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AEF releases air quality recommendations ahead of aviation strategy consultation

6th December, 2018

In the last of our series of discussion papers on the key environmental questions we want to see addressed by the new Aviation Strategy, AEF sets out the air quality challenges posed by UK aviation. As the UK prepares its post-Brexit Environment Act, we consider the gap between currently legislated limit values for air pollution and the evidence on health impacts, what this could mean for aviation, and how both information and regulation should be improved. 

The UK Aviation Strategy is due out for consultation by the end of this year, with a White Paper planned for next summer. The air quality policy should, we argue:

  • Clarify how airport planning decisions will help deliver air quality commitments,
  • Close the current information gaps with respect to air pollution from aviation, by
    • Setting out the evidence base in relation to aircraft air pollution outside the landing and take-off cycle,
    • Providing (a) updated mapping of air pollution levels around UK airports with respect to legal limit values and WHO recommended maximum levels for pollutant concentrations; and (b) an assessment of how any increase in aircraft emissions or airport-related emissions affects National Emissions Ceiling Directive (NECD) limit values, and
    • Setting out what approach individuals concerned about air pollution near their airport should take, and
  • Ensure the UK supports the setting of effective technology standards by assessing whether the current international standards are be tough enough. 

AEF has previously published discussion papers on noise and on climate change, by way of input to the draft strategy. Our latest paper can be viewed here