Ulster Unionist Peer Lord Empey has met the Secretary of State, Theresa Villiers MP, to discuss his Airports (Amendment) Bill. This Bill is designed to give the Government powers to intervene to ensure adequate access to Heathrow Airport in the event of Airlines in the future failing to protect the route.
Simultaneously, Ulster Unionist MEP Jim Nicholson has tabled 9 amendments in Brussels to EU Transport Committee proposals on slot trading at EU airports.
The Party hopes that this co-ordinated effort will result in changes to EU law next year that will give the Government a power of last resort to ensure Northern Ireland is not isolated from Heathrow.
The Consumer Council, amongst others, has been very supportive of most of these proposals.
Speaking after the meeting, Lord Empey said: - ‘I asked Theresa Villiers if she would raise this issue with the Scottish Secretary Michael Moore MP and with the Department for Transport to see if HMG will support changes in EU law in coming months as my Bill is a national one and not Northern Ireland specific.’
‘The Secretary of State indicated that she would speak with both Departments to ascertain their approach to the forthcoming negotiations in Brussels.”