Chris Grayling – 2019 Speech on the Maritime Sector

Below is the text of the speech made by Chris Grayling, the Secretary of State for Transport, on 24 January 2019.

Good afternoon everyone, it’s a great pleasure to join you today.

I’d like to thank the International Maritime Organisation for hosting this event.

One hundred and eighty years ago this country marked a great maritime first when Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s Great Western steam ship — kicked off an era of transatlantic travel.

The first vessel purposely designed to take passengers across the Atlantic, it travelled at a record speed — taking as little as 13 days to make the crossing.

But there’s a little known story behind this great feat of engineering.

Brunel was only inspired to build the ship after someone complained that his famous London to Bristol railway line was too long. Brunel hit back by saying:

‘Why not make it longer? Build a steamship to go to New York and call it the Great Western?’

Well within just two years he had done just that and launched Britain on a trajectory which has resulted in the fast, efficient global travel we know today.

It’s an anecdote which highlights not just this country’s maritime heritage, but also what can be achieved by ambition and by thinking outside the box, no matter how big the challenge.

We need to apply that spirit of endeavour, imagination and fearlessness in our maritime industry today, as it faces 21st century issues such as climate change, the technological revolution and changing geo political trends.

For if we are to meet these challenges and make the most of the opportunities of the coming decades we need a clear pathway.

That’s why today we are launching Maritime 2050 — our shared vision for the industry over the next 3 decades.

A vision for every area of our maritime sector, from giant container vessels and huge cruise liners, to leisure ships, like those run on the Thames by City Cruises, which I visited earlier this afternoon.

And carbon fibre yachts — such as those of the Ineos Racing Team, which is aiming to bring the America’s Cup back to British waters in 2021 under the leadership of Sir Ben Ainslie, the most successful Olympic sailor of all time.

But ultimately what underpins Maritime 2050 is a recognition of your sector’s fundamental importance to our country’s prosperity.

That’s because you provide the international trade links on which the UK depends, with 95% of all British goods and exports moved by sea.

You boost our economy by £14 billion a year and create hundreds of thousands of jobs on ships and in ports, as well as in our tourism industry and world leading maritime professional services sector.

And as the UK withdraws from the European Union and seeks new trading relationships across the world it’s never been more crucial that maritime succeeds.

For when it thrives, so does this country.

I know it may seem like Brexit is the only show in town at the moment.

But it’s also vital that we look further ahead.

And this document does exactly that, examining how we can work together to further maritime’s success over the coming decades.

For it’s important to stress that this strategy has not just been formed by officials working in a Whitehall office.

It’s has been shaped by you, through ongoing discussions, regular meetings with industry and through the contribution of an expert panel.

It’s a document that reflects your concerns, your ambitions and which is shaped by your experience.

So we harness the considerable expertise we have in key disciplines like technology, safety and security, while also reaching out to our partners through cooperation on the international stage.

And although there’s increasing competition from around the world Maritime 2050 calls for a bold approach to the future.

A future in which we can continue to be a global leader in the crucial fields where there’s most growth potential.

Take maritime technology, an area where we have a proud history of innovation.

Back in the 19th century we created the first iron hulled armoured warships, played a crucial part in the development of the screw propeller and invented the plimsoll line.

That’s of course to name just a few.

And in the 21st, here in the UK, companies such as L3 ASV and Hushcraft, are leading the way in the field of autonomous vessels.

While Artemis Technologies, led by double Olympic gold medallist yachtsman Iain Percy, has established itself as one of the world’s leading high performance maritime design and applied technologies companies.

And our universities’ research in the fields of maritime technology is world renowned.

But I want to encourage even greater ambition.

This document lays out how we plan to develop a legal framework for the testing of autonomous ships in our waters and spearhead the creation of an international regulatory framework for these vessels.

And today we are also publishing our Technology and innovation in UK maritime route map, which sets out our approach towards introducing this technology in more detail.

But of course Maritime 2050 explores a host of other exciting developments, from developing a maritime innovation hub in a UK port by 2030 to helping maritime businesses seize the opportunities of digital technologies, and unlocking the economic potential of our waters through seabed mapping.

Maritime 2050 also looks at what we can do to become a trailblazer for green technologies.

Whether that’s exploring ways to nurture the growth of zero emission shipping, closer collaboration between industry and government through the Clean Maritime Council or by setting bold targets for the long term future — such as aiming for all UK ferries to be emission free.

These are all steps that will not only help Britain meet its international environmental obligations.

But also help the industry to enjoy the economic rewards of the move to cleaner technology.

Of course shipping is already one of the greenest forms of transport.

But the most recent figures from the IMO show it still accounts for 2.2% of global greenhouse gas emissions — equal to a country the size of Germany.

So it’s vital we continue to up our game.

And Maritime 2050 details how we will do that.

As well as setting out how we will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and air quality pollutants from UK shipping, we will move to bring the UK’s penalties for ships breaking environmental law in our waters in line with international best practice, while encouraging the use of advanced technologies to help maritime environmental law enforcement.

We have a duty to deliver on the international stage here too.

So as well as ratifying treaties such as the Ballast Water Management and Hong Kong conventions that seek to lessen maritime’s environmental impact, this document underlines how we will work with our partners at the IMO towards a global target of cutting maritime greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50% by 2050.

And we plan to use our international influence to tackle other environmental issues of global importance.

Such as marine litter and plastics, illegal fishing and protecting biodiversity.

While maintaining a regulatory framework which allows the UK to thrive and global trade to flow.

Great innovations, new trade horizons and environmental challenges, will make the coming decades an extraordinary time for the sector.

But to take full advantage of this exciting era — we need to make sure our workforce has the skills to keep pace with changing technology.

I know that the sector is doing some great work on this front.

And the government has launched its own initiatives, such as the Year of Engineering, to inspire the next generation of engineers.

But there is still more to do.

Maritime 2050 lays out some of our solutions to the recruitment and skills issues facing your industry in future. About which my ministerial colleague Nusrat Ghani will speak in more detail later.

Enabling the maritime sector to attract the brightest minds and the best skills will help ensure this country remains one of the best places in the world to do maritime business.

We have the largest global hub for maritime services in London and the lowest headline rate of corporation tax in the G7 and one which will fall to 17% next year.

Combined with world class universities and a UK flag that is a symbol of the very best quality.

But we can’t rest on our laurels.

We have many global competitors who are quite capable of stealing a march on us.

So Maritime 2050 lays out the action we need to take to secure our long term success.

With a clear commitment to working and listening to industry, to further improve this country’s fiscal and regulatory environment for marine businesses, it’s vital too that the whole country can continue to benefit from a thriving maritime sector.

It’s one of the industry’s strongest selling points that its attributes are spread across this country.

With different areas boasting their own specialisms, whether in maritime services, shipbuilding or training and education.

This document lays out how we will support these maritime clusters.

And how we will use our influence in the international arena to exert positive change for the global maritime sector.

We are of course delighted to be hosts of the IMO here in London.

And I’d like to take a moment to express my gratitude to Secretary General Kitack Lim for all his hard work on behalf of the maritime industry around the world.

Rest assured that in Maritime 2050 we have committed the UK to continue to maintain its leading role as an IMO member. Something that will continue long into future.

And this theme of collaboration and cooperation runs right through Maritime 2050.

If there is one message I’d like you to take home tonight it’s that the government is on your side.

Whether that’s through our support of Maritime UK, creating the right environment for maritime SMES to flourish.

Or showcasing Britain’s maritime industry to the world through events, such as London International Shipping Week, to be held in September this year.

I look forward to seeing many of you there.

So finally I’d like to extend my thanks to everyone who contributed to this document.

