National Infrastructure Strategy – nothing about airports, or expanding the sector; mainly support for SAF and airspace change

The Government has produced its National Infrastructure Strategy, and aim of which is to upgrade infrastructure (transport, roads, railways, internet and more) to better link the country and level-up the regions. There is very little about aviation, and nothing at all about expanding airports or growing the sector.  Some of the comments are: “£21 million will also be provided for the decarbonisation of aviation, through supporting sustainable aviation fuels and zero emission flight infrastructure. This work will be overseen by the recently established Jet Zero Council, a partnership between government and industry to drive the delivery of new technologies and innovative ways to cut aviation emissions.” Then there is more about development of Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF). “The government will also consult on introducing a SAF mandate.”  Also the government is “committed to modernising UK airspace, which will deliver quicker, quieter and cleaner journeys and more capacity for the benefit of those who use and are affected by UK airspace.” And a Global Travel Taskforce to consider how the international travel sector could be supported through the specific challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
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https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/938049/NIS_final_web_single_page.pdf

National Infrastructure Strategy

“Fairer, faster, greener”
By the Treasury

Presented to Parliament by the Chancellor of the Exchequer by Command of Her Majesty
November 2020

Its introduction, by Boris Johnson – the Prime Minister – says:

Fairer, faster, greener

“For decade after decade, governments of every political stripe have failed to invest enough in the UK’s regions and nations. It is one of the reasons why the quality of our national infrastructure has fallen behind that of other countries. This Strategy will change that.

“In almost my first words as Prime Minister, I promised to unite our country by physically and literally renewing the ties that bind us together. I promised to unleash the productive power not just of London and the South East, but of every corner of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. I want to bring hope and opportunity for each part of the UK. Levelling up is my government’s core purpose.

… and it goes on …


These are the only mentions of aviation:

“£21 million will also be provided for the decarbonisation of aviation, through supporting
sustainable aviation fuels and zero emission flight infrastructure. This work will be overseen by the recently established Jet Zero Council, a partnership between government and industry to drive the delivery of new technologies and innovative ways to cut aviation
emissions.

“This will fund a one-year competition to support the development of a Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) Demonstration and first-of-a-kind commercial plants. This funding will also kickstart the establishment of a clearing house for SAF, the first of its kind in Europe, to certify new fuels and develop UK expertise. The government will also consult on introducing a SAF mandate.

“Funding for the Aerospace Technology Institute, which provides match-funding to stimulate the development of innovative and more efficient aircraft technologies, has also been extended.

“The UK’s airspace is an essential, but invisible, part of its national transport infrastructure. The government is therefore committed to modernising UK airspace, which will deliver quicker, quieter and cleaner journeys and more capacity for the benefit of those who use
and are affected by UK airspace.

“The government will continue to co-sponsor the airspace modernisation programme with the Civil Aviation Authority. This will ensure that carbon savings for aviation can be realised
though proven technology this decade.”

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/938049/NIS_final_web_single_page.pdf

And:

“Within infrastructure, the transport sector has been the most heavily impacted, with dramatic falls in demand across many modes. Over the period, the government has responded with a series of targeted aid packages:

• The government is supporting the aerospace sector and its aviation customers with over £9 billion support through the Bank of England’s COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility, grants for research and development, loan guarantees and support for aerospace exports. In addition, the government has provided £5.7 million funding to air passenger services between Great Britain and Northern Ireland to ensure those who needed to travel
could continue to do so;”

And

“International connectivity is important for linking businesses to valuable markets, and to support trade and investment.21  The UK has the third largest aviation network in the world. Flights into UK hub airports connect the regions and nations of the UK to the world, enabling a more global Britain. Air connectivity also brings together the nations of the UK, and in 2019 over 19 million passengers flew on routes between England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.22

“The government last month launched the Global Travel Taskforce to consider how the international travel sector could be supported through the specific challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. It has since considered what steps we can take to facilitate business and tourist travel on a bilateral and global basis, through innovative testing models and other
non-testing means, and more broadly what steps we can take to increase consumer confidence and reduce the barriers to a safe and sustainable recovery of international travel.

“This is alongside the already unprecedented package of measures announced by the Chancellor and available to the travel sector, including schemes to raise capital, flexibilities with tax bills and the extended furlough scheme.”

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/938049/NIS_final_web_single_page.pdf

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EASA report: aviation’s climate impact about x3 greater than previously thought

Aviation’s climate footprint could be 3 times bigger than its current estimate, according to a new study by the EU’s aviation regulator EASA, which has been sent to the European Commission. It examined the climate impact of aviation emissions other than CO2, which include nitrogen oxides, soot particles, oxidised sulphur and water vapour. The report found that after including the non-CO2 impacts “are currently warming the climate at approximately three times the rate of that associated with aviation CO2 emissions alone.”  This is likely to put airlines under more pressure to clean up the industry. Aviation is responsible for about 2.5% of global CO2 emissions, but that does not reflect aviation’s true climate impact. The non-CO2 impacts have been ignored for far too long, and must be properly assessed and included in plans to limit global heating and climate breakdown. Jo Dardenne, aviation manager at green group Transport & Environment, said measures like putting a tax on jet fuel could be introduced rapidly. “The European Commission was first tasked with addressing the non-CO2 emissions of flying in 2008. It shouldn’t waste any more time in implementing the solutions that are available today.” 
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Aviation’s climate impact much greater than previously thought, regulator finds

The EASA report proposes financial, fuel-related and air traffic measures to cut non-CO2 emissions.  The report is likely to put airlines under more pressure to clean up the industry

BY MARI ECCLES (Politico EU)
November 25, 2020

Aviation’s climate footprint could be three times bigger than its current estimate, according to a new study by the EU’s aviation regulator EASA. https://www.easa.europa.eu/

The study, sent to the European Commission on Monday, examined the climate impact of aviation emissions other than CO2, which include nitrogen oxide, soot particles, oxidized sulfur and water vapour.

The report found that after including the impact of non-CO2 gases and particles “aviation emissions are currently warming the climate at approximately three times the rate of that associated with aviation CO2 emissions alone.”

The report is fodder for climate activists who have long called for stronger regulation for the airline industry, and is likely to put airlines under more pressure to clean up the industry. Aviation is responsible for about 2% of global CO2 emissions.  [That is probably an under-estimate.  It is at least 2.5% ]

Jo Dardenne, aviation manager at green group Transport & Environment, said the report “confirms that carbon emissions are only the tip of the iceberg when accounting for aviation’s climate impact. Contrails and other non-CO2 effects of aviation need to be urgently tackled to avert climate crisis.”

Stay Grounded, another advocacy group, said the EU should ensure “aviation’s real climate impact is accounted for in emission inventories and policy measures,” adding that policymakers “ignored” the effects of non-CO2 emissions by taking so long to study their effects.

The report itself comes almost a year after the Commission was supposed to publish it. When asked about the delay in March, Transport Commissioner Adina Vălean’s office said it was “due to the scientific complexity of the issues at stake, the fact that new findings are still expected, and the limited pool of experts specialized in this field.

The impact of non-CO2 aviation emissions is not well studied, partly because they are difficult to quantify. Emissions like contrails — the vapor trails created when cruising at high altitudes — are temporary. Non-CO2 emissions could have a cooling or warming effect depending on the altitude or location. For emissions like soot and sulfur, the study said a greater understanding of their effects is “urgently required.”

It’s partly due to their previously unknown effects that non-CO2 emissions have been kept out of major aviation climate schemes including the U.N.-sponsored Corsia and the EU’s Emissions Trading System.

In its accompanying note to the European Parliament and Council, the Commission said the report’s findings “need to be addressed,” but warned that “the complexity of non-CO2 climate impacts relative to CO2 ones and the trade-offs between various impacts, poses a challenge” in terms of what policymakers ought to do.

Innovate, tax or tweak

The report proposed three kinds of policy measures — financial, fuel-related and air traffic management-related — to tackle the impact of emissions.

Financial:   Among the financial measures, the report suggested including non-CO2 emissions in the EU’s Emissions Trading System, where they are currently not counted, and introducing a charge on nitrogen emissions.

Fuel-related:   To tackle non-CO2 emissions at source, the EU Aviation Safety Agency recommended the mandatory use of sustainable aviation fuels and to use fuel with a different composition so that fewer non-CO2 particles are emitted when burnt.

Air traffic management:   Under the air traffic management options, EASA’s report suggests a “climate charge” to address all non-CO2 effects, and managing flight routes to avoid regions considered climate-sensitive.

Some of the measures suggested would take years to implement, the report said. Others, like a tax on jet fuel and an expansion of the ETS, are currently being considered.

“The European Commission was first tasked with addressing the non-CO2 emissions of flying in 2008. It shouldn’t waste any more time in implementing the solutions that are available today,” Dardenne said.

https://www.politico.eu/article/aviation-climate-impact-greater-than-previous-estimate/

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see earlier:

New study indicates non-CO2 impacts of aviation are twice as large as the CO2 alone (study by a large number of authors, including many eminent UK climate scientists)

A new study trying to elucidate the various non-CO2 impacts of aviation has been published. There is very complicated science about the positive radiative forcing (ie. extra impact on increasing global temperature) of the water vapour, NOx and other gases, and particles emitted from jet engines at altitude. This study concludes that the non-CO2 impacts of “aviation emissions are currently warming the climate at approximately three times the rate of that associated with aviation CO2 emissions alone.” They have looked in detail at the various effects and interactions. There are numerous non-CO2 impacts, some of which cause more radiation to be reflected back out to space, and some cause heat to be trapped, warming the earth. These effects include the contrails, ice cloud changes, sulphate and soot particles from jet engines, water vapour from jet engines, NOx emissions and production of ozone. The effects of contrails and extra cloud formation are perhaps easier to study, and more research is needed on the impacts of soot and sulphate particles.  The confirmation of the large contribution to warming, from the non-CO2 impacts of aviation is important.  The climate impact of aviation, including non-CO2 effects, has to be fully taken into account in how the sector fits into the UK’s climate targets, and reaching “net zero”.  Currently the DfT ignores non-CO2 impacts, though the CCC has recommended that they should be included.

Click here to view full story…

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English airports to benefit from new £100m covid support package

Commercial airports across England and ground handlers serving them will benefit from up to £8 million each under a new government finance package. Chancellor Rishi Sunak has said the £100 million package will from next year provide support for 24 airports which have been hit by travel restrictions placed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.  It will be used to address fixed costs and be the equivalent to the business rates liabilities of each airport in 2020/21, capped at £8 million per site and subject to certain conditions.  Mr Sunak said: “This new package of support for airports, alongside a new testing regime for international arrivals, will help the sector take off once again as we build back better from the pandemic.”   The airports to benefit from the package are: Birmingham, Bournemouth, Bristol, Carlisle, Doncaster Sheffield, East Midlands, Exeter, Gatwick, Heathrow, Humberside, Isles Of Scilly, Lands End, Leeds Bradford, Liverpool John Lennon, London City, Luton, Manchester, Newcastle, Newquay, Norwich, Southampton, Southend, Stansted, Teesside International Airport.
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English airports to benefit from new £100m Covid support package

More than 20 airports will be eligible for up to £8m in funding each to be used for fixed costs and to support ground handling crews

By Tamlyn Jones, Business Reporter  (Birmingham Post)

24 NOV 2020

Commercial airports across England and ground handlers serving them will benefit from up to £8million each under a new government finance package.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has said the £100million package will from next year provide support for 24 airports which have been hit by travel restrictions placed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

It will be used to address fixed costs and be the equivalent to the business rates liabilities of each airport in 2020/21, capped at £8million per site and subject to certain conditions.

It comes as a new Covid-19 testing regime is being introduced for passengers returning to English airports which could see them avoid having to quarantine for the full 14-day obligatory period.

Mr Sunak said: “The aviation industry is vital to our economy – creating jobs and driving growth – which is why we have supported them throughout this crisis through the Job Retention Scheme, loans and tax deferrals.

“This new package of support for airports, alongside a new testing regime for international arrivals, will help the sector take off once again as we build back better from the pandemic.”

The airports to benefit from the package are:

Birmingham
Bournemouth
Bristol
Carlisle
Doncaster Sheffield
East Midlands
Exeter
Gatwick
Heathrow
Humberside
Isles Of Scilly
Lands End
Leeds Bradford
Liverpool John Lennon
London City
Luton
Manchester
Newcastle
Newquay
Norwich
Southampton
Southend
Stansted
Teesside International Airport

Separately, the Government has said today that travellers arriving in England will be able to end their quarantine period with a negative coronavirus test after five days.

The so-called ‘Test to Release’ scheme will commence on December 15 and affect passengers arriving into England from a designated list of countries.

The travel industry welcomed the policy but described it as “long overdue”.

Under the new rules, passengers who arrive from a destination not on the Government’s travel corridors list will still need to enter self-isolation.

But they can reduce the 14-day period by paying for a test from a private firm on or after day five at a cost of around £65 upwards and should expect to receive the results within 48 hours.

This change does not apply to people arriving in Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales who must continue to self-isolate for 14 days.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “We have a plan in place to ensure that our route out of this pandemic is careful and balanced, allowing us to focus on what we can now do to bolster international travel while keeping the public safe.

“Our new testing strategy will allow us to travel more freely, see loved ones and drive international business.”

Tim Alderslade, chief executive of Airlines UK which represents UK-registered carriers, said the announcement on limited quarantine provided “light at the end of the tunnel” for the industry and people wanting to go on holiday.

He predicted that demand for air travel would “tentatively return” following the decision but said a pre-departure or domestic testing regime that could completely remove the need to self-isolate was “the only way we’re going to comprehensively reopen the market”.

https://www.business-live.co.uk/economic-development/english-airports-benefit-new-100m-19336234

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See also

Chancellor’s business rates subsidy of £8 million covers just 7% of Heathrow’s £120m bill

Heathrow is angry that it is having to pay most of its business rates, while supermarkets and many other businesses are given a 100% waiver.  The government has given airports a subsidy of up to £8 million each this year, to pay their business rates. That is enough to cover the whole amount, for small airports. But Heathrow says it only covers 7% of their rates bill, of almost £120 million, part of which it pays to Hillingdon Borough Council. Heathrow is struggling with a drop of around 82% in its passenger number. It is having to furlough its entire senior management team except its chief executive, to cut costs. Gatwick is probably due to pay £29m in business rates this year, while Manchester and Stansted face bills of £14m and £12m respectively, so the £8 million will not cover their rates bills either. Supermarkets have been given around £1.9 billion in rates help, because initially it was feared there could be problems with food supply. In fact supermarkets have done very well out of Covid, with less food eaten out of the home. Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: “… we have supported them throughout this crisis through the job retention scheme, loans and tax deferrals.”

Click here to view full story…

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Several  airports have already had funding, to help them through the Covid pandemic, from their local council. Examples are Exeter, Luton, Newquay and Manchester.

Newquay
https://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2020/07/british-airways-have-the-pso-contract-since-flybes-demise-for-taxpayer-subsidised-flights-between-heathrow-and-newquay/
and Manchester.
https://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2020/05/manchester-airports-group-to-get-260m-that-its-9-council-owners-borrow-from-government/
And Luton
https://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2020/09/councils-60m-loan-to-luton-airport-company-set-for-approval-in-private/

 

Apparently Liverpool City Region has refused to disclose the terms of its £34m airport loan.

And Exeter

https://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2020/10/exeter-airport-receives-huge-funding-boost-from-council-to-avoid-it-having-to-close/ 

 

 

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Overturn airport jobs crisis with a Green New Deal for Gatwick

There is great concern around many airports, about the number of people who have lost their jobs, or will lose them in coming months. A new report by 3 organisations, the PCS trade union, Green New Deal UK, and the Green House Think Tank shows how new jobs could be created in the Gatwick area, for those now unemployed. Their analysis indicates that around 16,000 “green” jobs could be created around Gatwick if an ambitious job creation strategy was adopted. And they calculate that the cost would be comparable to the amount of APD that Gatwick air passengers might pay in 2021 – around £329 million (calculated as the proportion of all UK air passengers that go via Gatwick – about 15.6% in 2019). This number has been chosen, as the airlines (through Airlines UK) have been lobbying to have APD suspended for a year in 2021; if that happened, it might mean a loss to the Treasury of around £2.1 billion. The £329 million (approx) would be able to fund perhaps x13 as many “green” jobs (such as building retrofits, low-energy transport, restoring nature, and social care) as would be secured in the aviation sector. And these jobs would help avoid the excessive vulnerability of the Gatwick area of being too dependent on aviation.
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Overturn airport jobs crisis with a Green New Deal for Gatwick

26.11.2020

The full report:

A Green New Deal for Gatwick   – An urgent call for jobs investment in response to Covid-19

November 2020

https://www.greennewdealuk.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/A-Green-New-Deal-for-Gatwick.pdf


By Tahir Latif, PCS; Fatima Ibrahim, Green New Deal UK; Jonathan Essex, Green House Think Tank

New analysis shows that 16,000 green jobs could be created around Gatwick if an ambitious job creation strategy were adopted to counter the current and future loss of jobs dependent on the airport.

The research, a collaboration between the PCS union, Green House Think Tank and Green New Deal UK, shows the cost would be comparable to Gatwick’s share of the proposed scrapping of Air Passenger Duty for the next 12 months, despite funding 13 times the number of jobs locally.

It shows a close fit between the skills required for this transition to a zero carbon economy and those of aviation workers whose livelihoods have been put at risk – such as pilots, cabin crew and baggage handlers. Critically however, it also demonstrates the importance of a worker-led retraining and investment plan.

Almost 5,000 jobs in building retrofits are needed to help the ‘Gatwick Diamond’ region [1] decarbonise rapidly, warming homes and reducing bills at the same time. A further 1,300 are needed to transition to sustainable ground transport and 820 to restore nature. 7,900 are needed to improve the quality of social care.

The annual investment required to create and sustain secure and good quality jobs of this number (between £287m – £532m), would be significantly more than existing Government support for local economic recovery and job creation, such as the £19m for the Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership through the Getting Building Fund, and the £25m available to Crawley through the Towns Fund.

Yet it would be comparable to Gatwick’s share of the cost of scrapping Air Passenger Duty for the next 12 months (£329m) – despite creating 13 times as many jobs.[2]   [In 2019 Gatwick had around 46.6 million passengers, out of 297 million total UK air passengers ie about 15.6% of the total.  See link.  The estimated APD that the Airlines UK report, see below, for next year is around £2.1 billion.   And 15.6% of £2.1 bn comes to around £329.  AW comment].

As well as job creation to support livelihoods, the investment would carry a stream of co-benefits including warmer, more energy efficient homes, better quality care services, an improved local environment and diversified local economies.

Tahir Latif, PCS Aviation Group President, said:

“This report exposes both the false hope of getting straight back on Gatwick’s growth train, and the doomsday view that “there is no work”.

Covid-19 has brought Gatwick and the aviation industry to a crucial tipping point much sooner than would have been the case otherwise, and there’s no going back. But while trade unions representing workers associated with the airport must continue to fight for job protection and retention, there is a huge amount of work to be done elsewhere in the regional economy.

For well under half the annual tax break the Government gives to Gatwick, it could set the whole surrounding area on a zero carbon trajectory and create thousands of secure, fulfilling jobs in the process.”

Fatima Ibrahim, Co-Director of Green New Deal UK said:

“The jobs crisis around Gatwick airport is a microcosm of both the challenges and opportunities that the economic impact of Covid-19 is bringing to the fore. The Government talks a good game on job creation and green stimulus, but the allocated funding is nowhere near what is required to tackle unemployment or the climate crisis.

This report shows the scale of investment required – and the benefits that can be reaped, from a secure future for workers to lower pollution and stronger local economies.

With Gatwick itself projecting that passenger numbers will not recover for many years, changing business practices globally, and 30% of the public indicating they intend to fly less after the pandemic, astronomical growth projections can no longer be depended upon. In an industry where just 1% of the population cause over 50% of emissions, continuing that dependence is neither sustainable nor fair. Gatwick needs a Green New Deal.”

Cllr Jonathan Essex of Green House Think Tank said:

“We need to shift from growing Gatwick Airport and the carbon emissions associated with air travel to growing the employment needed to create local economies that are stronger, more resilient and zero carbon.

Creating the range of new jobs needed, from delivering an energy makeover of all homes and scaling-up public transport, to better caring for our most vulnerable as well as nature, will provide new opportunities for those who have recently lost their jobs or on long-term furlough.

A Green New Deal for Gatwick would deploy the skills and expertise of local people, and cost far less public investment than recent aviation tax breaks and bailouts.”

The full report is available at  https://www.greennewdealuk.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/A-Green-New-Deal-for-Gatwick.pdf

www.greennewdealuk.org/


Contact:

Tahir Latif, PCS: 023 9264 6868

Fatima Ibrahim, Green New Deal UK: 07572 122 892

Jonathan Essex, Green House Think Tank: 07801 541 924

ENDS

Notes for editors

[1] The ‘Gatwick Diamond’ is the region that surrounds seven local councils in East Surrey and West Sussex with the airport “at its heart” according to the business-led Gatwick Diamond initiative. The council areas covered are: Mole Valley, Reigate and Banstead, Tandridge, Epsom & Ewell, West Sussex, Crawley, Horsham and Mid Sussex.

[2] ‘A Green New Deal for Gatwick’ found jobs potential of 16,100 compared to the APD cut’s 8,000 jobs across the UK, according to analysis commissioned by Airlines UK. The 8,000 national figure is scaled down on a per airport passenger basis to 1,255 jobs for Gatwick.

Source: Airlines UK (July 2020) Emergency Air Passenger Duty waiver would save 45% of lost air routes and save 8,000 jobs, study concludes. https://airlinesuk.org/emergency-air-passenger-duty-waiver-would-save-45-of-lost-air-routes-and-save-8000-jobs-study-concludes/

The Airlines UK report (July 2020)  Page 1 says:

“In normal times APD revenue for the Government is around £3.7 billion each year1 . Based on our estimates of baseline passenger demand over the next 12 months, we estimate that APD revenue will fall dramatically to around £2.1 billion. This would, by extension, be the cost to the Government of a 12 month APD waiver.”

1 = Office for Budget Responsibility 2020. Accessed at  https://obr.uk/forecasts-in-depth/tax-by-tax-spend-by-spend/air-passengerduty/

 

 

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Boris Johnson’s hope for a zero carbon transatlantic flight dismissed as a gimmick – at best a one-off

Boris Johnson’s “jet zero” goal of a commercial transatlantic flight producing no carbon emissions by 2025 is a “gimmick”, according to experts, who say technology alone cannot solve the impact of global aviation on the climate crisis. Such a flight could only be a one-off and would encourage the view that other measures such as taxing jet fuel and frequent fliers were not needed to tackle aviation’s carbon problem.  The aviation industry says more fuel efficient planes and buying millions of tonnes of carbon offsets can compensate for big future increases in passenger numbers and carbon emissions. Instead independent experts say new taxes to deter flying are vital, to reduce demand. There may be a very small contribution from alternative fuels, made using surplus renewable energy (not competing with land needed for agriculture or causing deforestation) in future decades, but that is speculative. Long-haul electric or hydrogen planes are unlikely before the middle of the century, if ever, by which time emissions should already have been cut to zero. Tim Johnsons, from AEF, said as well as taxes, regulation was needed, and the inclusion of international aviation emissions in countries’ national carbon plans submitted to the UN. Currently they are exempt.
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Boris Johnson’s ‘jet zero’ carbon flight goal dismissed as a gimmick

Experts says technology alone will not get close to solving aviation’s emissions problems

Independent experts say new taxes to deter flying are vital, but agree with the aviation industry that green jet fuels are needed too.

By Damian Carrington  (Environment editor, The Guardian)   @dpcarrington

Wed 25 Nov 2020

Boris Johnson’s “jet zero” goal of a commercial transatlantic flight producing no carbon emissions by 2025 is a “gimmick”, according to experts, who say technology alone cannot solve the impact of global aviation on the climate crisis.

Such a flight would not be impossible, the experts said, but could only be a one-off and would encourage the view that other measures such as taxing jet fuel and frequent fliers were not needed to tackle aviation’s carbon problem.

The jet zero technology idea was part of Bois Johnson’s 10-point “green industrial revolution” plan launched last week. But experts called jet zero “severely underfunded”, and pointed out that the government would not begin consulting on a strategy to decarbonise aviation until next year.

The UK has also not demanded green action from airlines in return for coronavirus bailouts, unlike France. The pandemic has halved passenger numbers but the industry expects them to recover by 2024. However, the experts also praised the UK for taking some action, given that only a few countries are even beginning to tackle an issue seen as one of the most difficult climate challenges.

The aviation industry says more efficient planes and buying millions of tonnes of carbon offsets can compensate for big future increases in passenger numbers.

Independent experts say new taxes to deter flying are vital, and agree with the aviation industry that green jet fuels are needed too. These exist and could power long-haul flights, but are currently expensive. Long-haul electric or hydrogen planes are unlikely before the middle of the century, if ever, by which time emissions should already have been cut to zero.

The jet zero council, which brings together ministers and industry chief executives, has met once, in July. The prime minister told the group he wanted “ambitious goals for aviation, such as the first zero-emission commercial transatlantic passenger flight by 2025”, according to published minutes.

Johnson’s green plan said a £15m competition to support the production of sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) in the UK would be held in 2021, alongside a consultation on introducing a requirement to blend green fuels into kerosene, “possibly starting in 2025”. Another £15m is to be spent on a 12-month “fly zero” study examining zero-emission aircraft that could fly from 2030.

“I guess enough [SAF] could be produced to fuel a single, oneoff operation in 2025 but that would of course just be a gimmick – anything beyond that would be very much unrealistic,” said Chris Lyle, the chief executive of the Air Transport Economics consultancy and former official at the International Civil Aviation Organization, a UN agency. Regulations would also have to be changed to allow 100% SAF to be used.

Dan Rutherford, a programme director the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), said: “It would be like a crash space programme to plant a flag on the moon, without knowing when you’d go back again.”

Stefan Gössling, a professor at Linnaeus University in Sweden, said such a flight may even be technically feasible by 2022, but would reinforce the industry’s suggestion that “we will resolve the problem [with technology] – keep flying”.

“Technology alone can in no way get close to solving aviation’s emissions problems,” said Lyle. The omission in UK plans of other measures such as taxes was “emphatically a mistake”, he said The lack of tax on jet fuel gives aviation an unfair advantage against train and coach travel, Lyle added.

Gössling said: “The challenge of greening aviation is massive. I cannot see any other option than non-biogenic synthetic fuels.” These are fuels made using green electricity to combine CO2 and hydrogen. Biofuels made from crops can have large carbon footprints and compete with food. Producing jet fuel from non-recyclable waste is another possibility.

Gössling said a carbon tax on kerosene was needed to pay for the climate damage it causes and deter the growth in air travel, adding that such a tax would also make green synthetic fuels more cost-competitive.

He said a frequent flier tax was unlikely to curb demand among the wealthy “super-emitters” who cause half of all emissions, but could help fund synthetic fuel development and other research.

According to Rutherford, the UK’s jet Zero goals are “aggressive” but also “severely underfunded”. He said the latest research estimated commercial SAF plants were likely to cost £600m–£700m while new conventional aircraft cost at least $10bn (£7.5bn) to develop. “£15m investments are something that could excite academics but aren’t going to move the needle in any significant way on electric or hydrogen aircraft, for example,” Rutherford said,

Tim Johnson, the director of the Aviation Environment Federation who sits on the jet zero council, said: “A few funding initiatives plus lots of ambition won’t get the industry anywhere near net zero.” He said regulation and taxes were needed, as well as the inclusion of international aviation emissions in the national carbon plans submitted to the UN. Currently they are exempt.

Removing the exemption, said Lyle, “would give individual countries more incentive to do something about them”.

Lyle was dismissive of the UN aviation body’s efforts to cut emissions, saying: “The ICAO is still studying the ‘feasibility’ of an aspirational long-term emissions goal for aviation, which it was given a mandate for by its assembly in 2010.”

Gössling said the UK’s aviation goals placed it among the leading nations, but only because ambition was absent in most countries. A spokesman for Iata, which represents the airlines industry, said: “The UK is a leading country when it comes to action on emissions.”

Gössling said rather than a single transatlantic zero emissions flight in 2025, a better UK goal “would be that, by 2025, 10% of all fuels used will come from renewable sources, or better, will be non-biogenic synthetic fuels”.

A few other nations including France already have such fuel mandates. Norway’s is the most ambitious, requiring 30% from renewable sources by 2030. But airlines, such as those in the US, oppose SAF mandate proposals.

“The timing needs to be realistic,” said the Iata spokesman. “It will take time to scale up production. It usually takes three to four years to build a plant, so I think a five-year window [to 2025] to get supply up and running is necessary.”

Sustainable Aviation, a UK industry [lobby] group, has set out a road map to net zero emissions that allows for a 70% growth in passengers by 2050 and relies heavily on buying carbon offsets elsewhere.

Andy Jefferson, the group’s programme director, said there was no “silver bullet” to tackling aviation carbon emissions but said there was clear evidence that taxes had no environmental benefits and were the least effective way to reduce carbon emissions. “With the right [government] support as we do not see the need to impose additional demand reduction measures,” he said.

Tim Johnson said any financial assistance to aviation from taxpayers should come with the requirement of action: “Talk of incentives and funding is misplaced when the industry is only offering voluntary commitments in return. Technology aspirations shouldn’t provide continued cover for the industry to get away with no effective accountability, tax or regulation on its emissions.”

“Jet zero isn’t a substitute for the government setting out the policies required to set the UK aviation sector on a trajectory to net zero emissions,” said Tim Johnson. “A cleaner and leaner air travel sector will mean we need to fly less, and we shouldn’t be expanding our airports.”

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/nov/25/boris-johnsons-jet-zero-carbon-flight-goal-dismissed-as-a-gimmick-experts-technology-avaiation-emissions

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See earlier:

 

£200 million from government for research into lower carbon planes

The UK government has unveiled £400m in private and public sector funding for technologies and research aimed at cutting aviation CO2 emissions. BEIS has announced that projects aiming to develop high performance engines, new wing designs and ultra-lightweight cabin seats – all intended to cut fuel consumption – will be getting funding from the Government’s Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) programme of £200 million.  Business Secretary Alok Sharma said the £200 million would be matched by £200m from industry. There may also be money from universities, including Nottingham and Birmingham, for this research. The ambition is “zero carbon aviation” as  part of the Government’s FlyZero initiative. Britain would like to become a world leader etc in lower carbon aviation technologies. There is a The Net Zero All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) of MPs that is working on the necessary transition to “net zero” by 2050.  The UK needs to be seen to be leading on this, before hosting COP26 in November 2021 (postponed from Nov 2020). The APPG has a 10 point action plan that says fossil fuel extractors and importers, as well as airlines, should be required to permanently store an increasing percentage of CO2 generated by the products they sell, rising to 100% by 2050, via a proposed “carbon takeback obligation.” 

https://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2020/07/200-million-from-government-for-research-into-lower-carbon-planes/

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Jet Zero Council had its first meeting on 22nd July – to bring aviation emissions in line with UK 2050 net-zero target

Edit this entry.

The Jet Zero Council held its first meeting, online, on 22nd July. Tim Johnson, Director of the Aviation Environment Federation (AEF) is the only representative on the council, representing environmental issues. Government press release on the first meeting said: “Chaired by the Transport and Business Secretaries, today’s first ever Jet Zero council meeting will discuss how to decarbonise the aviation sector while supporting its growth and strengthening the UK’s position as a world leader in the sector.”  And Grant Shapps said: “The Jet Zero Council is a huge step forward in making change – as we push forward with innovative technologies such as sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) and eventually fully electric planes, we will achieve guilt-free flying and boost sustainability for years to come.” … Producers of novel fuels are excited. … They all want lots of government money.  Tim Johnson said: “It was a positive start, with an appropriate degree of ambition and urgency, a technology-neutral stance that will treat all options equally, and recognition that getting new technology and SAF into the fleet requires a regulatory framework that includes carbon pricing. That’s a good platform to work from.” 

https://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2020/10/jet-zero-council-had-its-first-meeting-on-22nd-july-to-bring-aviation-emissions-in-line-with-uk-2050-net-zero-target/

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Government announce a new “Jet Zero” council … but no details or notice to environmental organisations

In a surprise announcement at Friday’s government Covid-19 daily briefing, Grant Shapps, the Secretary of State for Transport, revealed plans for a ‘jet zero’ council, that will include representatives from the aviation industry, Government and environmental groups. Its alleged goal is “to make zero emissions transatlantic flight possible within a generation.” No further details were made available. No environmental group was given any notice about this new initiative. As the principal environmental body working on aviation issues, the AEF (Aviation Environment Federation) should have been included, if the government initiative was serious – not just a bit of nice publicity for the aviation sector. AEF has written to Shapps, to say that if the ‘jet zero’ council is to be a worthwhile initiative, the Government must ensure that it does not simply provide good PR for airlines and airports about a future aspiration – while allowing current emissions to grow unhindered. The initiative must be part of a wider programme of government action to deliver the UK’s climate commitments. The council must operate in a transparent manner including engaging with environmental organisations and all relevant stakeholders. To read the letter in full, click here.   

https://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2020/06/government-announce-a-new-jet-zero-council-but-no-details-or-notice-to-environmental-organisations/

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Chancellor’s business rates subsidy of £8 million covers just 7% of Heathrow’s £120m bill

Heathrow is angry that it is having to pay most of its business rates, while supermarkets and many other businesses are given a 100% waiver.  The government has given airports a subsidy of up to £8 million each this year, to pay their business rates. That is enough to cover the whole amount, for small airports. But Heathrow says it only covers 7% of their rates bill, of almost £120 million, part of which it pays to Hillingdon Borough Council. Heathrow is struggling with a drop of around 82% in its passenger number. It is having to furlough its entire senior management team except its chief executive, to cut costs. Gatwick is probably due to pay £29m in business rates this year, while Manchester and Stansted face bills of £14m and £12m respectively, so the £8 million will not cover their rates bills either. Supermarkets have been given around £1.9 billion in rates help, because initially it was feared there could be problems with food supply. In fact supermarkets have done very well out of Covid, with less food eaten out of the home. Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: “… we have supported them throughout this crisis through the job retention scheme, loans and tax deferrals.”
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Business rates subsidy covers just 7% of Heathrow’s £120m bill

Heathrow – which has lost its crown as Europe’s busiest airport – is due to pay £120m in business rates this year

By Oliver Gill (The Telegraph)

24 November 2020

Heathrow has bemoaned a multimillion-pound subsidy from taxpayers that will cover just 7% of its annual business rates bill.

Ministers handed grants to airports in England equivalent to their annual business rates bills, in the first sector-specific invention of the coronavirus crisis.

However, a decision to cap the subsidy at £8m per site means the support will only cover a fraction of larger airports’ overall bill.

Heathrow, which is taking legal action against the Treasury over its decision to scrap tax-free shopping, is the UK’s biggest business rates payer with a bill of nearly £120m in the current year.

The £8m limit means the state support is less than a fifteenth – of Heathrow’s business rates costs.

The airport said on Friday it planned to furlough its entire senior management team except its chief executive to cut costs. 

Airports across England and Wales face business rates bills of more than £200m in 2020/21, according to property specialist Altus Group.

Gatwick is due to pay £29m in business rates this year, while Manchester and Stansted face bills of £14m and £12m respectively, experts said.

Leaders from the aviation industry, one of the hardest hit by the pandemic, have railed at business rates holidays handed to other sectors such as retail and hospitality. Supermarkets, which have remained open throughout the Covid restrictions, have received a £1.9bn tax break from the Treasury. (See article about opposition to this supermarket benefit). 

The business rates relief came as Grant Shapps, the Transport Secretary, announced a “test and release” system to reduce a two-week travel quarantine down to five days from Dec 15.

A spokesman for Heathrow said: “While we welcome the Government’s recognition that airports have been devastated by Covid-19 and are struggling to survive under the burden of massive rates bills, today’s announcement doesn’t go far enough. The proposed reduction in business rates for Heathrow is only 7&, compared to an 82% reduction in passenger numbers.

“Small airports in England, and all airports in Scotland and Northern Ireland have had a 100% waiver from business rates – even the big supermarkets, which are booming, have enjoyed 100% waiver from business rates. The Government’s proposed approach is discriminatory against large airports, and we will now carefully consider our next steps.”

The funding is crucial for smaller regional airports, however.

Andrew Bell, chief executive of Regional & City Airports that owns Exeter and Bournemouth, said he was pleased the Government had listened to the industry’s calls.

“The measures announced today will provide much-needed support and we will continue to lobby hard and work with Government on what other steps can be taken to safeguard the UK’s regional airports,” he said.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: “The aviation industry is vital to our economy – creating jobs and driving growth- which is why we have supported them throughout this crisis through the job retention scheme, loans and tax deferrals.

“This new package of support for airports, alongside a new testing regime for international arrivals, will help the sector take off once again as we build back better from the pandemic.”

Karen Dee, chief executive of Airport Operators Association said the new measures will help many embattled airports through the challenging months ahead.

“However, not all airports will see full business rates relief and all of aviation will continue to face considerable challenges over the coming months and years,” she said. “We will therefore need to continue to work with Government on what other steps can be taken to safeguard the UK’s aviation businesses.”

Meanwhile, Willie Walsh, the former boss of British Airways owner IAG, is to take over as director general of IATA, the global airlines trade body from April 2021.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2020/11/24/business-rates-subsidy-covers-just-7pc-heathrows-120m-bill/

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English airports to benefit from new £100m covid support package

More than 20 airports will be eligible for up to £8m in funding each to be used for fixed costs and to support ground handling crews

By Tamlyn Jones, Business Reporter  (Birmingham Post)

24 NOV 2020

Commercial airports across England and ground handlers serving them will benefit from up to £8million each under a new government finance package.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has said the £100million package will from next year provide support for 24 airports which have been hit by travel restrictions placed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

It will be used to address fixed costs and be the equivalent to the business rates liabilities of each airport in 2020/21, capped at £8million per site and subject to certain conditions.

It comes as a new Covid-19 testing regime is being introduced for passengers returning to English airports which could see them avoid having to quarantine for the full 14-day obligatory period.

Mr Sunak said: “The aviation industry is vital to our economy – creating jobs and driving growth – which is why we have supported them throughout this crisis through the Job Retention Scheme, loans and tax deferrals.

“This new package of support for airports, alongside a new testing regime for international arrivals, will help the sector take off once again as we build back better from the pandemic.”

The airports to benefit from the package are:

Birmingham
Bournemouth
Bristol
Carlisle
Doncaster Sheffield
East Midlands
Exeter
Gatwick
Heathrow
Humberside
Isles Of Scilly
Lands End
Leeds Bradford
Liverpool John Lennon
London City
Luton
Manchester
Newcastle
Newquay
Norwich
Southampton
Southend
Stansted
Teesside International Airport

…then the article continues about Covid testing of air passengers ….

https://www.business-live.co.uk/economic-development/english-airports-benefit-new-100m-19336234

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See also.

Supermarkets should pay back £1.9bn Covid business rates relief, say MPs

Conservative and Labour MPs say taxpayers’ money not needed by big chains, who are paying out dividends

By Jasper Jolly (The Guardian)

Sun 15 Nov 2020

Big supermarkets should hand back almost £2bn in business rates relief on offer during the coronavirus pandemic because they are paying out dividends to shareholders, according to a former minister in Boris Johnson’s government.

The government introduced a 12-month break on business rates in March across England and Wales because it feared the pandemic would strain retailers’ finances, potentially threatening their ability to feed the country. However, the reality proved very different, with big supermarkets enjoying a sales boost, albeit with higher costs.

In total the big six supermarkets – Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda, Morrison, Aldi and Lidl – will save £1.9bn in bills during the tax year to 31 March 2021, according to figures from Altus Group, a property adviser.

 

And it continues ….  see full article at
https://www.theguardian.com/business/2020/nov/15/supermarkets-should-pay-back-19bn-covid-business-rates-relief-say-mps

 


Heathrow-based companies launch group action against taxman on rates

Sept 3, 2020

Express & Star

The firms have launched proceedings seeking ‘substantial and prolonged reductions’ in business rates.

More than 70 airport businesses based at Heathrow have brought a group action against the UK tax authorities in a bid to secure business rates reductions and are expected to discuss a settlement next week.

Cargo, freight and baggage handling firms are among companies based at the airport who have continued to face significant business rates payment throughout the pandemic despite a dive in passenger numbers.

In England and Wales, businesses providing handling services at airports are liable for full rates while counterparts in Scotland have been handed a 100% rates holiday.

The companies based at Heathrow, Europe’s busiest airport, have now launched the proceedings seeking “substantial and prolonged reductions” in the property tax.

It comes a day after Heathrow airport itself said it has started consulting with unions over pay cuts in a process which could lead to job losses due to low traffic numbers.

It is understood that real estate adviser Altus Group is advising the group of companies, having lodged two separate “group pre-challenge review” requests with the Valuation Office Agency arm of HMRC.

Settlement discussions are set to start on Monday September 7 regarding the first request, which relates to those operating on the periphery of the airport such as freight and cargo services.

A second request has been made which relates to airline services let out at the airport such as passenger lounges, baggage handling services and engineering bases.

If a settlement is not reached, the cases could move forward to an independent valuation tribunal.

Robert Hayton, head of business rates at Altus Group, said: “The requests are directly related to the substantial physical impact upon the property and its overall physical environment of numerous legislative, policy and associated matters introduced as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic both within the United Kingdom and wider.

“The impact that coronavirus has had on airports, as well as those businesses operating in and around the sites, are already obvious and grounds exist to support a substantial and prolonged reduction through the business rates system.”

John Holland-Kaye, chief executive of Heathrow Airport, has previously called the Government to match support for retailers with rate holidays with similar support for airports.

He recently told the Aviation Club: “Most countries get this … But once again it seems that our government has taken the opposite approach to the rest of the world.

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“There has been no support for the aviation sector beyond the job retention scheme.

“While Tesco and Sainsbury’s have had their business rates waived for a year, airports have had no relief.”

A Valuation Office Agency spokesman said: “We have received a number of requests from ratepayers to consider material change of circumstances due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We are working through these and cannot speculate on the outcomes or comment on any individual cases.”

https://www.expressandstar.com/news/uk-news/2020/09/03/heathrow-based-companies-launch-group-action-against-taxman-on-rates/

 


NO 3RD RUNWAY COALITION PRESS RELEASE

4 June 2020

HEATHROW TRYING TO GET OUT OF PAYING BUSINESS RATES BILL

Heathrow Airport is trying to get out of paying its £113m business rates bill, according to an annual review of business ratepayers by Altus Group, a real estate adviser (1/2).

Heathrow owes £113.2m of business rates for the current tax year, the highest of any site in England and Wales. Heathrow’s business rates are split between Hillingdon Council – the local authority, which receives £16.3m, with the remainder of the bill going to the Greater London Authority and central Government.

The rates are calculated in accordance with an estimation of Heathrow’s rental value, as at 1 April 2015 (1).

The Airport argue that their rates bill should be cut because it was “based on a world in which people flew”, but campaigners believe that they should be paying the full £113million bill on the basis that the money goes towards the community and a failure to pay could jeopardise many local projects that are funded through the rates.

Paul McGuinness, Chair of the No 3rd Runway Coalition, said: “Heathrow’s claim that their rates bill is ‘based on a world in which people flew’ is inaccurate and self-pitying, and it should be given short shrift. “Rates are calculated on a property’s annual market rental value and size. And not on the current success, or otherwise, of the business operating it.

Moreover, a responsible company is expected to set aside (preferably in a separate account) all its anticipated tax liabilities. “And, lest we forget, the rates bill that they owe to the community – from which they now seek exemption – is broadly the same size as the £100m dividends payment that they made, so willingly, to their foreign shareholders just a few weeks ago”.

ENDS.

Notes:

1. UK airports face multimillion-pound business rates bills, FT, 1 Jun 20 https://www.ft.com/content/010d4115-47de-4e35-92c1-6c67cee9af37

2. Atlus Group, Annual Business Rates Review 2020 https://property.altusgroup.com/business-rates/annual-business-ratesreview-2020/

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See earlier:

 

UK airports face multimillion-pound business rates bills – money that should be paid to councils

Heathrow and Gatwick airports are facing £ multi-million business rates bills, despite the pandemic having grounded aircraft and dramatically cut their incomes.  The airports are among thousands of UK companies set to appeal against their rates bills. Heathrow apparently owes £113.2m for the current tax year, the highest of any site in England and Wales, according to an annual review of business ratepayers by Altus Group, a real estate adviser. Gatwick has the next biggest bill at £29.2m.   Business rates, which are paid to local councils, are calculated on the basis of rateable values — effectively an estimate of a property’s rental value at a given date. Rateable values are set according to rents on April 1 2015.  They are not based on how well, or how badly, a company is doing.  Heathrow bleated that the rates were based on “a world in which people flew”. The airports argue that rates relief will help them protect jobs.  Some sectors – retail, hospitality or leisure – have been given rates holidays.  The money from the rates is a key part of the income of councils, and if not paid, then the funding and spending of councils is at risk. 

https://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2020/06/uk-airports-face-multimillion-pound-business-rates-bills-money-that-should-be-paid-to-councils/

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UK cross-party group to lobby for Covid funds in areas that depend on airports

Cllr Steve Curran, the Labour leader of Hounslow council and Henry Smith, the Conservative MP for Crawley, have written an Opinion piece in the Guardian about the sorry state of their areas – with Heathrow and Gatwick areas badly hit by the collapse in demand for air travel.  They say they “have the awful distinction of heading the national league tables for furloughed and unemployed workers. …There’s little prospect of aviation returning to anything like its previous levels, not even with the advent of a vaccine, not in the short term. The damage may well prove to be permanent … In Hounslow …and Crawley … 40% of our workforces were being supported by the state at the end of the summer. This number is likely to worsen. It is similar for parts of Birmingham, Essex, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Teesside, Newcastle and Glasgow and the other districts where concentrations of airport workers live.” They say it is not only the air crews and pilots but all the support workers. There will be an Aviation Communities Summit on Tuesday 24 November – to assess the economic and social harm, and to ask the government to establish an aviation communities fund to meet the immediate and longer-term needs.
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UK cross-party group to lobby for Covid funds in areas that depend on airports

Leaders around Gatwick and Heathrow request ‘aviation communities fund’ to help local workers

‘Our communities around Britain’s airports are being devastated’

By Simon Goodley (The Guardian)

Sun 22 Nov 2020

A cross-party group of national and local politicians will this week lobby the government for emergency funds to tackle the impact of Covid-19 on workers whose livelihoods rely on airports.

The aviation industry has been identified as one of the business sectors hardest hit by the pandemic – costing the local economy of Hounslow, which neighbours Heathrow airport, a total of £1bn over three years, a study commissioned by the local council suggests.

Steve Curran, the Labour leader of Hounslow council, and Henry Smith, the Conservative MP for Crawley, which includes Gatwick airport, said  [see their opinion piece below] their two constituencies “have the awful distinction of heading the national league tables for numbers furloughed and unemployed” and that “at the end of the summer 40% of our workforces were being supported by the state, [with] this number … likely to worsen.”

In an opinion piece shared with the Guardian, the politicians said: “In all, some 733,000 jobs in, and connected to, Britain’s international and regional airports, are at risk from a prolonged downturn in air traffic.

“Little mention is made of the support workers, among them the cleaners, mechanics, attendants, drivers, waiters, kitchen staff, who toil behind the scenes … Many of these jobs are low-skilled and pay low wages. Many of those who do them are from the younger and older age groups of the working population; many too, are from BAME communities. They’re likely to have difficulty in finding alternative suitable employment.”

Representatives of Hounslow and Crawley, plus other affected areas around UK airports, said they will meet on Tuesday “to assess the economic and social harm”, as well as to ask the government to establish an “aviation communities fund” to meet the immediate and longer-term needs of workers reliant on airports.

In July, Hounslow commissioned a study by the forecasting group Oxford Economics, which stated that 11,000 of the borough’s residents work in jobs directly linked to Heathrow out of a total workforce of about 150,000.

The research paper added that up to 43,000 jobs were associated with the airport’s “catalytic impact”.

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2020/nov/22/uk-cross-party-group-to-lobby-for-covid-funds-in-areas-that-depend-on-airports

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Our communities around Britain’s airports are being devastated

Guardian – Opinion

22.11.2020

By Cllr Steve Curran (Hounslow, Heathrow)  and Henry Smith MP (Gatwick)

• Cllr Steve Curran is the Labour leader of Hounslow council and

Henry Smith is the Conservative MP for Crawley

We have the awful distinction of heading the national league tables for furloughed and unemployed workers

UK cross-party group to lobby for Covid funds in areas that depend on airports

The residential areas around Heathrow, Gatwick and other UK airports have been hit especially hard by the coronavirus pandemic.

Everywhere in Britain the financial and social impact of Covid-19 is being felt. Up and down the land, whole industries have been affected and businesses, large and small, have been forced to close.

Hardest hit, though, have been the communities located around airports – those areas that provide the workers for their local airport, that rely on the terminals, the hangars and the economy that has grown up around it, for jobs and prosperity. At a stroke, with the onset of the pandemic and the collapse worldwide in air travel, that vital connection has been severely reduced.

Since then, it’s worsened. There’s little prospect of aviation returning to anything like its previous levels, not even with the advent of a vaccine, not in the short term. The damage may well prove to be permanent.

The immediate effects have been devastating. Our two communities, Hounslow in west London and Crawley in Sussex, have the awful distinction of heading the national league tables for numbers of furloughed and unemployed workers.

In Hounslow, next to Heathrow, and Crawley near Gatwick, 40% of our workforces were being supported by the state at the end of the summer. This number is likely to worsen. It is similar for parts of Birmingham, Essex, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Teesside, Newcastle and Glasgow and the other districts where concentrations of airport workers live.

Each day brings news of further aviation redundancies and closures. In all, 733,000 jobs in, and connected to, Britain’s international and regional airports, are at risk from a prolonged downturn in air traffic.

Much attention, naturally, is devoted to the airlines and air crews, and the retail brands whose revenues have been decimated. What’s often forgotten is the ancillary staff. Little mention is made of the support workers, among them the cleaners, mechanics, attendants, drivers, waiters and kitchen staff, who toil behind the scenes serving the airlines, caterers, hangars, stores, bars, restaurants, hotels, lounges and transport providers that make up a modern airport.

And not just them, but the myriad small, medium and large enterprises that develop around an airport and count on it for business. In normal times, they all help sustain the local economy.

Many of these jobs are low-skilled and pay low wages. Many of those who do them are from the younger and older age groups of the working population. Many too, are from BAME communities. They’re likely to have difficulty in finding suitable alternative employment.

Hounslow commissioned a study from Oxford Economics on the cost to its economy from Heathrow’s slump. Its experts put the total at £1bn. That bill will be repeated, pro rata, at the other reeling aviation communities.

It’s not just a financial loss – the air travel downturn is going to be reflected in increased social, health and mental health problems, and in crime. Hounslow has witnessed a 200% rise in domestic violence cases since the outbreak began. These, too, are places that are feeling the widespread ravages of Covid – their high streets are haemorrhaging, the same as elsewhere in Britain.

This aviation crisis is not going to end immediately – air travel, the industry leaders are predicting, is not facing a quick bounce-back. Passenger volumes aren’t expected to return to their 2019 levels until 2023 at the earliest, while air freight is likely to take longer.

These communities were facing uncertainty even before the advent of coronavirus. Environmental concerns were putting the brakes on airport expansion and future employment prospects.

This is why, from Hounslow and Crawley, we’re coming together with the other affected areas to hold the first Aviation Communities Summit on Tuesday 24 November – to assess the economic and social harm, and to ask the government to establish an aviation communities fund to meet the immediate and longer-term needs. It is cross-party, non-political. At stake is the future wellbeing of hundreds of thousands of people.

We must provide people with the skills so they can seek new opportunities. The different schemes aimed at apprenticeships and providing adult education programmes should, in the light of this unfolding disaster, be revisited, possibly consolidated and be made more relevant to future needs.

The infrastructure provision in these areas should be reassessed and if required, rebalanced, to reflect the shifting economic landscape. We must focus on attracting new business, new investment, that’s not so dependent on aviation.

None of this, we know, will be cheap. We are considering, therefore, exploring a funding mechanism, once air travel has recovered, that can be used to benefit communities in a major levelling-up initiative.

These and other positive, proactive suggestions are what we – Britain’s communities that depend so much on our airports – would like to explore, starting with the unprecedented summit with the government and our stakeholders.

• Cllr Steve Curran is the Labour leader of Hounslow council and Henry Smith is the Conservative MP for Crawley

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2020/nov/22/our-communities-around-britains-airports-are-being-devastated

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See earlier:

Gatwick could lose 600 jobs, and it could take 4-5 years for passengers to return to 2019 levels

Gawick plans to cut a quarter of its workforce due to the impact of coronavirus. So about 600 jobs could be lost following an 80% reduction in the 2019 number of passengers in August. It only has the North Terminal working.  CEO Stewart Wingate said the cuts were a result of the “devastating impacts” coronavirus had on the airline and travel industries.  In March, Gatwick announced 200 jobs would be lost, and it later took out a £300m bank loan. With the collapse in passenger numbers, the company said it was looking to further reduce costs. About 75% of staff are currently on the government’s furlough scheme, which is due to end in October. The DfT says: “If people need financial support quickly they may be able to claim Universal Credit and new style Jobseekers Allowance.”  Many staff belong to the union, Unite, which will fight to minimise redundancies.  The airport has said it will take “four to five years” for passenger numbers to return to pre-pandemic levels. Its revenue fell by 61% in the half year, January to June, compared to 2019. While Covid remains a very real issue, and levels are slowly rising in many countries, air passengers have no certainty about from which countries they would need to quarantine themselves for 14 days, on their return.

Click here to view full story…

Heathrow catering company plans to make 1,068 workers redundant – there’s not enough demand for airline meals

The Heathrow catering company DO & CO is planning to make 1,068 workers redundant, as there is not enough work for them – with so few flights.  The Austrian-owned company’s biggest customer is British Airways, with a 10 year BA contract. The total in the company to have lost their jobs will be 1,377, including voluntary redundancies, since the coronavirus pandemic started in March.  Just 507 staff will be left. DO & CO has decided not to use the furlough scheme, which would have seen staff be paid 80% of their wages until at least March 2021. The Unite trade union said DO & CO was the only Heathrow catering company not to engage constructively with the union over furlough. It wants talks and the company not to agree to make the staff redundant before Christmas.  Unite says:  “We are naming and shaming DO &CO as an example of corporate callousness … and pointing out the indirect reputational damage to British Airways…”   If there is going to be a contraction of the aviation sector, with fewer people flying than in 2019 for several years to come, how are staff to continue to be employed, in a company that has no work for them? It is likely that air travel demand will never return to its 2019 level. It shows how vulnerable an area is if too dependent on an airport.

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Heathrow area risks fate of 1980s mining towns, says airport boss – area too dependent on the airport

Perhaps even more than other airports like Gatwick and Luton, a large part of the economy around Heathrow has become over-dependent on the airport. Now the CEO of Heathrow, John Holland-Kaye has said boroughs like Hounslow risk becoming like “a mining town in the 1980s” with the collapse in air traffic putting tens of thousands of jobs at risk. Many more people work in businesses associated with Heathrow, than directly for the airport itself.  In August, Heathrow had around 1.4 million passengers, which is less than 20% of its “normal” amount.  People are not flying for leisure, due to the risk of Covid itself, or the need to quarantine. There are few business trips, as they are being replaced by Zoom etc.  Many in the aviation sector do not think levels of flying will return to their 2019 levels for 2-3 years, or more – if ever.  Heathrow had losses of £1.1bn in the first half of 2020. Recently Heathrow issued formal section 188 notices, allowing it to potentially fire and rehire some 4,700 employees, after months of negotiations with unions representing its directly employed ground staff failed to produce an agreement. Section 188 means the airport can bypass negotiations after a 45-day period has elapsed. There might overall be 25,000 Heathrow-related job losses.

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Even with so few flights, due to Covid, global aviation in 2020 still exceeding its CO2 target for 2050

In 2019, emissions from the global civil aviation sector were more than 900 million tonnes of CO2. In 2016 the figure was around 814 million tonnes, and around 650 million tonnes in 2005. IATA has a target that the sector’s carbon emissions will be half their level in 2005, by 2050 ie 325 million tonnes.  And that is to happen, while the industry aims for compound annual growth of 3%.  This year, due to Covid, global demand for air travel has been down hugely, with airports like Heathrow having as much as 80% fewer flights than a year ago.  But IATA has admitted that even with that immense reduction in flights, the sector will still have emitted more than 325 million tonnes of CO2.  This highlights the scale of the challenge for the industry, to “square the circle” of trying to keep growing, but emitting less carbon.  This issue is to be discussed at IATA’s virtual AGM on 24 November. The industry body ATAG is anticipating that demand for air travel, and hence carbon emissions, might be 16% lower than pre-Covid forecasts by 2050, as there has been behaviour change and social change, caused by the pandemic.    
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Crisis CO2 levels highlight scale of airline challenge: IATA sustainability chief

By Lewis Harper (Flight Global)

20 November 2020

The huge reduction in carbon emissions from commercial airlines in 2020 paradoxically highlights the scale of the challenge ahead for the industry to meet its sustainability targets, according to IATA’s director of aviation environment, Michael Gill.

In a year that has seen connectivity devastated by the coronavirus pandemic, overall CO2 emissions will still be higher than the industry’s target level for 2050, Gill tells FlightGlobal ahead of IATA’s AGM on 24 November.

“I don’t want to be unduly negative,” he states. “It’s really to give an idea of the order of magnitude that we’re dealing with.

“This year, even in the midst of the worst crisis, with 50% less traffic, we’re not down to 325 million tonnes [of CO2 emitted],” he explains, referring to the global industry’s long-term objective to reduce emissions to half of 2005 levels by 2050.  [See Iata document dated June 2020 at https://www.iata.org/contentassets/fb745460050c48089597a3ef1b9fe7a8/paper-offsetting-for-aviation.pdf ]

In 2019, emissions reached more than 900 million tonnes of CO2, notes Gill, who is also executive director of industry body Air Transport Action Group (ATAG).  [IATA says “In 2016, civil aviation, as a whole, emitted around 814 million tonnes of CO2”.]

Gill says the crisis has impacted traffic forecasts through to 2050

Crucially, with ATAG’s (Air Transport Action Group) latest projection of a 3% compound annual growth rate in airline traffic through to 2050 – and demand expected to be back at 2019 levels within a few years – an absolute reduction in CO2 emissions still needs to be achieved amid much more air travel.

It is therefore no surprise that of the two resolutions planned for this year’s stripped-down IATA AGM, one will reaffirm the industry’s commitment to its environmental targets – an issue that had shot up the airline agenda pre-pandemic.

The crisis has “really focused peoples’ minds on our long-term objectives and the goals we set”, Gill remarks.

SUSTAINABLE AVIATION FUEL IS IMPORTANT FOCUS

Among IATA’s top priorities, it aims to promote the role that sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) could play in achieving sustainability targets, and the need for government support to drive that agenda. [Not “need”; the aviation sector’s wish].

SAF is part of a suite of measures the industry is counting on to meet its targets, which also includes advancements in technology – notably in aircraft design – alongside operational and infrastructure improvements, all underpinned by ICAO’s CORSIA emissions offset scheme.

At the same time, Gill states that IATA is “actively looking at the pathways that could take the industry to an even more ambitious objective, to a net-zero emissions future, and that will come out of the AGM discussions”.

Helpfully, perhaps, the current crisis is having an impact on long-term emissions growth.

“The impact has been so great, we still think it’s going to have a knock-on effect on our emissions even out to 2050, because the emissions then are forecast to be about 16% less than we had thought they were pre-Covid,” Gill says.

ATAG released a revised outlook in late September, showing that it expects the aviation sector to be transporting around 10 billion passengers a year by 2050 – more than twice 2019 levels, but 16% down on previous forecasts

“So, yes, there’s going to be a recovery, but the impacts of Covid as far as emissions are concerned are going to be felt for some time,” Gill observes.

WILL STRUGGLING AIRLINES STILL FOCUS ON THE ENVIRONMENT?

Amid that unplanned – and relatively minor – moderating of the sector’s impact, is there an immediate danger that debt-laden airlines emerge from the crisis without the resources or time to focus on sustainability?

“For some carriers it may have some short-term impact,” Gill says, citing delayed fleet-renewal programmes and a reduced ability to invest in SAF – particularly if they cannot access the fuel “at more or less parity” with traditional jet fuel in cost terms.

But sustainability is an “unavoidable” issue for airlines, Gill says.

And, if anything, the crisis has intensified the focus on the industry.

He highlights how government bailouts of some carriers carry conditions around reducing the environmental impact of their operations.

At the same time, ”we’re hearing from passengers that the environment is going to be one of the key questions they consider” before booking a flight.

Crucially, “people have got used to not flying” during the crisis, and may see “some benefits” to that, Gill states.

Such considerations make it more important than ever that the industry gets its response right, he says.

WHAT IS IATA’S MESSAGE TO GRETA THUNBERG?

Indeed, with movements such ’flygskam’, or ’flight shame’, and high profile figures such as Greta Thunberg attracting support – particularly among younger generations – the scrutiny of the industry is only likely to become more intense.

Asked what his message would be to those advocating that people fly less, Gill says engagement is the starting point.

“Coming from an association’s perspective it would be: engage with us, come and talk to us,” he states. “We have a clear and a credible story to tell, we recognise that others are challenging us and others have different views.”

So far, the dialogue has only been in one direction, he notes.

“We haven’t yet seen a genuine effort coming from the anti-aviation movement to really sit and talk with the aviation sector, try and understand the particular constraints we have, and try and understand what we’re trying to do to address those challenges,” Gill says. [What nonsense ! The aviation sector wants to keep emitting more carbon. People deeply concerned about climate breakdown know that has to be prevented. It is not a matter of “coming and speaking to us” so the aviation sector can try to hoodwink opponents, with talk of magical, unrealistic future “solutions”.   AW comment]

“The door’s open. Come and speak to us.”

https://www.flightglobal.com/strategy/crisis-co2-levels-highlight-scale-of-airline-challenge-iata-sustainability-chief/141232.article

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To save money, Heathrow to put all its staff onto furlough for a month each, between 1st December and 31st March 2021

Heathrow is now to furlough its entire senior management team apart from its chief executive, John Holland-Kaye. It will also pave the way for more permanent job losses, as it is very unlikely that the 2019 level of demand for air travel will return for years, if ever.  Sky News reports that it has seen emails sent by Heathrow executives which detail plans for a new voluntary redundancy scheme and a requirement for staff to be placed on furlough for at least four weeks between 1st December and 31st March. Sky says: “Sources said the furlough requirement would apply to every Heathrow employee other than John Holland-Kaye.”  Not only senior management. The airport is estimated to have lost £1.5bn since the start of the Covid pandemic. It is losing about £5m every day while it remains open, with so few passengers or flights. The number of passengers was down 82% in October, compared to a year earlier. There have been talks with the trade unions, about job cuts, big pay cuts, worse pension terms and worse employment terms for many of the 5,700 people who work for the airport. There will be a 4 day strike in December, and unions say Heathrow “will grind to a halt”.
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Heathrow turns screw on cost cuts with new furlough plan

The UK’s biggest airport is to furlough its top team and end subsidised travel in a bid to slash costs, Sky News learns.

By Mark Kleinman, City editor (SKY)

Friday 20 November 2020

Heathrow is burning through £5m every day while it remains open

Britain’s biggest airport is to furlough its entire senior management team apart from its chief executive and pave the way for more permanent job losses, underlining its pessimism about the aviation industry’s short-term recovery prospects.

Sky News has seen emails sent by Heathrow executives on Friday which detail plans for a new voluntary redundancy scheme and a requirement for staff to be placed on furlough for at least four weeks between the beginning of December and the end of March.

Sources said the furlough requirement would apply to every Heathrow employee other than John Holland-Kaye, the airport’s chief executive.

The latest developments come weeks after Heathrow relinquished its crown as Europe’s busiest airport to Paris’s Charles de Gaulle, with passenger numbers at the London hub down by 82% year-on-year in October.

Industry analysts say the outlook for this month is even bleaker because of the second English lockdown.

Heathrow is burning through £5m every day while it remains open, and is estimated to have lost £1.5bn since the start of the pandemic.

It has nevertheless been locked in fractious talks with trade unions about revised employment terms for many of the 5,700 people who work at the airport – including reduced pension contributions and reduced salaries for several thousand people.

Workers at the airport have voted in favour of industrial action over four days next month which unions have warned will mean that Heathrow “will grind to a halt”.

Significant compulsory job cuts remain a possibility, with the voluntary severance scheme outlined on Friday offering a lump sum in return for redundancy, with expressions of interest required by next Thursday.

One insider signalled that further compulsory redundancies were likely if too few people accepted the voluntary severance option.

Heathrow’s rivals, including Gatwick and Manchester Airports Group, which owns Stansted, have already cut hundreds of jobs each amid a slump in demand.

The wider adoption of the Treasury’s furlough scheme underlines how Heathrow is scrambling to save money eight months after the COVID-19 crisis erupted.

Ministers’ decision not to agree to a comprehensive airport testing regime has infuriated the tourism and aviation sectors, which have blamed the government for contributing to a lack of confidence in international travel between the lockdowns.

Heathrow and other airport operators are also frustrated that there has been no alleviation of their financial pain in the form of business rates relief, unlike that afforded to supermarket chains, which by contrast have thrived during the pandemic.

In an email to Heathrow employees, Paula Stannett, its chief people officer, said: “With the extension of the furlough scheme until 31 March 2021, all non-operational colleagues (negotiated and non-negotiated grades) and operational colleagues in non-negotiated grades will be required to take a minimum of four weeks (20 days) of furlough between 1 December and 31 March (pro-rated for part time colleagues).

“This furlough could be taken in one continuous block or as flexi-furlough, for example as one or two days each week.

“Reduced workload in some teams will mean that some colleagues will also continue to be asked to take longer periods on furlough.”

Ms Stannett said that there could be limited exemptions to the requirement, adding: “We do recognise that a number of business-critical roles may not be able to take a full four weeks of furlough. These exceptional cases must be approved by People Committee.”

Sources said that the airport was also halting subsidised transport for people working on the site, including on bus and coach services.

The airport also plans to suspend free travel within the zone around the airport from January, while discounts on some train services would also be scrapped, according to another memo sent to staff.

Heathrow declined to comment.

https://news.sky.com/story/heathrow-turns-screw-on-cost-cuts-with-new-furlough-plan-12137376

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See also The Telegraph

 

Heathrow to furlough all managers except chief executive

UK’s biggest airport also plans to shed more staff through new voluntary redundancy schemes as it continues to suffer pandemic pain

By Louise Moon (The Telegraph)
20 November 2020

Heathrow plans to furlough its entire senior management team except its chief executive in the latest sign that an imminent recovery for the pandemic-hit aviation industry is unlikely.

The UK’s biggest airport also plans more job losses under new voluntary redundancy schemes, according to emails sent by Heathrow’s executives on Friday that Sky News first reported. Staff must express interest by next Thursday.

All Heathrow management other than chief executive John Holland-Kaye face being furloughed for at least four weeks in total between the beginning of December and the end of March, when the government’s wage subsidy scheme is due to end.

Full article at

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2020/11/20/heathrow-furlough-managers-except-chief-executive/

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Airport groups write to the Prime Minister to say the taxpayer should not have to pay for the decarbonisation of aviation

A number of airport community groups have written to the Prime Minister, in response to a letter that he has been sent by the lobbying body, “Sustainable Aviation.  The UK aviation industry leaders are asking the Government to co-finance the sector’s decarbonisation. The community groups are pleased the industry is starting to realise that it must address its climate change effects and other adverse environmental impacts. Instead of yet more aspirational words, the industry should now start taking decisive and long-overdue action. Regrettably, however, its willingness to do so appears to be conditional on the taxpayer bearing the cost of the transition it needs to make. That should not happen: there is no economic or social case for public investment in aviation’s decarbonisation. Most flights are for leisure purposes; a high proportion are by frequent flyers; in any one year, about half the UK population does not get into a plane. The sector already receives an effective subsidy, by not paying VAT or fuel duty. Government’s role should be to regulate the industry’s emissions and other adverse environmental and health impacts properly, by setting and enforcing challenging targets and defined timescales. Aviation’s decarbonisation should be paid for by the industry, not by the taxpayer.
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The letter

Decarbonising aviation – letter to the Prime Minister

From:

AirportWatch
Aviation Communities Forum (ACF)
FlightFree UK
Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign (GACC)
Heathrow Association for the Control of Air Noise (HACAN)
Luton and District Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise (LADACAN)
No 3rd Runway Coalition
Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE)

To:

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

19 November 2020

 

Dear Prime Minister

Regulating aviation decarbonisation to deliver a green economic recovery

We are writing in response to the recent letter to you from UK aviation industry leaders, which asks the Government to co-finance the sector’s decarbonisation.  [ Letter copied below ].

We are pleased the industry is beginning to acknowledge that it must address its climate change effects and other adverse environmental impacts. Its track record to date is dismal. UK aviation’s CO2 emissions grew by nearly 16% between 2010 and 2018 (and by 124% since 1990) and reached a new record high in 2019. The Climate Change Committee project that aviation will account for 35% of the UK’s residual emissions by 2050, placing a restrictive burden on other areas of the productive economy, perhaps most particularly upon regions of the UK requiring further development.

Encouraged by the absence of effective regulation of its adverse environmental impacts, aviation has adopted a “words not actions” strategy, periodically announcing, then missing, a series of aspirational environmental targets. Instead of yet more words, the industry should now start taking decisive and long-overdue action.

Regrettably, however, its willingness to do so appears to be conditional on the taxpayer bearing the cost of the transition it needs to make. That should not happen: there is no economic or social case for public investment in aviation’s decarbonisation.

UK aviation overwhelmingly provides leisure flights to a small and relatively wealthy sector of society: government data shows that 80% of UK passengers travel for leisure purposes and that 15% of people take 70% of flights. The industry already benefits from extensive public funding and tax advantages. Requiring the general taxpayer to cross subsidise further the low-margin high-volume business model the industry has chosen and the lifestyle choices of a small minority of the population would be wrong in principle. It would also perpetuate the current moral hazard in which the industry pollutes with impunity but expects others to bear the consequences and clean up after it.

Instead the Government’s role should be to regulate the industry’s emissions and other adverse environmental and health impacts properly, by setting and enforcing challenging targets and defined timescales.

The current regulatory vacuum, including the lack of any legal requirement on airlines to reduce emissions (in contrast to the requirements imposed by the Climate Change Act on other sectors), creates uncertainty that airlines will be willing to pay the premium that low carbon technologies and fuels will incur and is holding back the development of those markets. By contrast, effective regulation that obliges the industry to decarbonise would incentivise the market to develop, and the industry to adopt, low carbon solutions without the need for public funds. Reforming regulation of the industry’s environmental impacts should therefore be at the top of the government’s aviation action list.

Investment to decarbonise aviation and reduce its other adverse impacts is essential, but the costs and risks of that investment must be borne fully by the polluter – the industry and its customers – not by the taxpayer.

Yours sincerely,

Sarah Clayton, AirportWatch Charles Lloyd, Aviation Communities Forum
Anna Hughes, FlightFree UK
Peter Barclay, Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign
John Stewart, Heathrow Association for the Control of Air Noise
Andrew Lambourne, Luton and District Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise
Paul McGuinness, No 3rd Runway Coalition
Martin Peachey, Stop Stansted Expansion

 

cc:
The Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP, Secretary of State for Transport
Robert Courts MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State
Huw Merriman, Chair, Transport Committee
Chris Stark, Chief Executive, Climate Change Committee
Karen Dee, Chief Executive, Airport Operators Association
Tim Alderslade, Chief Executive, Airlines UK
Dr Andy Jefferson, Programme Director, Sustainable Aviation

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The letter to the Prime Minister from Sustainable Aviation

at

https://www.sustainableaviation.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/Sustainable-Aviation-CEO-letter-to-the-PM3.pdf

and is copied below:

 

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

 

16 November 2020

 

Dear Prime Minister,

Putting aviation decarbonisation at the heart of a green economic recovery

As leaders of the UK’s world-leading aviation industry, we know that our future must be environmentally sustainable. That is why in February this year UK aviation collectively committed to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050, in a world-first for our sector.

This steadfast commitment has not changed, even as the world has changed around us. But to deliver net zero, partnership between Government and industry is now more vital than ever. The creation of the Jet Zero Council, bringing industry and Government together with the goal of making zero-emissions flight possible, has been a welcome and exciting step forward.

There is now a once in a generation chance for the UK to seize the opportunity to lead the world, both in delivering net zero flight, and to enable UK aviation to support our economic recovery through the high skilled jobs, supply-chain and export benefits that investment in new green aviation technology will bring.

To achieve this, support is critical in three areas. First, we urge the Government to take the next step and enable the emergence of a domestic UK Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF) industry, principally through targeted loan guarantees and the provision of capital grants. Utilising the UK’s unique skills and capabilities we have identified seven UK industrial clusters which have the potential to generate thousands of highly skilled green jobs and help to level-up the UK.

SAF is essential as the primary and only envisaged pathway to decarbonise long-haul flight, and as existing technology can make a difference this decade. Early support is critical to the delivery of first-of-a-kind plants, the foundation for up to 14 plants generating sustainable fuel from household and industrial waste by the mid-2030s.

Second, Government should increase its support for technological innovation through the Aerospace Technology Institute – helping deliver those ground-breaking electric, hybrid and hydrogen powered aircraft which have the potential to revolutionise regional and short-haul travel and deliver net zero aviation, building on this year’s ground-breaking zero-emissions electric and hydrogen flights from Cranfield. Investment will be needed in infrastructure to support these electric and hydrogen planes, once operational.

Third, the UK must maintain its commitment to delivering airspace modernisation, a critical nextstep on the path to net-zero. It will eliminate inefficiencies, shorten journey times and reduce carbon emissions, so we urge the Government to support the short term funding request from ACOG that would progress this through the Airspace Masterplan.

We look forward to working with Government to build a sustainable recovery for our sector and the UK economy, and maintain the UK’s proud tradition of aviation and aerospace excellence.

Yours sincerely,

Karen Dee Chief Executive Airport Operators Association

Sir Martin Donnelly President, Boeing Europe, Managing Director Boeing UK and Ireland Paul Stein Chief Technology Officer Rolls-Royce plc

Nick Barton Chief Executive Birmingham Airport

Alberto Martin CEO London Luton Airport Dave Lees CEO Bristol Airport

Henrik Wareborn CEO Velocys PLC

Tim Alderslade Chief Executive Airlines UK

Mark Tanzer Chief Executive ABTA

Charlie Cornish Chief Executive Officer Manchester Airports Group

Paul Everitt Chief Executive ADS

John Holland-Kaye Chief Executive Officer Heathrow Airport Ltd

Peter Mather Senior Vice President, Europe and Head of Country, UK bp plc

Stewart Wingate Chief Executive Officer London Gatwick

Dr. Jennifer Holmgren Chief Executive Officer LanzaTech

Sean Doyle Chief Executive British Airways

Martin Rolfe Chief Executive Officer NATS

Johan Lundgren Chief Executive Officer EasyJet

Robert Sinclair Chief Executive London City Airport

Alex Doisneau Managing Director Dnata

Katherine Bennett CBE Senior Vice President Airbus in the UK

Stephen Heapy Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer Jet2 plc

 

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