Skip to content

No surprises in aviation progress report

18th December, 2006

The government issued a ‘progress report’ on its aviation policy on 14 Dec 06. There were no surprises.

The government issued a ‘progress report’ on its aviation policy on 14 Dec 06. There were no surprises.AEF, Airportwatch and others had been calling for a review of the policy and not just a progress report. This was the ‘rethink!’ campaign. Some 8,000 messages were sent to the minister and considerable political and public pressure was exerted. For more on the campaign, visit the rethink! web site.Despite all the pressure, the calls were ignored and the government still plans to massively expand airports and flights across the UK. But the government is now subject to evermore scrutiny and criticism, especially as its stance is at complete odds with the need to address climate change.There was some talk in the report about environmental impacts, especially climate change. But the policy does virtually nothing about them. It just claims economic benefits of more flying, for which it still produces no real evidence, and says people want to fly.

Its only action on environmental impacts is to affirm its support for the European Emissions Trading System (ETS). This system, which would require airlines to buy permits to emit carbon dioxide (CO2), will not come in before 2011, if it happens at all. Most commentators believe that it will be ineffective anyway. (See link below for more on emissions trading.)

The only surprise was the government has said it will consult on work to establish the ‘external costs’ of aviation. These are the costs, especially environmental impacts, that aviation imposes on society at large. About external costs.

See also our emissions trading section.