The UK’s maritime sector may not always hit the headlines or get the attention it deserves, but it is one of this country’s great success stories, staffed by professional, dedicated and highly skilled people and part of a quality flag.

Maritime 2050 will enable those achievements to continue and allow the sector to further flourish over the coming decades.

So let’s take inspiration from Brunel and our proud maritime past, let’s harness the excitement of the innovation of today and be ambitious for our maritime future.

Thank you.

Chris Grayling – 2019 Speech on HS2

Below is the text of the speech made by Chris Grayling, the Secretary of State for Transport, on 24 January 2019.

Thank you and good afternoon everyone. I’d like to thank you all for inviting me to this event.

It’s a real pleasure to be here today and to see so many familiar faces from the world of transport, as well as across the political spectrum.

This government’s plans for projects such as High Speed 2 will not only revitalise the north and the Midlands, they will have a transformational effect on Britain.

And many of you in this room have the responsibility of not only bringing these plans to fruition but also ensuring the entire country enjoys the full benefits.

For it’s no exaggeration that good transport connections can have an extraordinary impact on people’s lives. They bring communities closer together, provide new work and educational opportunities and help businesses to thrive. But I am all too conscious that the last time we built new rail links to the centres of our great northern cities, Queen Victoria was still on the throne.

Back then the north was home to some of the earliest railway innovations.

For instance, in 1830 the first modern intercity passenger railway in the world ran between Liverpool and Manchester.

The 35-mile trip was a thrilling experience for travellers, if not a rather bracing one – as many passengers sat in carriages virtually open to the north-west’s weather.

But it inspired real excitement among the public about the potential offered by railways and it’s my aim to create that same sense of enthusiasm towards the benefits of our modern railway projects.

However it is a great shame that half a century of underinvestment means cities in the north and Midlands don’t just have poor rail connections to the rest of the UK – they have poor connections to each other.

These inefficient links have meant that opportunity is less accessible for people than in other parts of the country, such as the south-east.

I am proud to be part of a government that has called time on that trend.

And I believe the creation of HS2 will super charge economic growth for the north and the Midlands while providing the extra capacity required on busy north to south rail routes, which are currently among the most intensively used in Europe, and encouraging employers and businesses to not just focus on London and the south-east but the country as a whole.

I’ve been delighted to see the progress HS2 is making.

Last autumn I joined West Midlands Mayor Andy Street to meet the team delivering the HS2 station at Curzon Street in Birmingham where the railway will help transform the city centre, and could unlock up to 36,000 jobs and 4,000 new homes.

But as people in this room know, HS2 is not just about improving train links between London and Birmingham.

It’s a project that will benefit the whole country, boosting opportunity and breathing new life into towns and cities.

You may have seen media stories suggesting that the second stage of the project might not happen. Those stories are completely inaccurate.

Let me be very clear. High Speed 2 is vital beyond Birmingham and failure to deliver it would be a dereliction of our duties to improve the life chances of everyone in this country, an abandonment of our ambition for one of the most extraordinary engineering projects since the Victorian age and a huge betrayal of the people in the Midlands and the north.

Some of you may have been at the event, where I was reported to have made these remarks.

In fact I said we must keep on making the strategic case for HS2 and work hard to win over the public about its potential benefits.

Let me reiterate. We are committed to a second stage between the West Midlands and Leeds and between Crewe and Manchester, completing the ‘Y axis’ and it is very heartening to see that the positive impacts of HS2 — both the first and second stage — are already being felt all over the UK.

So far it has already created 7,000 jobs and 100 apprenticeships. While over 2,000 contracts for the railway are being delivered by businesses large and small everywhere from Colchester to Coventry.

So HS2 is a project that will transform our country, regenerate our regions and rebalance our economy. But I want to be clear that it will not come at the expense of other transport projects for the north. And conversely nor will other railway projects come at the expense of HS2.

It’s a complete misnomer to say we can only have either Northern Powerhouse Rail or HS2. We need both. In fact there are strong reasons why HS2 should actually pave the way for NPR and why the case for NPR is actually bolstered by HS2.

That’s why we are integrating HS2 into the emerging proposals from Transport for the North for Northern Powerhouse Rail, as well as with our Midlands transport plans.

I’d like to conclude by thanking our hosts TFN, Midlands Connect, Core Cities and the Northern Powerhouse Partnership for organising this event.

Your help is vital in achieving our ultimate goal of a transport network that is fit for the future.

We are committed to delivering HS2 for you and the businesses, people, passengers and local authorities that you represent.

It’s your work today that will help ensure the growth and prosperity of the whole country for generations to come.

We have a fantastic opportunity with HS2 to transform capacity, boost connectivity and spark even greater economic growth. Let’s seize it with both hands. Thank you.

Chris Grayling – 2019 Statement on Drones

Below is the text of the statement made by Chris Grayling, the Secretary of State for Transport, in the House of Commons on 7 January 2019.

I should like to make a statement about the action the government are taking on our future policy on drones.

The disruption caused by drones to flights at Gatwick airport last month was deliberate, irresponsible and calculated, as well as illegal. It meant days of chaos and uncertainty for over 100,000 passengers at Christmas, one of the busiest times of the year. Carefully planned holidays were disrupted, long-expected reunions between friends and relatives missed. Families were forced to spend hours at an airport, not knowing if or when they would reach their destinations – completely unacceptable and utterly illegal. I pay tribute to all at Gatwick and other airports who worked very hard to make sure people did get away, albeit belatedly, for their Christmas breaks, and I thank all those in the defence world and the police who worked hard to get the airport back together again, and of course Sussex police are now leading the investigation into this criminal activity.

I am clear that, when caught, those responsible should face the maximum possible custodial sentence for this hugely irresponsible criminal act, and I want to assure the House that my department is working extremely closely with airports, the Home Office, the Ministry of Defence, the Civil Aviation Authority and the police to make sure our national airports are fully prepared to manage any repeat of what was an unprecedented incident. I spoke personally to the heads of the major UK airports before Christmas, and later this week the aviation minister, Baroness Sugg, will meet them again for an update on progress. In the meantime the Ministry of Defence remains on standby to deal with any further problems at Gatwick or any other airport if required.

This incident was a stark example of why we must continue to ensure drones are used safely and securely in the UK. Today I am publishing the outcome of our recent consultation, “Taking flight: the future of drones in the UK.” We received over 5,000 responses to that consultation reflecting a broad range of views. Those responses underlined the importance of balancing the UK’s world-leading position in aviation safety and security with supporting the development of this emerging industry. The government are taking action to ensure that passengers can have confidence that their journeys will not be disrupted in future, aircraft can safely use our key transport hubs, and criminals misusing drones can be brought to justice.

The UK is where technology companies want to build their businesses, invest in innovation and use science and engineering to bring immense benefits to this country. Drones are at the forefront of these technological advances and are already being used in the UK to great effect. Our emergency search and rescue services use drones on a regular basis. Drones can also reduce risks for workers in hazardous sectors such as the oil and gas industries, and this technology is also driving more efficient ways of working in many other sectors, from delivering medicines to assisting with building work.

However, the Gatwick incident has reinforced the fact that it is crucial that our regulatory and enforcement regime keeps pace with rapid technological change. ​We have already taken some big steps towards building a regulatory system for this new sector. It is already an offence to endanger aircraft. Drones must not be flown near people or property and have to be kept within visual line of sight. Commercial users are able to operate drones outside of these rules, but only when granted CAA permission after meeting strict safety conditions.

Education is also vital to ensure everyone understands the rules about drone use. That is why the CAA has been running its long-standing Dronesafe campaign and Dronecode guide – work that is helping to highlight these rules to the public. And on 30 July last year (2018) we introduced new measures that barred drones from flying above 400 feet and within 1 km of protected airport boundaries. In addition, we have introduced and passed legislation that will mean that from November all drone operators must register and all drone pilots complete a competency test.

