Date lodged: 12 October 2016
To ask the Scottish Government, further to it signing the memorandum of understanding with Heathrow Airport on 10 October 2016, whether the establishment of the £10 million route development fund to help support new domestic routes is compatible with its (a) environmental and climate commitments and (b) ambition to reduce the number of short-haul connections.
Answered by: Keith Brown 9 November 2016
Applications for funding under Heathrow's fund for new domestic routes will be for airlines to progress with the support of airports.
Whilst we recognise that support for some policies designed to promote economic growth may lead to an increase in emissions, we are prepared to work even harder in other areas to ensure we are driving down overall emissions. Scotland is a world leader in tackling climate change with ambitious statutory targets, strong progress to date and a commitment to maintain this. As of 2014, we had delivered a 45.8% reduction from baseline levels, meeting our annual target for that year and exceeding the level of our 2020 target for a 42% reduction, six years early. We have included both domestic and international aviation in our emissions reduction targets.
Our policy on air route development is that we want to secure more direct international flights minimising the need for connections. We do need to maintain links to global hub airports such as Heathrow in view of the extended international reach they provide.