MD1544 Direction to TfL to undertake aviation work

Type of decision: 
Mayoral decision
Date signed: 
21 September 2015
Decision by: 
Boris Johnson MP (past staff), Mayor of London

Executive summary

On 1 July 2015, the Airports Commission (the Commission), published its final report recommending that a third runway be built at Heathrow Airport.  The Government has stated that it will make a decision on its plans regarding increasing runway capacity in the UK later this year.

As the policy development and decision making process enters the next phase, and given the inevitable impact on London of any airport expansion option – including those shortlisted by the Commission (at Heathrow and Gatwick Airports)  – it is essential that the Mayor is able to contribute to the Government’s review and analysis of the Commission’s report.  This is to ensure that London’s interests are protected and that he is able to fulfil his statutory functions on planning and development, housing, economic development and regeneration, transport, environmental issues, health inequalities and culture.  It is also important that the Mayor continues to represent the views of Londoners by taking an active part in the national policy debate and by responding to any other relevant or related inquiries and consultations. 

Since 2011, pursuant to a succession of Mayoral Decisions and Directions (MD806 of 13 May 2011; MD1037 of 6 September 2012; MD1080 of 5 November 2012; and MD1334 of 9 April 2014) Transport for London (TfL) has been carrying out reviews of policies and proposals and engaging with the Government, the Commission and other interested parties in respect of the provision of additional runway capacity for the UK. The effect of the current Direction expires on 30 September 2015, before the Government is expected to announce its decision. The Mayor therefore directs TfL to undertake work to respond to the Commission final report (as described in the attached Direction) and the wider policy debate, and delegates to TfL the powers it requires to do so.



The Mayor: 
1.    Directs Transport for London (TfL) under section 155(1)(c) of the Greater London Authority Act 1999 (‘the GLA Act’) in the terms of the attached Direction (attached as Appendix 1). This Direction ceases to have effect on 30 June 2016 by which time it will be reviewed.
2.    Authorises TfL under section 38(1) of the GLA Act to exercise the Mayor’s powers under sections 30 and 34 of the GLA Act to do all things necessary or expedient to undertake the works required by the attached Direction in accordance with the terms of the attached delegation (Appendix 2).
3.    Authorises Daniel Moylan as a member of the TfL Board to oversee the work that TfL will undertake pursuant to the Amended Direction.


Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

1.1    The background to this proposed decision, prior to the issue by the Commission of its Final Report, is set out in detail in MD806 of 13 May 2011; MD1037 of 6 September 2012; MD1080 of 5 November 2012; and MD1334 of 9 April 2014. These Mayoral Decisions supported Mayoral Directions to TfL to carry out work in relation to, in very broad terms, aviation and airport policy in relation to London. 

1.2    In a report of December 2013 the Commission set out a shortlist of three options, namely a new runway at Heathrow, an extension of an existing runway at Heathrow, and a new runway at Gatwick.  In September 2014  the Commission  announced in a Summary and Decision Paper that it had concluded that the option of a new airport in the inner Thames Estuary should not be shortlisted for more detailed development and appraisal.  

1.3    On 1 July 2015 the Commission  issued its Final Report, in which, while acknowledging that all three shortlisted options were credible, it recommended that a third runway be constructed at Heathrow, with “an effective package of mitigation and compensation”.

1.4    On 1 July 2015, the Secretary of State for Transport made a statement in the House of Commons on behalf of the Government, including the following:
“There are a number of things we need to make progress on now. First, we must study the substantial and innovative evidence base the Commission has produced. Second we will need to decide on the best way for achieving planning consents quickly and fairly if expansion is to go ahead. Third, we will come back to Parliament in the autumn to provide clear direction on the Government’s plans.”

1.5    It is therefore apparent that the final decision as to airport expansion, a decision with an inevitably hugely significant impact on Greater London, remains open to debate and influence.  There is therefore further work for TfL to undertake in relation to the recommended option, the implications for London if the recommended option is pursued, and those options which have been discarded by the Commission at shortlisting or other stages. 

1.6    The Mayor is asked to direct TfL to continue to undertake necessary and appropriate work in respect of the Commission’s recommended option, and its alternatives, and to delegate to TfL the powers it requires to do so.  This may include, but is not limited to:
•    Technical assessment of elements of all of the options.  This may include, but is not limited to, engineering feasibility; consideration of surface access implications; environmental impacts (including air quality and noise); socio-economic impacts; airspace impacts; commercial viability; and legal and regulatory considerations;
•    Responding to requests from Government and other interested parties, and to any consultations undertaken;
•    Communication and engagement with Government and other interested parties, including the public, in relation to aviation policies, through all appropriate channels;
•    Engaging with any other related public investigation on aviation related issues;
•    Working with relevant organisations in carrying out those tasks listed above; and
•    Doing anything that is conducive or ancillary to those tasks listed above.
It is also asked that the Mayor authorise TfL to use his powers in section 30 and 34 of the GLA Act.  The proposed Direction is time limited to 30 June 2016, and will be reviewed on this date.

1.7    It is considered appropriate for a TfL Board member to continue to oversee the work that TfL will undertake pursuant to the Amended Direction and it is proposed that Mr Daniel Moylan continues to undertake this role. In addition to the board member fees that Mr Moylan currently receives, it is proposed that an additional sum be paid to him as consideration for assuming these additional responsibilities commensurate with the time commitment involved. The costs of this, and any associated administration costs in supporting Mr Moylan in this role, will be met by TfL.