However, we now intend to go further. Today’s measures set out the next steps needed to ensure that drones are used in a safe and secure way and that the industry is accountable. At the same time these steps will ensure that we harness the benefits that drones can bring to the UK economy.

A common theme in those 5,000 consultation responses was the importance of the enforcement of safety regulations. The government share that view. The majority of drone users fly safely and responsibly, but we must ensure that the police have the right powers to deal with illegal use. We will therefore shortly be introducing new police powers. These include allowing the police to request evidence from drone users where there is reasonable suspicion of an offence being committed, as well as enabling the police to issue fixed penalty notices for minor drone offences. Those new powers will help to ensure effective enforcement of the rules. They will provide an immediate deterrent to those who might misuse drones or attempt to break the law.

My department has been working closely with the Home Office on the legislative clauses that will deliver these changes. It is of course crucial that our national infrastructure, including airports and other sites such as prisons and energy plants, are also adequately protected to prevent incidents such as that at Gatwick. We must also ensure that the most up-to-date technology is available to detect, track and potentially disrupt drones that are being used illegally, so we have also consulted on the further use of counter-drone technology. Those consultation responses will now be used by the Home Office to develop an appropriate means of using that technology in the UK.

Of course, aviation and passenger safety is at the heart of everything we do. While airlines and airports welcomed our recent airport drone restriction measures, they also asked for the current airport rules to be amended in order to better protect the landing and take-off paths of aircraft. We have listened to those concerns, and we have been working with the CAA and NATS to develop the optimum exclusion zone that will help to meet those requirements. It is important to stress that any restriction zone would not have prevented a deliberate incident such as that at Gatwick. However, it is right that proportionate measures should be in place at airports to protect aircraft and to avoid potential conflict with legitimate drone activity. We will therefore introduce additional protections around airports, with ​a particular focus on protected exclusion zones from runway ends, alongside increasing the current aerodrome traffic zone restrictions around airports. Drone pilots wishing to fly within these zones must do so only with permission from the aerodrome air traffic control. We will amend the Air Navigation Order 2016 to implement these changes.

I want to address some of the rather ill-judged comments that have been made by Labour Members. Let me remind them of three things. First, the event at Gatwick airport was a deliberate criminal act that can carry a sentence of life imprisonment. We can pass new laws until the cows come home, but that does not stop people breaking them, and the law is as tough as is necessary to punish the perpetrators of an attack such as this. Secondly, this was an entirely new type of challenge. It is noteworthy that, since the events at Gatwick, we have been approached by airports around the world for our advice on how to handle something similar. Thirdly, the issue was solved only by the smart and innovative use of new technology. For security reasons, I am not going to give the House details of how this was achieved, but I want to extend my thanks to the Ministry of Defence for moving rapidly to put a new kind of response into the field.

There is no question but that lessons have to be learned from what happened at Gatwick. Passengers have to be able to travel without fear of their trips being disrupted by malicious drone use. Airports must be prepared to deal with incidents of this type, and the police need the proper powers to deal with drone offences. We must also be ready to harness the opportunities and benefits that the safe use of drones can bring. The measures I have announced today in response to the consultation will take us forward on that front, and I commend this statement to the House.

Chris Grayling – 2019 Statement on Ferry Operators

Below is the text of the statement made by Chris Grayling, the Secretary of State for Transport, in the House of Commons on 7 January 2019.

The government has entered into 3 contracts with ferry operators to provide additional ferry capacity and services into the UK as part of no deal EU Exit contingency planning.

Whilst the ambition of government is to ensure an orderly exit from the EU, the Department for Transport has been undertaking a wide range of work to mitigate the impact on the transport system of a no-deal EU Exit.

Significant work has taken place to understand the effect that this would have on the UK border and the impact on flows of goods between the UK and EU. Whilst the government has made clear it is committed to ensuring frictionless movement across the UK border, the scale of the potential disruption to the Dover Straits, if additional customs checks were introduced in Calais, Coquelles and Dunkirk, where freight services disembark, could be very significant. Given the importance of these routes, contingency work is being undertaken to mitigate potential impacts and ensure that goods can continue to flow into and out of the UK as freely as possible.

A priority for government is to ensure that the Port of Dover and the Eurotunnel can continue to operate at the maximum possible capacity. The government is therefore working with both organisations and our French counterparts in Calais, Coquelles and Dunkirk so that any disruption or drop in throughput is managed effectively and mitigated.

There is a clear willingness to reach agreements which secure the continued operation of these vital trade routes in all scenarios and the government remains confident that there will not be major disruption to the flow of goods across the border. Nevertheless, the potential for a decline in throughput remains possible in a worst case scenario and the government is therefore planning for all eventualities.

As one of several contingency measures being undertaken, the Department for Transport has completed a procurement process to secure additional ferry capacity between the UK and the EU which can be used for critical goods such as medical supplies in the event of disruption to cross-Channel crossings. A negotiated procurement procedure without prior publication was concluded as allowed for by Regulation 32 of The Public Contracts Regulations 2015. An accelerated competitive process was carried out in order to ensure that capacity can be in place in time for a No Deal exit whilst at the same time securing value for money for the taxpayer. The Department approached a number of shipping providers capable of providing additional freight capacity in order to ensure fairness for the market and also engaged external expertise to ensure value for money for the taxpayer.

Bids were evaluated on the basis that they met our strategic aims of providing additional freight capacity for a No Deal Brexit scenario. Bids were reviewed against a number of criteria, including journey time, quality of delivery plans, and the pricing submitted by bidders.

The bids we received to provide capacity were subject to technical, financial and commercial assurance as part of standard due diligence procedures and consistent with that undertaken on all government contracts. This included a price benchmarking exercise to ensure that the taxpayer was getting good value for money, and assurance on the delivery plans of our bidders.

The department commissioned external advice from three respected professional advisers to support this work. Three contracts were agreed with operators totalling c£103 million.

Two contracts went to established operators, Brittany Ferries (£46.6 million) and DFDS (c£42.6 million). These contracts provide for additional capacity between the UK and EU on existing routes, via the provision of additional services and additional vessels. The contracts agreed with them include early termination provisions and other typical contractual provisions to ensure government has the right protections in place, such as in the event of an operator becoming insolvent.

The routes agreed with Brittany and DFDS are away from the Dover Straits, and will run from the Ports of Immingham and Felixstowe (DFDS) and Poole, Plymouth and Portsmouth (Brittany) to destinations in Germany (Cuxhaven), the Netherlands (Vlaardingen) and France (Caen, Cherbourg, Le Havre, and Roscoff).

The third contract was awarded to Seaborne Freight (£13.8 million), a new operator to provide a new service between Ramsgate and Ostend. Seaborne Freight has been preparing for some time to operate services on this route. The management team of Seaborne has extensive experience in the shipping and maritime sector, including the operation of ferry services on cross-channel routes, freight brokerage, port management and vessel chartering.

Whilst the broad contract structure is the same for all three contracts including the provision that payment will only be made in arrears and on the successful provision of services, the Seaborne contract is also subject to the achievement of a range of key milestones including in relation to finalising funding and vessel chartering agreements.

As with many operators in the sector, it is not uncommon that they do not own their own vessels and will be chartering them through third parties. The department has reviewed their plans for sourcing vessels with the support of external advisers. A number of large institutional investors are backing this service and the government’s contract represents a small part of the overall investment required by Seaborne to open this route. These lenders undertake their own rigorous due diligence before making financial commitments, providing a further level of assurance to government. Seaborne and my department are also working closely with Thanet Council to ensure that Ramsgate Port is ready to take new services. A programme of work to prepare the infrastructure is underway.

