Sustainable Aviation manifesto calls for government action

Sustainable Aviation has produced a manifesto calling on the next UK government to step up efforts on sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) and the bid to make aviation a net-zero sector by 2050.

The group, whose members include airlines, airports, aerospace manufacturers and fuel producers, has set out policy priorities as it encourages the creation of thousands of jobs and sets its sights on the UK becoming a leader on green technology.

The manifesto, unveiled in parliament on March 11, appeals for the faster introduction of a government-backed SAF revenue support mechanism and also calls for a quicker roll-out of carbon removal and carbon capture and storage technology.

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Matt Gorman, chair of Sustainable Aviation and sustainability director at Heathrow, said: “Sustainable Aviation is calling on the government to take decisive action to accelerate our transition to net-zero flight, so we can realise the substantial social, economic and environmental benefits of sustainable aviation.”

Aviation minister Anthony Browne described the UK’s SAF programme as a “world leader”, noting the government’s £135m Advanced Fuels Fund and upcoming SAF mandate.

Sustainable Aviation said its members had achieved “significant milestones” in the journey towards net-zero, but the body believes the UK government needs to ramp up its support.

Up to 60,000 jobs could be created if the manifesto is followed, Sustainable Aviation said, while UK aerospace’s economic contribution has the potential to grow from £8.4bn today to more than £37bn by 2050.

Urging the government to act, the industry coalition warned that overseas competitions are “seeking to corner the market on exciting new technologies”.

Gorman said: “Our transition to net zero flight will not only safeguard and grow aviation’s contribution to the UK economy but also create thousands of new jobs.

“By leveraging our existing strengths as an aviation nation, we can lead the world in green aviation technology.”

GMB national secretary Andy Prendergast said: “SAF is a real opportunity for the UK to build an industry and create decent jobs while helping to decarbonise air travel. The government needs to ensure that it gets the vital support it needs and soon.”

Sustainable Aviation is asking the government to implement the following steps:

  • Deliver commercial UK sustainable aviation fuel production at scale this decade with at least five UK SAF plants under construction in 2025 to ensure the UK is well placed to take early mover advantage of SAF production and supply
  • Strengthen the UK’s position as a world-leading innovator of aerospace technologies that gives the UK competitive advantage in aviation efficiency and the development and commercialisation of new technologies, including hydrogen
  • Accelerate the airspace modernisation programme with government support to remove obstacles to early completion
  • Progress longer-term objectives that will be critical to success of the 2050 net-zero target by securing capacity to meet the required energy and carbon removals demand to deliver UK aviation’s transition to net zero

Picture: Scharfsinn/Shutterstock

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