HL Deb 20 February 2001 vol 622 cc93-4WA
Lord Hanningfield

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What is the predicted growth in the aviation industry: and what steps they are taking to accommodate any change. [HL852]

The Minister of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (Lord Macdonald of Tradeston)

The UK air traffic forecasts produced by my department in June 2000 showed that unconstrained demand for passenger air travel may more than double by 2015, reaching approximately 340 million passengers per annum. Cargo air traffic is also predicted to grow. Future unconstrained growth is projected at a rate of 7.5 per cent a year to 2010.

We intend to publish a new White Paper on air transport that will provide a framework for the future development of aviation in the UK. We issued a consultation document last December on the future of aviation. This is the first major step towards the White Paper. It invites views and ideas on a wide range of aviation and airports issues that underpin our air transport policy. The consultation document does not specifically address new capacity at airports. We have commissioned a series of regional air service studies that assess options for future capacity. Later this year we will issue individual regional consultation documents on options in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, the south west of England, the north of England and the Midlands. They will examine options for the development of a capacity at regional airports and include an appraisal of the economic, environmental and social impacts of these options. We are also studying issues in the south east and east of England on a separate timescale. The South East and East of England Regional Air Service Study (SERAS) is examining all options for the future development of airports in the south east, ranging from no development other than that already included in the planning system, to additional runway and terminal capacity to meet demand in full. This study will be followed by public consultation that will follow the decision on Terminal 5. All of these strands of work will feed into the White Paper on air transport.