Smart Transport

DfT grants powers to decarbonise aviation infrastructure

The Department for Transport (DfT) has granted a range of additional powers to decarbonise aviation infrastructure as part of the Air Traffic Management and Unmanned Aircraft Bill.

The Air Traffic Management and Unmanned Aircraft (ATMUA) Bill, designed to modernise airspace and clamp down on the illegal use of unmanned aircraft, received Royal Assent on April 29.

The new law means airports that don’t implement changes quickly enough could be directed to modernise their airspace, “helping deliver quicker, quieter and cleaner journeys”.

The DfT said modernising the use of UK airspace through the re-routing of existing flight paths “will play a vital role in the Government’s plans to build back greener from the pandemic, generating lower CO2 emissions from flights while also reducing noise pollution and improving punctuality for passengers.

Grant Shapps, transport secretary, said: “These additional powers will help reduce aviation emissions, improve flight efficiency and capitalise on the exciting opportunities drones offer while clamping down on misuse and disruption.”

Robert Courts, aviation minister said the new Bill will support the safe practice of drone technology by giving police officers the necessary powers to tackle illegal misuse.

This will include issuing fixed penalty notices, mandating a person to land an unmanned aircraft and introducing stop and search powers where offences involving an unmanned aircraft have been committed.

The transport secretary has also been granted temporary powers to waive the rule, which requires airlines to operate 80% of their flights in order to retain their airport slots.

This means airlines will be provided flexibility in choosing to not run flights, preventing high-cost and carbon-inefficient ‘ghost flights’ from taking place during periods of low air travel.

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