Scrutiny of Government leads to better Government. In the UK Parliament, the European Scrutiny Committee 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 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”. 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. 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.