Aviation emissions

Thank you for contacting me about aviation emissions.

The UK has set a legally binding target to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and aviation must play its part. The Government's ambition is that UK domestic aviation will be net zero by 2040. This target is supplemented by a further ambition that net zero aviation emissions will be possible by 2050.

To support these targets, I am aware that the Government is investing match-funding in the development of new and zero carbon aircraft technology and infrastructure. In 2021/22, £3 million was invested in the Zero Emission Flight Infrastructure competition to accelerate research and development, while new powers are being created to ensure that airports modernise their airspace. Modernising flight paths can reduce CO2 emissions from aviation and reduce noise for those near flightpaths.

Technical consultation and analysis as part of the Government's Jet Zero programme showed that the aviation sector can achieve net zero without the need for Government intervention to limit aviation growth. The Government's stated aim is to preserve the ability for people to fly whilst supporting consumers to make sustainable aviation travel choices.

The Government is committed to accelerating the commercialisation of UK sustainable aviation fuels (SAF). To this end, I know it is the ambition of government to enable delivery of 10 per cent SAF by 2030. To enable this, £180 million is being invested in the development of SAF plants which has the potential to create more than 5,000 jobs. Moreover, the Government is also funding the £15 million Aerospace Technology Institute-led FlyZero project. This in-depth research study brings together experts from across industry and academia to explore concepts for zero-carbon emission aircraft.The Jet Zero Strategy, published in July 2022, adds to the Government's ambitions with a SAF clearing house to enable early stage aviation fuel testing opening in 2022 and a new commitment of having at least 5 commercial SAF plants under construction by 2025.

Action is clearly needed at a global level too, which is why the UK participates in the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation.