The DfT’s consultation says:
3.21 Investment in hydrogen-electric and battery-electric aircraft could support a significant reduction in emissions
3.22 The Jet Zero Council will catalyse zero emissions flight (ZEF) across the Atlantic – UK is well placed to be at the forefront
3.23 The ATI programme includes FlyZero research into zero emission aircraft (ZEA) by 2030 and the UK’s leadership in innovation will continue
3.24 Small scale electric flight has already been demonstrated and we welcome ambition to scale up to larger commercial passenger usage (which is where the majority of emissions comes from)
3.25 We aspire to zero emissions routes across the UK by end of decade, and transatlantic within a generation
3.26 UK’s first hydrogen transport hub being developed in Tees Valley, and UK Hydrogen Strategy will set out actions needed to decarbonise and expand production
3.27 We can utilise our world-class manufacturing sector to design and produce ZEA hence economic benefit as well as reduction in emissions
3.28 Airports will need infrastructure for ZEA: takeoff, landing, fuel, staff, skills
3.29 Transition from AvGas to hydrogen will be a problem for General Aviation but opportunity here for leadership
3.30 Approach: consider output from FlyZero and R&D, ensure infrastructure in place, demonstrate ZEA can operate safely
Existing policy commitments:
- We will continue to support industrial R&D through the ATI Programme, informed by the UK Aerospace Technology Strategy, with the objective of securing clean growth
- We will continue to work with the ATI, industry and academia to establish a method for quantifying the potential emissions savings of future R&D projects in advance of publication of the Jet Zero Strategy, to allow us to quantify the sustainability benefits for the aviation sector the Programme seeks to achieve and prioritise the funding of projects most likely to deliver clean growth
- We will support the FlyZero project, which will set out a plan by early 2022 for how the UK might best contribute to a zero emission aircraft by 2030
- We are investing £3m into R&D funding in 2021/22 to understand the infrastructure needed by airports to handle new forms of zero emission aircraft
- The Government will publish a UK Hydrogen Strategy which will detail the key steps needed in the 2020s to deliver our 5GW of low carbon hydrogen production capacity ambition and set the context for further scale up on the way to net zero
- We will support the development of the Tees Valley Hydrogen Hub, including through industry engagement to generate demonstration activity at Teesside International Airport
- We will work with the CAA and ICAO to ensure the UK remains the best location in which to develop and deploy new zero emission aircraft.
New policy proposals:
- We will ensure the UK is at the forefront of deploying zero emission aircraft. Our aspiration is to have zero emission routes connecting the United Kingdom by 2030
- We will look at the feasibility of using zero emission aircraft on UK passenger routes
- We will work with industry to encourage the adoption of innovative zero emission aircraft and aviation technology in General Aviation
- We will work through the Jet Zero Council to consider the wider enabling framework for zero emission flight, including the infrastructure, regulatory and commercialisation requirements.
With the future of the planet at stake, and given that global warming is now at dangerous levels, prioritising an ambition to develop zero emissions flight across the Atlantic in a generation looks a little like a vanity project.
Yes, perhaps this will help spawn new technologies – but those surely need to prioritise key sectors which will respond to the climate change disruption that is already happening, rather than to find new ways to fly?
9 Do you agree or disagree with the overall approach for developing zero emission flight in the UK? 10 What further measures are needed to support the transition towards zero emission aviation?
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