A new scheme to cap aviation emissions will be supervised in England and
Wales by the Environment Agency, Transport Secretary Geoff Hoon and Climate
Change Secretary Ed Miliband have announced.
The EU Emissions Trading scheme – which caps net CO2 emissions from aviation
at average 2004-06 levels – will come into force for flights arriving and
departing EU airports from January 1, 2012 following agreement in Brussels in
late 2008. The scheme, which already applies to many ground-based industries,
means that businesses must buy allowances from other sectors to cover any
emissions above their allotted cap, encouraging greener aviation.
As regulator of the scheme, the independent Environment Agency will ensure
that operators appropriately monitor their emissions in the lead-up to the
start of the scheme and will be tasked with ensuring that operators comply
with the requirements of the scheme. The Environment Agency, which will
have the power to issue fines to operators who do not comply with the scheme,
will be supported by expert advice from the Civil Aviation Authority.
In January it was announced that the Environment Agency and the Civil Aviation
Authority have also been tasked with ensuring that expansion at Heathrow is
achieved within strict noise and air quality limits.
Transport Secretary Geoff Hoon said: “We know that people want to fly and it would be wrong to deny them the great social and economic benefits that aviation brings. Our challenge is to balance that demand with aviation’s environmental impacts. Emissions trading is key to meeting that challenge.
“The UK lobbied hard to get aviation included in the EU Emissions Trading
scheme. Now we must demonstrate to the rest of the world that the scheme is
an effective means of capping aviation CO2 emissions so that we can progress
towards a similar global arrangement. I know that the Environment Agency,
with the advice of the Civil Aviation Authority, will ensure that the scheme
is properly enforced in the UK.
“Aircraft are already much greener and cleaner than they were 30 years
ago. Independent forecasts suggest that this trend is set to continue and
through ETS, our new 2050 target, and our work with the industry, we are
helping to drive this change along.”
Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband said: “The UK has the highest environmental standards for aviation in the world and has been at the forefront of pushing through this groundbreaking agreement. This European-wide scheme will substantially cut carbon emissions across Europe, and provide real incentives for airlines to play their part and make those reductions.
“The EU is showing real leadership by recognizing that every sector of
industry must respond to the threat of climate change.”
By making aircraft operators bear the financial cost of their emissions,
the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) encourages aircraft operators to
reduce their CO2 emissions through investment in greener aircraft technology
or developing the use of alternative fuels.
Environment Agency Chairman Lord Chris Smith said: “Including aviation in Europe’s greenhouse gas emissions trading scheme is an important first step in regulating the emissions from aviation that contribute toward climate change.
“It is vital that the emissions from this sector are not allowed to grow
unchecked and that aviation contributes to meeting our target of reducing
greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80 percent by 2050. The Environment Agency
operates the greenhouse gas emissions trading scheme in England and Wales
and with the inclusion of aviation, we will continue to manage the system
Bringing aviation into the EU ETS is a key part of the government’s policy
of striking a balance between economic and social benefits of aviation and
its environment impacts. The government now plans to build on the EU ETS
agreement by bringing international pressure for wider aviation to be part
of global deal on climate change.
Separately, the government has announced a new target to reduce UK aviation
emissions in 2050 below 2005 levels in absolute terms. The aircraft industry,
through its Sustainable Aviation initiative, has already produced a roadmap
setting out how this target could be met. The government has asked the
Climate Change Committee to advise on the best basis to take this forward.
The Department for Transport and the Department of Energy and Climate Change,
in partnership with the Scottish Government, Welsh Assembly Government, and
the Northern Ireland Executive have today begun a 10-week consultation
on the regulations under which EU ETS for aviation will operate in the
UK. This provides an opportunity for stakeholders to express their views
on the proposed arrangements for how the scheme will operate. This will
inform legislation that the government intends to lay before Parliament