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Terms of Reference

The role of the National Connectivity Task Force is to:

Undertake an independent assessment of the current and future requirement for enhanced connectivity between London and the major airports serving London and the South East Region, which have been short-listed by the Airports Commission as potential locations for additional runway capacity, and the nations, regions and Crown Dependencies of the United Kingdom. The remit encompasses both passenger and freight traffic.

The Task Force will:

  • Develop an in-depth understanding of the issues, problems and opportunities associated with improving strategic links from rest of the UK to London and its globally significant, international hub/gateway airports.
  • Establish a supporting evidence base that enables policy in this important strategic transport area to be grounded in broadly based and robust analysis.
  • Set out appropriate policy recommendations in a report that can be sent to the Airports Commission and other relevant stakeholders, to inform their deliberations about:
    • the ‘regional access’ enhancements that should accompany proposals to build new runway capacity – both before and after its completion;
    • the measures that are required to ensure that the outcomes in terms of ‘globally’ competitive international connectivity are optimised to the benefit of the economies of the UK’s regions, home nations and Crown Dependencies, not just London and the South East of England; and
    • the timetable for their implementation.

In so doing, the Task Force will:

  • Commission a comprehensive programme of research and analysis in order to provide a transparent evidence base to underpin its recommendations;
  • engage with a wide range of relevant parties in a form, and to a timetable, of its choosing;
  • outline the high level financial, economic and environmental implications of implementing the recommended measures;
  • highlight the key partners – public and private, local and national – whose co-operation will be required to ensure their delivery and assess the extent to which they are likely to be committed;
  • identify the key risks that could impact on delivery and how these can best be mitigated.

In undertaking its work the Task Force is expected to have regard to:

  • The Airports Commission’s Appraisal Framework requirements relating to regional connectivity and impacts.
  • Relevant commitments made by Heathrow Airport to facilitate the setting up of the independent Task Force in its Stage 2 Submission to the Airports Commission.
  • Statements made on regional air access by other short-listed scheme promoters.

  The National Connectivity Task Force board will comprise:

  • An Independent Chair;
  • Task Force members with relevant business and travel industry backgrounds, but no direct commercial interest in the schemes under review;
  • Leading academics that specialise in understanding the role of infrastructure and connectivity in local, city, regional and national economic development;
  • Representatives from the UK’s regions, nations and Crown Dependencies, chosen for their relevant knowledge and expertise.

It will act independently and be serviced by a Secretariat and supporting expert consultants, that will report directly to the Chair and Task Force membership.

The Chair and members of the Task Force will not be paid for their participation, but Heathrow Airport Ltd will cover their reasonable travel, accommodation and other expenses as part of its sponsorship of the Task Force’s Secretariat and the research programme it is leading. Heathrow Airport Ltd will have observer status at Task Force meetings, summary notes of which will be placed on the Task Force’s web site, but will not participate directly in the Task Force’s work or influence its conclusions.

The Task Force Board is likely to meet 6-7 times during its term, commencing in September 2014. In addition sub groups may be formed to examine particular issues in more detail. The Task Force intention is to have completed the drafting of its report early in 2015 in order that it can present its recommendations to the Airports Commission (and in parallel to the short-listed scheme promoters), before the end of its national consultation, which is timetabled for February 2015.

October 2014