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Friday, June 29, 2007

Response to Aviation Parlimentary questions from Gillian Merron (Minister for Aviation)

Dear David,

I would like to thank you again for the immense effort that you gone to on my behalf in tackling the government’s aviation strategy and raising the parliamentary questions. However, I am disappointed with the responses that you have received from Gillian Merron, as I am sure you must be. I can only conclude from these that the government are not seriously considering the impact of aviation on the environment.

Your first question “To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether it is the Government's policy to support the inclusion of EU aviation within the Emissions Trading Scheme,” has received the reply from Gillan Merron “The UK has taken the lead in securing aviation's inclusion into the EU Emissions Trading Scheme. This is in line with the Government's plans to tackle aviation's climate change impacts as set out in "The Future of Air Transport" White Paper.” However the Future of Air Transport White paper gives no details on the mechanism by which EU aviation would be incorporated into the scheme. It is important that we have visibility of these details and an understanding of the timescale by which aviation would be included and the reduction in CO2 emissions would be brought about by this. Without this, it starts to appear that the idea of achieving meaningful carbon reductions through carbon trading is mere talk. The transport secretary has publicly stated that the aviation industry is not taking carbon trading seriously.

Your second question “To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the aviation industry's progress towards its aim of improving fuel efficiency by 50 per cent. from 2000 to 2020,” has received the reply from Gillan Merron, “The aviation industry's sustainable aviation progress report 2006 available at includes information on progress towards this goal set by the Advisory Council on Aeronautics Research in Europe (ACARE).” However, I have been through this report and it does not give any meaningful update on the progress of fuel efficiency at all. It merely gives industry projections. We have no way of gauging the effectiveness of these claims or if they are simply wishful thinking. The only data this report shows is the fuel efficiency in litres per revenue tonne which is unrelated to the measurement quoted in the aviation bill. This only shows a 2.5% improvement, which is far below the governments targets suggested in the white paper.

Your third question, “To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what change there was in the aviation industry's fuel efficiency per seat between 2000 and 2005; and what assessment he has made of the implications of this trend for the possibility of meeting future targets,” has received the reply from Gillian Merron “The Government do not collect this information. The aviation industry's "Sustainable Aviation Progress Report 2006" available at includes a graph setting out aggregated airline fuel efficiency in litres per revenue tonne kilometre between 2000 and 2005.” It is extremely concerning that government does not capture this fundemental data especially as the industy sees its growth in carbon intensive long haul flights. As pointed out above, the fuel efficiency in litres per revene tonne only shows a 2.5% improvement and does not provide information on CO2 per passenger. Futher more, without data of this nature it is difficult to imagine how meaningful debates can ever be held over carbon trading.

Given that the minister of aviation is not able to provide even the most basic analysis of carbon emissions from the existing aviation industry, let alone be able to project future emissions after the proposed expansions and given the increased severity and risk to the planet of global warming, can you ask the further parliamentary question to the ministers for aviation and transport, “Given that the governement has no meaningful data on aviation emissions and given the conclusions of the IPCC and Stern reports why does the government not adopt a precautionary principle on airport expansion and proceed with further airport expansion only if there is unequivocal evidence that the carbon emissions will reduce and that the proposed developments do not further increase the risk of runaway global warming.”

Kindest regards,
Kevin Lister

1 comment:

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