Letter to Chancellor saying there is no economic or social case for government funding of aviation decarbonisation projects
A group of aviation campaigns have sent a joint letter to the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak. This comes in response to a letter sent by Sir Graham Brady and other MP signatories, asking the Treasury to invest in aviation decarbonisation. The campaigners’ letter says: “… there is no economic or social case for the government to invest taxpayers’ money in projects that might reduce aviation’s emissions. Doing so would perpetuate the current moral hazard in which the industry pollutes with impunity but expects others to bear the consequences and clean up after it.” Data from the ONS shows air transport, and services incidental to it, account for less than 0.7% of GDP and only 0.4% of jobs. “The industry’s increasingly meaningless assertions, such as the one in Sir Graham’s letter that aviation “supports” 4.5% of GDP, should be treated with the scepticism they deserve”. The industry overwhelmingly provides leisure, not trade, services. Over 80% of UK passengers travel for leisure purposes. “Using taxpayers’ funds to further support [aviation]… should be inconceivable in the current economic context.” What is needed is “effective regulation that obliges the industry to decarbonise” and urgent government reform of regulation of the industry’s environmental impacts. See the full letter.
See earlier – about the letter written by Sir Graham Brady et al:
The letter from Sir Graham Brady et al is at https://www.mariaeagle.co.uk/latest_news/2020/07/21/backing-our-aviation-industry/
£500m green aviation investment plea from MPs to make clean recovery take off
Treasury plea from cross-party group of MPs puts BA and Shell-backed Velocys scheme before the Chancellor
By David Laister Business Editor (Humber) – Business Live
17 JUL 2020
Calls to accelerate green aviation investment in the UK have put a jet fuel refinery on the South Humber Bank at the forefront of the campaign.
Developer Velocys has welcomed the move from a 35-strong cross party group of MPs, with backer and national flag carrier British Airways also endorsing the efforts.
It makes a £500 million pot of industry-matched funding for early stage sustainable aviation fuel facilities the lead priority, of three clear asks.
Funding to aid the development of more efficient engines and hybrid and electric aircraft and a short term Airspace Masterplan to cut emissions immediately are also listed.
Led by Sir Graham Brady MP, chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Sustainable Aviation, a letter has been sent to Chancellor Rishi Sunak, calling on him to “fuel a green economic recovery by supercharging investment in aviation decarbonisation”. It follows a plea from industry early last month.
He said: “Decarbonising aviation is going to be a crucial step in meeting our net zero ambitions, but it also offers an opportunity to make Britain a world leader in new technologies. As we emerge from lockdown, support for the aviation industry can drive a sustainable recovery, so that as the Prime Minister says, we can ‘build back greener’. This means building a sustainable aviation fuels industry in the UK, a here-and-now technology that can create jobs and add billions to our economy.”
Planning consent for the £350 million plant – which could be scaled up further – was received during lockdown, with a site at Stallingborough, close to the port of Immingham selected. It has the potential to be carbon negative, tapping into a region-wide carbon capture and storage network.
Henrik Wareborn, chief executive of Velocys, said: “The Prime Minister said he wanted the UK to build the world’s first zero-emission long-haul passenger plane. In fact, our planned waste-to-sustainable aviation fuel facility in North East Lincolnshire could be fuelling transatlantic flights in just five years’ time without the need to modify aircrafts or engines at all.
“Velocys has the technology, already demonstrated at commercial scale, and such fuel allows a seamless transition towards net zero lifecycle emissions. We encourage the Government to support getting the first few production facilities off the ground and sustainable aviation fuel in the air in significant commercial volumes by the second half of this decade.”
The re-endorsement from the very top of BA will also be welcome.
Alex Cruz, chief executive, said: “Last year British Airways led the way in UK aviation, committing to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050. Despite the unprecedented and difficult times we now face, we know it is vital that we continue to forge ahead with our plans to address climate change.
“We are investing in a range of initiatives to meet our commitment, including flying new, more fuel-efficient aircraft and the development of sustainable aviation fuels, which will play a crucial role in the future of global aviation.
“Alongside our partners, Velocys and Shell, we are developing the UK’s first waste to jet fuel plant in Immingham, converting 500,000 tons of waste that would otherwise go to landfill into 50 million litres of sustainable jet fuel every year, which will help to power our aircraft for years to come. This remains a priority and we will continue to ensure that our future is sustainable.”
Among the signatories is Martin Vickers, the constituency MP for the proposed site.
“The Humber is already a green industrial hub and proudly known as the Energy Estuary,” the Conservative said. “With Velocys’ planned waste-to-jet fuel facility in my constituency having recently received planning permission, the area could also become known for developing and exporting green aviation technology.
“By backing this nascent sector now, the Government could build another new green industry on the banks of the Humber, future proof UK aviation for decades, and fuel a green recovery for the UK.”
A Jet Zero Council has already been pledged by government, with Transport Minister Grant Shapps and the PM articulating the long-haul goal set at the announcement.
The letter to Mr Sunak details how the UK aviation sector is the third largest in the world, supporting 4.5% of UK GDP. [???]
Brian Ross, in his presentation in Feb 2019 had figures of the aviation sector contributing about £16.4 billion per year. Of that, air transport is just £8.6 billion. See copy of slide below. The DfT has claimed £22 billion. But this claim needs a bit of looking at. UK GDP was estimated at about $3 trillion this year. That comes to £2.39 trillion. And 4.5% comes to around £107 billion. Not £22 billion. ]
In it Sir Graham states there is “a golden opportunity to rebuild a great British industry in a way that protects and creates jobs, fuels a green economic recovery and futureproofs UK aviation for decades to come”.
Highlighting potential payback from such a kickstart at the outset, he states that sustainable aviation fuel production could generate £2.7 billion for the economy by 2035, supporting 18,800 jobs.
Brian Ross’s slide. Feb 2019.
Natural England objects to proposed jet fuel from waste plant, backed by BA, Shell and Velocys
April 3, 2020
BA has been trying to get some jet fuel made from domestic waste that would otherwise go to landfill, so it can claim it is using “low carbon” fuels. There were plans for a plant in east London, by Solena, back in 2014 but that never got off the ground; Solena went bust in October 2015. Now BA and Shell and Velocys are hoping for a plant on an 80-acre site on Humberside, to convert waste that would go to landfill, into jet fuel. However, Natural England are worried it could harm local wildlife and have filed an objection. Velocys says the plant would turn household waste into 60 million litres of “low-carbon” jet fuel every year. The project is backed by £4.5m of investment from Shell and British Airways, alongside a £434,000 grant from the Department of Transport. In a letter dated 20 February 2020 Natural England said it objects to the development because trucks ferrying waste to the site could increase nitrogen oxide levels – which can cause serious health impacts for humans and wildlife. It is also concerned construction and waste from the site could disturb nearby habitats for rare birds. It is now for North East Lincolnshire Council to decide whether to approve the scheme.