all were previously ignored in this Bill. However, the interests of the GBA community go much wider. They certainly go beyond the availability of facilities at dominant airports, but the scope of the Bill is too narrow to admit them.

Nevertheless, my point of principle is made—the GBA community is large, economically important in both domestic and European contexts, and is deserving of a champion to promote and protect its interests. My noble friend was not inclined to accept that the CAA should take that role, so I suggest it should fall to the Secretary of State.

I realise that the legislative framework is not the only important aspect of our aviation regulatory environment. GBA representative bodies have been appreciative of the recognition for their sector in the Department for Transport’s draft aviation policy framework, while the CAA’s recent record on stakeholder engagement is praiseworthy and promising. Indeed, my noble friend the Minister will no doubt be quick to remind me of the role of the general aviation strategic forum, initiated as a result of the strategic and regulatory review of general and business aviation by the CAA in 2006. I pay tribute to the work of that body as a means of engagement with relevant interests. However, valuable though it is, a stakeholder forum or policy framework is no substitute for a legislative duty enshrining the rights of the GBA community to be consulted and have its interests considered in the development and implementation of government strategic aviation policy.

I urge my noble friend the Minister to reflect on the work that has gone before and on the report to EASA. I urge him also to take, on the Government’s behalf, the opportunity this Bill offers to put the GBA’s interests on the Government’s agenda and send the message to the wider business community that the UK is open for aviation business in all its diversity. I beg to move.


Lord Davies of Oldham: My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Rotherwick, is nothing if not persistent in his position with regard to GBA. We of course listened very carefully to what he had to say in Committee. I must say that it is an interesting situation where the Minister is not prepared to countenance amendments which would have given the responsibility to the CAA,

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but he will accept amendments that would take it a notch higher to the Secretary of State. I imagine that the Minister will have a rejoinder to that.

It would help the House if we were given a perspective on the dimensions of GBA and its impact on airports. The only figure that we have had quoted this afternoon in terms of capacity was when the Minister adumbrated that Heathrow is very close to 98% or 99% capacity, a figure that chills all of us when we think about the demands on the airport. I do not know what percentage of that is GBA and I would be grateful if the Minister, when he discusses this, would give us some perspective on this issue.

Earl Attlee: My Lords, I thank my noble friend Lord Rotherwick for tabling these amendments and I admire his dedication to general aviation. General and business aviation are both important parts of the broader aviation industry. My noble friend is entirely free to regroup his amendments, but I have to apologise to the House if I do not quite manage to match my remarks to his amendments, although I am confident that, taken together, my remarks will cover most of my noble friend’s points.

I understand that the intention of my noble friend is to provide for a general and business aviation champion at the Department for Transport. However, having carefully considered the impact of these amendments, I cannot accept them as I do not believe that they deliver this intention.

As your Lordships are aware, the clear focus of Chapter 1 is on the economic regulation of a few major airports, presently Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted. At these large international airports there is very little general and business aviation activity. The noble Lord, Lord Davies of Oldham, asked me for some numbers so it may be helpful to illustrate this with data from the Civil Aviation Authority. In June of this year, general aviation represented less than 1% of total aircraft movements at Heathrow; at Gatwick, less than 2%; Stansted had more, at 8%. The overwhelming majority of flights from these three airports are commercial air transport. Furthermore, when we consider the relatively small number of people involved in a general aviation flight, as opposed to a commercial flight, the actual percentage in terms of people affected is far smaller.

That is not to say that general aviation should be ignored. I ask noble Lords to consider Clause 69, which defines “air transport service” as,

“a service for the carriage by air of passengers or cargo”.

Thus, business aviation, and indeed most flights with multiple occupants using a regulated airport, are already covered in the Bill. As such, there is no need to make a specific reference to general and business aviation.

Although I appreciate my noble friend’s desire to see the interests of general and business aviation represented, we must look at the broader picture. Heathrow is the busiest airport in Europe. Gatwick and Stansted together account for a third of aircraft movements in the whole of the London area. These are immensely busy airports. Realistically, we must prioritise the tens of thousands of commercial airliners landing at these airports every month. As your Lordships

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will appreciate, it has always been a clear policy aim of this Bill to put passengers and cargo owners first in the regulation of our major airports. The Bill delivers this through clear and concise duties, focused on passengers and owners of cargo, for both the Secretary of State and the CAA. The amendments proposed here would ultimately undermine this aim while, as I have demonstrated, delivering limited benefit to those it focuses on.

