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Aviation: Decarbonisation

Volume 678: debated on Thursday 2 July 2020

Britain has the potential to be world leading in sustainable aviation fuels, but for that we need to act fast. Will the Secretary of State therefore consider a request from the industry for £500 million of match funding to achieve that?

My hon. Friend is right in his question, and he will be interested to hear that we set up the Jet Zero Council specifically to take forward the objective of being the first country to develop a jet commercial airliner to fly at zero carbon across the Atlantic. That will involve not just investment in sustainable aviation fuels, in which money has already been invested and more was announced by me at one of the press conferences, but work on electric planes, hybrid planes and hydrogen planes. He can expect to hear a lot more as we join with industry to help deliver on that ambition.

I thank the Secretary of State for that answer. He will be aware that Birmingham airport in my constituency of Meriden will be key to the economic recovery of the region after the devastating impact of covid-19. Will he confirm that decarbonising the aviation sector is an economic opportunity as well as a green one? Will he join me in commending Birmingham airport on its commitment to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2033?

My hon. Friend is right, and I absolutely join him on Birmingham’s commitment to that. It is joining other airports including, I think, Bristol, which has already achieved zero carbon, as well as Farnborough and some of the larger airports. What I have been most impressed with is the way in which the industry has embraced the Jet Zero Council and the idea of getting to zero carbon, signing its own pledges to get there. We are determined to meet this commitment, which we will hear a lot more about in the coming weeks and months.