Do I need to allow airport expansion?

The plane flies over the road signs at Heathrow Airport

The plane flies over the road signs at Heathrow Airport

Airports around the UK want to expand and increase their flights, even though the government has promised to reduce emissions.

Will their plans be environmentally friendly and undermine Britain’s ambition to reach zero net carbon emissions by 2050?

Why do you want the airport to expand?

The airport is private and wants to grow to increase profits.

Britain’s airports also employ hundreds of thousands, and owners say a strong aviation sector is essential for Britain’s future as a trading nation. Many pension funds are invested in the industry.

As a result, the councilor has approved a new terminal at Leeds Bradford Airport, and Southampton’s runway extension may be agreed later this month.

In total, eight airports across the UK have plans to grow.

Covid’s restrictions are having a big impact on aviation, as few people are currently flying. But the industry wants the numbers to come back.

What is the opposite argument?

Flight causes noise and pollution of the area-and it adds to the greenhouse gases that are heating the earth. British Airways CO2 emissions alone were similar to all British vans combined. Green group Transenv says..

The BA has not denied this number, but says it is working to reduce its impact.

Currently, flights generate about 6% of UK emissions, but aviation is only allowed to stabilize emissions, and other sectors need to reduce emissions. Therefore, the effect of flight increases proportionally over time.

Airplanes also damage the climate in other ways. They release the pollutant nitrogen oxide (NOx) gas. They also create contrails-cloud ribbons that can warm the atmosphere.

Scientists believe Overall impact of non-CO2 emissions at altitude It is 2 to 4 times the amount of CO2 emissions.

Airplane that emits contrails

Vapor trajectories, or contrails, are thought to contribute to atmospheric warming

What does the government say?

At this time, there are no government plans to reduce overall aviation emissions, but the Minister will announce strategies to reduce transport emissions in the coming months.

Major infrastructure projects, such as Heathrow’s Runway 3, are automatically subject to public inquiry, but there is currently no planning method to prevent the expansion of regional airports.

The Climate Change Commission (CCC), which advises the government, states that if an airport expands, another airport needs to be scaled down. However, no airport has volunteered to reduce its operations.

So will the expansion of regional airports proceed?

The Leeds Bradford Airport expansion proposal is on the desk of Community Secretary Robert Jenrick, who must make a decision by April 6. He may decide that a regional airport building permit should be dealt with locally as the UK-wide policy is not in place.

This was Jenrik’s response to a recent proposal for a Cumbrian coal mine, The Prime Minister dismissed him and decided to reconsider the decision..

Will clean fuel make a difference?

According to the CCC, the only way to make aviation more environmentally friendly is to significantly improve the fuel efficiency of airplanes or use low-carbon fuels from plants and waste.However, these will not be available on a large scale for some time-and they are not there Immediate outlook for battery-powered airplanes..

Moreover, even if you clean existing fuels such as hydrogen, they generate NOx during combustion and the water vapor they release is a powerful greenhouse gas.

What can you do to reduce flight emissions?

The simplest answer is not to fly at all. If you need to travel for work, or if you can’t stand the summer when sunlight isn’t guaranteed, use Business Class because the larger the seats, the fewer travelers and the higher emissions per passenger. please do not.

You might buy offsets-it’s a way to calculate your flight emissions and offset them, for example by planting trees.

The Federation of Aviation Environment (AEF) advises that the most reliable offset is by a method called Direct Air Capture (DAC), which uses renewable energy to draw emissions directly from the atmosphere.

However, using the DAC for innocent transatlantic flights costs an estimated £ 240 on the return trip to London and New York, AEF says.

It says it is the true environmental cost of flight.

Briefcase Watching Airport Terminal Travelers Take Off Airplanes

Briefcase Watching Airport Terminal Travelers Take Off Airplanes

What can a company do?

Treasury officials are pleased to know that executives can do a lot of work with Zoom during the blockade, which saves a small fortune in business class seats. This trend is expected to continue to some extent.

As a business class flight contract, aviation may shrink overall due to profits from business seats Subsidize the cost of economy class seats..

Working on a frequent flyer program (FFP) is also effective. At this time, executives are recording air miles every time they fly. Then exchange for a leisure flight with your family. So basically, the more they fly, the more motivated they are to fly.

In Germany, Airmiles are taxed as in-kind benefits.But Greenpeace, an environmental campaign group, says they are very harmful They should be totally banned..

Follow Roger on Twitter @rharrabin

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