With the release of today's Draft Aviation Policy Framework, environmental campaigners have been quick to remind the government of its promises.
Having been elected on a platform with a commitment to build new aviation policy around climate change and quality of life considerations, the coalition should now deliver on this.
With no check on the present rapid growth of air travel, the UK’s goal to cut its total carbon emissions by 80% by 2050 cannot be achieved, according to Birmingham Friends of the Earth and other groups who form part of Airport Watch. They also emphasised the April 2012 recommendation from the Committee on Climate Change that emissions from aviation must return to 2005 levels by 2050.
Joe Peacock of Birmingham Friends of the Earth said:
“We know that Birmingham Airport is campaigning hard for ever more passengers and it is essential that regional airports play their role within environmental limits.
“But building ever more airports or runways, and expanding to fill up existing capacity will have a devastating impact on local communities and our environment and undermine UK efforts to tackle climate change.
“All decisions on aviation activity must take place in an open and transparent manner within the social, economic and environmental constraints that we are all facing."
AirportWatch Communications Director Susan Pearson added:
“They must stand back from the unsavoury and deliberately misleading lobbying for major expansion of the UK’s airports that we’ve seen in recent months from the aviation industry – a campaign motivated purely by self interest.
“New aviation policy must be based on hard evidence, not fiction. The UK’s urgent need for more aviation capacity is largely a myth perpetuated by vested interests. In reality the UK’s global connectivity remains the best in Europe.”
Notes for editors
1. The Aviation Policy Framework consultation document is available on the Department for Transport website.
2. The CCC recommend aviation should be included in the UK’s carbon budgets, http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=1656
3. Aviation accounts for at least 13% of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions (if radiative forcing is included - about 6.5% without it). Radiative forcing caused by jet emissions high in the atmosphere is recognised by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change as causing more effect on climate due to non-CO2 effects (NOx and water vapour) – about twice the effect of CO2 alone.
4. Birmingham Friends of the Earth campaigns on many environmental issues on a local, national and international level. They hold regular campaigns meetings on Monday evenings at 7.30pm. For more information on aviation, see http://www.birminghamfoe.org.uk/aviation
5. AirportWatch is an umbrella movement uniting the national environmental organisations, airport community groups, and individuals opposed to unsustainable aviation expansion. Its members and supporters include the Aviation Environment Federation, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, the Campaign to Protect Rural England, the Campaign for Better Transport, the Woodland Trust, the World Development Movement, Action Aid, the National Trust, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds – and many more. Airport Watch Key Facts Briefing: http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/AirportWatch_Aviation_Briefing_22.6.2012.pdf
6. New report challenges myth of airport capacity crisis: http://www.aef.org.uk/?p=1423