My noble friend Lord Rotherwick asked about EC resolution 2008/2134. The Government welcome the resolution and are broadly supportive. Moreover, in its present form the resolution represents a high-level direction of policy. We await concrete proposals from the Commission and are keen to see movement soon. At present the resolution is not legally binding and as a caveat I must add that many of its recommendations are not directly appropriate to the UK because the vast majority of our airfields are in private ownership, as I am sure my noble friend recognises. However, this is not the right vehicle to address these concerns.

My noble friend’s Amendment 6 concerns a change to the Secretary of State’s duties. I must point out that the Secretary of State has comparatively few functions in Part 1 of this Bill. As your Lordships are aware, this is very much a conscious decision of the Government to remove central government involvement from the regulatory process. The Secretary of State’s role is limited to just three distinct functions to which these duties apply: first, some of the Secretary of State’s regulation-making powers in Chapters 1 and 3 of the Bill; secondly, the issuing of guidance to the CAA which the CAA must have regard to; and finally, notifying the CAA of the international obligations of the United Kingdom.

I acknowledge the intent of Amendment 11 in obliging the preparation and publishing of a statement of policy, but the limited nature of the Secretary of State’s role means that requisite consultation before the exercise of certain powers should meet this point. A statutory requirement in this context would be disproportionate.

I am sure that if my noble friend had had more time he would have sought equivalent amendments to the CAA’s general duties. Clearly, amending the Secretary of State’s duties without making corresponding amendments to the CAA’s duties could create undesirable consequences; for example, there may be conflicts where the Secretary of State issues guidance to the CAA.

Regardless of whether or not the amendments achieve what my noble friend intends them to achieve, I reiterate the Government’s position that this is not the right vehicle to address my noble friend’s concerns. For all airports where demand is higher than capacity for finite take-off and landing slots, this is generally reflected in the landing fees charged. In a competitive market, an airport operator is likely to prefer to receive flights with large numbers of passengers over those with fewer passengers where this enhances its profits. This is a further policy reason not to pay special regard to general and business aviation.

However, the Government recognise the valuable contribution of the general and business aviation sector. The CAA’s Strategic Review of General Aviation in 2006 estimated its contribution to the UK economy at

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£1.4 billion per annum. I know that my noble friend is very concerned about the retention of small airfields. I recently fulfilled an undertaking to meet with my right honourable friend the Minister of State for Transport about this important issue, and I impressed upon him the need to ensure that at some point in the future we do not wake up and find that we have too few airfields and that they are difficult to replace.

The vast majority of general and business aviation activity takes place from small airfields across the country. Chapter 1 of this Bill will not regulate the activities of these aerodromes unless they become dominant, which we believe to be extremely unlikely. I value the intentions behind these amendments, but I believe that they are not the most appropriate method of expressing them. I therefore ask that my noble friend considers withdrawing his amendment.

5.15 pm

Lord Rotherwick: My Lords, I thank my noble friend for fully addressing my amendments—obviously, nowhere near to my satisfaction. I also thank the noble Lord, Lord Davies, for his remarks and for recognising that I have taken this a “notch higher”—which would have been a better way for me to put it. I hope that my noble friend the Minister will consider addressing my concerns favourably in future legislation. Indeed, I shall remind him of this moment if we are so lucky as to see future legislation which will help us. I was interested that he acknowledged that general and business aviation is a user of dominant airports. It saddens me to think that there is nothing to protect GBA from being just the poor cousins.

Finally, I thank my noble friend for his sterling efforts in bringing my concerns to the attention of the Minister of State. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment 6 withdrawn.

Amendment 7

Moved by Earl Attlee

7: Clause 2, page 3, line 10, after “relates,” insert—

“(ca) the desirability of each holder of a licence under this Chapter being able to take reasonable measures to reduce, control or mitigate the adverse environmental effects of the airport to which the licence relates, facilities used or intended to be used in connection with that airport (“associated facilities”) and aircraft using that airport,”

Amendment 8 (to Amendment 7)

Moved by Lord Davies of Oldham

8: Clause 2, line 2, leave out “desirability of each holder of a licence under this Chapter being” and insert “need to secure that each holder of a licence under this Chapter is”

Amendment 8 agreed.

Amendment 7, as amended, agreed.

Amendment 9

Moved by Earl Attlee

9: Clause 2, page 3, line 24, at end insert—

“( ) For the purposes of subsection (4)(ca) the environmental effects of the airport, associated facilities and aircraft include the effects mentioned in section 1(5A).”

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Amendment 9 agreed.

Amendment 10 not moved.

Amendment 11 not moved.