In total the additional freight capacity delivered by these three contracts will be equivalent to around 8% of normal flows across the Dover Straights. Whilst this will not be sufficient to mitigate the full level of disruption possible in a worst case scenario, it will enable the government to provide essential capacity for the highest priority goods including medical supplies.

In terms of next steps, the Department for Transport will provide support to and oversight of all operators to ensure that these services are delivered to meet the terms of the contracts agreed.

I will provide further updates to Parliament at the appropriate points.

Chris Grayling – 2018 Speech on the Withdrawal Agreement

Below is the text of the speech made by Chris Grayling, the Secretary of State for Transport, in Birmingham on 5 December 2018.

Opening remarks

Good morning everyone.

It’s a pleasure to be here at Birmingham Airport today (5 December 2018).

The global gateway to the Midlands…

Which had a record year in 2017…

With nearly 13 million passengers travelling on flights to over 150 destinations.

And which has also just announced a £500 million expansion plan to boost capacity and improve passenger facilities.

Thriving airports say a lot about the places they’re serving.

They are tangible evidence of business confidence.

Of ambition to expand into overseas markets.

To attract inward investment from other countries.

And to take advantage of opportunities opening up in the global economy….

As clearly we see here at Birmingham.

Global outlook

Yet this is what our island nation has been doing for centuries.

We’ve always been an outward-facing country.

It’s part of our DNA.

Reaching out to markets abroad.

Investing in transport links.

To help us strike trade deals around the world.

And in the post-Brexit world, we’ll need these strengths more than ever.

It’s why we are expanding Heathrow.

Why we’ve given regional airports like Birmingham greater freedom to grow.

And why we’re prioritising new aviation agreements with other nations to prepare for life outside the European Union.

Just last week – for example – we signed a deal with the US cementing flights across the Atlantic once we leave the EU.

The deal secures existing air connections, and sets out ways in which new operators can enter the market in future.

We have worked closely with airlines in both countries to make sure we get this deal right.

Then at the weekend we also concluded an agreement with Canada, sorting out the last significant non-EU aviation destination after Brexit.

But of course, maintaining flights to European markets is critical too.

Within Europe, both the European Commission and other member states have been clear that arrangements will be put in place for the aviation sector – regardless of the broader agreement.

This will ensure flights between the UK and EU can continue and that passengers have certainty about travelling.

Supporting the current deal

Clearly, these deals are in the national interest.

We’ve reached a stage in the Brexit journey where acting in the national interest takes precedence over all other considerations.

That’s why it’s imperative we get behind the Prime Minister’s agreed deal with the European Union now.

I campaigned for Brexit in 2016, and have not changed my view that it’s the right choice for Britain.

But I’m also a pragmatist.

It’s equally important that we remain good friends and neighbours to our EU partners, while also deepening ties around the world.

I believe that the vast majority of the British population want a mutually beneficial deal with the EU, and a smooth transition.

That’s precisely what the Prime Minister’s agreement will deliver….

While also delivering the vast majority of benefits that pro-Brexiteers asked for at the Referendum.

It will give us full control of our money….

Of our laws ….

And our borders – ending the free movement of people.

While maintaining security.

And protecting the union of the United Kingdom.

Transport and the PM’s deal

We’ll benefit from a free trade area with the EU, while also pursuing trade deals with other countries outside Europe.

And we have agreed ambitious transport arrangements with the EU.

Not only will we have a comprehensive Air Transport Agreement….

Visa-free travel for short-term visits, including tourists and business travellers…

And co-operation where it makes sense – on aviation security, safety and air traffic management….

But we’ll also have comparable access for hauliers, buses and coaches travelling between the UK and the rest of Europe.

Bilateral arrangements will allow cross border rail services to continue – such as between Belfast and Dublin, and through the Channel Tunnel.

And ships will continue to serve ports here and across the EU, protecting vital imports and exports routes.

And our thriving tourism industry.

This is a good deal for business and for jobs.

The best deal for business and jobs.

It will help us keep our connections with Europe….

While providing a springboard to pursue new agreements around the world.

And it will keep Britain moving.

That’s why transport industry leaders have come out today in support of the agreement….

Urging the country to get behind a deal that will provide much needed certainty.

And that’s why as Transport Secretary, I am strongly in favour as well.

If I had been offered the current deal before the Referendum in 2016, I would have seen it as an obviously better alternative to the status quo of remaining inside the EU.

But today, when we know that we will not get an improved deal if this one is rejected, then the decision to back it now is even more clear cut.

No deal

Of course, we’ve been working hard to prepare for all eventualities after our exit.

Including no deal.

As any responsible government would.

We are making provision to ease the pressure on Dover and Calais if there are customs hold ups after we leave.

And we are making sure British motorists have easy access to International Driving Licences if they are needed.

These are just two of the many transport implications of failing to reach a deal with the EU.

Implications which we set out in detail for each transport mode earlier this year…

Along with relevant advice for the public.

But none of us want them to actually happen.

No-one wants to sever ties with our European neighbours, and leave on bad terms.

So now our focus is to get on delivering the broader exit agreement.

And making progress with our withdrawal plans so we leave the European Union in March, while maintaining good relations.

Conclusion

We have an historic opportunity here.

To take back control of our borders and finances.

To retain a positive working and free trade relationship with our closest neighbours in the EU….

With no tariffs, fees, or charges across all sectors.

And no hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland.

While keeping the Common Travel Area, ensuring everyday life continues as now.

This will ensure the smooth movement of transport and people….

By road, rail, sea and air.

Continued access to European markets….

Yet also the freedom to grow globally…

Providing airports like Birmingham with the momentum to invest for the future.

I believe the overwhelming majority of the country now want us to get on with Brexit….

And turn our attention to what comes next.

That’s what this agreement will do.

The deal on the table is also the best deal.

Best for transport.

Best for business.

Best for Britain.

So let’s get behind it.

Thank you.

Chris Grayling – 2018 Statement on the EU Transport Council

Below is the text of the statement made by Chris Grayling, the Secretary of State for Transport, in the House of Commons on 6 November 2018.

I attended the informal meeting of members of the Transport and Environment Councils in Graz, Austria on 29 and 30 October.

The programme for the informal meetings included separate sessions for transport and environment Ministers and a joint session for both Ministers entitled “Starting a new Era: clean, safe and affordable mobility for Europe”.

On 29 October, Transport Ministers were invited to discuss the Commission’s proposal on “Discontinuing seasonal changes of time (summer time)”. My noble Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Lord Henley, represented the UK at this session and explained that the UK Government do not support the proposed directive. He also noted the Commission had fallen short on the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality as has been highlighted by the decision of the House of Lords to issue a reasoned opinion. (The House of Commons European Scrutiny Committee has subsequently recommended that the House of Commons also issue a reasoned opinion on this matter.)

There was broad consensus in Council that the timetable proposed by the Commission was too short and thus there was widespread support for the presidency’s intention to provide for an extension. A small minority of member states were notably critical of the proposal while the majority welcomed the initiative, albeit noting its deficiencies. Several member states advocated the need to co-ordinate across borders in order to know the final time zone arrangements before taking the decision to abolish daylight saving.

Environment Ministers were then invited to discuss “The future of European environmental policy”. The Secretary of State for the Environment was represented by officials from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. Ministers broadly agreed on the need for an eighth environment action programme (EAP) with a consensus that it should take full account of climate change given the report from the Inter- governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on global warming of 1.5 °C published last month.

