Frequent Flyer Levy

Thank you for contacting me about proposals for a 'frequent flyer levy'.

I am afraid that I do not agree with this proposal, as I believe that, along with a range of environmental mitigations, expansion at Heathrow is the right choice for the country.

The independent Airports Commission concluded that expansion can be delivered within the UK's carbon obligations. I am aware of the advice from the Committee on Climate Change regarding aviation emissions, and I was pleased that the Airports Commission incorporated this into their analysis. I would also draw your attention to the unprecedented UN global agreement, achieved in October, to combat aviation emissions. Under this deal, airlines will offset their emissions with reductions from other sectors to deliver carbon neutral growth for the aviation sector from 2020.

Expansion will only go ahead with a number of measures to address environmental impacts. Heathrow has pledged that there will be no increase in airport-related road traffic with expansion, and has further committed to a target of more than half of passengers using public transport to access the airport. To address emissions from airport vehicles, I was pleased to see that the airport's plans include an ultra-low emissions zone for airport vehicles by 2025.

As I have explained, I believe that the environmental impacts will be effectively mitigated. However, it is also crucial to appreciate the economic benefits of an additional runway. Indeed, the Government estimates that benefits to passengers and the wider economy would be up to £61 billion over 60 years, and the Airports Commission found that most of the economic boost to GDP would be felt outside the South East of England. In addition to this, the runway could deliver up to 77,000 local jobs by 2030.

Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.