The UK Government has set a target for the UK aviation sector to reach net zero by 2050, as part of the government’s wider commitment to reducing UK emissions, in line with the Paris Agreement. To support this target, a consultation was launched in summer 2021 on plans to develop a ‘Jet-Zero’ strategy, which will ensure the UK is at the vanguard of progress on reducing aviation emissions and continues to drive international progress. This consultation included a proposal for a zero-emission target for airports operations in England by 2040. A short, further technical consultation is to be published in the second quarter of 2022. Responses to both consultations will inform the Jet Zero Strategy which will be published later this year.

Following this consultation, and in support of the development of the strategy to formalise this target, the Department for Transport is seeking to strengthen the evidence base of emissions from airport operations. Whilst airport operations are responsible for only 5% of air transport sector emissions, there are still significant ways in which airports and their users can reduce emissions and contribute their part to addressing climate issues within the sector. The objective of this study is to provide analysis showing the emissions sources at English airports and whether the innovations available will make zero carbon emission airport operations feasible by 2040.

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