Fuels made from renewably sourced electricity the ONLY way to keep flying in future

Two experts from New Zealand have written about the future of low carbon air travel. Aviation is a problem for NZ due to its geographic position. But the experts say “the global 1.5C target allows no room for fossil fuelled commercial aviation by 2050. So the public, the aviation and tourism industries, and the government must turn their attention to first capping and then reducing emissions.” They consider the only viable option for air travel is fuels made from surplus electricity. NZ has plentiful wind and sun (most countries do not have as much) to make this potentially possible – though huge amounts of electricity would be needed, competing with other increasing uses. The other key tool is to greatly increase the cost of carbon.  This is currently around $ NZ 39 per tonne CO2, and the Air New Zealand offset price is just $23. The price needs to rise to at least $ NZ 140/tCO2 by 2030. Even that would have little impact on air travel demand. The NZ Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment (PCE) recommends a distance-based departure charge like the UK’s APD. They say hopes of electric planes, or hydrogen, “will not arrive fast enough nor scale up quickly enough, and mainly serve to delay action now.”
.

Sustainable aviation fuel is the only way forward if we want to keep flying

By Paul Callister and Robert McLachlan – Australia and New Zealand
The targets envisioned by the Paris Agreement leave no room for fossil fuelled commercial aviation by 2050

 

Aviation is an important part of the global economy; until Covid-19, it was responsible for 2.8% of global CO2 emissions. In New Zealand, aviation is responsible for an even higher percentage of CO2 emissions, the figure having doubled since 1990 to 13% in 2018. The country’s geographic isolation, transport system, international tourist industry, and globally dispersed families have all contributed to the jump in growth and will make reducing emissions a challenge.

But New Zealand has signed up to net zero emissions by 2050 and enacted the Zero Carbon Act, which aims to implement policies that will limit the global average temperature increase to 1.5C, in line with the Paris Agreement.

The 1.5C target allows no room for fossil fuelled commercial aviation by 2050. So the public, the aviation and tourism industries, and the government must turn their attention to first capping and then reducing emissions.

There are signs that this is beginning to happen. There are protests over the expansion of Wellington airport and over a proposed new international airport at Tarras, which would serve the Queenstown Lakes region and fuel rapid increases in emissions. And two new government reports – the draft advice of the NZ Climate Change Commission (CCC), and a report on the environmental impact of tourism by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment (PCE) – have put the issue squarely on the table.

The CCC’s main recommendations affecting aviation are to develop low-carbon fuels (to form 1.5% of all liquid fuel use by 2035) and to increase the price on carbon to at least $NZ140/tCO2 by 2030, up from a spot price of around $39 in late February (compared to the Air New Zealand offset price of $23).

It has also drafted carbon budgets that allow room for international aviation and shipping to be included in the net zero 2050 targets.

The PCE has grappled more directly with the issue, making aviation emissions a key focus. The report recommends a distance-based departure charge of NZ$25 to Australia, and NZ$155 to the US or UK, closely modelled on the UK’s Air Passenger Duty (currently £80 or NZ$152). The revenue would be used to develop low-carbon fuels and to fund climate change work in the Pacific. This would also serve as a role model for other countries willing to take more ambitious action.

All these moves would add up to a significant first step. Unfortunately, it would still be a small step. The suggested carbon price would add NZ$6 to an Auckland–Wellington flight, which currently sell for for anything between NZ$25 and NZ$279. Analysis commissioned by the PCE demonstrates that the proposed departure charge would have a very limited effect on demand.

What should we do next? Flying has to reduce.

A recent report (many academics, lead author Prof Julian Allwood) on a zero-emission future for the UK envisions a complete end to commercial aviation in the next few decades, arguing (see link ) that prospective “breakthrough” technologies like hydrogen and electric planes will not arrive fast enough nor scale up quickly enough, and mainly serve to delay action now.

Work on alternative domestic travel options, including a low-emission, high-quality national public transport network, needs to start immediately. Notably, Covid has reduced flying by 80%, and, while a major crisis for the sector that no one wanted, the impact on New Zealand tourism and on the economy as a whole has not been nearly as bad as first feared.

A study by one of us (Paul Callister) together with industrial chemist Wallace Rae considered a range of options if we want to keep flying . We concluded that sustainable aviation fuel, produced by a “Power to Fuel” process, was the only realistic path. Electricity, water, and CO2 are used to create jet fuel that can be used in existing planes.

But Ian Mason, a renewable energy engineer at the University of Canterbury, found that it would need at least an extra 28,000 GWh per year of electricity, two-thirds of the entire current supply, and at a time when many other sectors of the economy are seeking to electrify.

There is already one Power-to-Fuel plant under construction in Norway (Norsk E-fuel, fuelled by hydropower) and much larger ones are proposed for the Netherlands (Synkero) and Chile (Haru Oni, to be fuelled by the plentiful wind around the Straits of Magellan).

New Zealand, which has ample supplies of wind and sun, also has experience in producing synthetic fuels: the Motunui synthetic petrol plant was commissioned in 1987, the first of its kind in the world. And the country is already extracting CO2 from the Kapuni gas field, although rather than putting it to use to make sustainable fuel it is currently releasing it into the atmosphere.

The Office of the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment is a rare institution. The commissioner, Simon Upton, has wide powers to investigate any matter related to the environment; the catch is that nobody has to take heed of the commissioner. Nevertheless, through a process of broad-ranging enquiry and clear communication, the office has become widely trusted, and some of its reports have proved to be turning points. The timing of this report could not be better. The government should respond decisively and ensure that aviation plays its part in the end of fossil fuels.

Dr Paul Callister is a senior associate at the Institute of Governance and Policy Studies, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, whose current research centres on climate change policy and sustainable transport.

Robert McLachlan is a distinguished professor in applied mathematics at Massey University, New Zealand, and is a leader in the field of geometric numerical integration


See earlier:

Prof Julian Allwood: The only way to hit net zero by 2050 is to stop flying

The UK aviation industry this week pledged to bring its net carbon emissions down to zero by 2050 while growing by 70%, which is probably a lot of hype – to which they cannot yet be held accountable.  But Professor Julian Allwood, an engineer from Cambridge University, argues that not only is it impossible and unrealistic for aviation to have zero carbon emissions, the only solution is to have a period with almost no flying at all.  He says: “Let’s stop placing impossible hopes on breakthrough technologies, and try to hit emissions targets with today’s technologies.” And “There are 3 ways to deliver net-zero aviation: invent new electric aircraft, change the fuels of existing aircraft or take the emissions out of the atmosphere.” None of which can be done, at the scale necessary, any time before 2050, if at all. Long haul large electric planes will not be feasible for decades, if ever. There will not be enough spare renewably generated electricity to produce “green” hydrogen for planes. And  “there are currently no meaningful negative emissions technologies. It requires more energy to recapture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than was generated when it was released.”  “Rather than hope new technology will magically rescue us” we need to “commit to halving flights within 10 years, hoping to phase them out entirely by 2050.”

Click here to view full story…

 

 

Read more »

Government should call in Leeds Bradford airport expansion plans, due to climate impact

The government is under growing pressure to halt a proposed expansion of Leeds Bradford airport, which critics say would wreck efforts to tackle the climate and ecological crisis and undermine the government’s credibility ahead of the COP in Glasgow in November.  The expansion would allow an increase in passengers from 4 to 7 million per year by 2030. It was recently given conditional approval by Leeds city council  despite widespread opposition from local MPs, councils, residents and environmental groups. Lawyers have written to Sec of State Robert Jenrick asking for the decision to be “called in.” A Leeds University climate scientist, Jefim Vogel, says the airport expansion would only benefit “relatively few people”, and would contribute towards a global climate catastrophe.  The Leeds Council  decision illustrated how many councillors don’t fully comprehend the severity and urgency of the global climate situation. Jefim told councillors: “If we allow the climate crisis to escalate, it will make the COVID crisis look like a bed of roses. The climate crisis stands above short-term economics. Millions of lives and livelihoods and the safety of human civilisation are at risk.” The emissions from flights using the expanded airport would dwarf those of the rest of the city.
.

 

Government under pressure to stop Leeds Bradford airport expansion

Critics say plan would wreck efforts to tackle climate crisis and undermine UK credibility ahead of Cop26

By Matthew Taylor (The Guardian)
25 Feb 2021

The government is under growing pressure to halt a proposed expansion of Leeds Bradford airport, which critics say would wreck efforts to tackle the ecological crisis and undermine the government’s credibility ahead of a key climate conference later this year.

The expansion plans, which would support an increase in passengers from 4 to 7 million people a year by 2030, were given conditional approval by Leeds city council earlier this month despite widespread opposition from local MPs, residents and environmental groups.

Now the same lawyers who are taking on the government over a proposed new coalmine in Cumbria have written to the secretary of state for housing, communities and local government, Robert Jenrick, on behalf of campaigners asking him to “call in” the decision.

“[The] expansion would commit the UK to decades of increased carbon emissions, against the Climate Change Committee’s advice,” said barrister Estelle Dehon, who is acting on behalf of the Group for Action on Leeds Bradford Airport (Galba). “As with the proposed Cumbrian coalmine, allowing this in the year we host Cop26 undermines the UK’s ambition to lead on the climate crisis.”

Dehon said the “call-in” process would allow the national and international ramifications of granting permission for both the airport to be considered.

Supporters of the project say the airport expansion would boost the local economy by hundreds of millions of pounds and support thousands of new jobs.

However, critics dispute the figures and say it would lock the region into a diminishing carbon intensive economic future. A report from the New Economics Foundation, commissioned by campaigners, found that there would be little if any economic benefit, adding that if the impact of more people holidaying abroad rather than in the UK was factored in, the expansion would actually be a drain on the economy.

Leeds Bradford is one of several airports – including Stansted, Southampton and Bristol – that are attempting to get backing for expansion proposals in the coming months.

A spokesperson for Leeds Bradford airport said the planned increase in passengers at the airport was not dependent on the expansion, but would ensure it was able to “deliver the level of passenger experience it aspires to”.

They added: “We are pleased with the support for a replacement terminal and the recognition by Leeds city council that our proposals are compliant with local, national ​planning policy and​ national aviation policy.”

Leeds city council said it had looked at all aspects of the plans, adding: “Current government policy points to these emissions being something that should be primarily tackled at a national level – and addressed through international agreements and protocols – rather than by suppressing growth at individual airports in a way that could simply export passengers to other nearby airports at a higher financial cost to them and increase surface transport emissions.”

But green groups say the government must get a grip on high carbon infrastructure schemes – being given the go-ahead by local councils – if it is to have any credibility in the fight against climate breakdown.

Ariana Densham from Greenpeace said: “From new coalmines to expanding airports, the government has a deeply concerning, but growing habit of recklessly passing the buck on the signoff of polluting mega-projects. These are local decisions that will have global consequences.”

The scheme has also been criticised by local MPs, five of whom signed a letter alongside councillors, environmental groups and climate scientists calling for the plans to be scrapped.

“Expansion would mean health damaging increases in noise, traffic and air pollution for thousands of people in our local communities,” it stated.” Above all, it would mean a huge increase in greenhouse gas emissions exactly when we need to cut them to prevent the worst effects of the climate crisis.”

A spokesperson for the Department for Local Communities and Government said that because of the scale of the proposed development and its green belt location the application, if given final approval by the council, “will be referred to the secretary of state”.

However, Dehon said this did not answer campaigners’ climate concerns. “[The government’s] response has been to put off any decision about call-in, because at some future point the council is obliged to refer the green belt impact to Mr Jenrick so he can consider call-in on that basis. This delay is unjustified. And green belt referral is no guarantee that the decision will be called in.”

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2021/feb/25/government-under-pressure-to-stop-leeds-bradford-airport-expansion

.


Climate scientist calls for legal challenge to Leeds Bradford Airport decision

A Leeds climate scientist has added to growing calls for a legal challenge against the £150m expansion of Leeds Bradford Airport, which was approved in principle by council planners this week.

By Richard Beecham  (Yorkshire Evening Post)
15th February 2021

Jefim Vogel is an academic at the University of Leeds whose research covers the effects of carbon emissions on the natural world. He believes the decision made by Leeds City Council’s City Plans Panel this week would only benefit “relatively few people”, and would contribute towards a global climate catastrophe.

It follows calls today from campaign group GALBA vowed to launch a legal challenge against the decision.

Mr Vogel, who was one of 23 objectors speaking at the meeting, said he would support such a move, adding: “I am very disappointed at the outcome. The debate made clear that a lot of the councillors don’t fully embrace the urgency of the situation and what it requires.

“It deflects responsibility to Westminster, and focuses on short-term economic benefits – it shows we are dealing with the big questions about what matters to us as a society. Should you prioritise people’s lives or something that will benefit relatively few.”

So what could be next for the campaigners?

“It is my understanding that it is open to legal challenge because it does not fully consider the environmental impact,” he added. “So I would definitely embrace an appeal.

“I think it is fundamentally wrong to approve it – it’s been approved for the wrong reasons and flawed analysis.

“A lot of arguments are around economic growth, and ‘if we don’t, Manchester will’. I don’t think the arguments against this have been fully put on the table.”

During the meeting, each objector against the plans was allotted only two minutes to make their case to plans panel members, such was the huge number of those wanting to speak.

Jefim told members: “If we allow the climate crisis to escalate, it will make the COVID crisis look like a bed of roses. The climate crisis stands above short-term economics. Millions of lives and livelihoods and the safety of human civilisation are at risk. That must be your number one priority today.

“With expansion, the true airport emissions would not be within the Department for Transport’s provision for LBA but would be more than double that. And they would alone exceed the maximum emissions allowance for the whole of Leeds, which would make it impossible for Leeds to meet its climate targets.”

Following an emotionally-charged eight and a half hour debate, councillors voted by nine to five in favour of the airport expansion. The decision is expected to be officially rubber-stamped at a later date once the developers make tweaks to their proposals.

https://www.yorkshireeveningpost.co.uk/news/politics/council/climate-scientist-calls-legal-challenge-leeds-bradford-airport-decision-3135614

.


See earlier:

GALBA has written to Sec of State, Robert Jenrick, asking that the Leeds Bradford airport application is “called in”

On 11 February, Leeds City Council (LCC) provisionally approved a planning application to expand Leeds Bradford Airport (LBA), despite the Council having declared a climate emergency in March 2019. Now anti-airport expansion campaign, the Group for Action on Leeds Bradford Airport (GALBA), has written – through their Barrister, Estelle Dehon – to Robert Jenrick, the Secretary of State at DCLG, asking him to ‘call in’ the decision on LBA.  If he agrees, the airport’s planning application will be dealt with at a public inquiry. GALBA believes that LBA expansion is the aviation equivalent of the Cumbria coal mine case. There are striking similarities: a local authority decision which would result in significantly increased greenhouse gas emissions and which flatly contradicts the latest advice to government from the Committee on Climate Change in the 6th Carbon Budget. One of the key reasons that Leeds councillors felt able to support airport expansion is because their planning officers told them that international aviation emissions are not a matter for local authorities to consider in the planning process. GALBA believes that is legally incorrect and reserves the option of challenging LCC in the courts. The planned expansion raises the type of issues where consideration at national level, by the Secretary of State, is required.”

Click here to view full story…


Leeds City Council approves Leeds Bradford airport plans for new terminal (ie. more passengers, more carbon, more noise)

Leeds City Council has approved (subject to additional conditions still to be negotiated) Leeds Bradford Airport’s plans for a larger terminal to accommodate more passengers. This decision will entrench in the Leeds economy the growth of a carbon intensive industry. There is no certainty that the promised jobs will actually materialise, as the sector increasingly automates work. Objectors including climate scientists, transport experts and residents’ groups, warned such an expansion would help facilitate catastrophic climate change, as well as unbearable levels of noise pollution for those living close by. The application sought to demolish the existing passenger pier to accommodate a new terminal building and forecourt area. This would also include the construction of supporting infrastructure, goods yard and mechanical electrical plant. There are also plans to modify flight time controls, and to reduce the night-time flight period, with a likely increase from 5 to 17 flights between 6am and 7am.  A professor of transport planning said there are inadequate contributions to road and rail infrastructure. Local group GALBA says there could still be a legal decision against the  proposals.

Click here to view full story…

Open Letter to Leeds City Council – MPs, Councillors, Scientists and Community Groups ask them to oppose Leeds Bradford airport expansion

An open letter has been sent to Leeds City Council (LCC) councillors, written by local opposition group GALBA & supported by 114 various groups, councils, organisations, residents’ associations and climate scientists. They ask the council to decide (on 11th February) against allowing expansion of Leeds Bradford airport, by NOT allowing the building of a new terminal. The work is designed to increase passengers from 4 million a year to 7 million by 2030. The letter says:  “Expansion would mean health damaging increases in noise, traffic and air pollution for thousands of people in our local communities. Above all, it would mean a huge increase in greenhouse gas emissions exactly when we need to cut them to prevent the worst effects of the climate crisis. Expansion would be fundamentally wrong. Leeds City Council has declared a Climate Emergency and aims to reach net zero carbon by 2030. Yet from 2030 onwards, aircraft from an expanded airport would pump out more greenhouse gases than the whole of the rest of the city. Allowing LBA to expand would immediately make the Council’s own net zero target impossible.”

Click here to view full story…

.

.

.

Read more »

Open letter from NGOs to government: aviation and shipping must be fully included in net zero legislation

A group of leading environmental NGOs has written an open letter to the government in support of the Climate Change Committee’s recommendation that international aviation and shipping emissions (IAS) should at last be formally included within the UK carbon budgets. IAS are now the only emissions category not so included, resulting in a situation where aviation emissions are insufficiently controlled by policy and the industry is in a privileged position compared to all other businesses. In its 6th Carbon Budget Report published in December, the CCC identified reasons why IAS exclusion from the UK carbon budget can no longer be justified. These include their inclusion opening up the possibility of the two sectors achieving lower emissions; the UK’s overall emissions reduction strategy should be integrated across the whole economy; doing this would set a good example to other countries; and there is no longer any justification, in terms of difficulty of calculation, for omitting them from carbon budgets. The CCC said inclusion of IAS  will “ensure that the UK takes full responsibility for these emissions and that, where necessary, effort in other sectors can be altered to ensure overall UK emissions are within the necessary limits”. 

.

 

OPEN LETTER: GOVERNMENT MUST INCLUDE AVIATION AND SHIPPING IN NET ZERO LEGISLATION

24th February, 2021

The AEF (Aviation Environment Federation)

The Government will soon be deciding whether or not to accept the recommendation of its independent climate advisors, the Climate Change Committee (CCC), to formally include emissions from International Aviation and Shipping (IAS) in future carbon budgets. This policy step would be complementary to UK negotiations at the international level to set a long term goal for the aviation sector globally, CCC argues.

We believe that a decision on inclusion of international aviation in the UK’s carbon budgets and net zero legal target is a crucial test of the Government’s confidence in its own plans for a green industrial revolution (which includes the ambition for zero carbon flying to become a reality) and of its willingness to hold the aviation industry to account for their net zero promises.

Given the significance of this decision, we have written an open letter (copied below) directly to Boris Johnson about it, together with Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, Green Alliance, Possible and Transport & Environment.

https://www.aef.org.uk/2021/02/24/open-letter-government-must-include-aviation-and-shipping-in-net-zero-legislation/


The Letter:

From: Aviation Environment Federation, Friends of the Earth, Green Alliance, Greenpeace, Possible and Transport & Environment

To

Rt Hon Boris Johnson MP
10 Downing Street
London
SW1A 2AA

.
24th February 2021

.
Dear Prime Minister,.

Inclusion of International Aviation and Shipping emissions in carbon budgets: open letter

Your Government will this spring be preparing legislation for the sixth carbon budget – the first to be legislated since the UK committed to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 at the latest.

We are writing to highlight one specific aspect of that legislation which we consider essential to its integrity, and to the UK’s credibility in claiming climate leadership. This is the recommendation that emissions from international aviation and shipping (IAS) are formally included in the sixth (and future) carbon budgets, as advised by the Climate Change Committee (CCC) in its December report.

Aviation presents unique challenges in terms of decarbonisation. The setting up of the Jet Zero Council, and funding initiatives focussed on developing new technologies and fuels to cut emissions, will be seen as greenwash unless they are accompanied by meaningful policies that apply across the whole aviation sector.

Similarly, while the Sustainable Aviation coalition has set out its ambition to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, it is difficult to have confidence in the industry’s plans in the absence of policy mechanisms to hold it to account. Despite claims from the industry that it is moving in the right direction, emissions from commercial UK aviation were higher in 2019 – the year
before the Covid pandemic hit – than any single previous year ever.

Inclusion of IAS in carbon budgets is a straightforward policy measure that would begin to address this problem. As well as ensuring accountability, it would help to create the right market conditions and investor confidence to drive ambition and innovation, and to ensure that aviation development is in line with the Government’s wider decarbonisation agenda.

Until now, these emissions have not been formally included in national targets, but instead allowed ‘headroom’ in the setting of budgets for other sectors pending, for accounting purposes, the outcome of international negotiations in relation to the EU Emissions Trading Scheme and the UN CORSIA mechanism.

We share the CCC’s view, however, that the UK should no longer delay policy action on this issue. Adjusting our domestic legislation to include IAS emissions would not impede UK negotiations on international targets and measures, and would reflect similar moves in Europe to take responsibility for international aviation emissions.

Last December, the European Union took the decision to include international aviation emissions in its NDC, and France has very recently cancelled plans to expand Charles de Gaulle Airport: it now deems those plans incompatible with its climate commitments.

In the year of the Glasgow COP, our own policies on climate change, and the extent to which the Government is acting in line with the advice of its climate experts, will inevitably come under the spotlight.

Accepting the CCC’s recommendation to include IAS in future carbon budgets would make the UK the first major economy to legislate for net zero emissions from all sectors, demonstrating confidence in our ability to deliver the green industrial revolution to which you have committed, and helping to ensure integrity of the sixth and future carbon budgets in keeping the UK on track to delivering our crucial shared 2050 goal.