At the joint session for Transport and Environment Ministers on 30 October, interventions were wide-ranging with common themes being the need to move towards zero emissions vehicles and enabling people to choose sustainable ways to travel. These themes were reflected in the presidency’s “Graz declaration” published after the meeting. For the UK, I stressed the importance of ambition to accelerate the development and introduction of zero emission vehicles, recalling that the Prime Minister had hosted the world’s first zero emission vehicle summit in Birmingham recently.​
The subject for the afternoon session was road safety. Transport Ministers shared experiences with progress to date in reducing casualties and their perception of the challenges in making more progress. In my intervention I noted that human error was a factor in over 85% of road accidents, and that connected and automated vehicles offered opportunities to make our roads safer.

In the margins I met with a number of EU Transport Ministers to discuss current EU transport business and how relationships will evolve as the UK leaves the EU.

Chris Grayling – 2018 Speech on Airports

Below is the text of the speech made by Chris Grayling, the Secretary of State for Transport, on 29 October 2018.

Good morning everyone.

It’s a real pleasure to join you again for your annual conference.

And to start what I’m sure will be a day and a half of stimulating debate.

When the AOA was first formed in 1934, the conference’s theme – the Airport of the Future – might have been an equally apt topic.

But a keynote speaker 84 years ago would have needed a vivid imagination to predict the airports of the 21st century.

Who would have dreamt that Gatwick, a former horse racing track, would become Britain’s second busiest airport?

Or a couple of farms and a vicarage in leafy Cheshire would be transformed into Manchester Airport – with flights to every corner of the globe?

Or that a collection of fields would one day make way for Birmingham Airport – now the Midlands’ gateway to the world.

So Britain’s airports have undergone a remarkable change within a single lifespan – transformed from their early roots to the incredibly successful and safe industry represented in this room today.

Importance of industry

An airports industry that supports hundreds of thousands of jobs.

That every week directly generates £270 million for the UK economy.

And that plays a vital role in attracting inward investment to our country by connecting businesses at home and overseas.

You are the reason why Britain today has the third largest aviation network in the world.

Why we imported and exported £170 billion of air freight last year to countries outside the EU.

Why passenger numbers have surged by 64 million in just 5 years.

With 284 million people passing through our airports in 2017.

And recent events have shown that the pace of change in the airport sector is accelerating.

We’ve ended decades of dithering over Heathrow expansion with overwhelming support in Parliament for the National Policy Statement.

There is massive investment going into airports around the country.

At Manchester, Luton and Leeds Bradford for example.

And you’ve rolled out new routes to cities in some of the fastest growing parts of the world – for instance the Middle East and China.

Airports are becoming increasingly innovative.

Finding new and diverse ways to benefit the economies and communities you serve.

For example hosting business parks, where SMEs can grow with easy connections to markets and suppliers.

And by providing education and training opportunities to attract more people into aviation careers – as we’re seeing at Stansted.

And let’s not forget the smaller airports that maintain essential links for more isolated parts of the country.

From Newquay in Cornwall to Inverness in the Highlands – these busy transport hubs help boost their local economies – making them even more vibrant.

Brexit

And it’s absolutely crucial that UK airports continue to thrive after we leave the European Union.

Of course securing the best possible access to European markets is the ultimate goal of our negotiations.

And with 164 million passengers travelling between the UK and EU last year – maintaining current agreements on air transport is clearly in the interests of everyone.

But as we’ve made clear, it’s just common sense that we also plan for all possible scenarios – even if they are unlikely.

The recent aviation technical notices we released set out the pragmatic approach that the UK would take in the event of a ‘no-deal’ exit.

Those actions would help avoid disruption to air services, while supporting businesses and consumers. Not just here in the UK, but across Europe.

We will also continue to seek new and improved bilateral Air Services Agreements with the rest of the world.

Aiming, as we always have, to improve connectivity, choice and value for money for businesses and consumers.

We want to continue participation with the European Aviation Safety Agency.

But whatever the conclusion of negotiations, EU safety rules will be brought into domestic law through the withdrawal act.

So we look forward to an outcome which not only maintains connectivity, but also allows British aviation to grow and thrive.

And of course that includes capitalising on new, global opportunities.

It has never been more important to demonstrate that Britain is open to the world.

Open to collaboration.

Open for business.

And there can be no better way of doing that than through international air connections and our world class aviation industry.

Aviation strategy and airspace modernisation

Projections show that 435 million passengers a year could be passing through our airports by 2050.

Passengers who are a benefit to Britain.

Boosting tourism.

Building business relationships across continents.

Hundreds of millions of opportunities for Britain to grow.

But we can’t take future success for granted.

We need a long-term plan for sustainable growth.

So that we better manage the impact of airport expansion on local communities.

So that we improve surface access – making journeys to airports quicker, easier and greener.

So that we address the environmental concerns of growth.

And consider the passenger in everything we do.

These things won’t happen on their own.

They can only be achieved by government and industry working in partnership.

And that’s why we are developing our aviation strategy.

A comprehensive, long term vision for the sector up to 2050.

A vision for enterprise and growth.

That provides the right framework for the sector to grow responsibly.

Let me give a couple of examples.

Just as important as building new infrastructure or making best use of existing runways is how we optimise use of our skies.

As air traffic grows, modernisation of airspace is an increasingly pressing issue.

We need to get it right, for the benefit of the industry, passengers, and communities living under flight paths.

We’ve already made good progress on this front with the publication of our airspace change framework last year.

And as part of the aviation strategy we will be examining whether further policy is needed to support these changes.

But we need your help and engagement too.

To help us make best use of airspace.

And growth cannot take place without considering the environment and local communities.

Our recent Airports National Policy Statement highlights the government’s expectation that expansion will be supported by a strong package of environmental and community mitigations.

And the forthcoming aviation green paper will set out proposals to enable sustainable growth across the country.

But to do those things we need you to work with local neighbourhoods, the government and each other to the benefit of every airport across the UK network.

And ultimately to the benefit of passengers.

That’s what the aviation strategy is all about.

We have to look at every stage of the passenger journey.

Analyse key trends, and examine how airports can continue to respond to travellers’ changing needs.

For while you generally do a great job at innovating to meet new customer demands.

For instance your investment in new screening technologies that could speed up passengers’ journey through security.

There is still more to be done to ensure all consumers can travel with confidence.

Inclusive travel and borders

Like providing full accessibility, for instance.

Last year there were 3 million requests for assistive services in airports – a leap of two thirds in 6 years.

And our aging population means demand is likely to further grow.

There’s already been some excellent progress.

This year 16 airports, including Edinburgh, Liverpool, Cardiff and Derry, were rated as very good in the CAA’s accessibility review.

Up from just 6 in 2017.

But there are still distressing stories.

And the CAA reviews have found that some airports still need to make vital improvements.

So it’s important we all up our game.

That’s why in July we launched our Inclusive Transport Strategy – to ensure disabled people can travel confidently, easily and at no extra cost.

And the aviation strategy provides a great opportunity to explore these issues across the airports sector.

We are considering a range of measures including improved training for airport and airline staff and boosting awareness of assistive services at airports.

While the CAA has recently released new guidelines on supporting passengers with hidden disabilities.

In addition it’s vital that we demonstrate that the UK is fully open for business and to the world.

So we want to limit delays at our borders too.

As part of the strategy we are working with Border Force on ways of creating a smoother crossing for travellers through passport control.

Without compromising security.

And I thank the AOA and the aviation industry for your help so far on this work. Your input has been greatly valued.

Green paper

And I know that many of you have already contributed to the strategy‘s development so far.

But we hope to hear even more from you.

We will lay out the next steps of its development in a green paper this December (2018).

To be followed by another consultation period before the final document is published next year.

So I urge you to participate.

This will be a great chance to shape the final strategy.

And an opportunity for us to benefit from your experience and that of your customers.

I can’t predict what will be top of the agenda at the AOA conference 8 decades from now.