1.8    It is anticipated that the financial implications for TfL undertaking the work, pursuant to the proposed Direction and delegation could be up to £1million.   This would bring the total budget for work on aviation to £6.2million over the period from May 2011 to June 2016.

Objectives and expected outcomes

2.1     The objectives of directing TfL to undertake further work on aviation related matters are to ensure that the interests of London and Londoners are properly represented in the policy development and decision making process, including consideration by the Government, and to enable the Mayor to fulfil his statutory functions on planning and development, housing, economic development and regeneration, social development, transport, environmental issues, health inequalities and culture.   

2.2    The work to be undertaken by TfL will seek to address the impacts of the option recommended by the Commission, and the other options for additional airport infrastructure in and relating to London, and London’s future planning needs in the broadest sense.

Equality comments

3.1    Under section 149 of the Equality Act 2010 (the “Equality Act”), as public authorities, the Mayor and TfL must have ‘due regard’ to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation, and to advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not.  Protected characteristics under the Equality Act comprise  age, disability, gender re-assignment, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation, and marriage or civil partnership status (the duty in respect of this last characteristic is to eliminate unlawful discrimination only). 

3.2    No particular effects of this proposed decision, positive or negative, are foreseen on persons with a protected characteristic under the Equality Act.

Other considerations

4.1    Key risks and issues

If the Mayor does not authorise the further work outlined above there is a risk that the interests of London and Londoners will not be properly taken into account by Government when determining national aviation policy.  

In addition, if this decision is not made, there is a risk that the economic development and regeneration potential of London will not be maximised, there will be significantly adverse effects on public health and that the impacts of the Government’s aviation policy, including transport, environmental, economic development and housing implications, will not be properly taken into account, impacting the Mayor’s ability to carry out his statutory functions.

4.2    Links to Mayoral strategies and priorities 

The London Plan
The London Plan published in July 2011 makes reference to aviation capacity. Policy 6.6A states: 
Adequate airport capacity serving a wide range of destinations is critical to the competitive position of London in a global economy. Airport capacity serving the capital and wider south east of England must be sufficient to sustain London’s competitive position.

Mayor’s Draft Housing Strategy
The Mayor’s Draft Housing Strategy, consultation upon which concluded on 17 February 2014, sets out the need to build 42,000 homes a year to support London’s growing population.  The expansion of the UK’s aviation infrastructure in the South East will have a significant impact on where housing is required, particularly for employees, and if located in the right place could act as a catalyst bringing forward much needed housing developments.

Mayor’s Economic Development Strategy
The Mayor’s Economic Development Strategy, published in May 2010 recognises the role airport capacity plays in supporting London’s global economic success. Paragraph 5.42 states: The Mayor recognises that some additional runway capacity will be needed in the wider South East. He will resist the provision of further capacity at Heathrow because of its unacceptable environmental and community impacts and will support the evaluation of alternatives.

Mayor’s Transport Strategy
The Mayor’s Transport Strategy published in May 2010 makes reference to airport capacity and surface access to airports. Proposal 48 states: The Mayor recognises that the provision of adequate airport capacity serving the South East is critical to the competitive position of London in a global economy, but will oppose any further increases in runway capacity at Heathrow.

Mayor’s Ambient Noise Strategy
Under sections 370 and 371 of the GLA Act 1999, the Mayor is required to prepare and publish the London Ambient Noise Strategy and is a statutory consultee on potential changes or additions to routes regularly used by civil aircraft in Greater London.

Mayor’s Air Quality Strategy
The Mayor’s Air Quality Strategy published in December 2010 acknowledges the role of aviation in generating key air pollutants. The importance of this aspect was reinforced by the Supreme Court decision in April 2015 in the ClientEarth case, requiring a new air quality plan to be drawn up by the Government.

Mayor’s Climate Change Mitigation and Energy Strategy
The Mayor’s Climate Change Mitigation and Energy Strategy, published in October 2011, supports a number of actions and activities that will help to reduce the harmful impacts of aviation. If the industry continues to successfully adopt these practices and other sectors of the economy make significant cuts in carbon emissions, substantial aviation expansion can be fully compliant with the UK’s national and international climate change and emissions commitments. This vision is endorsed by the UK Government’s Committee on Climate Change. 

4.3          Impact assessments and consultations

No impact assessments or consultations are required for the Mayor to make this decision.

Financial comments

5.1    Approval is being sought for the Direction to TfL to undertake work in relation to aviation issues to be extended to 30 June 2016 following similar approvals in MD806, MD1037, MD1080 and MD1334.

5.2    There will be no direct financial implications for the GLA arising from the proposal, the full costs of which will be borne by TfL.

Investment and Performance Board

7.1     This decision does not fall under the terms of reference of IPB.

Planned delivery approach and next steps

8.1    To review and consider the implications of the Commission’s recommended option for London, including alternative scenarios, in order to respond to Government, and other interested parties, in relation to the decision the Government proposes to make regarding increasing runway capacity in the UK. 

Appendices and supporting papers

The following documents are attached:
Appendix  – Direction to TfL and Delegation of Mayor’s powers to TfL


Share this page