The Committee on Climate Change(CCC), the Government’s official advisers, has said in a report out today that growth at UK airports needs to be almost half the predicted levels if aviation is to meet the government’s target of aviation being net-zero carbon by 2050.
The CCC, chaired by former Conservation minister Lord Deben, said, “In the absence of a true zero-carbon plane, demand cannot continue to grow unfettered over the long-term. Our scenario reflects a 25% growth in demand by 2050 compared to 2018 levels. This compares to current Government projections which are for up to a 49% increase in demand over the same period.”
It says that, if the growth currently planned for London’s airports went ahead, that would leave ‘at most very limited room for growth at non-London airports’.
The report explained, “The Government should assess its airport capacity strategy in the context of net zero. Specifically, investments will need to be demonstrated to make economic sense in a net-zero world and the transition towards it. Current planned additional airport capacity in London, including the third runway at Heathrow, is likely to leave at most very limited room for growth at non-London airports”.
The CCC comes up with a number of suggestions for managing demand: “Measures should be put in place to limit growth in demand to at most 25% above current levels by 2050. These could include carbon pricing, a frequent flyer levy, fiscal measures to ensure aviation is no under-taxed compared to other transport sectors (e.g. fuel duty, VAT), reforms to Air Passenger Duty, or management of airport capacity.”
John Stewart, chair of HACAN, the campaign group which gives a voice to residents under the Heathrow flight paths, said, “The big message of the report is that unfettered demand cannot continue. The Committee on Climate Change is challenging the Government to find ways of managing that demand.”