An aviation group has pledged to make the UK’s airline industry free from carbon emissions by 2050.
The UK Sustainable Aviation coalition will sign a pledge on Tuesday to cut emissions from the current 30 million tonnes a year despite a projected 70% increase in UK passenger numbers by 2050.
Transport secretary Grant Shapps was due to meet coalition members, which include Heathrow, Airbus, easyJet, BP and Tui to launch a Decarbonisation Road Map setting out where reductions can be made and to detail a similar initiative for sustainable fuels.
Sustainable Aviation said measures would cover “smarter flight operations, new aircraft and engine technology, modernising UK airspace, the use of sustainable aviation fuels and high-quality market-based policy measures”.
Around half the total reduction will come from new aircraft and offsetting.
In addition, Sustainable Aviation forecasts the UK could become a world leader in green fuels, meeting 32% of the nation’s demand for aviation fuel by 2050.
Neil Robinson, chair of Sustainable Aviation, said: “Climate change is a clear and pressing issue for people, businesses and governments across the world.
“We know aviation emissions will increase if decisive action is not taken, and that’s why UK aviation today commits to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050, through an international approach, working with governments around the world and through the UN.
“The UK is well positioned to become one of the leaders in the green technologies of the future, including sustainable aviation fuels and electric flight, creating highly-skilled and well-paid jobs in the process, and we look forward to working in partnership with Ministers to help realise these opportunities.”
Shapps added: “Aviation has a crucial role to play in reducing carbon emissions, and with the help of new technologies, renewable fuels and our continued international co-operation through the UN agency, the International Civil Aviation Organisation, we’ll be able to strike that balance, creating a greener and cleaner future.”