New targets set to limit aviation emissions

A new target to limit greenhouse gas emissions from flying was included in the announcement on Heathrow as ministers faced accusations that the airport's expansion will derail efforts to tackle climate change.

As he gave the go-ahead for a third runway at the west London airport, Transport Secretary Geoff Hoon said the government would establish a new target to get aviation emissions below 2005 levels by 2050.

He said he had asked the government's Committee on Climate Change to review how such reductions could be made and how aviation could be included in an international agreement on cutting emissions.

The committee's initial report on cutting the UK's emissions by 2050 said bringing aviation's output of the gases to 2005 levels and an average 89 per cent cut across the rest of the UK would meet the legally-binding overall target of an 80 per cent reduction.

Today the committee's chairman Lord Turner warned unconstrained growth in emissions from flying would make the level of reductions needed in other areas "impossibly difficult" to achieve.

But he said the new target was "a major step forward" which would provide a "very useful buttress" to the 80 per cent goal.

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