Heathrow Airport: Exhaust Emissions

Department for Transport written question – answered on 23rd July 2019.

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Photo of Gareth Thomas Gareth Thomas Party Chair, Co-operative Party

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he will take to offset the carbon emissions from increased aviation into and out of Heathrow following its proposed expansion.

Photo of Michael Ellis Michael Ellis Minister of State (Department for Transport)

The UK takes a leading role in tackling greenhouse gas emissions, and on 27 June 2019, the UK became the first major economy in the world to set a 2050 net zero target to end its contribution to climate change.

Whilst international aviation emissions currently only represent 2% of international emissions, aviation must play its part in achieving net zero carbon emissions. The Government will propose a long-term vision for UK aviation carbon and a pathway to achieve this in the Aviation 2050 white paper due to be published later this year. Any expansion at UK airports, including Heathrow, will need to demonstrate it is consistent with this vision.

The UK will continue to play a key leadership role in the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). The UK has already played a crucial role in successfully negotiating and securing the first ever global measure to reduce emissions in a single sector in the form of the carbon offsetting and reduction scheme for international aviation (CORSIA). We will also negotiate for a long-term goal for international aviation that is consistent with the temperature goals of the Paris Agreement, ideally by ICAO’s 41st Assembly in 2022.

To better understand the role offsetting emissions can play in achieving future carbon goals, the Government launched a call for evidence on offsetting carbon emissions produced by transport on 18 July 2019. The call for evidence invites views on whether transport operators should have to offer offsetting to passengers. It also explores the public understanding of carbon emissions from the journeys they make and the options to offset them.

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