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Plane sense – new government group to focus on decarbonising aviation

With its reliance on carbon-emitting kerosene jet fuel, aviation has long been regarded as one of the hardest parts of the transport sector to decarbonise and arguably represents one of the biggest challenges for the global economy.

The technology required to propel aircraft long distance far outstrips those for equivalent land-based transport.


A government initiative has tasked a group of aviation experts from across industry and government with making zero-emission flight a reality. The new Zero Emission Flight (ZEF) Delivery Group has been launched to focus on accelerating the latest developments and innovations in aviation decarbonisation technology. An additional £685m of funding will be provided for the Aerospace Technology Institute programme over the next three years, building on the UK’s ambition to be world leaders in aerospace research and development.


Launched at the fifth meeting of the Jet Zero Council, chaired by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps MP and Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng MP, the ZEF Delivery Group will aim to position the UK at the forefront of the global shift to green aviation by supporting the development of zero emission aircraft and airport infrastructure. In addition, it will explore whether legal amendments will need to be made to ensure sustainable flying can become a reality.


“We are determined to revolutionise flying and we want to see everyone have the opportunity to travel guilt-free,” said Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, “We are determined to bring forward the flight technology of the future, and through our new Zero Emission Flight Delivery Group, we will help create thousands of jobs around the country and take another step forward toward zero emission flights.”


Focusing specifically on the technology, infrastructure and regulation needed to make zero emission flight a reality, the ZEF Delivery Group will be led by aviation expert Rachel Gardner-Poole and sit under the Jet Zero Council. Currently the Chief Operating Officer of Connected Places Catapult, Gardner-Poole previously worked at the Civil Aviation Authority, the UK Space Agency and IBM.

“It is a great privilege to be asked to be the Chair of the ZEF Delivery Group and I am committed to the critical work ahead,” she said, “I am passionate about using innovation and technology to create a positive impact on our planet and look forward to collectively addressing the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead of us.”

Alexandra Herdman, Public Policy Manager, Logistics UK, said: “We are delighted to see the government make this commitment to accelerating the latest developments and innovations in aviation technology to help make zero emission flight a reality.

“Our recent Exporting by Air seminar included a lively panel discussion on making the air freight sector sustainable, and it is clear that the industry is highly committed to this agenda. We look forward to working with government, the air cargo industry and other stakeholders to help facilitate the decarbonisation of aviation to make it a more sustainable sector.”


Published On: 28/04/2022 16:00:43


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