Climate Change charity Plan B begins legal action against Grayling over Government’s Heathrow expansion plans

Climate change campaign Plan B, has started legal action against Transport Secretary Chris Grayling over his plans for Heathrow expansion.  Plan B say the proposal breaches legal obligations in the Planning Act to alleviate the impact of climate change. Plan B join 4 other legal challenges against the runway plans (5 councils and Greenpeace UK, Heathrow Hub, a resident Neil Spurrier, and Friends of the Earth UK). Tim Crosland, Director of Plan B, said: ‘The Government has an express obligation under the Planning Act to promote sustainable development, with specific reference to the impacts of climate change. That means safeguarding the interests of current and future generations of UK citizens. Plan B says the NPS does not even consider the Government’s obligations under the Paris Agreement on Climate Change or that in April this year, the Government committed to a review of its climate targets in light of the Paris Agreement. Plan B’s legal action focuses exclusively on climate change impact.
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Plan B begins legal action against Heathrow expansion

Climate Change Campaigners Launch Legal Action Against Heathrow Expansion

6th August 2018 (Plan B press release)

Climate change charity Plan B, has started legal action against Transport Secretary Chris Grayling over his plans for Heathrow expansion.

Plan B say the proposal breaches legal obligations in the Planning Act to alleviate the impact of climate change.

Plan B join a number of others, including Greenpeace and a number of councils, who are challenging the development.

Tim Crosland, Director of Plan B, said: ‘The Government has an express obligation under the Planning Act to promote sustainable development, with specific reference to the impacts of climate change. That means safeguarding the interests of current and future generations of UK citizens.

‘The National Policy Statement designated by Chris Grayling in June does not even consider the Government’s obligations under the Paris Agreement on Climate Change or the fact that in April this year, the Government committed to a review of its climate targets in light of the Paris Agreement.

‘We consider that to be an obvious and serious breach of the Act, which renders the plans to expand Heathrow airport unlawful. Indeed Lord Deben, the Chair of the Government’s advisory body on climate change, the CCC, wrote to Chris Grayling in June to express his surprise at the Government’s failure to consider its climate change obligations in this context. That’s why we’ve today (6 August 2018) submitted a claim for judicial review to the High Court.’

Plan B’s legal action is distinct from that being brought by other organisations, and focuses exclusively on climate change impact rather that of noise or air pollution

https://planb.earth/plan-b-begins-legal-action-against-heathrow-expansion/

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More about Plan B:

Plan B is a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO) registered with UK Charity Commissioners (registered no. 1167953).   https://planb.earth/about/

Mission statement

Plan B has been established to support strategic legal action against climate change. By ensuring those responsible for greenhouse gas emissions bear the costs of loss and damage, we will increase the incentives for investment in clean technologies, harnessing market forces towards a better future for us all.​​​

Strategic objectives​​​

That by 2021:

  • (SO 1) Existing legal principles, which provide accountability and responsibility for climate change loss and damage, have been successfully applied and integrated into the market economy​
  • (SO 2) Robust, science-based policy, legal and regulatory frameworks, in support of the climate temperature goal, have been implemented nationally and internationally
  • (SO 3) Victims of climate change have access to effective protections and remedies.

What we do

​We will, inter alia:

  • Raise awareness about the critical role of strategic legal action in tackling climate change.
  • Develop and make publicly available information and resources to support legal actions.
  • Work in collaboration with other organisations to develop and implement a broad, networked strategy for bridging ‘the emissions gap’.
  • Support and commence legal action where appropriate.
  • Develop guidance for governments on developing and implementing legal and regulatory frameworks sufficient to meet their legal responsibilities.

Our approach

Operating as a small, niche organisation, and avoiding unnecessary overheads, we will target our resources on high impact interventions, introducing innovative methodologies that may be adopted by others at scale. Partnership and collaboration will be at the heart of its approach.

Over the period 2016-21 we will aim to build strong relationships with key partners in government, civil society, academia and industry, including by acting as a catalyst for network and strategy development in support of common goals.

What makes us different

There are other not-for-profit organisations of environmental lawyers supporting action to address climate change. Often such organisations have a regional focus and bring cases in response to particular projects or activities. We will aim to work with them and ensure our activities our complementary and mutually supportive.

Plan B is unique in focussing on the development of a net-worked, international legal strategy to meet the long-term climate goal; and in developing and publishing legal tools and resources to support citizens, NGOs and others in bringing their own actions around the globe.

About the web-site

The Plan B web-site is a publicly available resource designed to help lawyers, NGOS and others evaluate possible legal avenues to containing dangerous climate change and pursuing climate justice. It does not constitute legal advice. Anyone considering pursuing litigation should consult with an attorney licensed to practice law in the relevant jurisdiction.

Making detailed legal analysis available online has a number of advantages over a traditional text-book:

  • It is freely accessible to all;
  • It can be regularly updated; and
  • Users of the web-site can easily contribute ideas, suggestions and corrections (helping to ensure the overall integrity of materials).​

https://planb.earth/about/

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See also

Friends of the Earth launches High Court legal challenge against Government decision on Heathrow runway NPS

Friends of the Earth (FoE) believes the Government’s Airports National Policy Statement, (NPS) which backs building a Heathrow 3rd runway, fails to address the UK’s climate change obligations. So they have started formal legal action at the High Court. The legal action challenges the legal basis of the government’s decision to designate the NPS, which gives the go-ahead to a 3rd runway.  Lawyers Leigh Day, on behalf of FoE, have filed papers with the High Court – asking for the Airports NPS published in June to be quashed. They argue the NPS  is illegal because  • it does not explain how it takes account of domestic targets for greenhouse gas emission reduction under the Climate Change Act 2008; • it does not factor in the Paris Agreement, which aims to limit global warming to well below 2°C and to pursue efforts to limit it to 1.5°C; • it fails to factor in the non-CO2 climate impacts of a 3rd runway, such as the emission of nitrogen oxides, which generate warming effects of a similar magnitude to CO2 emissions; and • it does not lawfully and fully consider the likely impact on future generations. A decision on whether there will be a full hearing about these issues is expected to be made this autumn.

Click here to view full story…

 

See also

Lawyers acting for a consortium of local authorities and others have issued JR proceedings in the High Court re. Heathrow runway

Lawyers acting for a consortium of local authorities and others have now issued judicial review proceedings in the High Court against the Secretary of State for Transport, on the basis that he has unlawfully designated the Airports National Policy Statement [NPS] under the Planning Act 2008. The proceedings challenging the expansion of Heathrow airport have been brought by the London Boroughs of Hillingdon, Wandsworth, Richmond, Hammersmith and Fulham, the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, Greenpeace and the Mayor of London.  The grounds of challenge are on air quality, inadequate environmental assessment, climate change, surface access, breach of the habitats directive and a flawed consultation process. Councillor Ray Puddifoot, Leader of Hillingdon Council, said: “Once again we have a government that is trying to avoid applying both the correct legal process and common sense to the question of airport expansion. The abject failure to address the far reaching consequences for both the environment and the health and wellbeing of tens of thousands of residents across London is simply not acceptable.” The many flaws in the scheme need to be subjected to the rigorous scrutiny of the legal process, and its serious failings exposed.

Click here to view full story…

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Heathrow runway rival – “Heathrow Hub” – launches legal challenge to DfT on its 3rd runway decision

The sponsor of a rival project to build a 3rd runway at Heathrow, Heathrow Hub, has started its challenge against the DfT for its decision to back the airport’s north-west runway scheme. Sky News has obtained a letter sent on Friday 27th July by lawyers acting for Heathrow Hub, ‎which paves the way for it to seek a full judicial review of the Government’s decision. They have engaged Martin Kingston QC, a planning expert at No5 Chambers, and Robert O’Donoghue, a prominent figure in cases of competition law from Brick Court, to fight its case. In the pre-action letter, the law firm DAC Beachcroft accused the DfT of failing to provide information about the Heathrow decision-making process sought under freedom of information (FoI) laws. It requested that the DfT’s Airports National Policy Statement (NPS)  be quashed on 5 principal grounds. These include a flawed understanding by ministers of the capacity for new air traffic movements created by extending the airport’s northern runway, to the west. Heathrow Hub also believes it was unlawful for the DfT to “effectively [give Heathrow] a veto” over their proposal (the airport always favoured their own scheme).  Heathrow Hub is a privately owned company, funded by a hedge fund manager. There is also the challenge by 5 councils and the Mayor London, and one by a private citizen, Neil Spurrier.

