Clause 12 - Advance determinations

Part of Civil Aviation Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:00 am on 1st March 2012.

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Photo of Nigel Mills Nigel Mills Conservative, Amber Valley 10:00 am, 1st March 2012

I will try to be brief. My only comment is about the following:

“The CAA may make a market power determination…based entirely or partly on circumstances that have not arisen at the time the determination is made.”

My concern is about the meaning of “circumstances”. Under the Competition Act 1998, we normally look at

“agreements, decisions or concerted practices” that might infringe the usual competition rules. There is clearly a legal document or something tangible for the regulator to look at and say it might cause a future problem and needs to be regulated to prevent abuse. Here we have “circumstances”, which could mean anything—the regulator could hear a rumour on the street and decide that that counted as a circumstance that required starting the regulatory process.

I can see a scenario where “Boris island” airport is built and has such market power that it needs to be regulated before it starts operating. I can see the argument about why we should not wait until the abuse actually exists before starting the process. However, the word “circumstances” is very imprecise.