UK Government sets out plans for Sustainable Aviation Fuel Mandate - CILT(UK)
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UK Government sets out plans for Sustainable Aviation Fuel Mandate

30 April 2024/Categories: Industry News, Active Travel & Travel Planning, Aviation, Net-Zero


The Government has unveiled details of its plan to introduce a sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) mandate. If approved by Parliament, the mandate will come into effect on January 1, 2025.

Under the scheme, airlines will be required to use a minimum amount of SAF for flights taking off from UK airports. The target starts at 2% of total jet fuel demand in 2025, rising linearly to 10% by 2030 and 22% by 2040.

Mark Harper, Transport secretary said: “As we demonstrate through our Jet Zero Strategy, we can achieve net zero by focussing on new fuels and technologies, and SAF is the most immediate solution we have for cutting emissions.”

There will be caps on the use of certain types of SAF derived from limited feedstocks like palm oil to encourage the development of advanced alternatives with lower environmental impacts. A separate sub-target for power-to-liquid fuels will be introduced in 2028, reaching 3.5% by 2040.

The policy aims to drive SAF production in Britain, with the industry estimated to add £1.8 billion to the economy and create over 10,000 jobs nationwide. It includes provisions like buy-out price caps to limit impacts on airfares and consumer costs.

Commenting on the Government’s announcement of a consultation on a sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) mandate, Airport Operators Association (AOA) Chief Executive Karen Dee said: “It is welcome news that the government is consulting on its proposals on a SAF mandate, as well as opening the second round of the advanced fuels fund.

“SAF represents a huge opportunity for the UK to be a world leader, employing thousands of people in clean, green jobs, while playing a key role in decarbonising aviation, a vital component of the global economy.”

Karen explained that the AOA trade association will continue to work closely with Government to develop the investment framework for SAF, including a ‘contracts for difference’ style system that will provide the certainty investors need to bring capital forward.

To provide investment certainty, the Government said they will also introduce an industry-funded revenue support mechanism for UK SAF plants by the end of 2026.

A consultation has been launched to decide the best model from four options developed with stakeholders.

Ministers assert the SAF mandate forms part of a pragmatic approach to reduce aviation emissions while avoiding "unnecessary burdens" on the public through policies like flight rationing. Environmental groups have pushed for more ambitious targets.

Responding to the Government’s UK SAF mandate, Aviation Environment Federation (AEF) Policy Director Cait Hewitt said: “If this mandate means the Government finally acknowledging the aviation emissions problem can’t be solved without some policy action, then perhaps it’s a step in the right direction.

“But what we really need is a reduction in aviation emissions. A percentage mandate for alternative fuel in an industry hungry for growth can’t guarantee that. So, for the time being, it remains the case that the best way to cut emissions from flying is to fly less,” she added.

 

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