Yours sincerely,

Cait Hewitt, Deputy Director, Aviation Environment Federation

Miriam Turner & Hugh Knowles, Co-Executive Directors, Friends of the Earth England, Wales and Northern Ireland

Roz Bulleid, Deputy Policy Director, Green Alliance

John Sauven, CEO, Greenpeace

Alice Bell, Director of Communications, Possible

Greg Archer, UK Director, Transport & Environment UK

.
In CC:

Grant Shapps MP, Secretary of State for Transport
Kwasi Kwarteng MP, Secretary of State for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy

https://www.aef.org.uk/uploads/2021/02/IAS-Letter-to-the-Prime-Minister.pdf

.

.


In its 6th Carbon Budget Report published in December 2020, the CCC identified a number of reasons why IAS exclusion from the UK carbon budget can no longer be justified. These include that:

  • Their inclusion opens up the possibility for the IAS sectors to achieve more and contribute more to meeting the UK’s emissions targets.
  • The UK’s overall emissions reduction strategy should be integrated across the whole economy.
  • This would set a good example to other countries because the UK is a key player in driving strong international mechanisms.
  • There is no justification for excluding them (originally provided by section 30 of the Climate Change Act) because allocating these emissions to individual countries no longer presents fundamentally greater challenges than for other sectors already included in UK emissions targets.

See CCC’s recommendations on the  Sixth Carbon Budget report  pages 418-21

https://www.theccc.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/The-Sixth-Carbon-Budget-The-UKs-path-to-Net-Zero.pdf

In detail, some extracts from the CCC document say:

 

c) Inclusion of international aviation & shipping in carbon budgets

The Climate Change Act allows the Government to decide to include the UK’s share of international aviation and international shipping (IAS) emissions in carbon budgets and the 2050 (Net Zero) target. Under section 35 of the Act, when recommending a carbon budget the Committee must also advise on whether IAS should be included with its scope. We advise that IAS emissions should be included in the Sixth Carbon Budget.

To date, IAS emissions have been accounted for, but not formally included in the budgets or 2050 target:

• Carbon budgets have been set excluding IAS emissions, but with lower emissions allowed for the other sectors to leave headroom for IAS emissions.

• The Government has recognised the need to include IAS emissions within its planning for meeting the 2050 target, both for the previous 80% target and again for the Net Zero target.1 This recognition is consistent with the approach of the Committee when recommending these targets.

However, it is important to include these emissions formally in the legislated targets, rather than only being considered as a planning assumption, to guide long-term policy approaches and infrastructure investment decisions:

• Complete scope of emissions. It is important that all sources of greenhouse gas emissions should be tackled, and that the scope of targets should reflect this. This is particularly relevant for aviation, which is likely to be the second-largest emitting sector in the UK by 2050, even with strong progress on technology and limiting demand growth. Continued exclusion from carbon budgets gives an impression of special treatment and raises questions over fairness for other sectors.

• UK influence and supplementary levers. While the primary policy approaches to tackling IAS emissions should be international, the UK is a key player in driving strong international mechanisms. Some supplementary UK policy levers are also available that would not impact on the competitiveness of the IAS sectors. It is important that the UK Government prioritises both of these avenues (see our accompanying Policy Report).

• Flexibility.   Including IAS emissions within the formal scope of the Climate Change Act targets provides extra flexibility in meeting them. Whereas their exclusion would mean that allowance has to be made outside the target for these emissions, inclusion opens up the possibility for the IAS sectors to achieve more and contribute more to meeting the UK’s emissions targets.

• Need for integration with wider Net Zero strategy. The UK’s overall emissions reduction strategy should be integrated across the economy. This includes requirements for fuelling infrastructure and supply of alternative fuels (e.g. hydrogen, ammonia, synthetic fuels) and the overall scale of greenhouse gas removals to balance remaining emissions to reach Net Zero.

• Inclusion of IAS is manageable. While the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) treats emissions from international aviation and international shipping separately from emissions solely within country borders, allocating these emissions to countries presents no fundamentally greater challenges than for other sectors already included in UK emissions targets:

– Emissions are already estimated and reported to the UN and can be included in UK emissions targets on the same basis. The uncertainty attached to estimates of IAS emissions is no higher than for other sectors covered by carbon budgets (Box 10.1).

– While careful policy design is necessary to avoid simply pushing emissions abroad, such considerations also apply to sectors already covered by carbon budgets (e.g. manufacturing and agriculture).

– Inclusion in the UK carbon budgets does not preclude exclusion in communications to the UN, as we recommend for the UK’s 2030 NDC.

Inclusion of IAS emissions in UK climate targets does not equate to the adoption of
a unilateral policy approach to tackling these emissions, which could be argued to
undermine existing multilateral processes under the respective UN bodies (the
International Civil Aviation Authority (ICAO) and the International Maritime
Organisation (IMO)). Rather, it ensures that the UK takes full responsibility for these
emissions and that, where necessary, effort in other sectors can be altered to
ensure overall emissions are within the necessary limits.

The time has come for the UK to include IAS emissions formally in the Net Zero
target and also in the Sixth Carbon Budget, which finishes only 13 years before
2050.

We therefore conclude that IAS emissions should be included in carbon budgets as
early as possible (see section 3), and certainly formally within the scope of the
Sixth Carbon Budget and 2050 target. Alongside this, the UK should push for suitably
strong international targets and mechanisms to deliver reductions in IAS emissions.

Should the international processes through the IMO and ICAO fail to set suitable
ambition, the UK could take subsequent action to decarbonise these sectors.
Ultimately, whether via a global scheme or a domestic/more limited international
mechanism, any remaining UK IAS emissions in 2050 will need to be balanced by
greenhouse gas removals in order for the sectors to achieve Net Zero.

The Climate Change Act requires that inclusion be on the basis of international
carbon reporting practice. Bunker fuel sales are the currently agreed methodology
by which countries report IAS emissions to the UN, and are therefore the
recommended method of inclusion. Uncertainties over future emissions accounting
methods are similar in size to those in other areas of the carbon budget and are
manageable within the overall envelope of emissions (see section 2 of Chapter 2).

The Committee does not consider the Government’s previous approach of
allowing ‘headroom’ for IAS emissions to be sustainable. Under this approach since
2008, progress has been insufficient:

• The processes under the IMO and ICAO have objectives for emissions
reduction that are less ambitious than the UK has adopted under its Net
Zero target and less ambitious than required to meet the goals of the Paris
Agreement.

• Updated UK aviation and shipping strategies to date have been delayed
(in part due to COVID-19), while previous plans have had limited ambition.
The Clean Maritime Plan considered options for decarbonising the shipping
sector, but did not formally commit to a 2050 target or trajectory. The
previous Aviation Strategy focused more on noise, air traffic modernisation
and expansion than on CO2 emissions and climate change.

• Aviation continues to be under-taxed relative to other emitting activities,
undermining efforts to limit demand for aviation.

Excluding emissions from international aviation and shipping from carbon budgets
and leaving headroom based on their appropriate contribution is therefore not a
credible approach.

If IAS emissions follow a ‘near-BAU’ path rather than reducing as in our Balanced
Net Zero Pathway, then emissions would be around 13 MtCO2e higher in 2035.
Were that to be the case, then emissions from other sectors would need to be
comparably lower to compensate – but the headroom approach would not
automatically require that.

See full report at

https://www.theccc.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/The-Sixth-Carbon-Budget-The-UKs-path-to-Net-Zero.pdf


.

See earlier:

 

Committee on Climate Change – recommendations to government – lots on aviation carbon changes and policies needed

The Committee on Climate Change has published its guidance for the UK government on its Sixth Carbon Budget, for the period 2033 – 37, and how to reach net-zero by 2050.  There is a great deal of detail, many documents, many recommendations – with plenty on aviation. The intention is for UK aviation to be net-zero by 2050, though the CCC note there are not yet proper aviation policies by the UK government to achieve this. International aviation must be included in the Sixth Carbon budget. If the overall aviation CO2 emissions can be reduced enough, it might be possible to have 25% more air passengers in 2050 than in 2018. The amount of low-carbon fuels has been increased from the CCC’s earlier maximum realistic estimates of 5-10%, up to perhaps 25% by 2050, with “just over two-thirds of this coming from biofuels and the remainder from carbon-neutral synthetic jet fuel …” Residual CO2 emissions will need to be removed from the air, and international carbon offsets are not permitted. There is an assumption of 1.4% efficiency improvement per year, or at the most 2.1%. There “should be no net expansion of UK airport capacity unless the sector is on track to sufficiently outperform its net emissions trajectory.”  The role of non-CO2 is recognised, but not included in carbon budgets; its heating effect must not increase after 2050.  And lots more … 

https://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2020/12/committee-on-climate-change-recommendations-to-government-lots-on-aviation-carbon-policies-needed/
.

.

.

 

Read more »

European Union’s EASA considering carbon ranking data on flights

The European Union may be planning to create a new system to rank flights and aircraft according to their carbon emissions.  The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), the continent’s safety regulator, has put out a tender to develop a classification system to do that.  The aim is “providing reliable, comparable and verifiable information” to clients to help them make sustainable decisions. This might be done by the end of 2022.  Air travel has started to come under pressure as individuals, and even companies, became more alert to environmental and sustainability issues – and the climate impact of flights. There is no further information about  this at present.
.

 

Europe’s aviation safety agency is planning an eco ranking for flights

By Steve Dent  (Yahoo Finance)

February 22, 2021

When I take a train in Europe, the ticket shows exactly how much carbon I’ll be responsible for putting into the atmosphere (3.8 kilograms on my usual route).

Now, the EU’s Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) plans to create similar eco-ranking labels for the airline industry, according to a report from Germany’s Welt am Sonntag. The idea is to provide “reliable, comparable and verifiable information,” so passengers can make sustainable flying decisions.

The EU is reportedly trying to counterbalance potential “greenwashing” from airlines who may promote exaggerated claims of flights being eco-friendly. Aviation adds 3.5 percent of the pollution responsible for global warming, according to a recent international study. Two thirds of that is due to contrails, NOx, water vapor, sulfate aerosol gases, soot, and other aerosols, while the rest comes from CO2 emissions.

EASA reportedly plans to use high-speed trains as a benchmark for consumer labels. The safety agency will differentiate between difference classes of aircraft, including regional, larger planes with central aisles, super heavies like the Airbus A380 and even future air taxis. The classifications will take into account many different components including bio-fuel use, recycling rates, waste generated and, in the near term, carbon offset trading.

While air traffic has fallen by 60 to 80 percent due to the COVID-19 crisis, the industry expects it to rebound to pre-pandemic figures by 2025, and grow further beyond that. The project is part of a plan to make the EU carbon-neutral by 2050 as part of the European Green Deal. EASA has only just put the development of an eco-label out for tender, with plans to have the technical details locked down by 2022. However, there’s no word yet on when passengers will actually see those labels.

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/europe-is-planning-to-label-flights-according-to-their-carbon-footprint-093055032.html

.

.

 

Read more »

Canadian teachers don’t want their pensions invested in expanding Bristol airport

Since 2014 the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan (which has some 329,000 members) has owned Bristol airport. Now some of the Canadian teachers in the pension plan say they stand in solidarity with the thousands of residents who oppose its expansion. In an open letter, six current and former teachers in the plan said they do not want their money used in such a “financially risky and unethical way”, and they would not want a foreign investor paving over their green spaces.  They ask the pension plan to instruct the airport to withdraw its appeal, and stop trying to overthrow the democratic will of the local communities. The OTPP has rejected the teachers’ claims that the airport’s expansion – refused last year by North Somerset Council – was incompatible with the council’s climate change commitments. The teachers said the pension plan had pledged to invest in “climate-friendly opportunities” and must invest with conviction and integrity.  An OTPP spokesperson gave a waffly response about how the airport was intending to eventually become carbon neutral … and “net zero by 2050.”  The airport’s appeal will be heard at a public inquiry in July. The deadline for comments is February 22. OTPP also owns part of London City Airport.  The USS owns 10% of Heathrow.

.

 

 

Teachers across Atlantic don’t want their money spent on Bristol Airport expansion

Members of pension fund that owns airport stand in solidarity with expansion opponents

19.2.2021  (Bristol Post)
.
Canadian teachers in the pension plan that owns Bristol Airport say they stand in solidarity with the thousands of residents who oppose its expansion.

In an open letter the six current and former teachers said they do not want their money used in such a “financially risky and unethical way”, and would not want a foreign investor paving over their green spaces.

Bristol Airport is wholly owned by the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan, which says its mission is to ensure retirement security for its 329,000 members.

It rejected the teachers’ claims that the airport’s expansion – refused last year by North Somerset Council – was incompatible with its climate change commitments.

The teachers wrote: “We may live on the other side of the Atlantic, but we stand in solidarity with the thousands of Bristolians who are working to prevent harm to your local environment, community health and the global climate.

“We call on our pension plan to instruct Bristol Airport to withdraw its appeal of North Somerset Council ’s rejection of the proposed expansion and stop trying to overturn the democratic will of your communities.

“We are opposed to our pensions being used in this financially risky and unethical way that would harm your local environment, lock in expanded fossil fuel use, and work against a safe climate future.”

They added: “We know you expressed your clear opposition to the airport expansion. And we know your local government wisely listened, and rejected the proposal.

“We wouldn’t want a foreign investor paving over our green spaces, polluting our communities, and taking our governments to court either.”

They said the pension plan had pledged to invest in “climate-friendly opportunities” and must invest with conviction and integrity, but argued that pushing for the airport’s expansion was incompatible with those aims.

The letter was signed by Teri Burgess, Letitia Charbonneau, Rosanne Iland, Zain Ghadially, Nicholas Clayton and Sarah Buisman.

A spokesperson for OTPP said: “We value and consider the feedback we hear from our 329,000 members, but our decision-making is guided by our mission to deliver retirement security for our members while creating a positive impact for our partners and the communities where we operate.

“We believe the expansion of Bristol Airport is consistent with that mission and can create sustainable value for our members and Bristol Airport’s stakeholders, including employees, customers, and local communities.

“We note that Bristol Airport’s plans include a roadmap to become carbon neutral for direct emissions by 2025 and a net-zero airport by 2050. These targets align with measures we are implementing to achieve net-zero at Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan by 2050.

“Bristol Airport has submitted an appeal to proceed with the expansion and we are awaiting the decision of the relevant UK government authority as to whether the expansion is in the region’s interests and should proceed.”

A Bristol Airport spokesperson said: “The plans to expand capacity at the airport will offer passengers more routes and flights from the South West directly, create jobs, facilitate inward investment and inbound tourism, and support greener and more sustainable, regional economic growth.

“Sustainable development has always been at the centre of Bristol Airport’s plans. The expansion proposals sit alongside a roadmap which sets out how the airport will achieve its ambition to become carbon neutral for direct emissions by 2025 and a net zero airport by 2050.

“These aims align with measures being implemented by Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan to achieve net-zero by 2050.

“As the UK emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic it is essential that all regions of the country are given the opportunity to grow to their full potential and contribute to the national recovery effort. International trade and connectivity will become increasingly important in a post-COVID-19 and post-Brexit world – increasing aviation capacity is essential in delivering this goal.”

The appeal will be heard at a public inquiry in July. The deadline for comments is Monday, February 22.

Representations should be sent to Leanne.palmer@planninginspectorate.gov.uk quoting reference APP/D0121/W/20/3259234.

https://www.bristolpost.co.uk/news/local-news/teachers-across-atlantic-dont-want-5023231

.

Bristol Airport ownership:

In September 2014, Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan bought out Macquarie to become the sole owner.  In April 2011 the shareholders were Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan – 49%, Macquarie European Infrastructure Fund 1 – 50% – part of Macquarie Group, and MAp Airports (formerly Macquarie Airports) – 1%.Was Macquarie Airports Group till 2009.

 

The Ontario Teachers Pension  Plan also owns part of London City Airport 

In 2016 London City Airport was bought by a Canadian-led consortium of Alberta Investment Management Corporation (AIMCo), OMERS, the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan and Wren House Infrastructure Management of the Kuwait Investment Authority.

.

The Universities Superannuation Scheme, a UK pension fund, owns 10% of Heathrow.


Bristol Airport expansion: comments can be submitted on the appeal – 11th Jan to 22nd Feb

Members of the public are being urged to submit their views on the expansion of Bristol airport, to the Planning Inspectorate, ahead of public inquiry this summer.  The consultation started on 11th January, and end on 22nd February.  The airport appealed against a decision by North Somerset Council to reject its expansion plans which would see passenger numbers grow from 10 million to 12 million per year. The public inquiry heard by an independent planning inspector, would probably last 3-4 weeks, and is likely to start in July. Local campaigners are now getting ready to fight the appeal.  They say any expansion of the airport would lead to congested roads, increased noise, loss of green belt, negative impact on the local environment from the proposed growth in flights – as well as the impact on climate change.  Campaign group Bristol Airport Action Network (BAAN) is angry that the airport’s management has been instructed by wealthy owners, the Ontario Teacher’s Pension Plan, to appeal the original decision made in March 2020. Bristol City Council also opposed the expansion with North Somerset Council saying it will ‘robustly defend’ the appeal.

Click here to view full story…

Bristol Airport Action Network crowdfunding to challenge airport’s appeal against North Somerset Council rejection

BAAN (Bristol Airport Action Network) Committee Coordinators are crowdfunding, to raise £6,000 for their attempt to challenge the airport’s appeal against the refusal, by North Somerset Council, of its expansion plans.  BAAN says: the airport’s plans “would mean an extra 23,600 flights and two million passengers a year (as well as an extra 10,000 car movements a day). They would also mean a further million tonnes of carbon to be emitted a year at this time of climate and ecological emergency. Our position is that this airport expansion (and others that are planned) is not legally compliant with the Climate Change Act, The Paris Agreement and the Government’s commitment to be carbon neutral by 2050 and MUST BE STOPPED.” They are doing all they can to stop the expansion. BAAN say: “We have been given a very favourable fee quote from a specialist planning barrister and are talking to a number of top experts who are likely to give their time pro-bono or at much reduced rates to represent us at the appeal. We are also being helped by Greenpeace and other environmental organisations.” Donations would be greatly appreciated.

Click here to view full story…

Read more »

Tourism desperately wants a return to the ‘old normal’ but that would be a disaster

An Australian professor of sustainable tourism has said that it’s time the global industry seriously reconsiders its business model, and overall purpose, in a post-pandemic world. Before COVID-19, international aviation emissions were forecast to potentially triple between 2015 and 2050. Likewise, emissions from the cruise ship industry were also growing.  The “mass global tourism is emblematic of this voracious, growth-at-all-costs mentality.”  The UN now says it is the time to “rethink how the sector impacts our natural resources and ecosystems”. But the sector is not looking to transform, and its plans to get people travelling again make little mention of environmental impact, in the short or long term.  The “aspirational” goal of IATA to improve global fuel efficiency by 2% each year until 2050 is, by its own admission “unlikely to deliver the level of reduction necessary to stabilize and then reduce aviation’s absolute emissions contribution to climate change”. Much could be done to reduce the impact of global tourism, including – as suggested by the UN Sustainable Development Group:  a frequent flyer levy; incentives for domestic tourism; restrictions on flight advertising; no more airport expansions in high-income countries; better transport alternatives to aviation.
.

 

 

Tourism desperately wants a return to the ‘old normal’ but that would be a disaster

February 19, 2021

By Susanne Becken (Professor of Sustainable Tourism and Director, Griffith Institute for Tourism, Griffith University, Australia)

Disclosure statement – Susanne Becken receives funding from the Australian Research Council.  And see more about funding etc ….

With each passing day, the grave future of Earth becomes more stark. The disruption of COVID-19 has not been enough to shift the trajectory, nor has it prompted polluting sectors of the economy to reconsider the harms they inflict on the planet.

Nowhere is this clearer than in the global tourism sector. Before COVID-19, international aviation emissions – already a major contributor to global warming – were forecast to potentially triple between 2015 and 2050. Likewise, emissions from the cruise ship industry were also growing.

The pandemic itself can be traced back to humanity’s relentless damage to nature. And mass global tourism is emblematic of this voracious, growth-at-all-costs mentality.

Tourism brings many economic, social and cultural benefits. But it’s time the industry seriously reconsiders its business model, and overall purpose, in a post-pandemic world.

We can’t return to normal

The United Nations is among many voices urging the global tourism industry to address its many sustainability challenges in the wake of COVID-19.

The UN says it recognises tourism’s important role in providing incomes for millions of people. But in a recent policy brief, it said now is the time to “rethink how the sector impacts our natural resources and ecosystems”.

Unfortunately, there’s little evidence that global tourism is looking to transform. For example, the International Air Transport Association is clearly seeking to return to the “old normal”. Its resources guide to support airlines during the pandemic and beyond examines ways to restart the industry, but makes no mention of environmental sustainability.

Similarly, the World Travel and Tourism Council’s 100 Million Jobs Recovery Plan calls on nations to remove barriers to travel, saying traveller confidence is “critical to the sector’s survival and recovery”. Sustainability rates only a passing mention.

In Australia, the federal government is passing up opportunities to encourage tourism to reconfigure towards a more sustainable model. For example, the Building Better Regions Fund offers A$100 million for tourism-related infrastructure projects that mitigate COVID-19’s economic impact. However, sustainability does not form part of the assessment criteria.

The industry’s immediate focus on recovery is understandable. But the lack of a long-term environmental vision is damaging to both the industry and the planet.

A job half done

Pre-COVID-19, the global tourism and travel industry had begun to address some sustainability challenges.

For example, international aviation is seeking to improve global fuel efficiency by 2% each year until 2050. But this target is “aspirational” and even the International Civil Aviation Authority has conceded it was “unlikely to deliver the level of reduction necessary to stabilize and then reduce aviation’s absolute emissions contribution to climate change”.

Current technological constraints mean decarbonising aviation is challenging. An expected future increase in flight demand will only add to the problem. Globally, 7.8 billion passengers are expected to travel in 2036.

What’s more, tourism’s damage to the environment extends far beyond climate change. It adds to marine plastic pollution, degrades habitat and leads to a loss of wilderness and natural quiet. The industry’s resurgence must address these and other harms.

Read more: Major airlines say they’re acting on climate change. Our research reveals how little they’ve achieved

A vision for the future

People travelling outside their normal context are open to new experiences and perspectives. In this way, tourism presents an opportunity to encourage a new connection with nature.

So what should the future of tourism look like?

I and others are advocating for a more sustainable tourism sector that’s vastly different to what exists now. Travel should be closer to home, slower, and with a positive contribution at its core. In this model, all erosion of natural, cultural and social capital ceases.

Practices under the model (some of which already exist at a small scale) might include:

  • more travel to regional and local destinations, involving shorter distances. Under COVID-19, the trend towards such tourism has already begun. However, communities must be empowered to determine what type of tourism they want.
  • travellers paying a conservation-focused levy upon entering a country, such as those imposed in New Zealand and Botswana.
  • the donation of time, money or expertise to support environmental restoration as an integral part of the travel experience. For example, the Adventure Scientists initiative shows people with outdoor skills how to collect environmental information as they travel, providing new data for researchers.
  • businesses that “give back” by design. For example, Global Himalayan Expeditions empowers communities by electrifying remote villages in Ladakh, Kashmir. Trekkers co-finance solar panels and carry them as part of their travel experience.
  • ambitious industry standards, which ramp up over time, for sustainable management of environmental, cultural and human resources.

The UN Sustainable Development Group has suggested other changes, including:

  • a frequent flyer levy
  • incentives for domestic tourism
  • restrictions on flight advertising
  • no more airport expansions in high-income countries
  • better transport alternatives to aviation.

https://theconversation.com/tourism-desperately-wants-a-return-to-the-old-normal-but-that-would-be-a-disaster-154182

.

.


See earlier:

 

Environmental Audit Cttee inquiry into environmental damage of tourism (in UK and by Brits abroad)

Holidaymakers’ responsibility for foul beaches, overcrowding, traffic, plane carbon emissions, harm done by cruises and other environmental impacts will come under parliamentary scrutiny. The Commons Environmental Audit Committee (chaired by the remarkable Mary Creagh) has an inquiry to address problems caused by tourism, including aviation emissions, pollution, habitat damage etc in UK and abroad. Deadline for comments 13th September.  It will look at whether the UK government should play a greater role in offsetting the waste and damage caused by the tens of millions of Britons who go on holiday overseas each year – and of the impact on domestic tourism in the UK.  The Committee says global tourism is responsible for 5% of greenhouse gas emissions. People do not often consider the environmental, and climate, impacts of their holidays. “While there are some sustainable practices, we want to look closely at the government’s actions to ensure the economic, social and environmental impacts of tourism are minimised.” Due to ever cheaper flights, and zero tax on aviation fuel, the holiday business is one of the world’s fastest-growing industries and accounts for more than 10% of global GDP. Many countries have had to take strict measure to prevent serious damage done by excessive tourism, eg in Philippines, or Venice or Thailand.  Or US hiking trails.

https://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2019/07/environmental-audit-cttee-inquiry-into-environmental-damage-of-tourism-in-uk-and-by-brits-abroad/

.

.


Ever increasing numbers of city-breaks and short holidays ruining cities – and the climate

With rising affluence in much of the world, and flying being unrealistically cheap (as it pays no fuel duty, and almost no other taxes) people want as many short holidays and city breaks as they can get. This is starting to have very negative impacts on some of the cities most visited, eg. Barcelona. Growth is relentless. The UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) even speaks about tourism as a right for all citizens, and their forecasts suggest increases from 1 billion international travellers today, to 1.8 billion by 2030.  But there is a huge price to pay in carbon emissions from all these trips and holidays, most of which is the flights.  Short breaks therefore, pollute more per night than longer breaks. And  you can fit more into your year. “The marketing department might prefer a Japanese tourist to Barcelona because on average they will spend €40 more than a French tourist – according to unpublished data from the Barcelona Tourist Board – but the carbon footprint we collectively pay for is not taken into account.” People are being persuaded by advertising and marketing, and a change in ethos of society, to take more short holidays – not one longer one.  A report in 2010 suggested that makes people the happiest. More trips = more carbon emissions. 

https://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2017/06/ever-increasing-numbers-of-city-breaks-and-short-holidays-ruining-cities-and-the-climate/
.


IPBES report on global biodiversity loss. Comment on impact of tourism

The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) has published a report on the serious global loss of biodiversity. IPBES says:  “Long-distance transportation of goods and people, including for tourism, have grown dramatically in the past 20 years with negative consequences for nature overall. The rise in airborne and seaborne transportation of both goods and people, including a threefold increase in travel from developed and developing countries in particular, has increased pollution and significantly raised invasive alien species… Between 2009 and 2013, the carbon footprint from tourism rose 40% to 4.5 gigatons of carbon dioxide and overall 8% of the total greenhouse-gas emissions are from transport and food consumption that are related to tourism. The demand for nature-based tourism, or ecotourism, also has risen, with mixed effects on nature and local communities, including some potential for contributions to local conservation in particular when carried out at smaller scales.”   

https://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2019/05/ipbes-report-on-global-biodiversity-loss-comment-on-impact-of-tourism/

Read more »

GALBA has written to Sec of State, Robert Jenrick, asking that the Leeds Bradford airport application is “called in” – it could be the next “Cumbria Coal Mine” Case

On 11 February, Leeds City Council (LCC) provisionally approved a planning application to expand Leeds Bradford Airport (LBA), despite the Council having declared a climate emergency in March 2019. Now anti-airport expansion campaign, the Group for Action on Leeds Bradford Airport (GALBA), has written – through their Barrister, Estelle Dehon – to Robert Jenrick, the Secretary of State at DCLG, asking him to ‘call in’ the decision on LBA.  If he agrees, the airport’s planning application will be dealt with at a public inquiry. GALBA believes that LBA expansion is the aviation equivalent of the Cumbria coal mine case. There are striking similarities: a local authority decision which would result in significantly increased greenhouse gas emissions and which flatly contradicts the latest advice to government from the Committee on Climate Change in the 6th Carbon Budget. One of the key reasons that Leeds councillors felt able to support airport expansion is because their planning officers told them that international aviation emissions are not a matter for local authorities to consider in the planning process. GALBA believes that is legally incorrect and reserves the option of challenging LCC in the courts. The planned expansion raises the type of issues where consideration at national level, by the Secretary of State, is required.”

.

 

 

Leeds Bradford Airport – The Next Cumbria Coal Mine Case

19th February 2020

From GALBA  (Group for Action on Leeds Bradford Airport)

On 11 February, Leeds City Council (LCC) provisionally approved a planning application to expand Leeds Bradford Airport (LBA), despite the Council having declared a climate emergency in March 2019.

Today the West Yorkshire anti-airport expansion campaign, the Group for Action on Leeds Bradford Airport (GALBA), has written to Robert Jenrick, the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, asking him to ‘call in’ the decision on LBA. If he agrees, the airport’s planning application will be dealt with at a public inquiry.

GALBA believes that LBA expansion is the aviation equivalent of the Cumbria coal mine case. There are striking similarities: a local authority decision – made in the same year that the UK hosts COP26 – which would result in significantly increased greenhouse gas emissions and which flatly contradicts the latest advice to government from the Committee on Climate Change in the 6th Carbon Budget.

Chris Foren, chair of GALBA, said: “To say the least, this decision is embarrassing for the UK’s reputation as a global leader on tackling the climate crisis. It is also deeply embarrassing for a local authority that says it’s committed to reduce the city’s emissions to net zero by 2030. What’s more, an independent review of the impact of airport expansion on the region’s economy also concluded that it would have a negative effect.”

Chris Foren added: “Robert Jenrick has the power to intervene. But will he? One of the key reasons that Leeds councillors felt able to support airport expansion is because their planning officers told them that international aviation emissions are not a matter for local authorities to consider in the planning process. GALBA believes that is legally incorrect and reserves the option of challenging LCC in the courts. However for now, that’s what people have been told, so we are asking national government to take responsibility where local government has failed. The Secretary of State has the power to intervene and he should now exercise that power.”

Estelle Dehon, of Cornerstone Barristers, is acting for GALBA. She said: “Like the Cumbria coal mine decision, there are cogent reasons to say that the conditional approval of Leeds Bradford Airport expansion should be called in by the Secretary of State. The serious climate change impact of the proposal, which is totally out of line with the Climate Change Committee’s guidance on how to reach net zero, means the development would have significant effects beyond its immediate location. Granting permission would commit the UK to greenhouse gas emissions that would contribute to a surge in emissions in the early 2030s; would make the 2050 target much more difficult and costly to achieve and would require reductions in airport capacity elsewhere in the UK. The proposal causes significant effects beyond just LBA and the city of Leeds. It raises the type of issues where consideration at national level, by the Secretary of State, is required.”


Additional notes:

1) Group for Action on Leeds Bradford Airport: GALBA has been campaigning against LBA expansion since January 2020. Its supporters come from across West Yorkshire and beyond, from all walks of life and from across the political spectrum.

2) GALBA fundraising appeal: on Saturday 13 February, GALBA launched an appeal to raise funds to challenge LCC’s decision. In less than a week, over £24,000 has been donated.

3) Letter to Secretary of State asking him to call in the expansion of Leeds Bradford Airport : a copy of the ‘call-in’ request is available on GALBA’s website here.

GALBA’s Request to the Secretary of State – Call In the LBA Expansion

This letter (11 pages) is a request from Estelle Dehon (Barrister at Cornerstone Barristers) acting on behalf of the Group for Action on LBA to the Secretary of State, Robert Jenrick MP, to call in the expansion of Leeds Bradford Airport. 

4) Estelle Dehon: Estelle is a leading environmental and planning barrister, who practices at Cornerstone Barristers.
https://www.galba.uk/post/press-release-leeds-bradford-airport-the-next-cumbria-coal-mine-case
.

See earlier:

Leeds City Council approves Leeds Bradford airport plans for new terminal (ie. more passengers, more carbon, more noise)

Leeds City Council has approved (subject to additional conditions still to be negotiated) Leeds Bradford Airport’s plans for a larger terminal to accommodate more passengers. This decision will entrench in the Leeds economy the growth of a carbon intensive industry. There is no certainty that the promised jobs will actually materialise, as the sector increasingly automates work. Objectors including climate scientists, transport experts and residents’ groups, warned such an expansion would help facilitate catastrophic climate change, as well as unbearable levels of noise pollution for those living close by. The application sought to demolish the existing passenger pier to accommodate a new terminal building and forecourt area. This would also include the construction of supporting infrastructure, goods yard and mechanical electrical plant. There are also plans to modify flight time controls, and to reduce the night-time flight period, with a likely increase from 5 to 17 flights between 6am and 7am.  A professor of transport planning said there are inadequate contributions to road and rail infrastructure. Local group GALBA says there could still be a legal decision against the  proposals.

Click here to view full story…


.
.
.
.

Read more »

Airport expansion plans show that local planning decisions on airports must be aligned with national carbon targets

Aviation CO2 accounted for 7% of UK greenhouse gas emissions in 2018, but this figure will inevitably grow if demand for air travel is allowed to increase. Allowing more demand means it would be even harder to meet UK carbon targets, as there are no realistic ways to reduce aviation emissions, other than by tiny amounts several decades ahead. Better infrastructure planning is needed in the UK, with local decisions aligned towards meeting national climate targets; currently they are not.  France has blocked the building of a 4th terminal at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport, on grounds of carbon emissions. But UK airport expansion plans contradict its climate commitments, with expansion plans pushing ahead fast – while there is still no coherent UK policy on aviation carbon.  Plans for new building at Leeds Bradford, Southampton, Bristol, Luton, Stansted, Gatwick and Heathrow would mean far, far more carbon being emitted by the extra flights and passengers generated than the UK aviation passenger limit – advised by the Committee on Climate Change.  Demand needs to be reduced.  The government should align its national policy statements, used to guide planning, with its net zero target, to compel local authorities to factor climate change into their infrastructure decisions.
.

 

Airport expansion plans show that national and local decisions are at odds on climate

18 February, 2021

by Green Alliance blog

by Agathe de Canson and Jo Furtado, policy advisers at Green Alliance.

Last week, the French government scrapped plans to expand its largest airport, Roissy Charles de Gaulle, citing environmental concerns. A few days later, Leeds City Council voted to expand Leeds Bradford Airport.  

Aviation emissions accounted for seven per cent of UK greenhouse gas emissions in 2018, but this figure will inevitably grow [CCC advice on aviation] if demand increases, making it harder still to limit the emissions of a sector that has no straightforward way to decarbonise. Airport expansion, like road expansion, increases demand, so will make it much harder to reach our climate goals.

The contrast between these two airport decisions shows that a better approach to infrastructure planning is needed in the UK, so national and local decisions are aligned towards meeting climate targets. 

The French government has scrapped a major airport expansion project 
Roissy is France’s largest airport, with over 76 million passengers in 2019. That year, it accounted for more than half of the country’s aviation emissions, which made up 6.4% of France’s total CO2 emissions.

The now aborted plan for a new terminal would have added 40 million passengers a year by 2037, a 50% increase in traffic compared to current levels. The associated jump in carbon emissions it would have caused was incompatible with France’s climate  targets. [French government strategy] 

French ecology minister Barabara Pompili has now declared the project “obsolete”, stating that it “no longer corresponded to the government’s environmental policy”.

The stark fall in passengers due to Covid-19 had also raised doubts about the project. The French government is a majority shareholder of the airport group that owns Roissy, essentially giving it a veto over the expansion plans.

UK airport expansion plans contradict its climate commitments

In contrast, Leeds City Council’s decision to green light plans for a new terminal will see annual passengers rise by 3 million in 2030, generating more emissions than will be permitted for the whole of Leeds in 2030 under the council’s own carbon reduction targets.

The Leeds Bradford Airport project is just one of many airport expansion plans in the UK: Stansted, Luton, Gatwick and Southampton airports all have planning applications in the pipeline. Heathrow could also still expand, as the ruling [Feb 2020 Appeal Court ] stating that plans for a third runway were unlawful on climate change grounds were recently overturned. [16th December 2020 Supreme Court ruling that the ANPS was legal]. 

These projects will make UK climate targets hard, if not impossible, to achieve. Until genuinely low carbon aviation technologies have been proven at scale, reducing demand for aviation is the best way to reduce emissions from the sector. The Climate Change Committee, which provides impartial advice to the government, has said  [December 2020 CCC advice to government on the Sixth Carbon Budget] there should be no net expansion of airports.

The committee also says  [Sixth Carbon Budget advice] that, compared to 2019 figures, passenger numbers should rise by no more than 68 million in 2050.

Heathrow’s new terminal could grow passengers by 55 million,  [from 81 million in 2019 to 136 million in 2050, an increase of 55 million]  and plans to expand Gatwick, Stansted and Luton could increase the number by a further 58 million. Together, these plans blow the committee’s cap, based on what’s needed to meet climate targets, by a long way.

Local and national decision making on infrastructure must work hand in hand

Despite national ambitions to reach net zero emissions by 2050 and the majority of local authorities [ Carbon Copy’s updates on which local authorities have declared climate emergencies etc] having made climate pledges, climate is frequently not a factor in local and national infrastructure decisions. This tension is becoming increasingly clear this year, with legal battles around airport expansion [legal challenges against the government allowing Heathrow expansion and the ANPS] plans and the proposal for a new coal mine in Cumbria.

Unlike the Roissy Airport case, infrastructure decisions in the UK are mostly made locally, although ministers can intervene if required. Our research shows that lack of clarity in the way responsibilities are divided up between councils and central government makes it hard to draw a line around the emissions within a council’s control and, therefore, which emissions they are responsible for mitigating.

Local decision making is driven primarily by local growth and employment opportunities. Councillors who approved the Leeds Bradford Airport expansion quoted the airport company’s own dubious figures  [data from local group GALBA on the exaggerated jobs and economic benefits numbers]  that the project would create 12,000 new jobs, and maintained that, if it didn’t expand, other airports would simply pick up the additional demand.

One solution is for the government to align its national policy statements, used to guide planning, with its net zero target, to compel local authorities to factor climate change into their infrastructure decisions.

Investment in low carbon industries and transport are also much needed to boost green jobs across the country. The government must make this a priority in its upcoming budget and transport decarbonisation plan. Otherwise, local authorities will continue to fall back on high carbon infrastructure projects to guarantee jobs for their communities. But, as the world changes fast in response to the climate emergency, these decisions risk being short term and unsustainable.

https://greenallianceblog.org.uk/2021/02/18/airport-expansion-plans-show-that-national-and-local-decisions-are-at-odds-on-climate/

.


See earlier

Airport growth plans are for way more passengers than carbon targets could permit

Despite the dire financial state of airports and airlines due to Covid, airports are pressing ahead with huge expansion plans – in the hope these could be approved before the government produces proper policies on UK carbon emissions. Leeds City Council (11th Feb) approved plans for a new airport terminal, to increase the number of passengers. Heathrow, Stansted, Luton, Gatwick, Bristol and Southampton airports all want to expand – increasing the number of passengers. But the advice to the UK government by its official advisers, the CCC (the Committee on Climate Change), is that there should be no more than 365 million passengers per year (mppa) by 2050, up from about 297 mppa in 2019 – a 23% rise – about 68 million. But if all the airport expansion plans went ahead, that might mean 532 mppa by 2050, (235 mppa more) which is over x3 the cap needed to meet UK climate pledges. This means if some airports expand, others cannot – or would have to contract. The government must decide by June whether to incorporate this into law, or to explain why it is rejecting the CCC’s advice. Heathrow’s 3rd runway alone could add 55 mppa.  The UK has to create a more effective way to allocate the remaining capacity for growth, rather than allow an “expansion frenzy” with decisions made by different bodies.

Click here to view full story…

Leeds City Council approves Leeds Bradford airport plans for new terminal (ie. more passengers, more carbon, more noise)

Leeds City Council has approved (subject to additional conditions still to be negotiated) Leeds Bradford Airport’s plans for a larger terminal to accommodate more passengers. This decision will entrench in the Leeds economy the growth of a carbon intensive industry. There is no certainty that the promised jobs will actually materialise, as the sector increasingly automates work. Objectors including climate scientists, transport experts and residents’ groups, warned such an expansion would help facilitate catastrophic climate change, as well as unbearable levels of noise pollution for those living close by. The application sought to demolish the existing passenger pier to accommodate a new terminal building and forecourt area. This would also include the construction of supporting infrastructure, goods yard and mechanical electrical plant. There are also plans to modify flight time controls, and to reduce the night-time flight period, with a likely increase from 5 to 17 flights between 6am and 7am.  A professor of transport planning said there are inadequate contributions to road and rail infrastructure. Local group GALBA says there could still be a legal decision against the  proposals.

Click here to view full story…

France drops plans to build 4th terminal at Paris Roissy (Charles de Gaulle) airport on climate concerns

In order to avoid increasing carbon emissions, the French government has decided not to allow plans for a 4th terminal at Charles de Gaulle (Roissy) airport in Paris.  It says the project is obsolete.  The Minister of Ecological Transition, Barbara Pompili, said:  “The government has asked the ADP group [Aéroports de Paris] to abandon its project and to present a new one, more consistent with its objectives of fighting against climate change and environmental protection.”  The plan had been for construction to start in 2021. The board of directors of ADP Group should ratify this decision next week. ADP’s chairman and chief executive Augustin de Romanet said ADP had taken note of the government decision and would consider its future plans on how to develop the Charles de Gaulle airport to make it less environmentally damaging. It will consider reducing energy use, more surface access, and perhaps different jet fuels.  The French government has a stake of just over 50% in ADP’s share capital. In 2019 Heathrow had 80.8 million passengers, and Roissy had 76.1million. The 4th terminal was intended to cope with 35-40 million passengers. Covid has caused uncertainty about future air travel demand for Paris – so the reason for the rejection may not all be due to climate concerns …

Click here to view full story…

 Au revoir to Paris’ airport expansion

It’s Tuesday, February 16, and France is scrapping plans for a new terminal at its biggest airport.

16.2.2021

Grist

plan to expand France’s largest airport will no longer be taking off after the French government said it didn’t align with the country’s environmental goals. The operator of Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport had planned to build a fourth terminal to increase the airport’s capacity by 35 million to 40 million passengers every year. But one of France’s top environmental ministers, Barbara Pompili, has asked the operator to abandon the expansion, saying that the country’s plan to cut emissions trumps the airport’s economic goals.

The plan for the second-busiest airport in Europe was meant to increase its capacity by more than 50 percent by 2037. The government said the future expansion is not completely off the table, but it is calling for any revised plans to align with the country’s emission goals and the changing needs of the airline industry, which has seen demand plummet during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The decision came a day after a bill was introduced to the French Parliament that would prohibit any airport expansion from 2022 onward if it results in a net increase in emissions. It would also ban airlines from operating domestic flights between destinations where a train connection is available in less than two and a half hours.  — Adam Mahoney

https://grist.org/beacon/france-scraps-airport-expansion/

Read more »

Manston DCO officially quashed – fresh decision from Sec of State only way the freight hub could proceed

Manston airport becoming a freight airport is the first Development Consent Order (DCO) for an airport. The Planning Inspectorate (PI)advised the DfT that plans should be rejected in October 2019. The DfT then wanted more information about the plans, from the airport developers, RiverOak Strategic Partners (RSP).  In July 2020, Sec of State Grant Shapps, for the DfT decided to ignore the PI’s advice, and allow the DCO. This was then legally challenged by local campaigner, Jenny Dawes, and the challenge was allowed to go ahead, in October 2020. By December the Grant Shapps had agreed that his decision approval letter did not contain enough detail about why approval was given against the advice of the PI – so the DCO was quashed. Now on 15th February a High Court judge has ruled that the DCO is quashed.  The Defendant (Secretary of State for Transport) and RSP will pay Jenny Dawes’ “reasonable costs” up to £70,000. Grant Shapps, will now need to issue a renewed decision on the DCO.  If there is another DCO similar to the original, the same arguments against it still stand, based on need, breach of procedural requirements, and the Net Zero carbon duty.  If he decides against another DCO, then RSP may bring another legal challenge, or give up.
.

 

Manston airport development order officially quashed with fresh decision from Secretary of State now pending

February 15, 2021

By Kathy Bailes News 114  (Isle of Thanet News)

A Development Consent Order (DCO) granting approval for an air freight hub at Manston airport has now been officially quashed with a new decision now needing to be issued after a re-examination of the Planning Inspectorate evidence.

The action comes as the result of a Judicial Review challenge to the decision, launched by Ramsgate resident Jenny Dawes last year, which was to have been heard in the High Court tomorrow (February 16).

The substantive hearing was due to look at whether the Government followed correct procedure in reaching the decision to approve the DCO for airport landowners RiverOak Strategic Partners (RSP).

But, last December the Department of Transport acknowledged that the decision approval letter issued from the Minister of State did not contain enough detail about why approval was given against the advice of the Planning Inspectorate and said the Judicial Review would not be contested.

An official consent order from the court. has been issued today (February 15), saying the DCO is quashed, the Defendant (Secretary of State for Transport) shall pay the claimant’s (Ms Dawes) reasonable costs – limited to £35,000 – and the Interested Party (RiverOak Strategic Partners) shall pay the Claimant’s additional costs, also limited to £35,000. A decision on whether this sum includes VAT has not been made.

The Secretary of State will now need to issue a renewed decision.

Ms Dawes, who brought the Judicial Review following a successful crowdfunder, said: “This is the first time a decision to grant a DCO has been quashed. Secretary of State Grant Shapps is now expected to invite further submissions from interested parties. He has three months to make a decision, although this can be extended.

“If he grants a DCO, another Judicial Review will be brought on existing grounds and any further grounds that may arise on review. If he refuses a DCO, Riveroak Strategic Partners may wish to bring a Judicial Review.”

RSP director Tony Freudmann said: “In the High Court today Mr Justice Holgate approved a court order which had been agreed by all the parties to the Manston judicial review in December last year.

“The order allows the judicial review on the ground that the Secretary of State for Transport did not give adequate reasons for his decision. It also quashes the Manston DCO and orders costs in favour of the Applicant.

“The effect of the order made today is only to require the decision to be re-taken following a further representation period, it does not reverse any earlier stages of the process. The Secretary of State is likely to explain the reasons for his decision in more detail this time round.”

The DCO application was accepted for examination in August 2018 and it was completed on 9 July 2019. The examination was conducted on the basis of written and oral submissions submitted to the ExA and by eight issue-specific hearings, two compulsory acquisition hearings and four open floor hearings held in Margate and Sandwich. The ExA also conducted one unaccompanied site inspection in January 2019 and one accompanied site inspection in March 2019.

The examining panel recommendation was for refusal. This was overturned by the Secretary of State when granting the original DCO.

The Judicial Review challenged that decision based on:

Ground 1: Need

Ground 2: Breach of Procedural Requirement/Unfairness

Ground 3: Net Zero Duty

Deb Shotton, Vice Chair of the Thanet Green Party which opposes the project on climate grounds, says there is increasing interest in development of the site for clean energies, saying: “Green jobs in a growth industry would be far more beneficial for Thanet and beyond.”

Airport campaign group SMAa says the order means the process can start moving again.

The site is in ownership of RSP after a £16million buy out from previous owners Stone Hill Park who had hoped to gain permission for a multi-use housing, business and leisure development.

RSP aims to create aviation at the site with a cargo hub and associated business. Plans for construction will be phased over 15 years and will include 19 freight stands and four passenger stands for aircraft as well as warehousing and fuel storage.

https://theisleofthanetnews.com/2021/02/15/manston-airport-development-order-officially-quashed-with-fresh-decision-from-secretary-of-state-now-pending/

.


Government order to reopen Manston Airport officially quashed by High Court

KENT TRAVEL NEWS (Kent online)

By Joe Wright   jwright@thekmgroup.co.uk
15 February 2021

The government go-ahead on reopening Manston as an airport has been officially quashed by the High Court.

It has been confirmed that the transport secretary’s previous decision to allow the Thanet site to reopen as a freight air hub does not possess adequate justification.

As a result, the government has been ordered to pay the campaigners’ legal costs – up to £35,000 – while RiverOak Strategies (RSP), the airport’s owners, cover the claimant’s additional costs.

Today’s expected result is however not the end as all evidence will now be once again pored over and a new decision is required in the future.

A judicial review had been launched by campaign leader Jenny Dawes, with evidence put forward against Grant Shapps’ approval of a development consent order (DCO).

That DCO would have paved the way for the old airport to be used as a freight hub.

The government was acting against the advice of the Planning Inspectorate, and anti-airport campaigners launched a bid for a judicial review calling for the order to be reversed.

The case was due to be heard on February 16 and 17 at the High Court in London, but the Government conceded in December that its approval did not contain enough detail.

They announced the judicial review would not be contested as it “did not give adequate and intelligible reasons” for going against the Planning Inspectorate.

Following that concession, an official consent order from the High Court has today been issued saying the DCO is quashed.

A statement from RSP reads: “In the High Court today, Mr Justice Holgate approved a court order which had been agreed by all the parties to the Manston judicial review in December last year.

“The order allows the judicial review on the ground that the Secretary of State for Transport did not give adequate reasons for his decision. It also quashes the Manston DCO and orders costs in favour of the Applicant.

“The effect of the order made today is only to require the decision to be re-taken following a further representation period, it does not reverse any earlier stages of the process. The Secretary of State is likely to explain the reasons for his decision in more detail this time round.”

https://www.kentonline.co.uk/thanet/news/bid-to-reopen-manston-as-airport-officially-quashed-242564/?cmpredirect

.

 


See earlier: 

Update from Jenny Dawes – who brought the legal challenge against the government’s Manston decision

4th December 2020

Following the quashing of the Manston Airport Development Consent Order 2020 by the Court, the Secretary of State will write to all interested parties, setting out key issues and inviting further written representations on those issues.

Interested parties include the applicant, the local authority and anyone who previously registered by filling out a Relevant Representation form at the inquiry stage (and had it accepted as valid).

The Secretary of State will make a decision based on the Examining Authority’s Report and the further representations. The Secretary of State has three months to make a decision but this can be extended.

The decision could be either a refusal to make a Manston Airport Development Consent Order or a decision to grant such a Consent Order.

If a DCO is refused, RiverOak Strategic Partners (RSP) may wish to bring a judicial review. I would be an Interested Party in any such challenge.

If a DCO is granted, another judicial review can be brought on the existing grounds and any further grounds that may arise on review of the decision letter.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/support-judicial-review-of-man/


Manston airport development DCO approval ‘to be quashed’ by government – with decision for refusal, by Planning Inspectorate, to be re-examined later

A hearing in February set for the legal challenge over the government’s decision to give permission for the development of Manston airport into an air freight hub will now not take place. The Secretary of State for Transport has said they will not contest the case.  The substantive hearing – which involves the lodging of  evidence from the defendant, and interested party (RiverOak Strategic Partners Ltd) – was to assess whether the Government followed correct procedure in reaching the decision to approve the DCO for the landowners, even though this overturned the recommendation of the Planning Inspectorate (PI). Now the DfT has acknowledged that the decision approval letter issued from the Minister of State did not contain enough detail about why approval was given against the advice of the PI.  This means the DCO approval for Manston airport will be quashed. It the development of Manston airport is to happen, it will require a new decision to be issued, after a re-examination of the Planning Inspectorate evidence. RiverOak Strategic Partners Ltd, will not be defending their claim. The Treasury Solicitor will now draft an order disposing of the case.  The order will have to be approved by all parties and submitted to the Court to be sealed – this final step may take several weeks.

Click here to view full story…

Update on Judicial Review of Manston Airport DCO.

The Court has now listed a 1.5 day substantive hearing for 16-17 February 2021, of the case which has been brought by the remarkable Jenny Dawes. Info about the case at https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/support-judicial-review-of-man/


Manston airport judicial review: permission granted for legal challenge

A judge has granted permission for a legal challenge against the government’s decision to reopen Manston airport. The crowdfunder set up to help pay for a judicial review has now reached more than £80,000. Now the application for the review has been granted, the Secretary of State’s decision in July to approve a development consent order to open Manston as a freight cargo air hub will be challenged in court. The legal battle was launched by Jenny Dawes, the chair of Ramsgate Coastal Community Team. Solicitors Kate Harrison and Susan Ring of Harrison Grant are acting for her, and instructing barristers Richard Wald QC and Gethin Thomas. The reasons for opposing the reopening of the airport for freight are partly due to the noise, as the arrival flight path is directly over Ramsgate, near the airport. There are also strong arguments on air pollution and the UK’s climate targets. The advice of the Planning Inspectorate was to refuse permission for DCO. Jenny said:  “According to the government’s own experts, re-opening the airport will damage the local economy and impact negatively on the UK’s carbon budget and our commitments to the Paris climate agreement.”

Click here to view full story…

.

.

 

Read more »

Airport growth plans are for way more passengers than carbon targets could permit

Despite the dire financial state of airports and airlines due to Covid, airports are pressing ahead with huge expansion plans – in the hope these could be approved before the government produces proper policies on UK carbon emissions. Leeds City Council (11th Feb) approved plans for a new airport terminal, to increase the number of passengers. Heathrow, Stansted, Luton, Gatwick, Bristol and Southampton airports all want to expand – increasing the number of passengers. But the advice to the UK government by its official advisers, the CCC (the Committee on Climate Change), is that there should be no more than 365 million passengers per year (mppa) by 2050, up from about 297 mppa in 2019 – a 23% rise – about 68 million. But if all the airport expansion plans went ahead, that might mean 532 mppa by 2050, (235 mppa more) which is over x3 the cap needed to meet UK climate pledges. This means if some airports expand, others cannot – or would have to contract. The government must decide by June whether to incorporate this into law, or to explain why it is rejecting the CCC’s advice. Heathrow’s 3rd runway alone could add 55 mppa.  The UK has to create a more effective way to allocate the remaining capacity for growth, rather than allow an “expansion frenzy” with decisions made by different bodies. 
.

Airport growth plans fly in face of climate targets

Despite the pandemic, Britain’s regional terminals are racing to expand and avoid a possible passenger cap

By Nicholas Hellen, Transport Editor (The Sunday Times)
Sunday February 14 2021

Overseas holidays are on hold and the aviation sector is on its knees, yet airports are pressing ahead with huge expansion plans before a proposed green cap on passenger numbers that would limit future growth.

Yorkshire made the first move on Thursday night, when a new £150 million terminal at Leeds-Bradford was approved — with local supporters insisting that if passengers were not able to fly from their local airport, they will simply travel from another.

Ambitious expansion schemes from Stansted, Luton, Gatwick and Southampton airports, which would increase annual passenger numbers by millions, all face public scrutiny.

The race for growth has been triggered by the Climate Change Committee, the government’s official advisory body. It has proposed a cap on passenger numbers to meet Boris Johnson’s decision to set the UK on the path to net zero emissions by 2050. It wants to limit any rise in passenger numbers to 365 million by 2050, up from 297 million in 2019. The government must decide by June whether to incorporate this into law, or to explain why it is rejecting the advice.

The problem is that if all airport expansion plans go ahead, capacity will soar to an estimated 532 million passengers by 2050, more than three times the growth proposed to meet climate pledges.

Heathrow, which is still committed to a third runway, could expand passenger numbers from 81 million in 2019 to 136 million in 2050, an increase of 55 million and almost single-handedly using up all the headroom for expansion.

If, however, other airports are allowed to grow, they could grab the remaining allowance. Between them, Gatwick, Stansted and Luton could fly an additional 58 million passengers by 2050. Gatwick, which wants to turn its emergency northern runway into regular use as a second runway, intends to launch a detailed statutory consultation in the summer.

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/5ad95960-6e02-11eb-ac59-10a42ba22d95

The Aviation Environment Federation.   www.aef.org.uk

A public inquiry into Stansted’s expansion began last month, and Luton, which wants to build a second terminal, will submit its application for a development consent order some time this year.

Bristol airport announced that it would appeal after its expansion plans were rejected on environmental grounds, and a final decision on whether Southampton airport may lengthen its runway by 538ft (164m) is expected in March.

Tim Johnson, director of the Aviation Environment Federation, which calculated the figures, pointed out that the French government had decided last week that climate pledges meant Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris had to abandon plans for a fourth terminal, which would be capable of handling up to 40 million passengers a year.

He said the UK, too, had to devise a better way to allocate the remaining capacity for growth, rather than allow an “expansion frenzy” with decisions split between the courts, local planning authorities and the transport secretary. “The government’s climate advisers have closed the door to new airport expansions, stressing that the UK already has sufficient capacity to meet the limited amount of passenger growth deemed compatible with achieving net zero emissions,” he said.

The airports hope to persuade the government that there are alternatives to capping passenger numbers and that the Climate Change Committee has been too pessimistic about the scope for new aircraft technology and sustainable aviation fuel to reduce carbon emissions over the coming years.

Gatwick said in a statement: “We prefer to focus on net carbon reduction through innovation, which will also maintain the UK’s research and development and skilled jobs, rather than curbing all future growth in aviation demand.”

A spokesman for Heathrow said: “Combined with new aircraft technologies and global offsetting schemes, we can take the carbon out of flying even as we grow, protecting the benefits of aviation for the UK without the need for an artificial cap on passengers.”

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/5ad95960-6e02-11eb-ac59-10a42ba22d95

.


See also:

 

Committee on Climate Change – recommendations to government – lots on aviation carbon changes and policies needed

The Committee on Climate Change has published its guidance for the UK government on its Sixth Carbon Budget, for the period 2033 – 37, and how to reach net-zero by 2050.  There is a great deal of detail, many documents, many recommendations – with plenty on aviation. The intention is for UK aviation to be net-zero by 2050, though the CCC note there are not yet proper aviation policies by the UK government to achieve this. International aviation must be included in the Sixth Carbon budget. If the overall aviation CO2 emissions can be reduced enough, it might be possible to have 25% more air passengers in 2050 than in 2018. The amount of low-carbon fuels has been increased from the CCC’s earlier maximum realistic estimates of 5-10%, up to perhaps 25% by 2050, with “just over two-thirds of this coming from biofuels and the remainder from carbon-neutral synthetic jet fuel …” Residual CO2 emissions will need to be removed from the air, and international carbon offsets are not permitted. There is an assumption of 1.4% efficiency improvement per year, or at the most 2.1%. There “should be no net expansion of UK airport capacity unless the sector is on track to sufficiently outperform its net emissions trajectory.”  The role of non-CO2 is recognised, but not included in carbon budgets; its heating effect must not increase after 2050.  And lots more …

Click here to view full story…

Committee on Climate Change advises UK government to commit to reducing emissions by 68% cf. 1990 by 2030 (64% including IAS)

The Committee on Climate Change (CCC), the UK government’s official advisers on climate matters, will give its formal advice on the the UK’s Sixth Carbon Budget on 9th December 2020. Meanwhile the CCC’s Chairman, Lord Deben, has written to the Sec of State at BEIS, Alok Sharma, in response to his request for advice on the UK’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), under the Paris Agreement.  The CCC is advising that the UK should commit to reducing territorial emissions by at least 68% from 1990 to 2030.  It is equivalent to a 64% reduction including international aviation and shipping (IAS) emissions, the basis of the CCC recommended Sixth Carbon Budget.  This would place the UK among the leading countries in climate ambition. This is necessary, to give world leadership, as the UK hosts the COP26 talks in November 2021. However, the CCC say the 68% cut excludes emissions from IAS. There should be “additional actions to reduce the UK’s contribution to IAS emissions.” The CCC says of IAS: “these emissions …must be addressed if the temperature goal of the Paris Agreement is to be met. The UK’s NDC should include clear commitments to act on emissions from international aviation and shipping, including both long-term and interim targets.”

Click here to view full story…

 

Leeds Bradford airport

Leeds City Council approves Leeds Bradford airport plans for new terminal (ie. more passengers, more carbon, more noise)

Leeds City Council has approved (subject to additional conditions still to be negotiated) Leeds Bradford Airport’s plans for a larger terminal to accommodate more passengers. This decision will entrench in the Leeds economy the growth of a carbon intensive industry. There is no certainty that the promised jobs will actually materialise, as the sector increasingly automates work. Objectors including climate scientists, transport experts and residents’ groups, warned such an expansion would help facilitate catastrophic climate change, as well as unbearable levels of noise pollution for those living close by. The application sought to demolish the existing passenger pier to accommodate a new terminal building and forecourt area. This would also include the construction of supporting infrastructure, goods yard and mechanical electrical plant. There are also plans to modify flight time controls, and to reduce the night-time flight period, with a likely increase from 5 to 17 flights between 6am and 7am.  A professor of transport planning said there are inadequate contributions to road and rail infrastructure. Local group GALBA says there could still be a legal decision against the  proposals.

Click here to view full story…

Luton airport

Feb 18th – deadline for comments on application by Luton airport to increase passenger cap from 18m to 19mppa

Luton Airport has submitted a planning application (21/00031/VARCON) to Luton Borough Council to increase the annual cap on passenger throughput by 5.5% from 18m to 19mppa. Also to expand the day and night noise contours by 11.3% and 15.3% respectively until 2028, when they would be reduced somewhat, but still a net growth from today’s levels. Annual plane movements are forecast to grow by no more than 0.8%. The deadline for responses is February 18th. The airport is arguing that more larger planes means that the extra passengers can be accommodated without a huge increase in plane numbers. They also claim the anticipated new planes will be less noisy and emit less carbon … (’twas ever thus…) These wonderful planes or technologies don’t yet exist. The motivation for the increase in the passenger number cap has been rising demand, before the Covid pandemic struck. Future air traffic demand is uncertain.  The “elephant in the room” is  the conflict of interest of Luton Borough Council being both the planning authority and the owner of the airport.  But Hertfordshire County Council is set to formally object to the plans, largely on grounds of noise nuisance.

Click here to view full story…

Gatwick airport

AEF explains why Gatwick expansion adds to UK’s aviation CO2 headache – at least 1 million tonnes more CO2 per year

If Gatwick was allowed to increase its number of flights and passengers, that would be a huge increase in its carbon emissions. Already the UK aviation sector is not on track to stay under even the outdated cap of 37.5MtCO2. That was when the UK was aiming for an 80% cut in carbon emissions, compared to 1990, by 2050. But now the UK has signed up to zero carbon  – ie. 100% cut – by 2050.  The corresponding carbon cap for aviation would then be more like below 30MtCO2 by 2050. As the ongoing growth, from incremental increases in flights and passengers from most UK airports, will take the UK aviation sector well over the 37.5MtCO2 limit, let alone the 30MtCO2 cap. So there is absolutely no room for a Heathrow 3rd runway, or the semi-new-runway at Gatwick – achieved by making use of its emergency runway for much of the time. The AEF has pointed out that Gatwick’s Masterplan is for 390,000 flights per annum by 2032/33, around 39% more than in 2018.  Gatwick carefully avoids giving any CO2 estimates in future, let alone to 2050. Extrapolating the carbon emissions from 2017 estimates by the DfT, it is likely that Gatwick’s carbon emissions would rise by about 1Mt CO2 per year, to 3.6MtCO2 (or more, if Gatwick has a larger % of long-haul flights in future) if it uses its emergency runway as a second runway.

Click here to view full story…

 

Bristol airport

Bristol Airport expansion: comments can be submitted on the appeal – 11th Jan to 22nd Feb

Members of the public are being urged to submit their views on the expansion of Bristol airport, to the Planning Inspectorate, ahead of public inquiry this summer.  The consultation started on 11th January, and end on 22nd February.  The airport appealed against a decision by North Somerset Council to reject its expansion plans which would see passenger numbers grow from 10 million to 12 million per year. The public inquiry heard by an independent planning inspector, would probably last 3-4 weeks, and is likely to start in July. Local campaigners are now getting ready to fight the appeal.  They say any expansion of the airport would lead to congested roads, increased noise, loss of green belt, negative impact on the local environment from the proposed growth in flights – as well as the impact on climate change.  Campaign group Bristol Airport Action Network (BAAN) is angry that the airport’s management has been instructed by wealthy owners, the Ontario Teacher’s Pension Plan, to appeal the original decision made in March 2020. Bristol City Council also opposed the expansion with North Somerset Council saying it will ‘robustly defend’ the appeal.

Click here to view full story…

.

Groups write to Government asking for a moratorium on airport expansion planning applications

Representatives of groups at some of the largest UK airports have written to both the Secretaries of State for Transport, and Housing, Communities and Local Government, to request a halt to airport expansion.  The letter asks them to suspend the determination by all planning authorities of applications to increase the physical capacity of UK airports, or their approved operating caps, until there is a settled UK policy position against which such applications can be judged.  Many UK airports are seeking – or have announced their intention to seek – planning approval to increase their capacity and/or their operating caps. In aggregate it has been estimated that proposals announced by UK airports would increase the country’s airport capacity by over 70% compared to 2017.  There is no settled UK policy on aircraft noise, or  policy on aviation carbon and how the sector will, as the CCC advises,  “limit growth in demand to at most 25% above current levels by 2050”. The letter says: “Until a settled policy with set limits is established for greenhouse gas emissions and noise there should be a moratorium on all airport expansion planning applications.”

Click here to view full story

 

 

 

 

Read more »