UK politicians have written to the government’s secretary of state for transport calling for new measures to make air transport more environmentally friendly.
The letter, which is signed by business leaders and both pro and anti-airport expansion campaigners, include requests for a step change in limiting aircraft carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and effective mechanisms to better manage their noise.
The letter also refers to airport related CO2 emissions. It states: “We believe the goals set by the major airports in their surface access strategies provide strong foundations on which to build a programme of change and further improvements. These obligations include the reductions in vehicle emissions which Heathrow [Airport], Gatwick [Airport] and [London] Stansted [Airport] have committed to achieve. In parallel, government must play its part.”
On CO2 emissions from aircraft, it says the government must ensure that the UK complies fully with its international obligations and, in doing so, continue to be guided by the judgment of the UK government appointed Committee on Climate Change.
The letter came as politicians and industry leaders met in London last week at the Sustainable Airports Summit to discuss whether the UK can expand airports while overcoming concerns about air and noise pollution.
Gavin Hayes, the director of the pro-airport campaign Let Britain Fly, which organised the letter, says airports are an integral part of modern life and everything should be done to ensure environmental impacts are managed robustly and brought down over time.
“For this to happen we urgently need the government to commit to a step change improvement in rail access to increase the number of journeys by public transport and reduce vehicle emissions,” he says. “We also need to ensure CO2 emissions from aircraft are effectively managed and establish an independent aviation noise authority to better manage aircraft noise.”
The letter also calls on the government and all politicians to work collaboratively with stakeholders on a package of measures to secure the long-term sustainability of Britain’s airports.