Government names experts on the Davies Commission

The government has today named the five experts who will join Sir Howard Davies on the Airports Commission’s panel to examine the UK’s airport expansion plans.

The Department for Transport also outlined the Davies Commission’s scope, saying that it should provide an interim report not later than the end of 2013 on its assessment of the steps needed to maintain the UK’s global hub status, and its recommendations for immediate actions to improve the use of existing runway capacity in the next five years.

The government said the commission should issue its final report no later than summer 2015, detailing how to meet the UK’s international connectivity needs, including their economic, social and environmental impact.

Geoff Muirhead, the former chief executive of the Manchester Airport Group and Professor Dame Julia King, vice chancellor of Aston University and a member of the Committee on Climate Change, with a background in the aerospace industry, are among those who will support Sir Howard Davies’ Airports Commission.

Sir John Armitt, former chairman of the Olympic Delivery Authority and former chief executive of Network Rail, Professor Ricky Burdett, professor of urban studies at the London School of Economics and director of the LSE Cities research centre, and Vivienne Cox, the former chief executive and executive vice president of BP Alternative Energy and a former member of the BP Executive Management Team, complete the panel.

The Department for Transport said the commission “should maintain a UK-wide perspective, taking appropriate account of the national, regional and local implications of any proposals”.

The commission should also “engage openly with interested parties and members of the public, providing opportunities to submit evidence and proposals and to set out views relevant to its work”, said the department.

The government today outlined the commission’s terms of reference, which will examine the scale and timing of any requirement for additional capacity to maintain the UK’s position as Europe’s most important aviation hub, and will identify and evaluate how any need for additional capacity should be met in the short, medium and long term.

Sir Howard said: “I am announcing a team with the range of skills and experience required to drive forward the important work the commission is undertaking.

“With open minds, we will take time to explore the evidence, consider the options and aim to develop a lasting solution to the nation’s aviation needs. Our ambition is to do a thorough piece of work that will ensure aviation continues to support this country’s economic, social and environmental ambitions.

“The experience of recent years shows we need a robust evidence base which has the support of a broad consensus of opinion. We aim to put the next government into a position in which rapid and implementable decisions can be soundly made.”

Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “Aviation is vital to the UK economy and we need to have a long term aviation policy which meets the challenges of the future.

“Sir Howard and his team will now take forward this vitally important work for the government and bring a much-needed fresh perspective to the debate.”

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