15th July, 2009
Our focus during the past fortnight has been on UK aviation policy. Tim met with the Committee on Climate Change to discuss their work on how aviation emissions can be reconciled with the Climate Change Act, which commits the UK to cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 80% of 1990 levels by 2050. Their report to Government is due in December.
We also met with the Department for Transport’s External Advisory Group, where the possibility of a new high speed rail network was the main agenda item. The group’s members include airlines, airport operators, regional government representatives and two national NGOs – AEF and Friends of the Earth. High speed rail could have significant implications as an alternative to domestic air traffic though the Government’s work is still at an early stage and the environmental impacts of high speed rail will themselves need to be assessed.
Tim Johnson has meanwhile had a front page article published in the new, online version of the Ecologist (and subsequently reprinted by GreenAir online) on whether an international tax should be imposed on air tickets to pay for climate change adaptation in the developing world. And office staff have handled several inquiries about noise – from police helicopters and from Heathrow night flights.
Finally, Cait’s returned from honeymoon – ten days of walking in snow-capped mountains, enjoying fine food al fresco, relaxing in an architecturally-renowned spa under starlight, watching first-class ballet in a sumptuous building… and all without stepping foot on a plane!