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NGOs tell UK Government ‘zero emissions airports’ proposals risk misleading the public

28th April, 2023

A group of NGOs have written an open letter to the Secretary of State for Transport expressing concerns about the Government’s proposals for a ‘zero emissions airport’ target. The signatories of the letter include AEF, Possible, T&E, Green Alliance, Opportunity Green, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and Campaign for Better Transport.

The letter argues that using the phrase ‘zero emissions airport’ gives the misleading impression that all aviation emissions will be zero emission by 2040. In reality, the proposed target would not include the emissions from flights, despite these being responsible for 95% of airports’ total emissions.

We jointly call upon the Government to take the following steps:

  • call a moratorium on all airport expansions in the UK;
  • require all UK airports to report on emissions from ground operations AND flights, including non-CO2 emissions;
  • reframe the 2040 target as ‘zero emission airport operations,’ or similar
  • issue guidance to airports that they must not describe themselves as ‘zero emissions,’ ‘net zero,’ or any similar terms without clarifying that this applies only to the 5% of their emissions which are not caused by flights.

AEF’s full commentary on the proposals, which are out for consultation until 2nd May, is here