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Aviation 2050: AEF’s response

20th June, 2019

AEF has responded to a wide-ranging consultation on the Government’s future aviation strategy. The Aviation 2050 Green Paper was published last December, and the consultation was originally due to close on 11th April, but the deadline was extended partly to allow for consideration of the advice from the Committee on Climate Change on whether the UK should strengthen its 2050 climate target to aim for net zero emissions.

Our response argues that:

  • The ‘sustainable growth’ objective needs replacing with meaningful environmental ambition
  • Further runways should be ruled out on climate grounds (the strategy floats the possibility of another new runway, after Heathrow’s expansion, this side of 2050)
  • The White Paper must set out a domestic aviation climate policy in line with the net zero commitment that the Government has now made, including dropping the ‘growth everywhere’ approach, assessing demand management options, ensuring technology improvements are delivered, and setting out mechanisms for industry to pay to balance all remaining emissions
  • While many of the Government’s noise proposals are welcome, regulatory gaps still need to be closed, and a process put in place to ensure airports are accountable for noise commitments
  • Meaningful, measurable targets are still required to protect the public from the impacts of aircraft noise on health and quality of life, since the Government declared action on the WHO’s noise guidelines to be ‘not cost effective’
  • Proposals for better air pollution monitoring around airports are welcome, but a process for national-level assessment is also needed
  • Policy on third party risk needs to be set out (the strategy is silent on this issue)
  • The Government should drop is unqualified support for ‘general aviation’ and should ask ICCAN, the new aviation noise commission, to consider whether the current approach of industry self-regulation is working

AEF’s response, which can be read here, was informed by the discussion papers on noise, climate change and air pollution that we developed with our members’ input last year, and responds in detail to the environmental proposals set out in the Green Paper.

We have already responded to the plan, included in an Annex to the main consultation, for Government to be given powers to force through airspace change in cases where airports are reluctant to pursue them.