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UK: Aviation Industry Plans to Reduce Emissions

BBC news
June 20th, 2005

New targets to reduce the environmental impact of air travel - set to triple over the next 30 years - are being launched by the UK's aviation industry.

Aircraft manufacturers, airports and airlines aim to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide produced by new aircraft over the next 15 years by half.

There will also be similar targets to cut noise caused by passenger aircraft.

Airport Operators Association chief Keith Jowett said it was part of a "constant endeavour" by the industry.

He denied that the announcement showed a "twinge of conscience".

Firms wanted "to achieve environmental improvement as well as economic benefit - something we've being doing for many years now - and something we intend to do into the future," he told the BBC.

Environmentalists 'critical'

The new objectives have received the backing of most of the UK's aviation companies.

BBC transport correspondent Tom Symonds said environmentalists were likely to criticise the plan for not seeking to reduce the amount of aircraft in Britain's crowded skies.

They had wanted larger taxes imposed on air travel, he said.

"But the companies behind the strategy say it is radical - and will deliver improvements to the environment."

The targets come as Brendon Sewill, a former Treasury adviser, said the government's current policy for dealing with aviation emissions would not solve the problem of pollution.

In "Fly now, grieve later", a study published by the Aviation Environment Federation, Mr Sewill said Britain was "the world's worst climate change culprit" after the US as far as aviation was concerned.

He said there were a number of ways that the UK could combat aviation pollution.

His suggestions include increasing the air passenger duty airport departure tax, imposing VAT on air tickets, abolishing duty-free sales and ending the planning system to discourage airport expansion.

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