Clause 9 : Operators of areas

Amendment 12

Moved by Earl Attlee

12: Clause 9, page 8, line 19, after “to” insert “operator”

Earl Attlee: My Lords, I shall speak also to Amendments 13 to 16, 20 to 22, 24 to 25, 27, 30 to 51, 59 and 65 to 66. I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Davies of Oldham, for agreeing to have one group of minor and technical amendments. I can assure your Lordships that all these amendments are all minor and technical. Their overarching purpose is to provide clarity to the existing drafting and to ensure that the drafting fully meets the policy intentions. The amendments are a result of detailed consideration of the Bill since we last met before the Summer Recess in Grand Committee.

The amendments cover various provisions in the Bill and I will cover each of the areas in turn. I apologise in advance for the length of the forthcoming speech, which will take at least 15 minutes. I assure your Lordships that I will be as brief as possible; however, it is important that I properly explain the need for the amendments and how they work.

To begin with, I shall address a series of minor and technical amendments which concern airport economic regulation. I begin with Amendments 12 to 16. Amendment 12 is to Clause 9(5) and makes it clearer that the reference to determinations in this subsection is only to operator determinations made by the CAA under Clause 10. This has always been its purpose and intended effect.

Amendment 13 to Clause 12 concerns advance market power determinations and is intended to clarify the effects of their publication on other existing determinations. As currently drafted, it is not entirely clear in the Bill whether the previous market power determination would cease to have effect in accordance with Clause 7(9) and (10) following an advance determination. This amendment therefore makes it clear that the previous market power determination will continue to have effect until those future specified circumstances set out in the advance determination have in fact occurred.

Your Lordships may be wondering how that amendment fits into Clause 12, as it appears to add a paragraph lettered (b) to subsection (7), where there is no existing paragraph lettered (a). The text following the word “arise” in Clause 12(5) will commence with a paragraph lettered (a) in the next version of the Bill. The Public Bill Office advises that this change can be made only by way of a silent amendment.

These three amendments are designed to ensure that if there is an appeal against a market power determination and that market power determination is suspended or set aside, there are clear arrangements to manage any consequences arising from the decisions

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made by the CAT—the Competition Appeals Tribunal—during the appeals process. These amendments establish a default position that, on a market power determination being suspended or set aside, the previous market power determination—if there is one—takes effect again or continues to have effect, unless the CAT orders otherwise. These five amendments concerning determinations seek to improve clarity in the Bill on the purpose and effect of these provisions.

Next, I turn to Amendments 20 and 21 to Clause 22 and Schedule 2, which concern financial arrangements licence conditions. To avoid confusion, I wish to make it clear that these amendments are entirely separate from amendments which were carefully considered in Committee, of which the practical effects would have been to shut out airlines’ right of repeal in respect of any licence condition containing an exception related to financial arrangements. I was very clear in the Committee on 2 July that the Government were, and remain,

“of the opinion that the broad rights of appeal”,

in the Bill,

“provide an effective means of improving the accountability of key regulatory decisions”

and enable,

“the interests of airport operators and materially affected airlines to be taken into account”—[

Official Report

, 2/7/12; col. GC269.]

in the licence process. The Government have taken the decision that amendment to the Bill in respect of airline rights of appeal is not needed and we will not be considering the matter further.

Turning to the effect of these amendments, Amendment 21 to Schedule 2 is a technical amendment to ensure that the drafting meets the policy intention that automatic suspension provisions will apply in all circumstances where the appeal of a “relevant financial arrangements condition” may otherwise prove nugatory by cutting across existing financial arrangements in place before the Bill comes into force. The current drafting at paragraphs 6 and 7 of Schedule 2 provides for the automatic suspension of relevant financial arrangements conditions when they are appealed under Clause 24, on the conditions of new licences, or Clause 25, on the modification of licence conditions. The amendment provides for a third set of circumstances when automatic suspension will apply.

I next wish to speak to Amendments 22, 24, 25 and 27, which are to Clauses 66, 67 and 68. These amendments seek to provide a partial description of what “servicing of aircraft” means when it is used in the definition of “airport”, “core area” and “airport operation services” at, respectively, Clauses 66, 5 and 68. This accords with the Government’s policy intent and puts beyond doubt whether certain structures comprise part of the airport on the face of legislation.

Amendments 35 to 51 seek to amend the transitional arrangements for airport economic regulation found at Part 1 of Schedule 10 to ensure that our policy intentions for these arrangements are more clearly expressed. First, Amendment 38 clarifies the circumstances in which the Secretary of State can revoke an order under the Airports Act 1986, designating an airport for price control during the interim period. The interim period is that between the commencement of the

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provisions on economic regulation under Part 1 of the Bill, including Schedule 10, and the expiry of current price controls on 31 March 2014. This amendment ensures that where an appeal is made against a market power determination during the interim period, the procedure for the Secretary of State to revoke an existing designation order is consistent with the appeals process under the Bill.

