27 May 2010

S3M-6417 Climate Change (International Aviation and Shipping) (Scotland) Order 2010

Scottish Parliament

Thursday 27 May 2010

[The Presiding Officer opened the meeting at 09:15]
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Parliamentary Bureau Motions

The Deputy Presiding Officer (Trish Godman): The next item of business is consideration of a parliamentary bureau motion. I invite Bruce Crawford to move motion S3M-6417, on the approval of the Climate Change (International Aviation and Shipping) (Scotland) Order 2010.

Motion moved,

That the Parliament agrees that the Climate Change (International Aviation and Shipping) (Scotland) Order 2010 be approved.—[Bruce Crawford.]
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The Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change (Stewart Stevenson): I start on a consensual note. I agree that there is an effect associated with aviation that is greater than the effect of emissions at the surface. I think that the whole Parliament is of that view, which is why in the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009 we made provision for the Government to set a figure.

The question is whether we are in a position to do so. The UK Committee on Climate Change has provided us with advice on the subject, which is that it is not yet able to identify the science that shows what the figure should be.

I want to talk about the need for multiple figures for different kinds of aviation. In setting a target, we should seek to incentivise aviation to move from more contaminating to less contaminating modes of flying. It is clear that a pure jet engine that flies at around 39,000ft to 41,000ft has much higher contamination than does a turboprop engine that flies at 20,000ft to 25,000ft. For the small planes that operate public services in the Western Isles, Orkney and Shetland, the effect is likely to be similar to the effect at the surface, given that they fly at between 500ft and 2,000ft. Therefore, we should properly have different figures for different classes of aviation. We have asked the Committee on Climate Change to provide those.

An important issue of which members should be aware is that there is no difficulty in waiting to set the figure. When the factor is set at a figure other than 1, it is backdated. Therefore, there is no cost in terms of accounting to waiting for a scientifically based figure that provides the opportunity to restructure the way in which flying operates. Many short-haul flights that currently operate within the UK—and, more fundamentally, to the Republic of Ireland and other parts of Europe—can increasingly be conducted using turboprops, which result in lower contamination. Setting a different figure for that category of aircraft would be more appropriate.

I seek members' support for the motion.

Stewart Stevenson
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