Click here to view full story…

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Resident affected by Heathrow noise has given notice to seek Judicial Review against DfT re. runway

Neil Spurrier, a resident in Teddington, a member of the Teddington Action Group (TAG) has given notice that he is seeking a Judicial Review, in the event of Parliament voting in favour of the Airports NPS, to give consent to build a 3rd Heathrow runway. Teddington is already very badly affected by noise, when the airport is operating on easterlies. A 3rd runway would make the noise problem far worse. Neil’s letter to Chris Grayling, Secretary of State for Transport, says:  “I am intending to bring a claim for Judicial Review should the National Policy Statement be put before Parliament and subsequently designated as a National Policy Statement in accordance with the provisions of the Planning Act 2008.”  The Matter being challenged is:  “The Designation of the National Policy Statement of new runway capacity and infrastructure at airports in the South East of England and in particular the choice of Heathrow airport for expansion with a third runway. I would intend to ask the Court for an order declaring the National Policy Statement void through breaching existing laws and would ask for a prohibiting order prohibiting the continuation of the National Policy Statement or the granting of a Development Consent following the National Policy Statement.” 

Click here to view full story…

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Read more »

Friends of the Earth launches High Court legal challenge against Government decision on Heathrow runway NPS

Friends of the Earth (FoE) believes the Government’s Airports National Policy Statement, (NPS) which backs building a Heathrow 3rd runway, fails to address the UK’s climate change obligations. So they have started formal legal action at the High Court. The legal action challenges the legal basis of the government’s decision to designate the NPS, which gives the go-ahead to a 3rd runway.  Lawyers Leigh Day, on behalf of FoE, have filed papers with the High Court – asking for the Airports NPS published in June to be quashed. They argue the NPS  is illegal because  • it does not explain how it takes account of domestic targets for greenhouse gas emission reduction under the Climate Change Act 2008; • it does not factor in the Paris Agreement, which aims to limit global warming to well below 2°C and to pursue efforts to limit it to 1.5°C; • it fails to factor in the non-CO2 climate impacts of a 3rd runway, such as the emission of nitrogen oxides, which generate warming effects of a similar magnitude to CO2 emissions; and • it does not lawfully and fully consider the likely impact on future generations. A decision on whether there will be a full hearing about these issues is expected to be made this autumn.

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Friends of the Earth launches High Court legal challenge to Heathrow expansion

Government’s Airports National Policy Statement (NPS) fails to address climate change
7 Aug 2018  (Friends of the Earth press release)

Formal legal action has begun at the High Court over claims the decision by the government to allow the building of a third runway at Heathrow Airport is unlawful as it fails to address the UK’s climate change obligations.

The legal challenge brought by Friends of the Earth challenges the legal basis of the government’s decision to designate the Airports National Policy Statement (NPS), the policy framework for expansion at Heathrow Airport devised by the Transport Secretary Chris Grayling, which gives the go-ahead to a third runway at Heathrow.

Lawyers Leigh Day, on behalf of Friends of the Earth, filed papers with the High Court on 6 August 2018 asking for the Airports NPS published in June to be quashed. The environmental campaign charity claims that the NPS fails to account for all the impacts on future generations, who will be left with the adverse consequences of growth from aviation-increasing climate impacts.

In the papers filed at the High Court Friends of the Earth argues that the government’s Airports NPS is unlawful as it amounts to a breach of the UK’s climate change policy, as well as its sustainable development duties, due to the following:

• it does not explain how it takes account of domestic targets for greenhouse gas emission reduction under the Climate Change Act 2008;

• it does not factor in the Paris Agreement, which aims to limit global warming to well below 2°C and to pursue efforts to limit it to 1.5°C;

• it fails to factor in the non-CO2 climate impacts of a third runway, such as the emission of nitrogen oxides, which generate warming effects of a similar magnitude to CO2 emissions;

• it does not lawfully and fully consider the likely impact on future generations of a third runway, who will be stranded with the climate-damaging infrastructure.

Friends of the Earth’s director of campaigns Liz Hutchins said:

“The government’s airports strategy completely ignores its obligations to tackle climate change – this is short-sighted, incredibly reckless and we believe it is unlawful.

“Allowing the aviation industry to pump more pollution into the atmosphere will make it far harder to prevent catastrophic climate change – and leaves future generations to suffer the consequences.

“It’s time to end our reliance on the fossil fuels that are already roasting our planet and threatening peoples’ lives, homes and livelihoods.”

Rowan Smith from the public law team at Leigh Day said:

“Our client believes that the expansion of Heathrow Airport will jeopardise the UK’s ability to make the very deep reductions in Greenhouse Gases that will be necessary to prevent global warming from causing catastrophic, irreversible impacts for the environment and future generations. In no sensible terms can this be described as sustainable development, when the additional costs of carbon-offsetting and the global warming potential of non-CO2 emissions from aviation do not feature in the government’s plans.

“The government has a legal duty to take into account climate change policy and the Paris agreement it has committed to with the global community, the Airports National Policy Statement does not adequately consider those factors and we therefore will argue that it is unlawful.”

A decision on whether there will be a full hearing about these issues is expected to be made this Autumn.

https://friendsoftheearth.uk/climate-change/friends-earth-launches-high-court-legal-challenge-heathrow-expansion

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See also

Lawyers acting for a consortium of local authorities and others have issued JR proceedings in the High Court re. Heathrow runway

Lawyers acting for a consortium of local authorities and others have now issued judicial review proceedings in the High Court against the Secretary of State for Transport, on the basis that he has unlawfully designated the Airports National Policy Statement [NPS] under the Planning Act 2008. The proceedings challenging the expansion of Heathrow airport have been brought by the London Boroughs of Hillingdon, Wandsworth, Richmond, Hammersmith and Fulham, the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, Greenpeace and the Mayor of London.  The grounds of challenge are on air quality, inadequate environmental assessment, climate change, surface access, breach of the habitats directive and a flawed consultation process. Councillor Ray Puddifoot, Leader of Hillingdon Council, said: “Once again we have a government that is trying to avoid applying both the correct legal process and common sense to the question of airport expansion. The abject failure to address the far reaching consequences for both the environment and the health and wellbeing of tens of thousands of residents across London is simply not acceptable.” The many flaws in the scheme need to be subjected to the rigorous scrutiny of the legal process, and its serious failings exposed.

Click here to view full story…

and

Heathrow runway rival – “Heathrow Hub” – launches legal challenge to DfT on its 3rd runway decision

The sponsor of a rival project to build a 3rd runway at Heathrow, Heathrow Hub, has started its challenge against the DfT for its decision to back the airport’s north-west runway scheme. Sky News has obtained a letter sent on Friday 27th July by lawyers acting for Heathrow Hub, ‎which paves the way for it to seek a full judicial review of the Government’s decision. They have engaged Martin Kingston QC, a planning expert at No5 Chambers, and Robert O’Donoghue, a prominent figure in cases of competition law from Brick Court, to fight its case. In the pre-action letter, the law firm DAC Beachcroft accused the DfT of failing to provide information about the Heathrow decision-making process sought under freedom of information (FoI) laws. It requested that the DfT’s Airports National Policy Statement (NPS)  be quashed on 5 principal grounds. These include a flawed understanding by ministers of the capacity for new air traffic movements created by extending the airport’s northern runway, to the west. Heathrow Hub also believes it was unlawful for the DfT to “effectively [give Heathrow] a veto” over their proposal (the airport always favoured their own scheme).  Heathrow Hub is a privately owned company, funded by a hedge fund manager. There is also the challenge by 5 councils and the Mayor London, and one by a private citizen, Neil Spurrier.

Click here to view full story…

and

Resident affected by Heathrow noise has given notice to seek Judicial Review against DfT re. runway

Neil Spurrier, a resident in Teddington, a member of the Teddington Action Group (TAG) has given notice that he is seeking a Judicial Review, in the event of Parliament voting in favour of the Airports NPS, to give consent to build a 3rd Heathrow runway. Teddington is already very badly affected by noise, when the airport is operating on easterlies. A 3rd runway would make the noise problem far worse. Neil’s letter to Chris Grayling, Secretary of State for Transport, says:  “I am intending to bring a claim for Judicial Review should the National Policy Statement be put before Parliament and subsequently designated as a National Policy Statement in accordance with the provisions of the Planning Act 2008.”  The Matter being challenged is:  “The Designation of the National Policy Statement of new runway capacity and infrastructure at airports in the South East of England and in particular the choice of Heathrow airport for expansion with a third runway. I would intend to ask the Court for an order declaring the National Policy Statement void through breaching existing laws and would ask for a prohibiting order prohibiting the continuation of the National Policy Statement or the granting of a Development Consent following the National Policy Statement.” 