The remaining amendments, specifically Amendments 35 to 37 and Amendments 39 to 51, seek to clarify another transitional issue regarding the deeming provision set out at paragraph 2(2) of Schedule 10. The deeming provision is transitional and determines that the main operators of the three currently designated airports are deemed to have met the market power test and are thus subject to economic regulation when the Bill is commenced. The existing drafting of this deeming provision does not fully meet our policy aims because, on reflection, it is drawn too widely and captures more than just the main airport operator at each designated airport.

As currently drafted, the provisions would require every other operator, such as the fuel companies, at each designated airport to have a licence unless a negative market power determination is completed for each of those other operators at the designated airports. This would be an unnecessary and unduly onerous exercise. These amendments ensure the deeming provision applies solely to the main airport operators at the designated airports only and makes other necessary consequential changes. They are the operators which are subject to economic regulation under the current regime; namely, Heathrow Airport Limited, Gatwick Airport Limited and Stansted Airport Limited. I hope your Lordships are reassured that all these amendments regarding airport economic regulation are minor and technical in nature. I thank your Lordships for your patience with these important but minor and technical amendments.

I now move away from airport economic regulation, and I am pleased to speak to Amendments 30 to 34, which are tabled as a response to the recommendation in the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee’s 4th Report of Session 2012–13. I am glad to say that the Civil Aviation Bill attracted only one suggested change from the committee. Because Part 4 of the Airports Act 1986 will be repealed as a consequence of this Bill, Schedule 8 makes amendments to preserve the current threshold for the purposes of continuing to determine which airports qualify for statutory undertaker status for planning law purposes. Subsection (11) of paragraph 2 of Schedule 8 would have enabled the Secretary of State to increase the £1 million threshold for statutory undertaker status in case it is needed for inflation or other, currently unforeseen, policy reasons. This would have been subject to the negative resolution procedure for secondary legislation. Your Lordships’ committee recommended that the Government clarify the circumstances in which this provision should be used to increase the threshold and the appropriate parliamentary procedure for making the necessary secondary legislation.

Your Lordships’ committee’s report was published on 21 June, five working days before Grand Committee began. There was, therefore, little time for the Government

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to consider the report and bring forward an amendment in time for consideration in Grand Committee. I am therefore very grateful that the noble Lord, Lord Rosser, was able to table an amendment that was intended as a response to the committee’s report. It ensured that we were able to debate the report and his amendment during Grand Committee. The noble Lord withdrew his amendment following my assurances that I intended to bring forward an amendment for Report. The amendments I have tabled are modelled on the solution that the noble Lord, Lord Rosser, offered. His idea was to have the Bill state that in the case that the increase was for inflation, the order should be subject to the negative procedure, and in the case that it was for any other reason, it should be subject to the affirmative procedure. In order to put this into effect, it has been necessary to table these five amendments.

I now turn to Amendment 59. This amendment will preserve the effect of the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007 (Consequential Amendments) Order 2012, which came into force on 1 October 2012 and which your Lordships debated in Grand Committee on 18 July. The order amended primary and secondary legislation which already provided for individuals to be disqualified or removed from office in the event of bankruptcy so as to extend the power to disqualify a person or remove them from office was extended to include a person in respect of whom a debt relief order has been made. The amendment to Clause 96(6) would preserve the effect of the 2007 order by adding to this paragraph the new ground for the Secretary of State to remove from office a non-executive member of the CAA who is subject to a debt relief order under Part 7 of the Insolvency Act 1986.

Finally, I will speak to Amendments 65 and 66. The only purpose of these amendments is to close a gap that has been identified in the provisions in Clause 109. Amendments 65 and 66, if accepted, would mean that both the power to make regulations and the restriction on that power will both come into force on Royal Assent.

I thank the House for its patience, and once again assure it that these amendments are all minor and technical in nature. I beg to move.

5.30 pm

Lord Rosser: My Lords, the Minister said that he would be speaking for 15 minutes, but he has obviously gone rather faster than he thought since it says only 12 minutes on the clock. I can assure him that I shall be speaking for rather nearer 15 seconds than 15 minutes.

