You're viewing our new website - find out more

Publication - Consultation Paper

Air Departure Tax: consultations and environmental report

Published: 26 Jun 2017
Part of:
Economy, Transport

Consultations relating to our policy for an overall 50% Air Departure Tax (ADT) reduction by the end of the current session of Parliament. Includes a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA).

126 page PDF


126 page PDF


Air Departure Tax: consultations and environmental report
10 Material Assets

126 page PDF


10 Material Assets

10.1 Environmental Protection Objectives

10.1.1 Under the topic heading of material assets, this assessment has focused primarily on the potential for effects on infrastructure associated with the preferred policy option to reduce the overall tax burden of ADT by 50% by the end of the current session of the Scottish Parliament.

10.1.2 While existing policies relating to infrastructure and facilities are wide-ranging, they largely share the common aim of contributing to the core planning objectives of supporting sustainable development, reducing GHG emissions, and making the best use of Scotland's resources and existing infrastructure.

10.1.3 There are a wealth of existing protection objectives and policy at the national and international levels relating to these broad topic areas. These include existing and forthcoming energy policy and climate change commitments, in addition to current objectives and commitments set out in relevant policies, for example the NPF3, SPP, Scotland's National Transport Strategy and Making Things Last: A Circular Economy Strategy for Scotland [269] .

10.2 Environmental Context

10.2.1 Scotland's main airports include Edinburgh, Glasgow, Glasgow Prestwick, Aberdeen, Inverness and Dundee, and cater to both domestic and international flights. There are also many regional airports spread across the country in locations such as Dundee, Wick/John O'Groats, Campbeltown, Islay, Tiree, Outer Hebrides, Orkney and Shetland that provide connectivity between parts of Scotland and provide lifeline air services for many routes [270] .

10.2.2 Scotland's main airports are generally well connected to nearby urban centres by public transport services. For example, Edinburgh Airport is connected by public transport services to/from the cities of Glasgow and Edinburgh. Glasgow Airport and Glasgow Prestwick Airport are served by public transport services to/from Glasgow city.

10.2.3 A UK-wide survey reported in 2014 that 81% of adults who had flown from a UK airport said that they had travelled to the airport by private transport ( i.e. car, van, taxi, minicab), this proportion having fallen from 87% in 2010 and 90% in 2006. The remaining 19% of trips to the airport were made using public transport [271] .

10.2.4 Aviation activity generates considerable waste that requires disposal. This comprises waste generated on aircraft, at the terminal and from the construction of new airport infrastructure [272] . Many airports publish key waste performance data, for example published figures show the total waste generated from Edinburgh Airport was 1,392 tonnes in 2014 and Glasgow Airport reported total waste figures of 1,925 tonnes in 2012 [273] .

10.3 Findings

What are the likely implications of increased passenger and flight numbers on material assets?

10.3.1 The need for some airports to undertake development work in the medium to long-term to accommodate the growth in the sector has been identified in a number of airport masterplans. It has been assumed that the preferred policy option of a 50% reduction in the overall ADT burden has the potential to place increased pressure on existing airport and interconnecting infrastructure.

10.3.2 It was noted in the SEA of the proposed Strategic Airport Enhancements within NPF3 that there would be benefits for material assets through the enhancement of transport infrastructure [274] .

10.3.3 Construction can lead to the production of waste material, however, and any increase in passenger and flight numbers is also likely to have an influencing effect on the amount of waste produced.

10.3.4 The above impacts are considered as secondary effects and have been based on the assumption that increased passenger and flight numbers may lead to new or upgraded development at airports to facilitate this growth. The level of pressure exerted will be further influenced by the degree of the predicted increase in passenger numbers. For example, undertaking a differential approach to how the tax reduction is applied, as discussed in the illustrative scenarios, could influence this.

10.3.5 When considering passenger and flight numbers, it is considered that the reasonable alternative of applying tax rate amounts that would remain the same as those currently set under UK APD represents a "like for like" approach. As such, activity in the sector would likely continue on the current predicted trajectory.

What wider context and potential mitigation measures should be taken into account?

10.3.6 A number of airport masterplans set out objectives that current capacity will be optimised before developing new facilities. They also note that many variables to passenger demand, for example economic and global events, make it difficult to identify specific development requirements.

10.3.7 Interconnecting infrastructure used by passengers and workers traveling to and from airports is a complex topic. The preferred policy option sits within the broader context of other policies and strategies that have an influencing effect on these. For example, there are a number of policies that seek to optimise use and development of sustainable modes of transport, including enhancing interconnection between major transport hubs.

10.3.8 A number of airports produce surface access strategies that set out alternative travel options to and from the airport [275] . Examples of measures that airports have already undertaken include investment in new or improved infrastructure to enhance traffic flow and ease congestion, encouraging the use of public transport and actively discouraging the numbers of car journeys to and from the airport [276] .

10.3.9 Waste is managed locally by airports, and some airlines have policies in place to help reduce the amount that is generated by encouraging the re-use and recycling of waste. Sustainable Aviation also works collaboratively to share best practice and seek ways to increase the recycling of aircraft cabin waste.

10.3.10 It is considered that it would be outwith the scope of the preferred policy option to influence waste management at individual airports, in addition to the development of any supporting infrastructure within and beyond airport boundaries.

What is the likely significance of the predicted impacts?

10.3.11 At this stage of the SEA process it is difficult to predict with any degree of certainty the extent and significance of the identified impacts on infrastructure that may arise as a result of a 50% reduction in the overall ADT burden. However, it is considered likely that the impacts that could potentially arise from infrastructure requirements will be realised at airports and their surrounding environments.

10.3.12 The significance of these identified impacts will be dependent on factors such as the scale and location of any proposed development and operational activities at individual airports. Additionally, significance will also be influenced by the extent to which the anticipated increase in passenger numbers is realised. Potential impacts are likely to range from long-term in nature, through operational requirements leading to development, to short-term, for example from construction activities.

Box 10.1 Material Assets: Summary of key impacts and key points

  • Increased pressure on existing infrastructure from changes in flight numbers, patterns and passenger numbers has been identified.
  • Airport accessibility may be improved through increased connectivity of associated infrastructure and more frequent and diverse flight routes.
  • Increased passenger and flight numbers may have an impact on the amount of waste generated.
Key Points
  • In 2014, 81% of passengers departing or arriving in a UK airport travelled to or from the airport by private transport. This proportion has fallen over the last nine years.
  • Surface access strategies are produced and published by a number of airports. These set out ways to improve access to the airport. Examples of proposed measures include the encouragement of the use of public transport.
  • Aviation generates considerable waste, comprising that generated in the aircraft cabin, at the terminal and from construction activities, such as new airport infrastructure.
  • Most airports and airlines publish data regarding waste management approach and performance.