Click here to view full story…

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Read more »

Opinion: We need a responsible attitude to flying, not another Heathrow runway

Responsible Travel customer director Tim Williamson asks:  “Do we really need another runway at Heathrow? At Responsible Travel we don’t think so.”… “At some point we have to face the fact that the IATA predictions for the growth of air travel are not sustainable and will be very detrimental to the planet. The ability to jump on a plane at a very affordable price for most of the developed world and get to nearly all places on earth in less than a day is a wonderful privilege but it’s not a right and each flight has a consequence and that’s the increasing damage to our environment from aviation.” …”What we can start doing now is thinking about each flight we take and ask is it really necessary? We should all be thinking now about that short city break by air and looking at alternatives, especially if our choice is also fuelling the new concept of over-tourism where tourists and locals suffer as result of too many tourists. If we are travelling to a conference – is it really necessary that we are there in person?” …”If we are travelling for work do we need to be there in person? I’m sure most meetings that include air travel would be far less attractive if the company that paid for the ticket collected the air miles and points rather than the individual.”
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Opinion: We need a responsible attitude to flying, not another Heathrow runway

Opinion: We need a responsible attitude to flying, not another Heathrow runway

Responsible Travel customer director Tim Williamson calls for fewer flights and a focus on tourism which benefits local communities

We don’t need a new runway at Heathrow just a more responsible attitude to flying

Do we really need another runway at Heathrow? At Responsible Travel we don’t think so. This may sound a bit strange for a travel company to say given that we sell lots of holidays from the UK that depart by air.

At some point we have to face the fact that the IATA predictions for the growth of air travel are not sustainable and will be very detrimental to the planet. The ability to jump on a plane at a very affordable price for most of the developed world and get to nearly all places on earth in less than a day is a wonderful privilege but it’s not a right and each flight has a consequence and that’s the increasing damage to our environment from aviation. Whilst we are excited about the alternatives to kerosene fuelled flying that are just starting to be developed we are bound, in the short to medium term, to just making flying more efficient.

What we can start doing now is thinking about each flight we take and ask is it really necessary? We should all be thinking now about that short city break by air and looking at alternatives, especially if our choice is also fuelling the new concept of over-tourism where tourists and locals suffer as result of too many tourists. If we are travelling to a conference – is it really necessary that we are there in person? The web now makes it so easy to join and interact in group meetings and conferences. In the UK travel industry it is certainly true that there is no reason for the annual conferences to be abroad apart from the fact that tourist destinations pay a high price to sponsor the events to bring the industry to their country.

If we are travelling for work do we need to be there in person? I’m sure most meetings that include air travel would be far less attractive if the company that paid for the ticket collected the air miles and points rather than the individual. For me this change alone would reduce the demand for business travel. Less business flights does not mean that less international business is being done – it’s just being done in a far smarter, more modern and more efficient way – driving productivity which the UK desperately needs.

So with less business travel, less short breaks and less international conferences to attend do we really need extra airport capacity? I doubt it but this needs to be modelled and any decision on extra airport capacity in the UK should be delayed until this work is properly done.

The truth is we love flying for business and accumulating air miles for use on our own personal flights, we love attending conferences in exotic destinations even though all the delegates and speakers are from the same country as us and we love short city breaks because the cost of these flights are far too cheap driven by a massive over-supply in the market, particularly in Europe, and the fact that airplane fuel is not taxed.

I can imagine a world where we fly less, do better business, learn more but also continue to benefit local communities around the world through tourism as we use our long-haul flights carefully and make them count by staying longer, getting off the beaten tourist track and making sure the money we spend goes into the local economy.

The economics of this for the aviation industry are stark – less airlines and potentially higher fares which are either driven by less supply or taxation as forward thinking governments use an increase in vehicles like APD to help develop electric planes and make sure that aviation bears the full cost of its environmental impact burning an untaxed fuel.

Maybe in the longer term we do need a third runway at Heathrow to cope with the volume of new electric long-haul planes taking people around the planet whilst not destroying it – this we would support.

http://www.travelweekly.co.uk/articles/306903/opinion-we-need-a-responsible-attitude-to-flying-not-another-heathrow-runway

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Committee on Climate Change says DfT must publish a plan, by summer 2019, to limit aviation CO2

The CCC’s report says a key action needed from the UK government by the first half of 2019 is to: “Publish a plan to limit UK aviation emissions to the level assumed when the fifth carbon budget was set (i.e. around 2005 levels in 2050, implying around a 60% potential increase in demand), supported by strong international policies.”. They say the UK’s 2050 target requires an 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions including the UK’s share of international aviation and shipping (IAS) emissions. But if IAS is not included, all other sectors would have to cut their CO2 emissions by around 85% (cf. 1990)by 2050 – which the CCC do not believe is possible. The CCC say: “The Government have committed to publish a new Aviation Strategy in 2019. This will need to include a plan to limit UK aviation emissions to the level assumed when the 5th carbon budget was set (i.e. around 2005 levels by 2050, likely to imply around a 60% potential increase in demand), supported by strong international policies.”  UK aviation CO2 emissions were already at 35.5 Mt CO2 in 2016, having risen by 1.2% in that year over 2015. Aviation emissions will continue to rise, and rapidly exceed the 37.5MtCO2 cap. Around spring 2019 the CCC will set out its thinking on whether the CORSIA is an appropriate mechanism for formally including international aviation CO2 in carbon budgets.
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Apply the lessons of the past decade, or risk a poor deal for the public in the next

Ten years after the Climate Change Act came into force, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) says the Government must learn the lessons of the last decade if it is to meet legally-binding targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the 2020s and 2030s. Unless action is taken now, the public faces an unnecessarily expensive deal to make the shift to a low-carbon economy.

Scientific evidence of a changing climate continues to mount. Recent observations have catalogued evolving changes to the climate in the UK and around the world, highlighting the urgent need for further measures to reduce harmful emissions.

Overall, UK emissions are down 43% compared to the 1990 baseline while the economy has grown significantly over the same period.

Since 2008, the UK has seen a rapid reduction in emissions in the electricity sector, but this achievement masks a marked failure to decarbonise other sectors, including transport, agriculture and buildings. In the last five years, emissions reductions in these areas have stalled. As a result, the UK is not on course to meet the fourth (2023-2027) or fifth (2028-2032) carbon budgets. Nor will it be on course unless risks to the delivery of existing policies are reduced significantly and until Government brings forward effective new policies to deliver commitments beyond the achievements in electricity generation and waste.

The next year is crucial. In January, the Committee commended the ambition of the Government’s Clean Growth Strategy, but found few new detailed policies to reduce UK emissions into the next decade and beyond. Five months on, policy details are still largely absent, and we haven’t yet had the Department for Transport’s ‘Road to Zero’ strategy, delayed from its planned publication in March. It is in this context that the Committee’s new report ‘Reducing UK emissions – 2018 Progress Report to Parliament’ sets out four key messages to Government to put emissions reductions on track, based on the lessons of the last decade:

  1. Support the simple, low-cost options. Low-cost, low-risk options to reduce emissions are not being supported by Government. This penalises the consumer. There is no route to market for cheap onshore wind; withdrawal of incentives has cut home insulation installations to 5% of their 2012 level; woodland creation falls short of stated Government ambition in every part of the UK. Worries over the short-term cost of these options are misguided. The whole economy cost of meeting the legally-binding targets will be higher without cost-effective measures in every sector.
  2. Commit to effective regulation and strict enforcement. Tougher long-term standards, for construction and vehicle emissions for example, can cut emissions, while driving consumer demand, innovation, and cost reduction. Providing long line of sight to new regulation also reduces the overall economic costs of compliance. Regulations must also be enforced to be effective: the consumer is cheated when their car’s fuel consumption and real emissions exceed the quoted test-cycle numbers; or when higher energy bills are locked-in for generations when stated building standards are not enforced.
  3. End the chopping and changing of policy. A number of important programmes have been cancelled in recent years at short notice, including Zero Carbon Homes and the Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) Commercialisation Programme. This has led to uncertainty, which carries a real cost. A consistent policy environment keeps investor risk low, reduces the cost of capital, provides clear signals to the consumer and gives businesses the confidence to build UK-based supply chains.
  4. Act now to keep long-term options open. An 80% reduction in emissions has always implied the need for new national infrastructure – to transport and store CO2 for example, or to provide decarbonised heat. The deeper emissions reductions implied by the Paris Agreement make these developments even more important. We cannot yet define the 2050 systems for carbon capture, zero-carbon transport, hydrogen or electrification of heat, but the Government must now demonstrate it is serious about their future deployment. Key technologies should be pulled through to bring down costs and support the growth of the low-carbon goods and services sector.

