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Aviation: Exhaust Emissions

Volume 461: debated on Tuesday 19 June 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if his Department will commission research and development into minimising (a) carbon dioxide emissions and (b) general environmental impacts caused by commercial aircraft engines. (140604)

Government are committed to ensuring that effective policy development and environmental action relies upon sound research, evidence and knowledge transfer. This is why we are investing in initiatives such as the new knowledge transfer network called OMEGA (Opportunities for Meeting the Environmental Challenge of Growth in Aviation). OMEGA defines specific areas where work is needed, facilitates inter-disciplinary research and supports strategic longer-term thinking. A number of other collaborative research programmes funded through the DTI collaborative research mechanism are set to deliver improvements. These include the £95 million Environmentally Friendly Engine programme. I refer my hon. Friend to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Minister for Industry and the Regions on 18 June 2007, Official Report, column 1492W.

Government are also supporting work from the aviation industry. We welcomed the Sustainable Aviation initiative, launched in June 2005, which aimed to place sustainability at the forefront of the sector’s strategic planning. The Government also welcomed the Advisory Council for Aeronautics Research in Europe (ACARE), which adopted stretching European targets for environmental performance of new aircraft and engines by 2020. These include reducing the fuel consumption and hence carbon emissions by 50 per cent., relative to new aircraft in the year 2000, with 20-25 per cent. savings from airframe developments, 15-20 per cent. from the engines and 5-10 per cent. from improved air traffic management.

On an international level the UK is playing an important role and is contributing to a number of work streams in the Committee for Aviation Environmental Protection under the auspices of the UN’s International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).

The Government intend that the initiatives such as those mentioned above will improve our evidence base on aviation science, technology, operations and economic issues in ways that will help deliver improved environmental performance and longer term sustainability.