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Open letter: Call on Government to introduce immediate moratorium on UK airport expansions

13th May, 2021

AEF and fifteen community campaign groups have united to call on the Government to introduce an immediate moratorium on all UK airport expansions until it has set out a net zero plan for the sector, including a national strategy for airport capacity which acknowledges and plans for the new carbon constraints that the Government has committed to impose.

The Government recently announced that it has accepted the advice of its expert climate advisors, the Climate Change Committee, to formally include international aviation emissions in the UK’s climate law. Ministers have not yet announced what policies will be introduced to ensure that the aviation sector cuts its emissions in line with this, though CCC’s modelling assumes that passenger numbers will not increase above the level currently possible within existing airport capacity and is therefore recommending no net increase in capacity. 

Many airports have, however, submitted applications to expand. If all of these expansions went ahead, CO2 emissions from the aviation sector would be almost double the CCC’s modelling assumption of 23Mt CO2 per annum by 2050 (see graph). Until there is a national strategy to determine the cumulative impacts of airport expansions, it would only be responsible to impose a blanket moratorium on all airport expansion planning, our letter argues. 

To read the full letter, click here.