Or imagine how our airports will look in 2102.

But I can promise that through the aviation strategy we are looking ahead to the challenges of the coming decades.

I can tell you that your future in this country is bright.

And I can guarantee that by working together we will set a course that allows Britain’s airports to continue to flourish.

Thank you.

Chris Grayling – 2018 Statement on the Rail Review

Below is the text of the statement made by Chris Grayling, the Secretary of State for Transport, in the House of Commons on 11 October 2018.

Mr. Speaker,

I would like to update the House on the government’s Rail Review, which we will use to build on the successes of our busy railway, to deliver a network that is fit for the future and better serves passengers.

I will also update the House on the current performance of Northern and GTR.

For a generation before the 1993 Railways Act, British Rail was in seemingly terminal decline. Passenger numbers where falling. Stations were closing. Short term decisions were being made at the expense of the traveling public. The Railways Act brought investment, new services and better reliability.

A quarter of a century later, the situation is very different. Our UK rail network is at capacity in commuter areas, with many of the most intensively used lines in Europe. On many routes, it simply isn’t possible to squeeze more trains onto the network.

As we now know, the railways were not in terminal decline after all – they had simply been starved of investment. Privatisation has reversed the decades of decline and heralded the fastest expansion of our railways since they were built by the Victorians. It has also delivered billions of pounds of investment and radically improved safety. Our railways are now among the safest in the world.

But this welcome expansion has brought new, acute challenges. On major commuter routes across the country, trains are packed each morning. Network Rail, which represents a third (38%) of the industry (based on spend), is nationalised. It is also responsible for over half (54%) of the daily disruption.

But no matter whether it is a failure of the track, a fault with a train, or a customer incident, it is because there is little resilience or margin for error in the system that, when things go wrong, the knock-on effect can last for hours.

This problem is compounded because the railway is run by multiple players without clear lines of accountability.

When I took over as Transport Secretary in 2016 I said that change was needed. I started to bring together the operation of the tracks and trains, which had been split up in the 1990s, to be controlled by single operational teams. This is helping overcome the problems caused by fragmentation, and creating a railway that is more responsive to passenger needs.

I also said that change needed to be evolutionary and not revolutionary, to avoid destabilising the industry. So we have started to shape alliances between the teams running trains and track to create a more joined-up and customer-focused structure.

But the difficulties with the introduction of the new timetable over the summer and the problems we are experiencing with many major investment projects has convinced me that evolution is no longer enough. The collapse of Virgin Trains East Coast has also highlighted the need for radical change.

Simply, we need this change to ensure that the investment going into the railways, from both the government and the private sector, results in better services for passengers and delivers the improved reliability, better trains, extra seats and more frequent services we all want to see.

Last month, my department announced a root-and-branch review of the rail industry.

Keith Williams, deputy chairman of John Lewis and Partners and former chief executive of British Airways, is leading this work and I expect him to make ambitious recommendations for reform to ensure our rail network produces even greater benefits for passengers and continues to support a stronger, fairer economy. Keith Williams’s expertise in driving customer service excellence and workforce engagement will be incredibly valuable as we reform the rail industry to become more passenger-focused.

Keith will be assisted by an independent expert challenge panel from across the country, with expertise in rail, business and customer service.

The panel will ensure the review thinks boldly and creatively, challenging received wisdom, to ensure its recommendations can deliver the stability and improvements that rail passengers deserve. They will be supported by a dedicated secretariat and will now begin engaging with the industry, passengers, regional and business representatives and others across the country, drawing on their expertise, insights and experiences to inform the review.

It will consider all parts of the rail industry, from the current franchising system and industry structures, to accountability and value for money for passengers and taxpayers. It will consider further devolution and the needs of rail freight operators, and will take into account the final report of Professor Stephen Glaister into the May 2018 network disruption, due at the end of the year, which I will turn to shortly.

When we establish what we think is the right approach to mend our railways, it must be properly tested and scrutinised independently.

I have today (11 October 2018) published the Rail Review’s terms of reference, and have placed copies in the libraries of both Houses, together with the names of the Rail Review’s independent panel.

The review will build a rigorous and comprehensive evidence base, and it will make recommendations regarding the most appropriate organisational and commercial framework for the sector that delivers our vision for a world-class railway.

The private sector has an important part to play in shaping the future of the industry, but it is important that the review considers the right balance of public and private sector involvement.

Mr Speaker, some have called for the return to a national, state-run monopoly, and for us to go back to the days of British Rail. There is an expectation that taking on hundreds of millions of pounds of debt onto the government books will magically resolve every problem.

This fails to recognise that many of the problems that customers faced this year were down to the nationalised part of the railways.

It also creates the sense that a government-controlled rebrand would somehow make every train work on time. Those who make this argument fail to tell passengers that the much-needed investment that is taking place today would be at risk, and that taxpayers’ money would be diverted from public services to subsidise losses.

The review will look at how the railway is organised to deliver for passengers. It will look forensically at the different options, and then make recommendations on what will best deliver results in different areas of the country.

The review will conclude with a White Paper in autumn 2019, which will set out its findings, and explain how we will deliver reform. We expect reform to begin from 2020, so passengers will see benefits before the next election.

I have commuted by train for most of my career; over 35 years. I still do. I am proud to be in a government that is supporting a major programme of investment in rail, from Thameslink to the Transpennine upgrade, with new trains in the north, south, east and west.

But I can’t stand by while the current industry struggles to deliver the improvements that this investment should be generating. So it’s time for change.

The review will not prevent us taking every opportunity in the short term to improve passenger experiences. That is the government’s focus, and that is why we are committed to an investment of £48 billion in the railways over the next 5 years.

Mr Speaker, Professor Stephen Glaister’s interim report has provided us with an accurate account of the series of mistakes and complex issues across the rail industry that led to the unacceptable disruption that passengers experienced earlier this year.

We know that in the north, delays to infrastructure upgrades, beyond the control of Northern Rail, were a major factor in the resulting disruption. Richard George, the former head of transport at the London 2012 Olympic Games, is now working with the industry and Transport for the North to look at any underlying performance issues.

In the 4 weeks ending 15 September, over 85% of services met their punctuality targets; the highest level delivered for Northern Rail’s passengers since the timetable introduction in May. Northern is now running 99% of the planned May timetable, and we are working with Transport for the North and the industry to plan further uplifts in services, while prioritising reliability.

In the coming months, passengers across the north will begin to benefit from the brand new trains that were unveiled last week. There will be over 2,000 extra services a week, all the Northern and TransPennine Express trains will be brand new or refurbished, and all the Pacers will be gone.

Mr Speaker,

I now want to turn to GTR which has new leadership and where the reliability of its services have significantly improved; since the introduction of the interim timetable in July, 85% of trains arrived at their station on time.

In addition to this, in the last week, the first of the new Class 717 trains that will run on its Great Northern routes begun testing.

GTR is now operating 94% of the weekday services it planned to run from 20 May, including all services during the busiest peak hours. By December 10 it plans to introduce all planned off-peak services. There is, however, more work to do to improve services at weekends.

Since the disruption in May there has been intense scrutiny from the government and its independent regulator, the Office for Road and Rail, on what went wrong and why.

GTR must take its fair share of the responsibility – its performance was below what we expect from our rail operators.

Officials in my department are taking action to finalise how we will hold GTR account for the disruption and the Rail Minister will keep the House updated.

Mr Speaker, our action demonstrates that when passengers experienced severe disruption, this government took action.

To help passengers plan ahead.

To reduce delays.

To reduce cancellations.

To properly compensate disrupted fare-payers.

The Rail Review that I have announced will continue this approach, ensuring the rail industry is always focused on the passenger first and that record investment delivers the services that passengers want and deserve.