The Committee’s report presents a list of critical commitments it expects the Government to deliver by the time the CCC issues its next progress report to Parliament in June 2019. A number of actions are required by the end of 2018 including concrete policies to secure improvements in residential energy efficiency, a deployment pathway for CCS and new policy to strengthen the incentives for people to buy electric vehicles – amongst others.

CCC Chairman, Lord Deben, said: “Although the UK seeks to lead the world in tackling climate change, the fact is that we’re off track to meet our own emissions targets in the 2020s and 2030s. We welcomed the Government’s commitment in the Clean Growth Strategy to put green growth at the heart of its economic policy. We recognise that over the last ten years, the Government has shown it has the know-how and commitment to drive down UK emissions in the electricity sector by acting early and consistently to avoid costly interventions later. We now have to ensure that the Government learns from this experience and presents a programme to tackle emissions right across the economy, including in buildings, transport and agriculture. This action is now urgent in order to meet the UK’s legally-binding climate change targets, and to prepare to fulfil the obligations of the Paris Agreement.”

Notes to editors

  1. The Committee’s new report ‘Reducing UK emissions – 2018 Progress Report to Parliament’ was published online at 00.01 on Thursday 28 June 2018.
  2. The Clean Growth Strategy was published by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) on 12 October 2017. The Strategy sets out the Government’s proposals and policies towards meeting the fourth (2023-27) and the fifth (2028-2032) carbon budgets. The Committee’s independent assessment of the Clean Growth Strategy was published in January 2018.
  3. It is important that the UK Government works with the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to ensure delivery against the carbon budgets – both in areas that are devolved (e.g. waste, forestry), and in those that are reserved to UK Government but have important roles for local action (e.g. home energy efficiency, Contracts-for-Difference for low-carbon electricity generation).

https://www.theccc.org.uk/2018/06/28/apply-the-lessons-of-the-past-decade-or-risk-a-poor-deal-for-the-public-in-the-next/

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The report says:

In the context of future UK policy and infrastructure investment decisions, the Committee has previously said that an appropriate long-term assumption for government planning is for aviation emissions to be around 2005 levels in 2050 (implying around a 60% increase in demand over the same period). The Government is planning to publish a new Aviation Strategy in the first half of 2019, including their long-term approach to climate change.

“The Committee will set out an assessment of what this strategy should involve around Spring 2019. This will include consideration of the potential to reduce aviation emissions over the period to 2050 and beyond, and the overall policy approach the Government should pursue (including whether the ICAO CORSIA scheme is an appropriate mechanism for formally including international aviation emissions within carbon budgets).

“In its advice to Government on the fifth carbon budget the Committee recommended that international shipping emissions now be included within carbon budgets. The IMO agreement on a 2050 target for international shipping is consistent with the Committee’s 2050 planning assumption, and the basis upon which the fifth carbon budget was set. It therefore reinforces the case that there is no longer any reason to exclude these emissions from carbon budgets. The Committee continues to recommend that Government should now include these emissions within carbon budgets.”

 

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An action by the government by the first half of 2019:

“Publish a plan to limit UK aviation emissions to the level assumed when the fifth carbon budget was set (i.e. around 2005 levels in 2050, implying around a 60% potential increase in demand), supported by strong international policies.”

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Explanation by Prof Alice Larkin of why UK aviation must fit within UK climate commitments

Alice Larkin, Professor of Climate Science and Energy Policy at The University of Manchester, and Dr John Broderick say the proposed 3rd Heathrow runway jeopardises the UK’s long term legal carbon commitments, including the 2015 Paris Agreement, given the absence of a policy framework for establishing long-term decarbonisation of the sector. They say rising aviation CO2 would need to be off-set by fuel-efficiency gains, the use of alternative carbon-neutral fuels or additional reductions in other sectors. But there are no mechanisms in place to guarantee this within the UK’s climate policy framework. For the UK to try to meet Paris targets, UK aviation emissions need to be greatly reduced, along with all other sectors. Even if there were effective carbon credits available for aviation, they would become scarce in coming decades as further CO2 cuts are ever more challenging for all sectors to achieve. There are substantial concerns about the wider effects of biofuel production  including their carbon balance; synthetic fuels are necessarily energetically costly to produce and requiring additional zero-carbon energy generation capacity – so neither can effectively cut aviation’s CO2 emissions.
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Heathrow Expansion in light of the UK’s Climate Change Commitments

By Professor Alice Larkin and Dr John Broderick (University of Manchester)
June 22, 2018

Alice Larkin, Professor of Climate Science and Energy Policy at The University of Manchester, along with Dr John Broderick consider if the level of emissions from the Heathrow expansion is in alignment with the UK’s legal commitments on climate change. They argue that the proposed expansion jeopardises these legal commitments, given the absence of a policy framework for establishing long-term decarbonisation of the sector.

Expansion of Heathrow airport is expected to increase CO2 emissions from the aviation sector. Of the three schemes considered by Department for Transport, the proposed new runway leads to the largest absolute increase.

Any growth in demand needs to be off-set by fuel-efficiency gains, the use of alternative carbon-neutral fuels or additional reductions in other sectors – there are not mechanisms in place to guarantee this within the UK’s climate policy framework.

The expansion of Heathrow is premised on increased emissions in the short term and persistent high levels of emissions in the long term. Heathrow expansion jeopardises the UK’s commitment under the Paris Agreement (2015) as there is currently no robust mitigation policy framework for international aviation emissions.

What are UK’s relevant climate change commitments?

The UN’s Paris Agreement (2015) has the status of a treaty as defined by the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties. Article 2 establishes the treaty’s goal of avoiding a temperature increase of “well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels” and to pursue efforts to limit warming to 1.5°C. Rising temperatures relate closely to the total quantity of carbon dioxide emitted, much of which remains in the atmosphere for many centuries to come. Temperature targets can therefore be translated to carbon budgets and associated pathways, as for instance implemented by the UK’s Climate Change Act (2008).

How are emissions from aviation accounted for?

Article 4 of the Paris Agreement notes that “Developed country Parties should continue taking the lead by undertaking economy-wide absolute emission reduction targets”. However, the Climate Change Act (2008) and subsequent carbon budgets adopted by Government do not presently include emissions from international aviation, although they undoubtedly contribute to the warming of the climate.

Emissions from intra-EEA flights are included within the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, but the cap on emissions and historic surplus within this scheme do not align with UK policy or Article 2 of the Paris Agreement. In the absence of limits on international aviation emissions, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) advise that greater efforts will need to be made in other sectors, and establish a “planning assumption” that gross CO2 emissions from aviation should total no more than 37.5 MtCO2 by 2050.

However, this assumes that other sectors adopt emissions reductions greater than 80% by 2050. To date there is limited evidence that this will be achieved, and there is currently a policy gap to deliver even an 80% reduction by 2050 by these other sectors. Recognising the Paris Agreement’s objective to meet a “well below 2°C” goal within our domestic climate policy would limit the carbon budget even further.

Do UK carbon budgets align with the Paris Agreement?

The government have adopted a series of carbon budgets proposed by the CCC as the minimum required to meet our international obligations. The Climate Change Act’s long-term target, proposed in 2008, allows greenhouse gas emissions of 159 MtCO2e in 2050. This pathway is premised on a 63% chance of exceeding 2°C.

The wording of the Paris Agreement, made later in 2015, implies a high probability of not exceeding this temperature threshold. Cumulative emissions pathways that align with this are therefore lower than the current level of UK carbon budgets and imply that a net-zero CO2 target is required before 2050. If a proportion of this emissions budget is allocated to aviation beyond 2050 then almost all emissions must be eliminated from other sectors at an earlier date.

What emissions are forecast for the aviation sector?

BEIS records total emissions attributable to UK aviation as 35.5 MtCO2e in 2016, returning from a plateau, following the financial crisis and recession, to growth in recent years. For most sectors, CO2 cuts in line with the “well below 2°C” goal could feasibly be brought about through a combination of technological, operational and demand-side changes.

However, within the aviation sector, technical change is slow and radical improvements in the short- to medium-term are not anticipated. Modelling by the Airports Commission and Department for Transport, forecasts emissions to continue to rise with and without the Heathrow Northwest Runway scheme, but assume that a strong carbon price, an increase in load factors and continuous improvements in fuel efficiency will allow emissions to stabilise towards 2050.

The CCC have established a benchmark figure of 37.5 MtCO2 in 2050, a doubling of emissions from the 1990 baseline year. This is a generous allocation which requires much less effort from aviation than other sectors to decarbonise. The Department for Transport anticipate this level will be exceeded if any of the London airport expansion proposals are realised. Future realignment of UK carbon budgets towards the Paris Agreement’s commitments would almost certainly include a need for a lower level of aviation emissions.

Could other actions increase emissions space for aviation?

The Airports National Policy Statement assumes that increased emissions from international aviation can be mitigated in some way but does not establish the specific means to achieve this. Three out-of-sector possibilities exist that would allow emissions from aviation to diverge from the decarbonisation path that the rest of the economy follows.

  1. Carbon trading: emissions permits and credits could be bought from other sectors. This assumes that the trading schemes are procedurally and technically robust, i.e. that permits and credits issued are not “hot air”, and the quantity of permits and credits is aligned with the overall climate change objective – the Paris Agreement in this case. Existing schemes do not meet these criteria. It also assumes that other sectors are able to make reductions over and above their already challenging targets which becomes ever more difficult as we approach net-zero.
  2. Biofuels and synthetic fuels: if the carbon within a fuel has come from the atmosphere, removed either by the growth of plants or by technical means, then its combustion can be regarded as carbon neutral. Such fuels might be licensed and produced at scale for aviation, however, substantial concerns about the wider effects of biofuel production must be addressed, including their carbon balance. Synthetic fuels are necessarily energetically costly to produce and requiring additional zero-carbon energy generation capacity.
  3. Negative Emissions Technologies (NETs) remove CO2 from the atmosphere but are currently unproven at scale, with scientific understanding on their development and deployment only recently starting to emerge. It is premature to assume they will be delivered at scale and in the timeframe required.

Aviation must fit within a UK decarbonisation pathway aligned with the Paris Agreement

Long lived infrastructure should be considered in light of our national and international obligations to economy-wide absolute emission reduction. The Heathrow Northwest Runway scheme is forecast to lead to an absolute increase in emissions. Any growth in demand needs to be off-set by fuel-efficiency gains, the use of alternative carbon-neutral fuels or additional reductions in other sectors. There are not mechanisms in place to guarantee this within the UK’s climate policy framework.

Because CO2 is long lived in the atmosphere, stabilising the climate will require net-zero emissions. Decarbonisation pathways that meet the objectives of the Paris Agreement indicate that even with UK aviation entirely decarbonising by 2075, all other sectors must be close to zero before 2050. In the absence of a robust mitigation policy framework, expansion of Heathrow, increasing emissions in the short term and assuming persistence in the long term, jeopardises the international commitment made in Paris.

http://blog.policy.manchester.ac.uk/posts/2018/06/heathrow-expansion-in-light-of-the-uks-climate-change-commitments/

About Alice Larkin
Alice Larkin is Professor in Climate Change and Energy Policy as part of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research. She is Head of the School of Mechanical, Civil and Aerospace Engineering at The University of Manchester.

About John Broderick
Dr John Broderick is a lecturer in energy and climate change in the School of Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering at The University of Manchester.
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No 10 ‘fixes’ Heathrow runway vote to deliberately get it before MPs can read damning report on CO2 by the CCC

Chris Grayling, the transport secretary, has scheduled the vote on a 3rd Heathrow runway just days before publication of a government report warning that surging aviation emissions would destroy Britain’s greenhouse gas reduction targets. It means MPs will have had no chance to read the report, from the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) on Thursday, before voting. The report will warn that aviation and other emissions are growing so fast that homeowners and businesses may have to sacrifice gas cookers, central heating boilers and petrol cars for Britain to meet its climate change targets. Andy McDonald, the Labour transport shadow secretary said this deliberately duplicitous timing was disgraceful.  Last year UK aviation emissions hit 37m tonnes, close to the pre-recession peak of 37.5m tonnes in 2005. The CCC says this must not be exceeded if the UK is to meet its 80% carbon reduction target. However, a report published on Grayling’s department website last week says aviation emissions will hit 43m tonnes of CO2 by 2030 if Heathrow expands. Lord Deben, chairman of the CCC, has written to Grayling, saying CO2 levels higher than 37.5MtCO2 must not be planned for, since this would place an unreasonably large burden on other sectors.”
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No 10 ‘fixes’ Heathrow runway vote

MPs won’t see a report warning of a big rise in CO2 emissions, and Boris is sent abroad

Boris Johnson is on a contrived overseas trip so will not have to vote on whether to expand Heathrow
 
Downing Street has ordered a no-holds-barred effort to “fix” tomorrow’s crucial Commons vote on Heathrow’s proposed third runway, including sending the most high-profile opponent, Boris Johnson, on a trip to Africa.

 

Chris Grayling, the transport secretary, has scheduled the vote days before publication of a government report warning that surging aviation emissions would destroy Britain’s greenhouse gas reduction targets. It means MPs will have had no chance to read the report, from the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) on Thursday, before voting.

The report will warn that aviation and other emissions are growing so fast that homeowners and businesses may have to sacrifice gas cookers, central heating boilers and petrol cars for Britain to meet its climate change targets.

News of the “deception” left Labour infuriated. “This is outrageous,” said Andy McDonald, the Labour transport shadow secretary. “MPs will be voting in ignorance of the key facts about emissions from aviation. It’s a free vote but I am recommending all Labour MPs oppose Heathrow expansion.”

Last year UK aviation emissions hit 37m tonnes, close to the pre-recession peak of 37.5m tonnes in 2005. The CCC says this must not be exceeded if the UK is to meet its 80% carbon reduction target. However, a report published on Grayling’s department website last week says aviation emissions will hit 43m tonnes of CO2 by 2030 if Heathrow expands.

Lord Deben, chairman of the CCC, has written to Grayling, warning of the perils of expanding aviation. He said: “Aviation emissions at 2005 levels in 2050 means other sectors must reduce emissions by more than 80%, and in many cases will likely need to reach zero . . . Levels higher [than 2005] in 2050 must not be planned for, since this would place an unreasonably large burden on other sectors.”

By “other sectors” Deben is referring to the emissions generated by private cars, buses and trains, plus those from central heating boilers, gas cookers and fires, as well as from businesses.

The UK emitted 800m tonnes of CO2 in 1990 and pledges to cut this to 344m tonnes by 2030 and 160m tonnes by 2050.

Deben’s letter has prompted angry private exchanges. Yesterday Grayling issued a statement supporting Heathrow expansion. “This country can no longer afford to wait for extra aviation capacity,” he said. “Parliament has the opportunity to take a bold and decisive step to deliver a strong free-trading global Britain after Brexit. The alternative is unthinkable.”

Others disagree, including Johnson whose Uxbridge and South Ruislip constituency lies under the Heathrow flight path and who once threatened to “lie down in front of the bulldozers”. His overseas trip was contrived to let him avoid having to confront Grayling or vote.

The CCC’s figures suggest that Grayling’s plans to expand UK aviation, including a near-doubling of passenger numbers by 2050, are incompatible with Britain meeting its carbon reduction targets. Last year it warned that by 2030 Britain’s CO2 emissions would still be 100m-170m tonnes higher than they should be. Its report on Thursday will say this gap has increased.

Environmental groups warn that expanding aviation will in effect take Britain out of the Paris agreement on climate change. James Beard, a climate specialist at the World Wide Fund for Nature, said: “We can live up to our commitments to tackle climate change or we can build a third runway. It’s almost impossible to do both.”

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/no-10-fixes-heathrow-runway-vote-msjbw9fx6

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Calls for SNP to re-think support for Heathrow runway, ahead of crunch vote on 25th

The No 3rd Runway Coalition will be at the Scottish Parliament on 21st June, to urge the SNP to change their position on supporting the Heathrow third runway proposal and to send the UK Government a message to ‘think again’. Campaigners will be joined by MSPs from Scottish Greens, Labour and Lib Dems, to highlight the environmental damage to Scotland and the rest of the UK that building a third runway would mean, as well as the fact that Scottish airports would suffer as a result.  Campaigners also believe that the SNP appear to be too trusting of UK Government promises – particularly in relation to the impact on Climate Change commitments – as revealed by Keith Brown, Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Jobs and Fair Work, in response to a question from Patrick Harvie MSP in the Scottish Parliament last Thursday. A recent report by the New Economics Foundation seriously calls into question the economic case – using the Department for Transport’s own measures; and this is before taking into account the economic impact of Brexit. Expansion at Heathrow will negatively impact Scottish airports, as any growth will be routed through London and not direct to international markets that could instead be served.
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Calls for Scotland to re-think support for Heathrow ahead of crunch vote on 25th

21.6.2018  (No 3rd Runway Coalition)

The No 3rd Runway Coalition will be at the Scottish Parliament today to urge the SNP to change their position on supporting the Heathrow third runway proposal and to send the UK Government a message to ‘think again’ (1).

