June 2015  I funded some of the work behind Leo Murray’s proposal for a Frequent Flyer Levy (FFL)  to replace Air Passenger Duty. The report (prepared by CE Delft) is here and the Observer letter signed by many NGOs supporting the proposal here.The purpose of this exercise is not to change one aviation tax for a redesigned alternative, but to propose a mechanism whereby aviation emissions can be constrained – something the government has not done or has any announced intentions to do. The accompanying NEF paper Managing aviation passenger demand with an FFLconcludes that: “a progressive tax on frequent flying could play a significant role in restraining demand for flights, while at the same time tending to distribute those flights more equally across the income spectrum.”

May 2014  I wrote to the Committee on Climate Change giving the FOE analysis on whether a new SR runway could be accomodated within the emissions ceiling they had set in their 2009 report, prior to them commenting on the Davies proposals in their 2014 Progress report. This was my last substantive work for FOE on aviation.

October 2013  I wrote the FOE response to Sir Howard Davies’ final comments before his Commission published their Interim Report in December

– July 2013  You’ll find here the evidence I wrote for Friends of the Earth concerning the DfT Aviation Policy Framework (submission to the Transport Select Committee – Oct 2012; and to the DfT – November 2012), and then to the Airports (or Davies) Commission concerning response (May 2013)  and Connectivity/Economic Impact (April 2013). I also appeared before the Select Committee representing FOE on 3rd December 2012 (the evidence is here)

2011 I wrote the FOE submission into the Government’s intended replacement – the Sustainable Aviation Framework – now being developed. Work to influence the new framework will continue throughout 2012.  I also wrote the FOE submission into the 2011 Treasury consultation on Air Passenger Duty.

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2011 The course of the campaign to restrain the unsustainable expansion of the aviation (air transport) industry is a case study in persistence, and strategic targetting.  A conclusion that might be drawn at the end of 2011 is that a small number of campaigners (based around the AirportWatch group) have against the odds brought the industry Superjumbo to a halt on the taxiway just as it was readied for takeoff.

In the consultations leading up to the 2003 Air Transport White Paper – the most manipulated and ‘managed’ policy process I’ve ever experienced – I was a member of the Department for Transport Northern Air Services Study Yorkshire & Humber Reference Group (1999 onwards) representing environmental groups; so could view that process from the inside. I wrote the response submitted by Friends of the Earth: Sustainable Aviation = Demand Management (June 2003  This is a one page summary of the 78 page original; available on request).

The problem however, it turned out, was that the DfT had already willingly submitted to ‘policy capture’ by the aviation industry, or alternatively still regarded themselves as industry sponsor, as if denationalisation had never happened in the 1980s. Effectively they were acting as unpaid development consultants for the industry and had abandoned their fundamental resonsibility of instead seeking to secure the ‘public interest’.

When published the White Paper came as a shock, in terms of the extent to which every aspect of the policy and implementation framework had been deftly shaped not just to facilitate but actually promote aviation expansion. Equally inexplicable was the way in which the Labour government to its end in 2010 continued to stand unrelentingly behind the White Paper regime.

FOE reviewed its strategy and – concluding that climate change was the ‘show-stopper’ – commissioned two reports from the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research: Growth Scenarios for EU & UK Aviation: contradictions with climate policy 2005 which for the first time modelled the concept that increasing aviation emissions could take up an ever larger proportion of a reducing national carbon budget; and: Aviation in a low carbon EU 2007 used by FOE to lobby the European Parliament around aviation’s inclusion in the Emissions Trading Scheme. In the final stages of the Climate Change Bill in 2008 FOE also acted to insert a future opt-in for aviation emissions by 2013.

Fast forward to 2011 and we can see how influential this campaign strategy has proved to be. The Tyndall Centre analysis has been confirmed and embedded within the Committee on Climate Change recommendations for the future direction of aviation policy.  Aviation has been brought within EU ETS, surviving legal challenge to its competence.  The Coalition Government stunned the industry by rejecting runway expansion in the South East, because (amongst other things) of its incompatibility with climate policy.  After barely 8 years the 2003 White Paper had been overturned, and the industry reduced to impotent bluster.

2015 update Of course that was never going to be the end of the matter, if you understand the global aviation industry as the second, less visible, pillar of climate denial, alongside Big Oil and Big Coal. Having already (in the UK)  been accorded a hugely privileging 2005 baseline of Kyoto +122%, whereas everyone else must reduce down to -80% from 1990 – so at the expense of all other UK economic and social sectors – naturally they just want more, dressing up their plans to still further expand their emissions all the way to 2050 in the guise of ‘business competitiveness’.

Consequently what occurred throughout 2012 was the relentless mortaring of Secretary of State Justine Greening’s attempt to develop a more sustainable aviation policy, leading to her replacement and the establishment of the Davies Commission in September 2012. You can read about what happened next above.

For my last week’s tweets on aviation search (in Twitter): ‘anthonyraecom aviation’