Chris Grayling – 2018 Speech on West Coast Partnership

Below is the text of the speech made by Chris Grayling, the Secretary of State for Transport, in the House of Commons on 27 March 2018.

With your permission I would like to make a statement about the future of the West Coast Main Line, about our plans for the integration of track and train on our railways and our plans for the transition to the operation of HS2 as it opens up in 2026.

I have already set out for the House our plans to bring the operation of track and train together on a day to day operational basis around the country, with the creation of new alliances between Network Rail and the train operators on South Eastern and Midland Mainline, and the strengthening of the existing alliance arrangements on South Western and Southern.

I have also set out our plans for a new partnership between the public and private sectors to operate the East Coast mainline.

Today I want to explain how this approach could start to inform the development of the West Coast Mainline and HS2. I am also today publishing the invitation to tender to be the new West Coast Partner which – subject to them delivering on their commitments – will operate the route until 2031 and which will work with HS2 to pave the way for the opening of HS2.

The West Coast mainline is one of the busiest mixed rail routes, if not the busiest in Europe. It carries commuter traffic to 6 of our biggest cities, it carries express trains between them, it provides essential intermediate services to places like Milton Keynes, Coventry, Warrington and Preston. It is an essential link to North Wales, Scotland and Ireland. And it is also one of our busiest freight routes.

It is this complex mix of traffic which is a key part of the case for building HS2 so that we have the capacity to meet these growing needs in the future.

The West Coast franchise has been very successful in recent years, with high passenger satisfaction and substantial revenue growth for the taxpayer. It is my intention that the new contract will build on this up to and including 2026. There is already a close working relationship between Network Rail and the train operator, and I intend that this should be deepened under the new contract with the new operator.

After that, though, Mr Speaker, the way we run this railway will change. After 2026 the express services will start to move off an increasingly congested part of the existing network and onto the new HS2. Brand new and more frequent trains will provide additional capacity on faster services. Space will be freed up on the existing routes for improved services to other destinations.

This will require a carefully managed transition, as initial services begin to Birmingham and then gradually the HS2 network provides more and more of the intercity service.

I want to explain today how this new contract will ensure that this smooth transition takes place and set out what we are working towards. I should emphasise that final decisions on the transition and the operational details are years away, but I do think it’s right that as we publish this new invitation to tender that we start to look towards what that end point could be.

For example, one option could be an integrated railway operation, in charge of both its infrastructure and its services, akin to some Japanese high-speed lines, and in line with the government strategy of bringing together track and train. It could also be structured as a public-private partnership and there will also be other options that we should explore before any final decisions are made.

While the exact shape and end-state of the organisation does not need to be decided now, I am very clear of one thing, I want HS2 to become a strong, British organisation, potentially capable of not just building but also operating a successful railway here. It should also become a strong international champion for the UK – in the way, for example, that the organisation that runs Manchester Airport has.

Manchester Airports Group is a strong and effective public private partnership organisation that has expanded in the UK running first great operations in the UK, and is now doing so internationally. It has proved itself effective at managing major projects and delivering good customer service.

Today’s announcement is not about creating a long term organisational model for HS2, though.

As we get into the 2020s we will need to prepare for the introduction of services. So through this new arrangement my department is paving the way for that introduction.

The winner of this new competition will help design the new HS2 services and develop a new customer offering to take advantage of 21st century technology to revolutionise the way we travel on high speed rail, and provide input to my department and to HS2 Limited.

They will run the existing West Coast Mainline services until HS2 passenger services are introduced.

After that they will continue to run successor services on the West Coast main line until 2031, albeit to a different set of timetables and priorities, with a refocused service aimed at those intermediate locations.

During the period between now and the start of HS2 services they will also help plan the introduction of the express trains to the new line, the move from one line to the other, and put in place all of the customer facing resources needed to deliver an excellent service on day one.

If they perform strongly, they will also operate on behalf of HS2 services for a limited period after 2026.

During this period, my department will be closely involved with operations to ensure that the envisaged connectivity benefits of HS2 are realised.

What the contract also includes a number of safeguards such as restrictions on branding, transfer of intellectual property and collaboration requirements with HS2, which mean that while we will harness the innovative thinking of the private sector no bidder will be able to create something that only they could run in the future.

During this period, the operator will also work with the department and HS2 to consider the options for the end state, including what would be required for fully integrated operations to be undertaken by an eventual combined organisation.

This short term arrangement will be very similar to the modus operandi that which will be operating on Crossrail next year after it formally begins services as the Elizabeth line for Transport for London.

Throughout this period, the new operator will also deliver a high quality experience for passengers and continue to drive growth on the existing West Coast Mainline route.

Passengers will benefit from enhanced compensation for delays of greater than 15 minutes, simpler to understand fares and ticketing. And also a more accessible railway, we are introducing an accessibility panel to advise on all aspects of how this railway is operated.

I want to ensure that passengers are placed firmly at the heart of all planning decisions.

So what I am setting in train today for the West Coast Partnership is our plans to:

keep industry leading services on the West Coast until HS2 enters operation
ensure that the first HS2 services are delivered by an experience operator that has been working hard to plan for their introduction and use this approach to help inform decisions on what the future shape of the organisation should be

I believe that this is the best way of ensuring a smooth transition to what will be an exciting new future for our railways

I commend this statement to the House.

Chris Grayling – 2018 Speech on Aviation

Below is the text of the speech made by Chris Grayling, the Secretary of State for Transport, on 24 January 2018.

Good evening.

Thank you for that introduction and welcome.

It’s a real pleasure to join you for tonight’s (24 January 2018) annual dinner.

And if it’s not too late, to wish Airlines UK and all its members a prosperous new year.

In fact 2018 marks the 99th anniversary of a momentous event in airline history, the launch of the first regular, international, passenger air service in the world.

Like so many transport ‘firsts’, it happened here in Britain.

Pioneering British airline AT&T began operating daily flights from Hounslow Heath aerodrome to Le Bourget.

With a maximum capacity of 4 passenger, a journey time of 2 and a half hours and the pilot exposed to the elements.

Conditions aboard the de Havilland biplane may have been somewhat primitive.

But it was the start of something big.

Within a few months, there were converted WW1 bombers flying scheduled flights from Cricklewood to Paris, new services from Croydon Airport to Amsterdam, the first opportunity for cargo as airmail flights began serving European destinations and if you were lucky enough to get a ticket on the new London to Brussels route, you’d be served the world’s first in-flight meals.

From this modest beginning, our commercial aviation industry grew.

Within 5 years, Imperial Airways had been formed.

Linking Britain with its vast global empire.

And suddenly it was possible to travel to the other side of the world in a fraction of the time it would take by ship.

Aviation importance

Why do I mention this?

First – to explain how quickly commercial aviation became critical to the fortunes of Britain after World War One.

And second – despite almost a century of economic, social and technological development – to show how little has changed.

How air travel and the prosperity of our country remain inextricably linked today.

Just as airlines benefit from a strong UK economy the whole of the UK benefits from a flourishing aviation sector.

Without the £52 billion that aviation adds to our GDP, the million jobs it supports and all the inward investment it generates, we simply could not have reduced our deficit by three quarters over the past 7 years or achieved the record employment levels which we see in Britain today.

It’s because we have the largest aviation network in Europe and airlines competing to give the customer a wide choice, and a great deal that so many multinational firms invest in Britain.

And it’s because we have a fundamentally strong economy that demand for air travel has grown so fast in recent years.

Aviation strategy

It’s against this background of success that the government is now working on a future strategy for aviation.

And I’m delighted that Baroness Sugg – who is attending her first Airlines UK dinner tonight – will be spearheading that work at the DfT.

Liz is going to be a fantastic Aviation Minister.