Campaigners will be joined by MSPs from Scottish Greens, Labour and Lib Dems, to highlight the environmental damage to Scotland and the rest of the UK that building a third runway would mean, as well as the fact that Scottish airports would suffer as a result (2). And see Coalition briefing for Scottish politicians. Heathrow expansion Scotland briefing 

Campaigners also believe that the SNP appear to be too trusting of UK Government promises – particularly in relation to the impact on Climate Change commitments – as revealed by Keith Brown, Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Jobs and Fair Work, in response to a question from Patrick Harvie MSP in the Scottish Parliament last Thursday (3).

The Labour party announced their formal opposition to the proposal on Wednesday, on the basis that the UK Government’s Airports National Policy Statement failed all four of party’s tests on climate change, delivering extra capacity, air pollution and benefits to be felt outside of London (4).

Additionally, the long-awaited UK Government mitigation framework for international aviation emissions won’t be published for many months after MPs have been asked to support the Heathrow proposal.

A recent report by the New Economics Foundation seriously calls into question the economic case – using the Department for Transport’s own measures; and this is before taking into account the economic impact of Brexit (5).

Rob Barnstone of the No 3rd Runway Coalition, said:

“Plans to expand Heathrow will be to the detriment of Scotland. It puts at risk the Scottish Government’s own tough climate change targets, which would be impossible to achieve with Heathrow expansion. The Scottish government shouldn’t be so trusting of the Tory Government in Westminster.

“Expansion at Heathrow will also impact Scottish airports, as any growth will be routed through London and not direct to international markets that could instead be served.

“Promises about the number of jobs created are based on figures that were published well before Brexit.”

“Scottish politicians should not support this project and we urge MPs in the UK Parliament to vote down the proposals on Monday.”

 

ENDS.

Notes:

  1. www.no3rdrunwaycoalition.co.uk
  2. Our recent briefing Heathrow expansion Scotland briefing  issued to MSPs and Scottish MPs based on the lack of UK Government strategy or proposal for environmental mitigations, and new and recent analysis which calls into question the economic case for the current NPS proposal.  Also see http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2018/05/gordon-dewar-9ceo-of-edinburgh-airport-msps-mistaken-to-back-heathrow-monopoly-that-harms-scottish-airports/ 
  3. http://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/report.aspx?r=11601&i=105148#ScotParlOR
  4. https://labour.org.uk/press/labour-four-tests-heathrow-expansion-not-met/
  5. http://neweconomics.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/NEF-Flying-Low.pdf

 

For more information, contact: Rob Barnstone, 07806 947050, Robert.barnstone@outlook.com

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In the Scottish Parliament, Patrick Harvie asked about Heathrow carbon emissions:

Heathrow Airport (Carbon Emissions)
  • 1. Patrick Harvie (Glasgow) (Green): 

    To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide an update regarding its position on how the proposed third runway at Heathrow could impact on carbon emissions. (S5O-02227)

  • The Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Jobs and Fair Work (Keith Brown): 

    In support of its airports national policy statement, the United Kingdom Government has analysed the impact on carbon emissions and other environmental factors from the proposed third runway at Heathrow. Alongside publication of the national policy statement on 5 June, the UK Government published an appraisal of sustainability, which estimates that emissions could increase significantly if no mitigating measures are taken. The Scottish Government has noted that analysis and the UK Government’s view that a new third runway is deliverable within its international carbon commitments. The UK Government has stated that it will not proceed with a third runway unless the delivery of such commitments is achievable.

  • Patrick Harvie: 

    I am astonished that the Scottish Government, which is apparently seeking to increase the scale of its ambition on climate change, is relying on the complacency that is being shown by the UK Government. The UK Government has clearly been told that pressing ahead with the project will make its own UK-wide climate targets unachievable. Building a third runway is the most environmentally destructive method of increasing aviation capacity, and the Scottish Government’s estimates suggest that it will increase the number of short-haul flights between Scotland and Heathrow. Is this not the most recklessly complacent infrastructure project in the UK? Is the Scottish Government not due genuine criticism for listening to its lobbyists at the Scottish National Party conference, who throw a free bar and expect the Scottish Government to fall in line behind this damaging, unnecessary and destructive project?

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DfT, always trying to make aviation growth look “green”, to pay £434,000 to fund waste-to-jetfuel project

A project to turn landfill waste into (quotes) “sustainable” jet fuel has received a major boost by securing almost £5m of funding from the government and industry backers. The DfT has committed £434,000 to fund the next stage of the project, which will involve engineering and site studies to scope potential for a waste-based jet fuel plant in the UK.  This will take hundreds of thousands of tonnes of waste – otherwise destined for landfill – and convert it into jet fuel. The project is being led by biofuels firm Velocys, which has committed £1.5m to the next phase of development. The scheme has also secured a further £3m from industry partners, including Shell and British Airways. BA hopes to use the fuel, to claim it is cutting its carbon emissions (while continuing to grow, burning ever more fuel). The DfT is keen to give the impression that UK aviation expansion is fine, if some biofuels, or alternative fuels, are used. The funding for the Velocys project is part of £22m alternative fuels fund from the government, to advance development of “sustainable” fuels for aviation and freight transport. As of April 2018 renewable jet fuel also qualifies for credits under the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO). 
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Preparing for take-off? Aviation biofuel research wins £5m boost

British Airways will use the waste-based aviation fuel to cut the carbon impact of flights

By Madeleine Cuff  (Business Green

18th June 2018

A project to turn landfill waste into sustainable jet fuel has received a major boost today, securing almost £5m of funding from the government and industry backers.

The Department for Transport has committed £434,000 to fund the next stage of the project, which will involve engineering and site studies to scope potential for a waste-based jet fuel plant in the UK.

The plant would take hundreds of thousands of tonnes of post-recycled waste – otherwise destined for landfill – and convert it to fuel for aeroplanes.

The project is being led by biofuels firm Velocys, which has committed £1.5m to the next phase of development.

The scheme has also secured a further £3m from industry partners, including Shell and British Airways. The airline plans to use the waste-based fuel to help cut its greenhouse gas emissions from aircraft by up to 70 per cent, and particulate matter emissions by up to 90 per cent.

“We are very pleased that the government has recognised the importance of alternative fuels for aviation and has supported our joint project with Velocys which will help to reduce carbon emissions and create UK jobs and growth,” said Alex Cruz, CEO of British Airways.

The funding for the Velocys project is part of £22m alternative fuels fund from the government, to advance development of a new breed of sustainable fuels for aviation and freight transport. Some £2m was awarded to firms today for further research and scoping work, and recipients of this will be invited to bid for a share of £20m for construction work.

As of April 2018 renewable jet fuel also qualifies for credits under the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO) – a shift that has further boosted the long term commercial viability of a waste jet fuel plant in the UK, Velocys said.

Waste-based jet fuel is widely regarded as a crucial tool for helping to decarbonise the aviation sector. But it is still an expensive alternative to traditional fuels, restricting its use primarily to test flights.

“The waste-to-jet fuel project has the potential to help transform the aviation industry by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving the air quality around our country’s airports,” Grayling said in a statement on today’s funding news.

“That is why we are providing support to this important technology as part of our £22m of funding for alternative fuels, which will pave the way for clean growth in the UK.”

But pressure is set to intensify on the government to give the industry more of a helping hand, if plans for a third runway at Heathrow go ahead.

Last week the government’s climate watchdog, the Committee on Climate Change, wrote to Transport Secretary Chris Grayling reminding him the UK’s current legally binding pledge to cut emissions by 80 per cent by 2050 means aviation emissions must be at 2005 levels by 2050.

This “relatively generous” aviation budget represents a doubling of 1990 emissions, but will still require the widespread use of sustainable biofuels by the airline industry and moves by other sectors of the economy to cut their emissions to almost zero, if UK climate targets are to be met the CCC said.

An expansion of airport capacity at Heathrow is likely to require further emissions cuts across aviation and the wider economy, the CCC warned.

The hopes are the latest funding boost for jet biofuels will help revive a fledgling sector that has faced a series of setbacks in recent years.

