HOUSE OF COMMONS
LONDON SW1A 0AA
Mr Peter Walker
6th October 2005
Dear Mr Walker,
Thank you for your recent letter regarding climate change and the problem of aircraft pollution. I agree with you that climate change is one of the most pressing political problems we will face this century. Predictions for the UK indicate that average temperatures will increase by between 2C and 3.5C by 2100, resulting in warmer summers and wetter winters. This could have big implications for our biodiversity and economy.
With the ever increasing reports on rising CO2 emissions, I believe more needs to be done to address the issues and problems being created. I fully support the Kyoto Protocol and the target of reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 60% by 2050. It is, therefore, a great shame that Government has recently admitted that its domestic target of reducing emissions by 20% by 2010 will not be reached. CO2 emissions are actually higher now than they were in 1997. The Conservative Government managed to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 7.3% between 1990 and 1997.
At the General Election we put forward a serious programme of measures to tackle climate change which included action on energy efficiency, renewable power and transport. We also called for a new approach to renewable energy in this country. More effort should be given to encouraging technologies other than onshore wind, so that all our eggs are not in one basket. The Government has neglected other sources of renewable energy such as solar, wave and tidal power. We wanted to redress this balance by reviewing the Renewable Obligation so that it could be adjusted to support technologies other than onshore wind. We also intended to review the fragmented grant programme for less mature technologies such as wave and tidal power so that more co-ordinated support was forthcoming.
Lastly, transport, which emits significant carbon emissions, would also have been addressed. We intended to encourage car manufacturers to make less polluting cars by using the tax system to make the greenest cars and fuels cheaper. We planned to reduce the Vehicle Excise Duty on the cleanest vehicles in order to encourage consumers to buy the greenest cars. We also wanted to encourage biofuels through duty rebates and the renewable fuels obligation.
I am aware that aircraft are particularly high pollutants and I do welcome some of the measures included in the Governments Civil Aviation Bill. Indeed, my party offered a number of robust policies on aviation expansion including that ensuring that future airport expansion is matched by a commitment to environmental improvement, particularly on emissions around our major airports and a commitment to ensure there is not future expansion until the UK is part of the European emissions trading scheme now being established. Furthermore, expansion of regional airports can only help to reduce the burden of concentrated air traffic around our major airports and I am supportive of the expansion of Southend Airport to this end.
I hope this assures you that my party and I take this matter very seriously. Thanks again for writing.
James Duddridge MP
Tel: 01702 616135