Some of you will already have met her, but I know that over the coming months she’ll be getting around the industry, and listening to what you have to say about the strategy.

After our call for evidence last year, we will publish our response next month.

Once the response is out there, we want to test policies with different partners.

We want practical feedback on the measures we’re proposing.

And if you think they can be improved, then we want to work with you to make them better.

It’s crucial we get this right.

As Britain prepares to leave the European Union and as we develop plans for the new north-west runway at Heathrow, it’s right that we all focus on long-term prospects for British airlines and airports.

We want a strategy that will support growth across the country while tackling aviation’s environmental effects.

And we want to be ambitious.

Ambitious to be the best.

To lead the world – as we’ve led the world in the past.

So this will be far more than ‘just another statement of intent’ from government.

There have been enough of those over the years.

Instead it will be a wide-ranging blueprint for the sustainable growth of aviation over the next 30 years and beyond.

And it’s not just the government’s strategy.

I want it to be yours too.

A shared plan for how we can make best use of existing capacity, how we can create new capacity.

How we can improve surface access to airports.

How we can modernise airspace to tackle flight delays and reduce the need for stacking.

How we can further reduce noise.

And how we can put the passenger at the heart of everything we do.

I’m grateful to everyone in this room who has contributed so far.

After the call for evidence response, there will be 3 more consultation phases.

So please, continue to engage.

Because we need your voice, your insight and your understanding of the market to design a policy framework that reflects our common priorities in the decades ahead.

Heathrow

I also welcome your continued contributions on expanding capacity in the south-east.

We are currently considering responses to the draft Airports National Policy Statement.

Plans remain on track for a vote in Parliament in the first half of this year.

This is a particularly important few months for the project, a project that will deliver immense benefits for aviation in Britain.

So we need to work together to support it.

A new runway at our biggest hub airport would offer significant growth opportunities for UK airlines and keep Britain plugged in to a rapidly changing global economy post Brexit.

In fact the case for the new runway capacity in the south-east is even greater than we thought.

After consulting on new evidence last autumn, updated forecasts showed that passenger numbers are growing much faster than we predicted even a few years ago.

Specifically, the new evidence reinforced the case for expansion at Heathrow supported by a world-class package of measures to limit the effects on local communities.

Compared to all other proposals, a north-west runway at Heathrow delivers the greatest benefits soonest.

More choice for passengers.

More business for airlines.

And more jobs for Britain.

Heathrow already handles more freight by value than all other UK airports combined.

That’s partly because its accessible to the rest of the country.

In this way, Heathrow drives growth in regional freight.

For example, helping fishermen in Scotland to sell their fresh produce to Japan.

An expanded Heathrow would also be better served by transport connections – for example to HS2 and Crossrail.

But I’ve been clear that landing charges should be kept as close as possible to current levels something I know is close to many of your hearts too.

Heathrow charges have increased substantially over the past decade.

So that needs to be factored in to future plans.

I welcome the £2.5 billion savings to the scheme already announced by the airport.

I also welcome that progress that’s been made in discussions between airlines and Heathrow.

The CAA’s section 16 commission has been helpful here.

We must maintain the momentum after it expires in the spring.

So I shall announce an appropriate replacement in due course.

Because we have to make further progress.

I expect airlines and Heathrow to reach a deal on landing charges that will keep the airport competitive so extra costs are not ultimately passed on to the customer.

However, I also want to stress that now is not the time to undermine the scheme in any way.

Until the Parliamentary process is complete and the vote in Parliament has been delivered, we need the whole aviation industry to support the new runway.

With such manifest benefits for airlines, other UK airports, and the wider economy, we need to keep focused on the prize to come and work together as an industry to deliver the right expansion programme at the right price.

Brexit

The next 12 months will also be instrumental in setting a future direction for aviation after we’ve left the European Union.

Brexit remains at the top of the government’s agenda for 2018 and securing a good deal for UK airlines, with the best possible access to European markets, remains one of my biggest Brexit objectives.

No other transport sector will have such a key role to play when we leave the European Union.

I remain confident that we’ll get a good deal, and that UK airlines and airports will continue to flourish.

This confidence comes from knowing that it’s in the interests of all European countries and everyone who travels between them that we seek an open, liberal arrangement for aviation following Brexit.

Now, I know that the aviation industry wants certainty, and quickly.

So does the government.

So does the rest of the EU.

On the 15 December the European Council confirmed that sufficient progress had been made.

This is an important milestone.

The guidelines published by the Council point to the shared desire of the EU and UK to make rapid progress on an implementation period.

Formal talks will begin very soon.

This will provide reassurance for both industry and consumers.

And then talks will start on the future economic partnership.

The future framework for aviation will of course be a central part of those discussions.

And we are ready for those discussions.

As we move forward it is important to be clear that it is in everyone’s interests to do a deal quickly and to make it a good deal.

Let’s remind ourselves why:

The UK is the largest aviation market in Europe and remains one of – if not the – most important markets for EU member states.

Good aviation connections between the UK and Europe are critical for tourism, business, and trade – in both directions.

And of course the UK will see significant extra valuable capacity at one of Europe’s main hub airports – Heathrow – which airlines from all countries will want to make good use of.

A few days ago, the Article 50 Taskforce in the European Commission published a paper noting that, in the event of an overall ‘no deal’ scenario, it would be essential to agree a deal to ensure flights continue.

This shows how important it is for both sides to ensure aviation market access continues uninterrupted.

And the demands of airlines across Europe to access Heathrow means we have strong cards in our hand for the negotiations.

With that need to ensure ongoing connectivity in mind, we are working hard to deliver another priority – to quickly replace EU-based third country agreements, with countries like the US and Canada.

I can confirm that discussions on replacing these agreements have begun and are progressing well.

We will be meeting with US officials for a further round of talks in the coming weeks – many of you in this room will be involved in those discussions

And we are confident that these arrangements will be ready for exit.

But whatever the final deal, measures to support UK industry after 2019 are well developed.

And looking beyond Brexit, we have to make sure we capitalise on our new position in the world.

So we will continue to work with other countries to expand our aviation connections.

And through the aviation strategy, we will also look at how the UK can open up more long haul routes to markets like China, India and South America.

Monarch

Despite the healthy demand for flights I spoke about earlier, I know it’s tough out there.

Sadly Monarch was unable to stay afloat.

But today I can announce that Peter Bucks has been appointed Chair of the independent insolvency review set up after Monarch’s demise.

I welcome the regulatory and finance experience he’ll bring to aviation.

The review I’ve asked him to carry out will help us explore options for a new framework to deal with the failure of airlines and travel companies so that airlines can be wound down in an orderly fashion, and passengers repatriated or refunded with minimal or no government intervention.

Today I’d also like to thank everyone across the industry who helped bring back Monarch passengers who could otherwise have been stranded abroad.

It was a massive effort, with government working alongside airlines and airports to deal with a complex and difficult logistical challenge.

I’d also like to thank British Airways, Virgin, TUI and Thomas Cook Airlines for assisting the Hurricane Irma relief operation last September.

Both responses reflected the airlines industry at its very best.

Conclusion

So in conclusion.

Nearly a century of history has shown the importance of a thriving, sustainable, commercial aviation sector to this island nation.

Whatever success we’ve had over that period, it’s been won by being proactive.

Innovative.

By taking risks.

And by working together.

We’re certainly not sitting around waiting for things to happen this time round either.

Through the aviation strategy, Heathrow expansion and Brexit planning we will stand side by side with our partners in the airline industry.

Because Britain needs the connections you provide.

The jobs you bring.

The growth you support.

99 years after that first flight, aviation remains absolutely critical to the national interests of Britain.

That’s why we can be confident about the future.

A future we will build together.

Thank you.