§ Mr. Brake
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what research has been conducted (a) into the quantity of aircraft fuel that is used while aircraft are (i) stacked and (ii) delayed due to air traffic control processes and (b) into the impact on the use of aircraft fuel of introducing a single European air traffic control system; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Mr. Mullin
Air traffic control delays are, of course, imposed for safety reasons when there is a lack of en-route air traffic control or airport capacity. Stacking and en-route delays do exacerbate fuel burn, but the Government are unaware of any research undertaken to specifically calculate additional fuel burn due to these delays.
Much work has, however, been done across Europe to accommodate high rates of traffic growth safely while minimising air traffic delays. These efforts have resulted in delays in summer 2000 being comparable to summer 1998, but it is recognised that this record needs to be improved.
The reduction of air transport delays is one of the principal objectives of the European Commission's single European sky initiative. The recommendations arising from this initiative are to be presented to the December Transport Council. These are likely to include the need to improve civil/military co-operation and to strengthen the regulatory regime to compel European States to implement commonly agreed capacity enhancements in order to optimise airspace use, and hence reduce delays and fuel burn.