techUK reaction to the Jet Zero strategy
techUK welcomes the publication of the Jet Zero strategy. Aviation is a technically challenging industry to decarbonise which is grappling with the consequences of COVID-19. We hope that Jet Zero will enable a pathway to net zero while securing the industry’s long term future.
The strategy outlines three core principles; ‘international leadership’, ‘delivered in partnership’ and ‘maximising opportunities’. These are supported by six policy measures outlined below:
The government intends for all domestic airport operations to be zero emission by 2040 and will launch a call for evidence in the Autumn.
Digital technologies such as digital twins and other advanced analytics show clear results in improving operating efficiencies within dynamic transport settings. We hope to see digital emerging as a central plank of this initiative, and we look forward to engaging with the call for evidence later this year.
The government will also continue to work alongside the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to redesign our “motorways in the sky”. UK airspace is outdated, and we welcome its redesign. Within this, we will push to see regulation which enables the roll-out of new forms air mobility including drones and eVOTLs and that these are given fair consideration within these emerging frameworks.
Sustainable Aviation Fuels
The government is embracing Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAFs) as a key route to decarbonising aviation.
A mandate for 10% of the domestic fuel mix to be SAF is intended to be in place by 2025, as well as support for the domestic production industry. By 2025, at least five commercial-scale UK SAF plants will be under construction and the first net zero transatlantic flight running on 100% SAF will take place. By 2035, the domestic SAF production industry is expected to support 5,200 jobs.
SAF production is costly and currently the UK lacks the domestic capability to support production at the scale needed to support this transition. techUK will work with industry partners to identify challenges and suggest solutions as SAF production scales and enters into widespread commercial operation.
Zero Emission Flight
The government, through its FlyZero initiative, will continue test viability and commercial case of hydrogen flight. The Tees Valley airport Hydrogen Hub will become a central site for R&D and demonstration activity.
Hydrogen has shown great promise as an alternative power source; however, we need a regulatory and policy system to enable ZEFs to enter commercial service.
techUK advocates for a ‘whole system’ view of transport and it is vital that the government facilitates collaboration between aviation and other transport modes on the adoption of hydrogen. Through our Intelligent Transport and Mobility Working Group, we will work to demonstrate how this can happen in practice, identifying how strategic infrastructure planning can generate multiple benefits for the environment, consumers and economy.
The strategy also intends to increase public awareness of hydrogen flight by 2027 through the Transport Technology Tracker.
Markets and Removals
The strategy will develop carbon markets that set a sustainable pathway to cover all aviation emission.
In June, the government also published its intent to implement the offsetting requirements of the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) in UK law. CORSIA requires qualifying aeroplane operators to offset their growth in international aviation CO2 emissions covered by the scheme above 2019 levels.
In addition, the government will “maintain the integrity” of the UK Emission Trading Scheme (ETS) for aviation including the potential to expand the scope to incorporate non-CO2 elements.
The government will work with academia and industry to monitor developments in how to reduce non-CO2 emissions from aviation.
Although research suggests that SAFs and hydrogen can reduce non-CO2 emissions, more investigation is required, and the government will work to develop a means of estimating and tracking non-CO2 emissions from the UK aviation industry.
The government intends to preserve the ability of people to fly and believes it is possible to achieve net zero without limiting aviation growth.
As a result, airport expansion will still be encouraged where it is fully justified, new measures to empower consumers to make the greenest choice when flying will be supported and those parts of the sector who work quickly to decarbonise will be rewarded.
The government intends for consumers to have access to environmental information at the time of booking a flight and for there to be sustainable modes of transport to and from airports in England.
Where do we go next?
Focus will now turn to delivering on the five-year action plan set out in the strategy. techUK will engage constructively with the DfT and CAA on behalf of our members to ensure a holistic transition which embraces digital innovation, integrates with the wider transport system and ensures the long-term future for the sector.
If you would like to know more about the Intelligent Mobility and Transport Working Group at techUK and how you can get involved please contact [email protected].
Ashley Feldman is the programme manager for transport and smart cities, at techUK.
Ashley joined techUK in 2022 having worked in the public policy and communications industry for four years. He specialised in advising businesses in the infrastructure, built environment and transport sectors on a wide range of issues including stakeholder engagement and corporate reputation management.
Ashley obtained a masters degree in Urbanisation and Development studies at the London School of Economics.
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