T: 020 7248 2227           E: info@airportwatch.org.uk 

AirportWatch Briefing Sheets


Below are links to briefings on:

AirportWatch Campaigning Briefing Sheet

AirportWatch has produced a short list of handy hints for airport campaigners, which you can download from the link below.
AirportWatch Campaigning Briefing Sheet

AirportWatch Aviation Fact Card

This is a short Fact Card with useful general information about aviation, which you can download from the link below.
AirportWatch Fact Card 

What % of the UK's carbon dioxide emissions are from aviation?

Government figures show that in 2005 aviation accounted for 13% of total UK climate change damage.  That is an understatement because it is based on departing flights only:  if the calculation is based on return flights by UK citizens in 2007 the figure would be nearer 20%.
The figure for CO2 alone is 6.3%, but this is multiplied by 2 to take radiative forcing into account.
Currently international aviation is not included in the UK’s climate change inventory as there is no internationally agreed method for allocating such emissions between states.
Gillian Merron's reply in the House of Commons 
AirportWatch statement on aviation emissions

Carbon offsetting for your flight

With more people buying carbon offsets to try and compensate for the carbon dioxide produced from their flights, the effectiveness and justification for these offsets is increasingly being questioned.  The Observer article discusses the problems.
The Observer - Carbon offsetting Ripoff?

An article in the Sunday Times reveals that offsetting schemes involving tree planting can take a century to remove the CO2 from the atmosphere, making them very ineffective as a meals of reducing the climate changing effect of emissions.
Offsetting your carbon footprint takes decades
Defra has announced (Jan 2007) new standards for carbon offsetting schemes.  Of the estimated 60 offsetting schemes available, only four meet the government's new gold standard, and none of these are being run in the UK.   The 4 companies which at present meet the standards are:
Pure    http://www.puretrust.org.uk
Global Cool       http://www.global-cool.com
Equiclimate      http://www.ebico.co.uk
and Carbon Offsets    http://www.carbonoffsets.org
BBC article - Defra ups carbon offset standards

The flying dilemma - should I fly or not?

See the useful,thought-provoking piece on Lite Green's website on this.

Times of rail journeys to European destinations

The TGV is opening a new link to the east of France, in June 2007, making many journeys further into Europe much faster.  More and more journeys are now becoming faster, and more hassle-free, than the same trip by plane.   To find details of train timetables etc, see  www.raileurope.co.uk  or   http://www.seat61.com 
Also the Telegraph article on the new journey times   from 12.5.2007  including the old and new TGV times to a range of destinations.  See the list of new train times

Briefings on aviation and noise - including effects on human health

See the Aviation and Noise section

Briefing on aviation and economics

AirportWatch has produced two documents on the economic aspects of aviation.  The first deals with the contribution aviation makes to the national economy, and to regional regeneration.

Aviation and the Economy - pdf 
Aviation and the Economy - Word
The second paper deals with taxation and aviation, and equity and aviation.
Aviation, Taxation and Equity - pdf 
Aviation, Taxation and Equity - Word 


The Open Skies agreement

The new ‘Open Skies’ agreement between the EU and America could double the number of passengers flying the Atlantic. This would mean an extra 3.5 million tonnes of CO2 being emitted every year.  Article by John Stewart, for the Ecologist magazine.

Open Skies article by John Stewart


Briefing on the OEF report on aviation's contribution to the UK economy

The original OEF study, published in 1999 by the Department for Transport.  It claimed that the aviation industry brought huge benefits to UK economy, but didn’t factor into its calculations the tax-breaks the aviation industry receives through tax-free fuel etc, nor the cost to the country of the environmental damage done by air travel. 

AirportWatch OEF Briefing (November 2006)
The December 2006 OEF report takes the same line.  A new study, carried out for AirportWatch in February 2007, found that the claimed economic benefits of air travel in the Government’s Progress Report on the Future of Air Transport published in December were largely based on a consultant’s report paid for by the aviation industry.  Despite growing concern about the impact of aviation growth on climate change, the Progress Report confirmed the government’s determination to press ahead with airport expansion, justifying this on the grounds of economic benefit.

AirportWatch study on OEF report (Feb 2007)


Briefing on the Pre Budget Report 2006

The Chancellor announced that the doubling APD will be effective from 1st February 2007 . The intra-EU economy rate will rise from £5 to £10 and the non-economy rate from £10 to £20.  The long-haul economy rate will rise from £20 to £40 and the non-economy rate from £40 to £80.

Friends of the Earth have produced a pre-budget report, in the run up to the Chancellor's Pre Budget statement in early December. The Treasury’s Stern Report calls for urgent action on climate change, to protect the economy and environment. This will require new, visionary and decisive leadership to turn the UK economy into the flourishing low-carbon economy required in the next decade and beyond.
Pages 1 - 5 give a summary of the measures FoE believe the Chancellor should have introduced.  Pages 12 - 16 deal specifically with aviation.

Friends of the Earth briefing on the Aviation White Paper review

Friends of the Earth have produced a media briefing paper which examines the growing impact of aviation on the environment and the need for urgent Government action to tackle it through a variety of measures, including abandoning plans to allow a huge expansion in UK airports.  It also comments on a variety of issues surrounding aviation and climate change, such as plans to include aviation in the EU emissions trading scheme, the use of bio fuels and carbon offsetting proposals.


Including Aviation in the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme

While the overall strategy has received backing from the Commission, Council and Parliament, the details of the text still need to be hammered out by EU lawmakers.  The contentious issues in the proposal are:
• The Commission's decision not to include international flights in the scheme until one year after intra-EU flights (in 2011), and;
• the level of the cap that airlines will be subject to and the system for distributing allowances. 
Latest & next steps:
• 12 September 2007: Parliament report scheduled for adoption in committee.
• 23 October 2007: Probable first reading vote on Parliament's report in the plenary.
• 2008: Commission expected to table proposal on aircraft NOx emissions.
European Parliament set to back tough rules on aircraft emissions

Briefing on "Including Aviation in the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS)" - December 2006

Briefing on "Including Aviation in the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS)" - December 2006
by T & E  - European Federation for Transport and Environment

"Including Aviation in the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme" - by T & E

Briefing on Aviation and Climate Change

"Clearing the Air: The Myth and Reality of Aviation and Climate Change" 
by T & E  - European Federation for Transport and Environment
The report intends to satisfy the many demands for information and analysis on the issue of aviation and climate change coming from policymakers, the media and interested citizens.  It brings together the findings of recent studies in light of the current political debate and discussions taking place about a range of policy options.

"Clearing the Air: The Myth and Reality of Aviation and Climate Change" - by T & E

World Development Movement - Briefing on Climate Change and Development

The WDM have put together answers to the tricky questions of climate change, especially as it affects development and poor countries.  Questions like "With all this uncertainty, shouldn’t we just wait and see before taking action?"  or "Who will suffer most from climate change?"  or "Aren’t the emissions that need to be tackled those of countries who are rapidly increasing the amount of CO2 they produce, such as China, India and Brazil?"

Curbing the growth in air travel is seen as vital to help protect the poor from the worst effects of climate change, caused by the rich lifestyles of those in the affluent world.

Q & A of Climate Change - WDM 

"Dying on a jet plane":

Inequality, flying and the global injustice of climate change - a report by the World Development Movement  (March 2007)

You pay the aviation industry £173 every year...  It is widely reported that aviation pays no tax on fuel and no VAT.  WDM calculates that the net impact of these factors results in an effective subsidy to UK aviation in 2007 of £10.4 billion.

...so that the richest 18% of the UK can enjoy cheap flights... The average salary of passengers using British airports is £48,000   ... which cause climate change that hits the poorest people in the world.

WDM report - "Dying on a jet plane"

How an airport can damage the local community

Stop Stansted Expansion have produced a response, presented to Uttlesford District Council in August 2006, about the very severe impacts which the airport’s operations were already having on the community and on the lives of the people who live there, as a result of growth at the airport.  It describes stress, anxiety, noise pollution, light pollution, traffic problems and breakdown in community life. 

Erosion of the Community - from the SSE website

Air quality around airports

Air pollution continues to be a significant threat to human health and the environment in Europe, especially in airport adjacent regions, from both planes and local surface transport.  Local air pollution is regulated by several legislative documents on EU level.  This briefing gives information about air pollution and possible solutions.

Briefing on Air Quality around airports

Flight Path to Destruction

- Woodland Trust  paper on the effect of UK airport expansion plans on ancient woodland

The Government is proposing large-scale expansion of airports, which are often surrounded by significant areas of ancient woodland.  If the proposals were to go ahead in areas such as Stansted, Manchester, Rugby or Swansea then we would be facing a massive loss of ancient woodland.

Who's Who at the Department for Transport

The politicians and civil servants, and the organogram showing who does what, and who reports to whom.

Department for Transport - Aviation Directorate Organisation Chart

How do planes compare to other means of travel - for CO2 emissions

Just how damaging to the climate is air travel?  Is it really much worse than going by trian?  Or by car?  And just how much carbon dioxide does my flight to Paris, or to New York, or to Rome produce, relative to my car use, or gas and electricity comsumption?   Good figures are hard to find, but we try and throw some light on the subject.

How does air travel compare to other means of travel

Consultative Committees

The Department for Transport has guidelines on how Consultative Committees are run.

Consultative Committees

Guidelines for Airport Consultative Committees

Climate Change

For the facts about the contribution that UK aviation makes to climate change, click on the link below.

Go to   Climate Change Briefing Sheets    for more information.


England Biodiversity Strategy - Towards adaptation to climate change   

May 2007.   A report for Defra.

The full report is 194 pages long and can be found at:  England Biodiversity Strategy - Towards adaptation to climate change





Air travel and climate change

Should I give up flying?
Should we fly less?
Aviation and the environment
Air travel and environmental damage
Emissions from aviation






Go to the Planning Section


Climate Change Briefing Sheets


Go to the Climate Change Section


Aviation and Noise

Aircraft Noise

Find out more in the Noise Section


Air Quality at and Around Airports

Air pollution is a major issue for those who live in the vicinity of large airports. Emissions from aircraft, air-side support vehicles and airport-related traffic all contribute to a build up of potentially harmful gases such as oxides of nitrogen, carbon monoxide, VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and ozone. They also produce small particulates

Find out more in the Air Quality Section


Demand Issues

Demand Issues and Environmental Economics

Find out more in the Demand Section




Find out more in the Economics Section







Need more information?

A range of briefing sheets and other information is available within the following sections:



Climate Change Briefing Sheets

Aviation and Noise

Air Quality at and Around Airports

Demand Issues









Copyright AirportWatch, 2004