Priorities in depth

Our policy work helps to create the environment that allows our Members to invest in productivity, exports and growth. We work with local, regional and national Government departments and agencies in the UK, and with other European and international organisations involved in setting and implementing policies that impact our sectors. 


As the Government has legislated for the UK to reach net zero emissions by 2050, ADS is working with its members on the sustainability agenda across all its sectors. This includes work on net zero aviation and on the wider sustainability of our sectors.  

Through Sustainable Aviation, the UK aviation and aerospace sectors were the first in the world to commit to net zero carbon emissions by 2050 in February 2020. ADS will work with member companies to ensure this goal becomes a reality through the advancements of technologies within the sector. 

ADS will continue to support messages on technology and UK industrial opportunities in relation to sustainability, as well as engaging with partners on defence sustainability and climate change. ADS is working with partners in Government on engagement ahead of COP26, the UN climate change conference, which the UK will host in November 2021. 

Brexit and Trade 

The UK outside of the European Union has the opportunity to build new relationships with the EU and with other countries. The agreed deal between the UK and the EU came into force on 1 January 2021 which cover most areas of the UK and EU’s relations, including trade, security, access to EU programmes and managing the agreement in the future. 

The UK wanted some areas to be covered by separate agreements (for example on aviation safety) as part of the approach to governance, but the one agreement will encompass everything. The agreement has been supplemented by unilateral decisions on financial services equivalence and data adequacy. 

As a result of the UK leaving the EU, existing EU trade agreements no longer apply to UK businesses. The UK has negotiated continuity agreements to replicate many of the EU arrangements, alongside additional trade agreements with other countries such as Japan and Canada as well as other ongoing talks with USA, Australia, New Zealand and more. 

ADS continues to run our Managing Brexit series to provide members the latest insights on the relationship with the EU as well as future trading relationships with other countries. The fortnightly Brexit Bulletin aims to keep members informed as issues progress and  ADS continues to pursue solutions to the issues members are experiencing. The Brexit Hub remains up to date for the most up to date information that impacts our sectors. 

COVID-19 Recovery 

The impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) on business is constantly evolving in the UK and globally. Guidance from the UK government is regularly being updated and as it stands the UK is on its planned roadmap out of lockdown with the easing of restrictions.  

In order for the aerospace sector, and ADS members to survive the current period of travel restrictions and supressed demand, there needs to be support in place alongside a long-term approach from Government to ensure that UK businesses can thrive and focus on the strategic opportunities that lie ahead.  

Resuming international travel is a priority for the whole of the economy. Aviation is a critical UK economic driver, and alongside aerospace, has been at the heart of the UK’s economic success. A thriving aerospace sector is tangible evidence of economic confidence, increased trade, and investment.   

The COVID-19 crisis is likely to accelerate transformation across the global economy. There will be a focus on building a greener, more sustainable economy, and the aerospace sector will be at the heart of this. Aerospace must rapidly decarbonise if it is to meet the climate change goals set out by countries across the globe. With the right support the UK has the opportunity to become a world leader in sustainable aviation. As we move through the current crisis, the UK needs to capitalise on a rapid drive towards developing more sustainable aircraft. This requires both a thriving aviation sector and significant investment in new technologies now. 


Our aerospace policy focuses on the industrial, environmental and regulatory policy priorities for the UK civil aerospace industry. 

  • Supporting investment in research and development: ADS is working with stakeholders to secure the long-term future of investment through the Aerospace Technology Institute. Joint Government and industry investment in the ATI is crucial to help meet the Governments Jet Zero ambitions and develop the next generation of cleaner aircraft.  
  • Supporting the Aerospace Growth Partnership: ADS is working to promote the AGP’s ongoing initiatives within the UK Government’s modern industrial strategy framework, and maintain their positive impact on UK Aerospace and the wider economy. 
  • UK Aviation Policy Framework:  ADS supports a refreshed UK aviation policy framework that encompasses support for innovation and new technology, which helps to improve aviation’s environmental footprint and boosts the passenger experience. 


Our defence policy priorities include working with Government to ensure the UK Defence industry can maximise its contribution to national security and economic prosperity. 

  • Defence and the EU: Working with government to ensure the UK has access to a future European Defence Research programme, retains membership of the European Defence Agency and seeks to strengthen and deepen its relationships with international allies as we prepare to leave the EU. 
  • Defence Industrial Policy: Advocating for a wider definition of value for money and a systematic approach to pre-competitive engagement in the defence acquisition process. 
  • Defence Transformation: Ensuring that the implementation of the Modernising Defence Programme maximises the contribution of the UK’s defence industry to the mutually reinforcing objectives of safeguarding national security and generating economic prosperity. 
  • Promoting the Defence Growth Partnership: Working to support the DGP as it seeks to grow the UK’s global market share through increased exports, foster greater collaboration and innovation across the sector, and improve competitiveness through the whole value chain. 
  • Strengthening the UK Defence Exports: Working across government to identify and resolve barriers to defence and security exports, promote a ‘Team UK’ approach to exports and ensure exportability is a key consideration in the defence procurement process. 
  • Supporting SMEs: Promoting the interests of SMEs and working to ensure government commercial policies encourage SMEs to do business with the MOD. 


Our security policy work focuses on practical initiatives to support UK security exports, open up access to procurement opportunities, coordinate skills initiatives and promote investment in R&D. 

  • Supporting the Security and Resilience Growth Partnership (SRGP) and the Joint Security and Resilience Centre (JSaRC): ADS works with JSaRC and the enhanced SRGP to coordinate procurement, innovation, exports and skills policy and to provide the government with the necessary technologies, expertise, and services to help deliver national security objectives. 
  • Promoting a ‘Virtuous Circle’ from research to commercialisation: In line with the Defence and Security Industrial Strategy, ADS works with a range of Government departments to promote greater transparency of security requirements and to foster coordination between R&D investment and subsequent procurement opportunities.  
  • Strengthening UK Security Exports: To promote a whole-of-Government approach to security exports, particularly working with UKDSE and JSaRC, to ensure that UK export policy supports the UK security industry. 
  • Leading the UK Security and Resilience Industry Suppliers Community: ADS has a leading role in bringing the wider security and resilience sector together under the alliance of RISC, providing a unified voice for the sector in engagement with the Security Minister-led SRGP. 
  • Maximising the Security Sector’s Engagement with Government: Engaging with government on behalf of the security industry to help develop and implement policy, including the Defence and Security Industrial Strategy, the forthcoming national resilience strategy, and the next cyber security strategy.