Aviation: Volcanoes

Department for Transport written question – answered on 7th October 2019.

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Photo of James Gray James Gray Conservative, North Wiltshire

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what contingency plans his Department has put in place to mitigate disruption to air travel in the event of a large Icelandic volcanic eruption.

Photo of James Gray James Gray Conservative, North Wiltshire

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his Department has made of the level of disruption to air travel as a result of the potential for an Icelandic volcanic eruption.

Photo of James Gray James Gray Conservative, North Wiltshire

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he has taken to reduce the level of disruption to air travel since the Eyjafjallajokull eruption in 2010.

Photo of James Gray James Gray Conservative, North Wiltshire

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent discussions he has had with his Icelandic counterpart on the risk of a volcanic eruption in that region.

Photo of James Gray James Gray Conservative, North Wiltshire

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the effect on the environment in the UK of a large volcanic eruption in Iceland.

Photo of James Gray James Gray Conservative, North Wiltshire

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what research his Department has reviewed on potential Icelandic volcanic activity and the effect of such activity on the UK.

Photo of Paul Maynard Paul Maynard Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

The department prepares for a wide range of incidents that have the potential to disrupt air operations in the UK.

Details on the risk to aviation from an Icelandic Volcanic event are set out in “UK National Risk Register of Civil Emergencies 2017.” This document includes details on the actions taken by government and industry since the Eyjafjallajokull eruption in 2010, as well as an assessment of the likelihood and impact of a future eruption. This covers both the risk of disruption from an ash rich eruption, as well as air pollution risks posed by a prolonged gas rich eruption, generating large amounts of sulphur dioxide and sulphate aerosol.

We are confident that contingency plans developed by the government and the aviation industry, alongside actions taken by the Icelandic authorities, will reduce significantly the level of disruption arising from a similar eruption to that in 2010. Volcanic activity across Iceland is kept under constant scrutiny and the contingency plans can be deployed quickly if required.

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