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Hoon and Miliband appoint Environment Agency to police aviation emissions trading scheme

Hoon and Miliband appoint Environment Agency to police aviation emissions trading scheme

DEPARTMENT FOR TRANSPORT News Release (031) issued by COI News Distribution Service. 4 March 2009

A new scheme to cap aviation emissions will be supervised in England and Wales by the Environment Agency, Transport Secretary Geoff Hoon and Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband have announced.

The EU Emissions Trading scheme - which caps net CO2 emissions from aviation at average 2004-06 levels - will come into force for flights arriving and departing EU airports from 1 January 2012, following agreement in Brussels in late 2008. The scheme, which already applies to many ground-based industries, means that businesses must buy allowances from other sectors to cover any emissions above their allotted cap, encouraging greener aviation.

As regulator of the scheme, the independent Environment Agency will ensure that operators appropriately monitor their emissions in the lead-up to the start of the scheme and will be tasked with ensuring that operators comply with the requirements of the scheme. The Environment Agency, which will have the power to issue fines to operators who do not comply with the scheme, will be supported by expert advice from the Civil Aviation Authority.

In January it was announced that the Environment Agency and the Civil Aviation Authority have also been tasked with ensuring that expansion at Heathrow is achieved within strict noise and air quality limits.

Transport Secretary Geoff Hoon said:

"We know that people want to fly and it would be wrong to deny them the great social and economic benefits that aviation brings. Our challenge is to balance that demand with aviation's environmental impacts. Emissions trading is key to meeting that challenge.

"The UK lobbied hard to get aviation included in the EU Emissions Trading scheme. Now we must demonstrate to the rest of the world that the scheme is an effective means of capping aviation CO2 emissions so that we can progress towards a similar global arrangement. I know that the Environment Agency, with the advice of the Civil Aviation Authority, will ensure that the scheme is properly enforced in the UK.

"Aircraft are already much greener and cleaner than they were 30 years ago. Independent forecasts suggest that this trend is set to continue and through ETS, our new 2050 target and our work with the industry we are helping to drive this change along."

Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband said:

"The UK has the highest environmental standards for aviation in the world and has been at the forefront of pushing through this groundbreaking agreement. This European-wide scheme will substantially cut carbon emissions across Europe, and provide real incentives for airlines to play their part and make those reductions.

"The EU is showing real leadership by recognising that every sector of industry must respond to the threat of climate change."

By making aircraft operators bear the financial cost of their emissions, the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) encourages aircraft operators to reduce their CO2 emissions through investment in greener aircraft technology or developing the use of alternative fuels.

Environment Agency Chairman Lord Chris Smith said:

"Including aviation in Europe's greenhouse gas emissions trading scheme is an important first step in regulating the emissions from aviation that contribute toward climate change.

"It is vital that the emissions from this sector are not allowed to grow unchecked and that aviation contributes to meeting our target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% by 2050. The Environment Agency operates the greenhouse gas emissions trading scheme in England and Wales and with the inclusion of aviation, we will continue to manage the system effectively."

Bringing aviation into the EU ETS is a key part of the Government's policy of striking a balance between economic and social benefits of aviation and its environment impacts. The Government now plans to build on the EU ETS agreement by bringing international pressure for wider aviation to be part of global deal on climate change.

Separately, the Government has announced a new target to reduce UK aviation emissions in 2050 below 2005 levels in absolute terms. The aircraft industry, through its Sustainable Aviation initiative, has already produced a roadmap setting out how this target could be met. The Government has asked the Climate Change Committee to advise on the best basis to take this forward.

The Department for Transport and the Department of Energy and Climate Change, in partnership with the Scottish Government, Welsh Assembly Government and the Northern Ireland Executive have today begun a 10 week consultation on the regulations under which EU ETS for aviation will operate in the UK. This provides an opportunity for stakeholders to express their views on the proposed arrangements for how the scheme will operate. This will inform legislation that the Government intends to lay before Parliament in July. The consultation can be accessed on the DECC website at: http://www.decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/consultations/consultations.aspx

Notes to Editors

1. The Environment Agency (EA) is already established as UK regulator of the wider emissions trading scheme. As such, the Agency has a wealth of knowledge about ETS implementation and has the relevant systems established to deal with the administration of the scheme.

2. The EA will be supported in this role by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). The CAA is the specialist regulator for the aviation industry, and will provide the necessary aviation expertise to the EA.

3. The EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) was established under the European Directive 2003/87/EC which entered into force on 25 October 2003. The scheme is central to enabling the EU to achieve its stated goal of reducing emissions by 20% in 2020 compared to 1990 levels.

4. The working level agreement was put before the European Parliament on 8 July and the package was formally adopted at the Council on 24 October 2008. The Directive to include aviation in the EU ETS (2008/101/EC), which amends the existing EU ETS Directive (2003/87/EC), was published in the Official Journal of the European Union on 13 January 2009 and will enter into force on 2 February 2009.

5. The proposal to include aviation in the EU ETS is strongly supported by the UK Government, as made clear in the Future of Air Transport White Paper (2003) as it is seen as the most effective and cost efficient policy to ensure aviation meets the full cost of its climate change emissions.

6. Emissions Trading is a devolved matter. We expect that the Scottish and Northern Irish ministers will shortly be appointing the Scottish Environment and Protection Agency and the Northern Ireland Environment Agency respectively as aviation ETS regulators in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

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Department for Transport Website: http://www.dft.gov.uk

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