Department for Transport written question – answered on 17th March 2020.

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Photo of Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb Green

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the remarks by Baroness Vere of Norbiton on 2 March (HL Deb, col 436), whether any future airport expansion will be conditional on all new flight capacity being filled by zero-carbon aeroplanes.

Photo of Baroness Vere of Norbiton Baroness Vere of Norbiton Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

Airport expansion is a core part of boosting our global connectivity and levelling up the UK. It is crucial that vital infrastructure projects, including airport expansion, drive the whole UK economy. This Government supports airport expansion, but we will permit it only within our environmental obligations.

This Government is committed to working with the aviation sector to make sure we deliver on the opportunities available to us, while meeting our environmental commitments, whether that is through modernisation of our airspace, innovation in sustainable fuels or research and technology.

On 27 February the Court of Appeal declared that the Airports National Policy Statement is of no legal effect unless and until the Government carries out a review under the Planning Act 2008. The Court’s judgment is complex and requires careful consideration. We will set out our next steps in due course.

The Government is supportive of airports making best use of their existing runways, subject to the assessment and consideration of their impacts, including consideration of their environmental impacts.

The Government recognises that the fight against climate change is one of the greatest and most pressing challenges facing the modern world. The Government’s net zero target shows the UK’s steadfast commitment to tackling climate change, and we recognise that aviation has a crucial role to play.

The Government is committed to setting a clear ambition for the aviation sector and is carefully considering the advice of the Committee on Climate Change.

We are planning to consult shortly to update the Government’s position on aviation and climate change. It is critical that we consider how aviation can play its part in delivering our net zero ambitions.

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