The Minister has spoken to a series of government amendments, the purpose of which he has explained. They are, in essence, tidying-up or technical amendments, clarifying amendments, or those which will include in the Bill wording that perhaps should have been included initially. There are also amendments which would implement, as the Minister said, the recommendations of the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee which ensure that where the Secretary of State seeks to increase for inflation reasons the annual turnover threshold by which an airport becomes eligible for statutory undertaker status, the order will be subject to parliamentary control under the negative resolution

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procedure. In the case that the increase is for any other reason, the order will be subject to the affirmative resolution procedure. As the Minister has said, there is also a further government amendment which allows the Secretary of State to remove a non-executive member of the Civil Aviation Authority from office if he is satisfied that the member is a person in respect of whom a debt relief order has been made under Part 7 of the Insolvency Act 2000.

We have no objections to the amendments. Indeed, we welcome in particular the amendment which addresses the concerns raised by the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee.

Amendment 12 agreed.

Clause 12 : Advance determinations

Amendment 13

Moved by Earl Attlee

13: Clause 12, page 10, line 7, at end insert “, and

(b) a previous market power determination which would otherwise cease to have effect by virtue of section 7(9) or (10) continues to have effect until those circumstances arise.”

Amendment 13 agreed.

Schedule 1 : Appeals against determinations

Amendments 14 to 16

Moved by Earl Attlee

14: Schedule 1, page 67, line 36, at end insert—

“Effect of suspending or setting aside market power determination

3A (1) This paragraph applies where—

(a) the CAA publishes a notice of a market power determination (“determination A”) in respect of an airport area (“area Z”),

(b) the CAA subsequently publishes a notice of another market power determination (“determination B”) in respect of all or part of area Z or in respect of an area that includes all or part of area Z,

(c) determination A ceases to have effect in respect of all or part of area Z by virtue of section 7(9) or (10), and

(d) there is subsequently an appeal under this Schedule against determination B.

(2) If the effect of determination B is suspended under paragraph 1(3), determination A has effect again during the period of suspension, unless the Competition Appeal Tribunal orders otherwise.

(3) If all or part of determination B is set aside at the end of a period of suspension, determination A continues to have effect after the end of the period of suspension, unless the Competition Appeal Tribunal orders otherwise.

(4) If all or part of determination B is set aside otherwise than at the end of a period of suspension, determination A has effect again from the setting aside, unless the Competition Appeal Tribunal orders otherwise.

(5) If the suspension or setting aside of determination B only affects part of area Z, or an area that includes part of area Z, the references in sub-paragraphs (2) to (4) to determination A are to be treated as references to that determination so far as it relates to that part of area Z.

(6) Sub-paragraphs (2) to (4) do not apply if determination B is suspended or set aside only so far as it relates to an area that does not include any part of area Z.

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(7) Nothing in sub-paragraphs (3) to (5) affects the operation of section 7(9) or (10) where notice is published of a further market power determination in respect of all or part of area Z or in respect of an area that includes all or part of area Z.

Appeals to Competition Appeal Tribunal: supplementary

3B ”

15: Schedule 1, page 67, line 37, at end insert “, making an order under paragraph 1 or 3A”

16: Schedule 1, page 68, line 3, after “3” insert “or 3A(3) or (4)”

Amendments 14 to 16 agreed.

Clause 18 : Licence conditions

Amendment 17

Moved by Lord Davies of Oldham

17: Clause 18, page 13, line 28, at end insert—

“( ) A licence must include an obligation on licence holders to procure and publish annual surveys of passenger satisfaction, including but not limited to—

(a) baggage handling services, and

(b) arrangements for delays to affected air passengers.”

Lord Davies of Oldham: My Lords, in moving Amendment 17 I shall also speak to the other three amendments in this group, which broadly encompasses the issues of passenger welfare. Amendment 17 would ensure that a licence includes an obligation on the licence holder to publish annual surveys on passenger satisfaction. This would be of considerable advantage to the industry: it would encourage improved performance at airports, and it would certainly give members of the travelling public some information on the relative performance of airports. It would therefore give a basis for what we all would want to see: improvement in passenger welfare at significant airports.

We have not the slightest doubt that there is considerable pressure from the public to improve welfare at airports. That is why the Select Committee on Transport in the other place emphasised that licences should be structured so as to address passenger satisfaction. One dimension of the issue which I am sure will occasion no surprise at all for regular air travellers is the issue of satisfaction with baggage handling. We all know the distress which is caused when baggage goes astray. I remember the time that I arrived in southern Africa and discovered that my baggage had been taken off the aircraft in Kenya, just a little way away. It contained everything that I intended to employ on the trip apart from my travelling clothes. The embarrassment was considerable. Of course, we know endless stories of the difficulties that passengers have had with baggage.

