Presentation of the midterm assessment
On 12 November 2015, the European Commission presented the public study at midterm of the 2011 transport white paper.
Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc opened the meeting by recalling the five core areas of the white paper (i) a single transport market, (ii) an internal market, (iii) sustainable transport, (iv) smart transport and (v) investments. She reckoned that the aims of the white paper were far from being achieved but the difficulty was due to its implementation and not with its terms.
We noted that any references to citizens were indeed references to consumers, never to residents in an area of noise and pollution (either from planes, road or rail) and that the main issues lied with economic figures, ie GDP, and employment.
The key sentence pronounced by Commissioner Violeta Bulc could be “growth is the ultimate goal”
Stakeholders in all transport fields were invited to express their concerns and expectations. ACI Europe (Airport Council International Europe) and AEA (Association of European Airlines), two of the main actors in European air transport, were represented by the Director-General and the CEO respectively.
The key points of these two presentations included:
- a “license to growth” (a photograph of activists against airports or planes was illustrating this point)
- an open sky
- airport capacity and financing
- a single European sky and the implementation of SESAR
- no aviation tax
Obviously they declined that aviation was a big polluter and claimed that the industry was investing enormous amount of monies in research and developments to improve the environmental foot print of aviation. This is detailed in the letter of September 2015 sent by the Air Transport Action Group (ATAG) which may be found here: ATAG – open letter to governments – Sept. 2015.
UECNA was represented at the meeting by its president, Dominique Lazarski. As usual, she was the only participant representing people suffering from nuisances. She made the following comments:
- It could have been her picture representing a threat to growth on ACI Europe’s slide asking for the “license to growth” as UECNA represents the millions of persons living under flight paths at low altitude.
- People have to cope with noise and emissions from air transport and related activities; growth means more noise and more emisions. The situation of the people needs to be addressed and in particular night flights which are the more detrimental to the health.
- Emissions from kerosene are very similar to those from gas oil – even worse with additional components to kerosene– with mainly the emission of NOx and 2.5 and smaller particles. If cars and lorries can be equipped with catalytic and particle filters, there is no such economically viable solution for planes. Air transport should be included in all the discussions relating to diesel engines