Flying, Democracy and Safety 9.

Scrutiny of Government leads to better Government. In the UK Parliament, the European Scrutiny Committee[1] has a tough job to do.  So much is in transition that it’s difficult to keep track of all the issues. This week the Committee has been turning their attention to a global environmental issue. The UK will cease to be a member of the European Union’s (EU’s) Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) at the end of the transition period as established by the existing UK-EU Withdrawal Agreement. A new scheme is planned.

The future of civil aviation, as the world recovers from COVID-19 will be different from that imagined at last years at the 40th Session of the ICAO Assembly[2] in Montreal.  Drives to address climate change will dramatically transform aviation more than the virus. Meeting international obligations will not be simple. The UK-EU future relationship negotiations do need to address these new circumstances.

In an apparent attempt to up the pressure on the UK-EU negotiators, the UK’s Foreign Secretary has said: “we don’t want to hang around”[3]. This statement isn’t helpful and it’s blind to the realities of economic, physical and political geography. Irrespective of the outcome of the UK-EU negotiations, there will be broad and far-reaching consequences for administrations, businesses and people as of 1 January 2021.

Now, as life and fiction become indistinguishable, UK Prime Minister Johnson is backing Conservative Brexiteer Mr Liam Fox to lead World Trade Organisation (WTO). At a time when the UK-EU future relationship will inevitably mean more barriers to trade and cross-border activity in Europe, Mr Fox may be promoting global free trade. This approach seems more than a little incongruous. Now, a leaked letter from UK Minister Truss warns Prime Minister Johnson over post-Brexit border control plans. There may be WTO objections to the plans that may not be complete.

The UK’s Chancellor made major speech on Wednesday, 8 July. He didn’t talk about the aviation or aerospace industries despite the on-going thousands of job losses across the UK[4]. This is a time when the UK needs to be investing in new green technologies, including electrification, composites and sustainable aviation fuels. So far, the UK Government seems to be taking a hands-off approach unlike other Countries.


[1] https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm5801/cmselect/cmeuleg/229-xi/22904.htm#_idTextAnchor009

[2] https://www.icao.int/Meetings/a40/Pages/default.aspx

[3] https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-britain-eu-raab/uk-tells-eu-on-brexit-we-wont-hang-around-too-much-longer-idUKKBN23P0Z8

[4] https://unitetheunion.org/media/3177/uk-aerospace-2020-db-4.pdf

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