There needs to be a stimulus to improve performance. A requirement on the airport to indentify its efforts in these respects is important. It is not just a question of lost baggage—we all know the inordinate delay that can also occur. Experienced travellers always allow a certain amount of additional time for the retrieval of baggage. However, when one goes to a really efficient airport which delivers the baggage almost as soon as one can get to the retrieval hall, there is a distinct comparison with those airports that seem to have endless waits before the baggage appears.

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I believe that improvement is going on in our major airports. On one occasion I came back from China via Paris because I could not get a direct flight to London. I arrived at London Stansted to find that my baggage was waiting virtually as I stepped off the aircraft and went into the hall. That is such a rare experience that I felt obliged to write to the authorities at Stansted to congratulate them on that achievement and to express the hope that it would be repeated on all future occasions—some luck.

These amendments are designed to improve what we all recognise needs to be improved with the handling of airports. The other dimension of which we are all too well aware is that airports have to take some responsibility for stranded passengers. We all recall—mercifully, the memory is ebbing away a little as each month goes by—almost two years ago when for a considerable time Heathrow had thousands of passengers stranded without any help or support of any kind and through no immediate fault of the airport in terms of the climatic conditions. However, it was subsequently identified that the problems lay with the treatment of the aircraft on the ground and the de-icing aspect. We know that there has been heavy investment to improve the situation following that event and that Heathrow should be congratulated on taking that action.

We need to keep up a standard of expectation that reduces the consequences of delay on passengers who otherwise, as has happened in the past, are left in the most unpleasant circumstances and bereft of any indication of what they are meant to do or how they should cope with their circumstances. Even if they could take action themselves, they have no information on which to work.

For all those reasons, passenger welfare is an important part of this Bill. Our amendments are designed to strengthen the Bill in respect of that important feature. I beg to move.

Earl Attlee: My Lords, I thank the noble Lord for his amusing and thorough explanation of the reasons behind his amendments. I absolutely agree with him that the issue of lost baggage is extremely important. He observed that some airports are better than others.

If your Lordships will bear with me, I should like, first, to speak to Amendments 17, 18 and 19 to Clause 18, on licence conditions, and, secondly, to Amendment 57 to Clause 83, on the provision of information for the benefit of passengers and cargo owners. I can appreciate why the noble Lord wishes to discuss these amendments in a group as they all concern the undoubtedly important matter of passenger welfare but I also believe that there is good reason for speaking to them individually so that particular aspects of the amendments may be considered in full.

I am aware that amendments similar to Amendments 17, 18 and 19 were debated in the other place and I am grateful to have the opportunity to return to them today. I do not think that it can be denied that this Bill already recognises the importance of passengers and their interests. Indeed, this is enshrined in the primary duty which states that the CAA must carry out its functions in a manner which it considers will further the interests of users of air transport services in the provision of airport operation services.

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As users of air transport services, passengers will clearly be at the heart of the CAA’s considerations. There can be no doubt that passengers desire and deserve efficient baggage handling services when they travel by air or that, when faced with delays, they are not left without advice and help where appropriate.

The experience of recent years has also demonstrated how vital it is that all airports prepare effectively for potential disruption. The noble Lord, Lord Davies, talked about the disruption from snow a couple of years ago. When I visited Gatwick and saw the lines of gleaming snow-clearing machinery and they told me how quickly they could clear the runways, I was quite confident that the last winter would be a mild one—and that is what happened.

What is clear is that the aviation sector as a whole needs to have effective means to deal with passenger welfare during disruption of services. However, one key purpose of the Bill is to provide the CAA as an independent regulator with the discretion and flexibility to deliver targeted and proportionate licences, containing conditions which it considers requisite after undertaking appropriate consultation. So while I can very much understand and empathise with the sentiment behind noble Lords’ amendments, I am unable to recommend putting them into the Bill.

These three amendments seek to include a requirement in Clause 18 that the CAA should be required to include specified matters in licence conditions. Under the clause, the CAA is empowered to impose licence conditions consistent with its Clause 1 duties, which go beyond matters related to the abuse of substantial market power. Therefore, the CAA will have the power to include licence conditions addressing the matters raised in these amendments when to do so furthers the interests of passengers and freight owners in the provision of airport operation services. Obviously, losing baggage clearly comes into that. However, what should be included in a licence will always be fact specific and will change over time. Therefore, I do not believe that introducing provisions as to express conditions would be appropriate.

Clause 18 provides the CAA with flexibility regarding if and how licence conditions should be included. If we were to use this Bill to set in stone certain points in licences, this would constrain the regulator’s freedom to decide what priority should be afforded to different passenger concerns and what costs should be allowed for the delivery of competing consumer priorities. I do not think it appropriate that government should determine what present and future passengers are most concerned about or what obligations should be included by the CAA in specific licences. Moreover, a prescriptive approach in the Bill is likely to make it more difficult for the regulator to adapt its approach to the changing needs and concerns of passengers. If we were to accept these amendments, this would oblige the CAA to give greater weight to these factors than other matters that might become equally or more important to passengers in future.

