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RCEP Special Report: The Environmental Effects of Civil Aircraft in Flight

RCEP Special Report: The Environmental Effects of Civil Aircraft in Flight. Key quotes:

“..In July 2002, the Department for Transport (DfT) published a national consultation paper on the future development of air transport in the regions. The consultation paper refers to proposals by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), that climate change assumptions should be built into national policymaking, and confirmed that this would apply to the air transport White Paper. However, the consultation paper offers little information on how that might be achieved and devotes more attention to addressing the economic factors associated with airport development. One of the primary concerns in the consultation paper, especially in respect of a hub airport in the South East of England, appears to be the maintenance of traffic through UK airports against perceived competition from other European airports…

For many years the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution has been expressing concern about the environmental impact of air transport. Its First Report in 1971 pointed to both the local and the global problems associated with air transport, focussing on noise and the problems of supersonic flight, and concluding that ‘a watch should be kept on the situation’ …..

In July 2002, the Department for Transport (DfT) published a national consultation paper on the future development of air transport in the regions. The consultation paper refers to proposals by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), that climate change assumptions should be built into national policymaking, and confirmed that this would apply to the air transport White Paper.

However, the consultation paper offers little information on how that might be achieved and devotes more attention to addressing the economic factors associated with airport development. One of the primary concerns in the consultation paper, especially in respect of a hub airport in the South East of England, appears to be the maintenance of traffic through UK airports against perceived competition from other European airports……

The Commission, therefore, remains concerned that the environmental problems posed by aircraft in flight may not be given sufficient attention in the White Paper. Our specific contribution to the debate focuses on the environmental effects of aircraft in flight as, to date, environmental concern has concentrated more on ground-level pollution and quality of life in and around airports. In this Report we considered emissions to the atmosphere and whether technological improvements are likely to contain the effects of unconstrained growth in aviation. We reached some conclusions about the likely impacts of aviation in the future and considered ways in which they might be avoided or mitigated…RCEP Environmental Effects of Civil Aircraft in Flight [PDF Format (654kb)]

Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution website