23 NOVEMBER 2020


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Article from BTNews 23 NOVEMBER 2020

COMMENT: The Green Economic Recovery

The Prime Minister’s ten-point plan

Last Wednesday (18 November) the Government published what it called its “Ten-Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution.”  

On the whole it was welcomed by the business community but circumstances are such that the pandemic still dominates the news and the paper’s initial impact marginalised.  In time it may be seen as a vital marker in the race to save the environment.  It is worth reading.

Aviation did feature at number six.  One line stood out “Our action will cement our position as a global leader in aerospace, (worth £12 billion to the UK economy), and position the UK at the forefront of the zero-emission aircraft revolution.”

No mention of the present dire situation for the airlines but on the positive side the Jet Zero Council was acknowledged and the plans for electric aircraft mentioned.

For the immediate future we reproduce here a letter to Boris Johnson published earlier in the week from the Sustainable Aviation lobby group of 20 air travel industry CEOs.  In a further statement they welcomed the PM’s declaration.

The Prime Minister’s ten-point plan

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 next-step 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,

This is a list of the signatories, all CEO’s or the equivalent, in company order.

Mark Tanzer (ABTA), Paul Everitt  (ADS), Tim Alderslade (Airlines UK), Katherine Bennett (Airbus UK), Karen Dee (AOA), Sean Doyle (BA), Nick Barton (Birmingham Airport), Sir Martin Donnelly (Boeing Europe), Peter Mather (BP), Dave Lees (Bristol Airport), Alex Doisneau (Dnata), Johan Lundgren (EasyJet),  Stewart Wingate (Gatwick Airport), John Holland-Kaye (Heathrow Airport), Stephen Heapy (Jet2 plc), Dr. Jennifer Holmgren (LanzaTech), Robert Sinclair (London City Airport)), Alberto Martin (Luton Airport), Charlie Cornish (Manchester Airports Group), Martin Rolfe (NATS),  Paul Stein (Rolls-Royce plc), Henrik Wareborn (Velocys PLC).

2 DECEMBER.  Details next week

Sustainable Aviation Fuel: An introductory guide – 2 December – For airlines and stakeholders with little or no experience using SAFs

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OUR READERS' FINEST WORDS (All times and dates are GMT)

All comments are filtered to exclude any excesses but the Editor does not have to agree with what is being said. 100 words maximum

David Starkie, London

Re Part 4 of the Plan, most cars sold in the UK are imported; 80% of cars produced here (nearly all by foreign owned companies) are exported. The Government cannot unilaterally declare a policy of no petrol/diesel sales by 2030 without consultation and co-operation on a global scale. A rather arrogant, 'the world will do as we say' mindset!

Cindy Smith, Gosport

I just wonder where we will be in 2050. I was born just before The Queen’s Coronation.