Most notably, BA previously shelved a £340m green fuels project, citing a lack of support from government.

https://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/3034313/aviation-biofuel-research-wins-gbp5m-boost

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See earlier:

Solena, the company meant to be producing jet fuel from London waste for BA, goes bankrupt

In February 2010 it was announced that British Airways had teamed up with American bioenergy company Solena Group to establish “Europe’s first” sustainable jet fuel plant, which was set to turn London’d  domestic waste into aviation fuel.  The plan was for BA to provide construction capital for a massive plant somewhere in East London. BA committed to purchasing all the jet fuel produced by the plant, around 16 million gallons a year, for the next 11 years at market competitive prices.  BA had hoped that this 2% contribution to its fuel consumption – the equivalent to all its fuel use at London City airport  – would give it green credibility, and it would claim it cut its carbon emissions.  The timescale for the plant to be built kept slipping.  Nothing has been heard of it for a long time. Now it has been announced that Solena has gone into bankruptcy in the USA. It was never clear why, if genuinely low carbon fuels could be produced from London’s waste, why these should not be used for essential vehicles in London – and why they would instead become a PR exercise for an airline. British Airways and the company Velocys are listed as creditors of Solena.    

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2015/10/solena-the-company-meant-to-be-producing-jet-fuel-from-london-waste-for-ba-goes-bankrupt/

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Earlier:

Location just west of Canvey Island named as BA / Solena plant to make jet fuel from London urban waste

A site for the project, by BA and Solena, to convert landfill waste into jet fuel has finally been announced, after long delays. The site will be in the Thames Enterprise Park, a regeneration project just east of London on the Thames estuary (a few miles west of Canvey Island). The site includes the redundant former Coryton Oil Refinery. Work on building the GreenSky facility is expected to start in 2015 and be completed in 2017.  BA is providing construction capital and has committed to purchasing all the jet fuel produced by the plant, around 16 million gallons a year, for the next 11 years at market competitive prices. BA is hoping that this 2% contribution to its fuel consumption will give it green credibility, and it will claim it cuts its carbon emissions.  In reality, if liquid fuels can be made from urban waste, there is no reason why aviation needs to be the user of them – especially as aviation intends to greatly increase its total fuel consumption in coming decades.  Liquid fuels that can genuinely be considered “sustainable” could be used by any other consumer.  If aviation appropriates these “sustainable” fuels, and uses increasing amounts of fuel, the net effect is that other users have to use high carbon fuels. No net benefit. Other than in (flimsy) green PR terms for BA. 

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2014/04/location-just-west-of-canvey-island-named-as-ba-solena-plant-to-make-jet-fuel-from-london-urban-waste/

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British Airways + Solena plant to make jet fuel from London’s rubbish – announcement soon?

GreenAir online gives an update on the anticipated biofuel plant (costing around $500 million)  to be built in east London, to produce diesel and jet fuel.  GreenAir says that according to British Airways’ a 20-acre (8ha) site has been selected for its GreenSky project with Solena and an announcement is expected within weeks. Getting the required planning permission had proved “extremely challenging.”  GreenSky will convert around 600,000 tonnes of London  municipal waste into 50,000 tonnes of biojet and 50,000 tonnes of biodiesel annually, and will – they hope – meet BA’s total fuel needs at London City Airport.  BA hope they can claim annual carbon savings of up to 145,000 tonnes of CO2. “It’s very much a demonstration plant for us. If we can prove this works commercially then we will build a number of them in the UK – potentially up to six – at this scale or even bigger.”  “The economics is driven by a current UK landfill tax of about £80 per tonne, so the scheme hopes to get the rubbish cheaply – saving councils the landfill tax.  Under its 10-year contract with Solena, BA will purchase all the fuel produced by the plant. They hope to start building in early 2015 and start producing fuel in 2017.    

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2014/03/british-airways-solena-plant-to-make-jet-fuel-from-londons-rubbish-announcement-soon/ 

 

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Hunger strike against Heathrow runway continues, with die-in in Parliament and trip to lobby SNP

The five hunger strikers from the group “Vote No Heathrow” began their hunger protest on Saturday 9th June. They hope, health permitting, to continue until there is a vote in Parliament on the 3rd runway. As well as staging protests outside the offices of the Labour Party, and the Unite trade union, and a die-in in the Central Lobby in Parliament on 13rh June, they have travelled to Scotland to protest to the SNP.  They want them to vote against the runway, when the vote in Parliament happens some time before 9th July. Heathrow and the DfT have misled Scottish MPs into believing there would be a lot of economic benefit from a 3rd runway, with “promises” of thousands of jobs and more direct flights. The 35 SNP MPs currently plan to vote as a block in favour of the runway. The campaigners care passionately about climate change, and the huge increase in UK aviation carbon emissions that would be generated by a 3rd runway. Each month there is more evidence of the serious impact of climate change. The Committee on Climate Change, the government’s official advisors, have written to Chris Grayling to express their concern about how – unacceptably – the issue of carbon emissions has largely be glossed over, and ignored, in government plans for the runway.
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Protesters vow to carry on week-long hunger strike until Heathrow expansion is rejected

By Tom Herbert (Metro)
Friday 15 Jun 2018

A group of eight hunger strikers haven’t eaten any food since Saturday in a bid to oppose the expansion of Heathrow Airport. Six campaigners from Vote No Heathrow staged a protest outside Holyrood today to urge the SNP to vote against expansion when MPs vote in the next few weeks.

The group staged a ‘visual and colourful act of civil disobedience’ and hoped to send a clear message to the party to vote against the third runway.

Spokesman Cal Thompson told Metro.co.uk: ‘We feel that strongly about this and so desperate and frustrated that climate is not anywhere on the agenda and this is a way to show our commitment.

‘It is a personal sacrifice we would be willing to make to wake people up to the impact this will have on millions arond the world.’

Mr Thompson said the eight protesters have ‘vowed to continue’ their hunger strike ‘until both parties agree to whip their votes in opposition to Heathrow expansion plans’.

He added: ‘We’re drawing attention to the missing element in the debates which is climate breakdown. Scientists are clear that climate breakdown is catastrophic and will kill millions.

‘We feel such progressive parties such as the SNP and Labour should not vote for it.’

The hunger strikers targeted the SNP with chalk messages on the walls reading ‘SNP bought by Heathrow’ and ‘voting for climate genocide’, while displaying placards reading ‘Vote no Heathrow’ and ‘Please vote no’.

A parliamentary vote on the National Policy Statement in Aviation, which advocates the expansion of Heathrow with a third runway, is expected in the next few weeks.

Mr Thompson added: ‘We’re trying to draw awareness to the impact of them voting for it.

We’re appealing to the principles we know they hold and vote against them, not essentially prop up the Tory government and their pathological policies.’

The National Policy Statement on Aviation is expected to be published this month.

A parliamentary vote must be held within three weeks of the publication, which would either make the third runway binding government policy or take the proposal ‘back to square one’.

Mr Thompson claims the SNP has ‘been bought in exchange for magic beans’ and says there is ‘no real commitment from the policy that’s being proposed to serve local areas.  It’s astonishing we could have this. We should be taking responsibility for our climate.

‘They claim to be a socially democratic party and they look to be voting for a corporate agenda. They need to stand by their morals and vote against this runway which will bulldoze homes and kill millions around.’

And SNP spokesman said: ‘The SNP wants the best deal for Scotland. Air links with London give businesses access to global markets, whilst ensuring inbound business passengers and tourists travelling through London airports have the option of connecting flights to Scotland.

‘We are now pushing for clarification from the UK Government about a number of issues, including how it intends to guarantee landing slots for Scotland.’

https://metro.co.uk/2018/06/15/protesters-vow-carry-week-long-hunger-strike-heathrow-expansion-rejected-7634242/

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Protesters holding the die-in in Parliament, on Wednesday 13th.

The evidence about the faster Antarctic warming is at  https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/jun/13/antarctic-ice-melting-faster-than-ever-studies-show


See earlier:

CCC writes to Grayling to remind him of UK’s climate commitments, expressing concern about NPS silence on allowing rising aviation CO2 emissions

The Committee on Climate Change have written to Chris Grayling to reiterate that the UK has a legally binding commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions under the Climate Change Act, and the Paris Agreement. They say: “We were surprised that your statement to the House of Commons on the NPS on 5 June 2018 made no mention of either of these commitments. It is essential that aviation’s place in the overall strategy for UK emissions reduction is considered and planned fully by your Department.”  Under the CCC’s advice, the aviation sector would be allowed to keep its CO2 emissions at no more than their level in 2005, by 2050. That means aviation’s share of total UK CO2 emissions would already increase from about 2% to around 25%. Even that means “all other sectors must reduce emissions by more than 80%, and in many cases will likely need to reach zero….Higher levels of aviation emissions in 2050 must not be planned for, since this would place an unreasonably large burden on other sectors”. The CCC say: “We look forward to the Department’s new Aviation Strategy in 2019, which we expect will set out a plan for keeping UK aviation emissions at or below 2005 levels by 2050. To inform your work we are planning to provide further advice in spring 2019.”

