Aviation air quality targets to be considered

Ministers will consider setting ‘aviation-specific’ targets for improving air quality, the government has confirmed this week (7 April).

The potential measures were outlined by the Department for Transport as part of work towards a long term aviation strategy, including plans to improve the experience for airline passengers, through proposals to make fees more transparent and improving accessibility for wheelchair users.

Government is currently drawing up an aviation strategy

This includes details as to how the government intends to make Britain’s aviation sector “the greenest in the world”, including measures to address noise and greenhouse gas emissions.

Environmental proposals include the introduction of new noise targets, strengthened noise controls at airports as well as specific targets relating to air quality.

Within its consultation document Beyond the horizon: The future of UK aviation, the government confirmed that it will explore measures with industry to support the use of ‘quieter and more fuel efficient aircraft’, as well as the emergence of electric and hybrid technology.

The document notes: “Surface transport continues to be the main contributor to local air quality emissions around airports which will be tackled through approaches such as the air quality plan for nitrogen dioxide published last year.

“Although only 1.4% of total transport NOx emissions comes from aircraft landing and taking off, the government wants to ensure the aviation sector plays an appropriate role in managing the emissions that it can control.”


Within the document, the government has committed to reviewing and potentially revising policies relating to the local environment impacts of aviation, to ensure that they are ‘fit for purpose’ — with a particular regard to noise reduction and how reducing carbon emissions is likely to impact on other factors.

Steps will also be put in place to consider the response to housing demand near airports which exposes more people to noise, the government has added.

The document notes: “The challenge for the Aviation Strategy to address will be to ensure that the right regulatory arrangements are in place to manage these impacts, particularly noise, but also other issues such as air quality.

“Policy options that the government intends to explore include setting noise targets and aviation specific air quality targets; strengthening noise controls and enforcement of these controls; strengthening incentives to bring forward production and operation of quieter aircraft; enhancing compensation for those exposed to significantly increased levels of aviation noise in the airspace change process, and the use of other types of mitigation where noise reduction is not possible.”

Related Links
Beyond the horizon: The future of UK aviation


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