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UN agrees to new aircraft standards, but UK plans for airport noise fall short of the mark

12th February, 2010

Tim has spent the fortnight at the eighth plenary meeting of the UN’s body on aviation and environment – the Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection (CAEP) of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) – where he has been representing a coalition of environmental NGOs from around the world. Aircraft standards have dominated the discussion, and, as one of the representatives calling for tougher standards on air pollution from aircraft during landing and take-offs, we were pleased that the Committee agreed to increase the stringency of the NOx standard by 15% for large engines and between 5-15% for small engines. As we prepare to move into the next 3 year work programme, we hope that CAEP can make progress on setting a CO2 standard for new aircraft and a new standard (‘chapter 5’) for noise.

Looking at climate change from a UK perspective, Cait presented at the Business Travel and Meetings show, Europe’s leading event for the corporate travel and meetings industry, in a session looking at how travel managers could cut carbon, and she attended a Green Alliance event at the RSA on how politicians can communicate effectively on climate change.

We’ve also in the last fortnight published our review of airport noise action plans, which found that not a single plan meets all the requirements of EC law. We presented our findings to the Government, arguing that until the problems we identified are addressed, the plans should be rejected. And we’ve handled a range of inquiries including on the rules for small air strips, helicopter noise in Shropshire, the government’s proposals for the CAA to have an environmental duty, and the Sustainable Aviation CO2 roadmap.

New on the website during the past two weeks, in addition to the work on noise action plans, is a commentary on the Government’s new approach to carbon valuation, notes on a recent review of the Air Transport White Paper and its usefulness for stakeholders and news of the publication of our winter newsletter, which has been sent to AEF members (back copies are always here).