The 2011 EU Transport White paper sets out an ambitious target to cut carbon emissions from transport whilst promoting better modal choices and greater integration of transport networks. It also calls for the expansion of the rail network so that there is a Europe-wide high-speed rail network by 2050 connected to all core network airports.
The Government recognises that safe and dependable transport is essential to UK society and the economy. It aims to make rail, road, air and water transport more efficient and effective, to keep them safe and secure and to reduce greenhouse gas and other emissions. In November 2012, the Government announced that an independent Airports Commission, led by Sir Howard Davies, will review options for maintaining the UK’s aviation hub status. The commission will examine the scale, timing and need for additional capacity to maintain the UK’s position as Europe’s leading aviation hub.
It will look at ways to meet the need for additional capacity in the short, medium and long term. The commission will submit its final report by summer 2015.
The Aviation Policy Framework (APF) sets out the Government’s objectives and policy for aviation. The APF recommends that Airport Transport Forums should continue to produce ASAS that set targets for increasing public transport mode share. It recognises that surface access plays an important role in passenger experience and the management of environmental impacts.
“High quality, efficient and reliable road and rail access to airports contributes greatly to the experience of passengers, freight operators and people working at the airport. Greater use of low carbon modes to access airports also has the potential to reduce CO2 emissions, as well as leading to less congestion and improved air quality.” Aviation Policy Framework
Network Rail is progressing a new long-term planning process for the rail network. Its emerging market studies acknowledge the importance of rail travel to airports. This builds on the 2011 London and South-East Route Utilisation Strategy (RUS) which identified connectivity to Heathrow as a strategic gap in the rail network. The RUS recommended that rail connections to the west and south of the airport be developed further. Subsequent route studies, starting in 2014, will focus on specific corridors to look at ways of filling the gaps.
As the UK’s only hub airport and a major transport interchange, Heathrow is recognised in local, regional and national transport policies. Therefore, to develop our plans for the next five years we need to consider and inform policy at all levels.
Airport transport forums
The Government suggests that ATFs are made up of the following groups:
- Airport operator (who should lead the forum);
- Local Highway Authority and Integrated Transport Authority;
- Local Enterprise Partnership;
- Local transport providers (e.g. bus, rail, coach, car hire);
- Local authorities;
- Passenger representatives;
- Freight industry representatives;
- Local businesses;
- Representative from the Airport Consultative Committee;
- Representatives of airport users;
- Representatives of airport employees; and
- Bodies representing interests of walkers, cyclists and disabled people in the area.
However, the Government recognises that local circumstances will have a bearing on the make-up of the group. This list should not therefore be taken to be prescriptive or exhaustive.
The Government suggests that ATFs should meet at least twice per year, and engage proactively in dialogue with group members throughout the year.
In order to ensure the forum is effective, we recommend that airport operators should limit the membership to a manageable number. However they should engage frequently in wider consultation with interested parties including members of the local community e.g. through workshops.
Costs relating to ATFs should be borne by the airport operator