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Anti-Heathrow protesters stage hunger strike against Heathrow 3rd runway plans, asking people to lobby their MPs to vote against it

On Saturday 9th, campaigners from the Vote NO Heathrow campaign started a hunger strike, to draw attention to the huge risk that MPs might vote in favour of a 3rd Heathrow runway. The vote is likely in the next two weeks. Over 30 campaigners gathered outside the London HQ of the Labour party in Victoria Street, for the start of the hunger strike by 5 of them. They intend to continue not to eat for as long as their health permits, and if possible until the vote in Parliament.  Earlier in the week, 8 campaigners were arrested outside the building for using chalk spray on the pavement and the glass windows, to highlight their message. The vote of the Labour party is crucial, and it is hoped that MPs will appreciate that the runway fails the 4 tests Labour has set for it, and impose a 3-line whip. The Tories may impose a 3-line whip in favour of the runway. The Vote NO Heathrow campaign wants as many people as possible to write to their MP – of whichever party – to ask them to vote against the runway. There are many important arguments, why the runway should be opposed (more details below) but these could be summarised as economic problems, UK region problems, noise, air pollution and increased carbon emissions.

Click here to view full story…

 

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CCC writes to Grayling to remind him of UK’s climate commitments, expressing concern about NPS silence on allowing rising aviation CO2 emissions

The Committee on Climate Change have written to Chris Grayling to reiterate that the UK has a legally binding commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions under the Climate Change Act, and the Paris Agreement. They say: “We were surprised that your statement to the House of Commons on the NPS on 5 June 2018 made no mention of either of these commitments. It is essential that aviation’s place in the overall strategy for UK emissions reduction is considered and planned fully by your Department.”  Under the CCC’s advice, the aviation sector would be allowed to keep its CO2 emissions at no more than their level in 2005, by 2050. That means aviation’s share of total UK CO2 emissions would already increase from about 2% to around 25%. Even that means “all other sectors must reduce emissions by more than 80%, and in many cases will likely need to reach zero….Higher levels of aviation emissions in 2050 must not be planned for, since this would place an unreasonably large burden on other sectors”. The CCC say: “We look forward to the Department’s new Aviation Strategy in 2019, which we expect will set out a plan for keeping UK aviation emissions at or below 2005 levels by 2050. To inform your work we are planning to provide further advice in spring 2019.”
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CCC writes to Chris Grayling about Airports National Policy Statement

A letter from Lord Deben, Chairman of the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), and Baroness Brown of Cambridge, Deputy Chair of the CCC, to Chris Grayling MP, Secretary of State for Transport, about the Airports National Policy Statement.

It sets out the Committee’s:


The letter says:

From CCC

7 Holbein Place, London SW1W 8NR, Tel: 020 7591 6080 www.theccc.org.uk @theCCCuk

Airports National Policy Statement

Dear Secretary of State,

The UK has a legally binding commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions under the Climate Change Act. The Government has also committed, through the Paris Agreement, to limit the rise in global temperature to well below 2°C and to pursue efforts to limit it to 1.5°C.

We were surprised that your statement to the House of Commons on the National Policy Statement on 5 June 2018 (1) made no mention of either of these commitments. It is essential that aviation’s place in the overall strategy for UK emissions reduction is considered and planned fully by your Department.

The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) does not have a view on the location of airport capacity, as long as total UK aviation emissions are compatible with meeting the 2050 climate objectives.

In its projections, the Committee has made a relatively generous provision for aviation emissions compared to other sectors:

• Our analysis has illustrated how an 80% economy-wide reduction in emissions could be achieved with aviation emissions at 2005 levels in 2050. Relative to 1990 levels this is a doubling of emissions, and an increase in its share of total emissions from 2% to around 25%. We estimate that this would allow for around 60% growth in aviation demand, dependent on the delivery of technological and operational improvements and some use of sustainable biofuels.

• Aviation emissions at 2005 levels in 2050 means other sectors must reduce emissions by more than 80%, and in many cases will likely need to reach zero.

• Higher levels of aviation emissions in 2050 must not be planned for, since this would place an unreasonably large burden on other sectors.

(1).  https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2018-06-05/debates/ED5F2A14-318D-4A18-8414-E472C9608DD2/AirportsNationalPolicyStatement

The Airports Commission also incorporated the CCC’s advice on aviation, concluding that ‘any change to [the] UK’s aviation capacity would have to take place in the context of global climate change, and the UK’s policy obligations in this area’.  (2)

We look forward to the Department’s new Aviation Strategy in 2019, which we expect will set out a plan for keeping UK aviation emissions at or below 2005 levels by 2050. To inform your work we are planning to provide further advice in spring 2019.

We would welcome the opportunity to discuss these matters more fully.

Yours,.

 

Lord Deben, Chairman, Committee on Climate Change

Baroness Brown of Cambridge  Deputy Chair, Committee on Climate Change

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(2).Airports Commission (2015) Final Report, page 65.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/440316/airports-commission-final-report.pdf

 


UK climate advisers issue Heathrow warning

‘Higher levels of aviation emissions in 2050 must not be planned for’

Zach Boren @zdboren

Carbon emissions from the aviation industry must not rise if the UK is to meet its legally-binding climate change targets, according to the government’s independent climate advisers.

In a letter to Transport Secretary Chris Grayling following his statement on the government’s airport policy, the chair and deputy chair of the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) wrote:

“Aviation emissions at 2005 levels in 2050 means other sectors must reduce emissions by more than 80%, and in many cases will likely need to reach zero.

Higher levels of aviation emissions in 2050 must not be planned for, since this would place an unreasonably large burden on other sectors.”

The government’s latest figures foresee aviation emissions rising by 7.3 million tonnes CO2 by 2030 if a third runway is developed at Heathrow airport — equivalent to the annual CO2 emissions from Cyprus.

The Davies Commission report from 2015 that recommended expanding Heathrow instead of Gatwick said a mammoth CO2 price of £330 per tonnes by 2050, in addition to unspecific biofuels wizardry, would be required for the UK to stay within its carbon budget.

It has been calculated that a carbon price at this level would add over £130 to a return trip from London to New York.

CCC writes to Chris Grayling about Airports National Policy Statement – Committee on Climate Change

Cait Hewitt, Deputy Director of the Aviation Environment Federation, said: “The Government’s own forecasts show Heathrow expansion sending UK aviation CO2 emissions well beyond the limit that the CCC recommends.

“There are no measures set out in the NPS to tackle this, and no climate change condition linked to the expansion.”

“The Government has never been able to show how it can square a new runway with the Climate Change Act, even based – as it is – on a target of limiting the risk of 2 degrees of global warming.

“It’s impossible to see how any increase in airport capacity could be compatible with the more ambitious target set by the Paris Agreement.”

In April, climate minister Claire Perry announced that the CCC will review the country’s 2050 targets in light of the new 1.5 degrees warming ambition outlined in the Paris Agreement, but the group has yet to receive official instructions and would not comment as to whether increased airport capacity could be compatible with the net zero goal.

Of course it stands to reason that if Heathrow expansion jeopardises the UK’s existing climate targets, it would make more dramatic carbon cuts even more difficult.

‘All domestic flights will need to end pretty much immediately’

If the UK does put in place a 2050 net-zero emissions target then that could be especially costly for the country’s domestic air routes.

Leo Murray, director of campaigning group Fellow Travelers, explained: “International air travel emissions have a uniquely ambiguous status under UK carbon budgets, in which they are not quite in and not quite out.

This means politicians have a lot of wriggle room to express vague aspirations about global deals to tackle these greenhouse gases.”

Emissions from domestic air travel, by contrast, are very much part of our national inventory and the legal framework for the UK Climate Change Act.”

“And if Britain moves to a net zero 2050 target to honour the Paris Agreement, all domestic flights will need to end pretty much immediately.”

https://unearthed.greenpeace.org/2018/06/15/heathrow-airport-climate-carbon-target-ccc/

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