EAC 23.09.04

Aviation: Sustainability and the Government’s second response

The Environment Audit Committee is today publishing Aviation: Sustainability and the Government’s second response.   This constitutes the fourth in a series of reports specifically on aviation which the Committee has published in the last 14 months. It includes the Government’s response to the Committee’s June 2004 report-in which it criticised the quality and coverage of the Government’s previous response, restated the key criticisms it had raised,  and demanded that the Government should  provide a further response.

The  Committee does not consider that any more can be achieved by requesting yet another Government response at this stage.  The report makes it clear that there remain fundamental and apparently irreconcilable differences between its views and those of the Department. 

Commenting on the planned growth in aviation and the associated massive increase in carbon emissions, the Chairman of the EAC, Peter Ainsworth MP, said:

“We have made available the latest Government response and we are-at least for the moment-drawing a line under this series of exchanges.  However, only last week the Prime Minister emphasised again that climate change was the biggest challenge we face, and he has made this a key priority for the UK presidency of the G8 and EU next year.” 

“There is clearly a glaring inconsistency in the DfT promoting so large a growth in carbon emissions from aviation at a time when we need to make huge cuts to minimise the worst impacts of global warming.”

“We need a much more informed public debate about the issues involved  in addressing climate change at an international level through, for example, international emissions trading systems, and we will be looking at the UK role in developing such schemes in the new inquiry we announced earlier this week.” 

For further information on the report, journalists may phone Peter Ainsworth MP on 07887 997838, or Committee staff (Eric Lewis) on 020 72191378.