Leeds council calls on government to tackle pollution from air travel

A senior Leeds politician has claimed the government needs to do more to reduce the impact of air travel on the environment.

Friday, 20th December 2019, 11:45 am

Coun Lisa Mulherin, Leeds City Council’s executive member for transport and climate change, revealed she had recently written to transport secretary Grant Shapps asking for the Government to have a national strategy around the damage air travel can do to the environment.

It follows calls from the UK Committee on Climate Change (CCC) for the

Government to include emissions from aviation and shipping in the national targets for carbon reduction.

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Lisa Mulherin has called on the government to have a national strategy to deal with emissions from air travel.

During a press briefing on plans to improve transport links in the north west of Leeds, Coun Mulherin said: “I wrote to Grant Shapps asking him to take aviation emissions into account as part of the Government’s carbon reduction targets.

“But it does absolutely need to have a national focus in terms of carbon reduction for aviation, as well as a national aviation strategy. Currently we have regions and cities having to look at these issues in isolation, and you can’t do that with aviation.

“The council recognises the work done by Leeds Climate Commission, which makes clear that the growth in aviation nationally as well as locally is not compatible with our carbon targets.

“Leeds is only 1.4 per cent of the national flights. If you look at what is happening here, compare it to what is happening at Manchester, Bristol or Newcastle, never mind Heathrow, this is one very small part of that bigger picture. It needs a national focus.

“I have not received a reply yet, which is understandable considering the election, but I will be chasing him for a response.”

Her comments follow Parliament announcing a climate emergency back in May 2019, with its aim being to get the UK to net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Coun Mulherin’s letter to Mr Shapps read: “I am joining the call for the Government to show leadership on this issue internationally by including aviation and shipping in the national targets for carbon reduction.

“Doing so would help to create the right environment for job creation in the Greenhouse Gas Removal sector, create a level playing field for all UK airports in terms of carbon reduction and develop a national conversation about the impact of aviation and shipping.”