I would also seek to reassure noble Lords that they can be confident that the CAA would use the new licensing powers under the Bill to focus on matters such as operational resilience and passenger welfare in

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the event of extreme disruption. At the request of the Department for Transport, the CAA in January this year published an indicative licence which includes provisions on operational resilience. The proposals contained in condition 7 of this indicative licence would require the licence holder to operate the airport efficiently and to use its best endeavours to minimise detriment to passengers arising from disruption. It would also require the airport to draw up, consult on, and gain the CAA’s approval for an annual resilience plan, setting out how it will secure compliance with its obligations under the condition. The licence holder is then obliged to comply with commitments it has made in its resilience plan. In drafting this indicative licence, the CAA sought initial views from industry. Once the Bill is enacted, the CAA will begin to consult on proposed licence conditions for each airport that will be subject to regulation. This process will involve consideration of the extent to which it is necessary or expedient to include conditions in the licence regarding operational resilience and other matters such as passenger welfare.

5.45 pm

The CAA also expects, where appropriate, for licence conditions to take into account other obligations on service quality standards and the success of codes of conduct and voluntary arrangements being adopted by industry. The Government believe that putting such specific requirements in the Bill as proposed by these amendments such as baggage handling and operational resilience could prove to be a disproportionate response and would place an unnecessary restriction on the CAA’s flexibility to develop proportionate and effective ways to address passenger concerns. The CAA, as the body with the relevant operational experience, is best placed to determine appropriate and effective licence conditions on these and other matters and we must place our trust in the independent regulator.

The duty on the CAA to consult on licence conditions and the appeals framework will provide an effective means of placing accountability on the CAA to ensure that licences at the designated airports take into account the interests of present and future passengers. As I have already said, I entirely appreciate the rationale behind the noble Lords’ amendments. However, I am more strongly persuaded that providing the specialist regulator with a flexible toolkit in the form of licences remains the best way of ensuring that present and future passengers’ interests are protected.

I turn to Amendment 57 to Clause 83. While I am sympathetic to the intention of this amendment, I cannot support it as it is in part redundant and in part inappropriate. Your Lordships may recall that similarly worded amendments were tabled and debated in the Committee and Report stages in the other place and in Grand Committee. Before turning to the detail of the points made by your Lordships with regard to border force and other matters, I think it is important to emphasise the importance of the clause this amendment seeks to alter. Clause 83 gives the CAA a new and important statutory role in promoting better public information about the aviation industry’s performance. This is intended to improve choice in the market and

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address what economists call “asymmetric information”, in that passengers do not always have the information they need in order to compare the services on offer. Giving consumers more information on service quality provided by airports, airlines and other service providers will help ensure that markets deliver consumer benefits in practice.

Turning first to the matter of baggage handling and security checks, I reassure your Lordships that the powers granted in the Bill already enable the CAA to publish such information. These issues fall fairly and squarely with the remit that Clause 83 would give to the CAA since there is little doubt that they are of concern to passengers. Indeed, these may well be issues that the CAA will wish to focus on, although it is not for me to prejudge how it would use these new powers.

The other main focus of the amendment is on border controls. The publication powers in the Bill do not extend to the performance of the UK Border Force. This is because the border force is already accountable to Ministers and Parliament. That is a far more effective and appropriate means to hold it to account than to give the CAA the power to oversee its activities. The Government do not believe that it would be appropriate for the CAA to be able to obtain data from a directorate within the Home Office, particularly where there is a threat of a financial penalty if the information is not provided.

I agree that immigration queues can have an impact on the passenger experience but the purpose of the performance reporting functions in Clause 83 is to correct market failure. There is no market for the provision of immigration control services and thus systems designed to deal with market failure are not an appropriate way to deal with the performance of the border force. We should not let a focus on queuing times make us overlook the importance or the sensitivity of the work of the border force. It is, after all, the UK control authority responsible for screening passengers and goods at the border for counterterrorism, immigration, customs and criminality purposes. The Government require full travel document checks to be conducted on all persons, including British citizens, arriving at the UK border. While, of course, the border force and the Government take seriously the issues raised by your Lordships about queue times and the passenger experience, the security of our borders and the checks that need to be undertaken to protect us from those who would enter our country to do us harm have to be paramount.

