Select Committee on Environmental Audit Seventh Report


28. The forecast growth in aviation represents one of the most unsustainable trends in UK society. It will contribute hugely to global warming and will exacerbate the difficulty of achieving the reductions in greenhouse gases which will be vital if we are to avoid the worst effects of climate change. But it is also based on a form of consumerism which is hard to reconcile with the need to develop the concept of sustainable consumption.

29. We have never advocated a 'hair shirt' response to such challenges. However, we do believe that aviation represents one area where it is incumbent on Government to lead the way. Yet the White Paper represents a lost opportunity in various ways: a failure to begin the arduous task of changing hearts and minds; a failure to utilise available policy instruments to promote sustainable—rather than unsustainable—growth; and a failure to learn from our experience in other related areas such as road transport.

30. We said last year that the airports consultation "fails to take on board the new direction in policy initiated by the Government's Energy White Paper; while the growth proposed in aviation—even on a constrained basiswould wreck the aspirations it contains." The Future of Air Transport White Paper has done nothing to alter our view: aviation policy remains the most glaring example of the failure of Government to put sustainable development at the heart of policy making.

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