2022 is a crucial year in climate change policy terms for UK aviation. The UK government will consult and decide on both how to make the UK ETS net-zero compliant; what the specific details of the sustainable aviation mandate (SAF) mandate are; and lay out a final Jet Zero strategy.
In its new policy paper, T&E recommends the path forward to set UK aviation on a net zero trajectory. The recommendations include:
- Zero emissions aircraft for domestic flights: there should be a progressive increase of the share of internal flights flown by electric and hydrogen aircraft from 2028 – so that polluting aircraft are banned from domestic routes from 2040. T&E recommends increasing public investment in ZEA, paid for by a tax on fossil kerosene.
- Sustainable Aviation Fuels to power longer flights: Longer flights, for which zero emissions jets will not be feasible in the coming decades, should only fly on 100% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) from 2050, made from waste-based SAF and e-kerosene. Government policies should expressly encourage UK SAF production by providing loan guarantees for first-of-a-kind SAF plants, as well as implementing a SAF mandate on fuel suppliers.
- Taxpayer money to support new technologies: To pay for the increase in investment in SAF and ZEA technology, a kerosene tax should be announced soon, to take effect from 2025.