Having successfully secured the border during the Olympics, the UK Border Force is implementing a robust programme of improvements to maintain performance in future. This includes: additional trained relief staff from elsewhere across the border force, UKBA and other government departments; a substantial recruitment programme, with fully flexible terms and conditions for new recruits; at Heathrow, a new command centre to better manage staff deployment; new staff rosters; and improved ways of modelling demands and resources.

I have listened carefully to the views expressed about the border force. I should also like to reassure your Lordships that the border force fully recognises

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the importance of working closely with individual airport operators effectively to manage passenger flows while ensuring that control functions are properly discharged. In addition, the border force has introduced a joint approach for data collection on queues at Heathrow. These data are collected and used by Heathrow and the border force for reporting performance. Heathrow has published queuing data on its website since April 2012 and has recently begun reporting the shared data. The border force also publishes quarterly returns on the clearance of passengers on the UKBF website detailing performance going back to 2010-11. That said, my honourable friend the Minister of State for Immigration, Mark Harper, has agreed to review what additional data may potentially be published by the Home Office to bring greater transparency at an individual airport level while minimising bureaucracy and burdens.

I thank noble Lords for their patience and hope they are reassured that I have given these amendments the thorough consideration they deserve, while understanding the reasons for which I am unable to accept them. I hope that the noble Lord will be willing to withdraw his amendment at the appropriate point.

Lord Davies of Oldham: My Lords, I am grateful for that full answer. In fact, I did not actually raise the issue of border control, but the Minister is absolutely right to say that one of the anxieties of passengers is the difficulties that occur when there are hold-ups at immigration. Of course, we all subscribe to the position and understand entirely that border control has an important task to fulfil in safeguarding the people of this country, and we obviously wish it well in that role, nor should anything seek to inhibit the efficiency with which the border force carries it out.

However, I was concerned to identify the issue of delay simply because I feared that the Minister would do what he has done in his well informed manner—namely, talk in fairly general terms of what is to be done and what is going on. I am grateful to him for his indication of activity, particularly on the part of the CAA; however, I must say that there is a difference between what these amendments seek in terms of information for passengers and influence on their interests being taken seriously. That contrasts with what the CAA currently has—a consumer panel that does not look as if it addresses effectively the need for information flows that meet the kind of anxieties and difficulties that passengers face.

I hear what the Minister says about improvements, although it brought a slightly wry smile to this side of the House when he mentioned Gatwick’s ability to clear runways. The problems at Heathrow had been that aircraft could not be de-iced and taken out of their parking bays. The runways were not the issue there. None of us can anticipate the weather or the extent of the difficulties it may present. That indicates why it is necessary to be specific about passengers’ anxieties. These amendments set out to identify such areas against a background whereby passenger welfare needs to be emphasised in the responsibilities of the CAA.

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However, the Minister could not have given a fuller and more considered reply and I therefore beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment 17 withdrawn.

Amendments 18 and 19 not moved.

Clause 22 : Modifying licence conditions and licence area

Amendment 20

Moved by Earl Attlee

20: Clause 22, page 16, line 25, after “paragraphs” insert “6A,”

Amendment 20 agreed.

Schedule 2 : Appeals under Sections 24 and 25

Amendment 21

Moved by Earl Attlee

21: Schedule 2, page 72, line 36, at end insert—

“6A (1) Sub-paragraph (2) applies where—

(a) the CAA decides under section 22 to modify a licence by adding a relevant financial arrangements condition,

(b) an application is made for permission to appeal under section 25 against the decision, and

(c) the condition would have effect, but for this paragraph, before the end of the period of 10 weeks beginning with the day on which notice of the decision was published in accordance with section 22 (“the 10 week period”).

(2) The relevant financial arrangements condition does not have effect during the 10 week period.

(3) Sub-paragraph (4) applies where—

(a) the CAA decides under section 22 to modify a licence by adding a relevant financial arrangements condition, and

(b) the Competition Commission grants permission to appeal against the decision.

(4) The relevant financial arrangements condition does not have effect until the appeal against the decision is determined or withdrawn (or, if there is more than one appeal against the decision, until all of the appeals are determined or withdrawn).

(5) In this paragraph, “relevant financial arrangements condition” has the same meaning as in paragraph 6.”

Amendment 21 agreed.

Clause 66 : Airports

Amendment 22

Moved by Earl Attlee

22: Clause 66, page 40, line 12, leave out “, including the supply of fuel”

Amendment 22 agreed.

Amendment 23

Moved by Lord Rotherwick

23: Clause 66, page 40, line 15, at end insert—

“( ) the arrival or departure of pilots and persons to be carried as passengers in general and business aviation aircraft, together with their baggage”.