A group of environmental bodies have urged the UK government to stop further airport expansion until emissions from aviation have started to fall.
The organisations, including Transport & Environment, Greenpeace and AirportWatch, have written to the UK’s aviation minister Robert Courts to express “concern” about the government’s current approach to the expansion of aviation.
The UK government is due to imminently announce its Jet Zero strategy to reduce emissions from aviation, but the environmental groups said allowing airports such as London Heathrow to expand would “increase the size of the problem”.
In the open letter, the groups call for a halt to airport expansion so that a review can be held into the Airports National Policy Statement (NPS), which approved plans for a third runway at Heathrow in 2018, as well as the Making Best Use policy covering airport expansion elsewhere in the UK.
The groups said in a statement: “The letter voices concerns that the government’s draft Jet Zero strategy is built around assumptions that increases in sustainable fuels and carbon removals will occur after 2030, but with no clear policy plan to ensure they are delivered.
“The letter argues that limits on airport capacity growth, as advised by the Climate Change Committee, are a lower risk approach.”
They also stress that the government’s previous airport expansion policies, both dating from 2018, have not yet been “assessed for their compatibility with delivering net zero aviation by 2050”.
“Planning authorities should not be left reliant on out-of-date policies when determining applications for airport expansion,” they added.