The Jet Zero Council has announced an action plan for the next two years to reach net zero in UK aviation by 2050. 

The plan sets out how the council, which is comprised of industry, academic, and government leaders, will help to accelerate the production of sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) by investing in first-of-a-kind SAF plants, supporting scientific research on a larger scale, and helping to drive down production costs. 

“This government is a determined partner to the aviation industry – helping accelerate new technology and fuels, modernise their operations, and work internationally to remove barriers to progress,” said Transport Secretary Mark Harper.

“Together, we can set aviation up for success, continue harnessing its huge social and economic benefits, and ensure it remains a core part of the UK’s sustainable economic future.”

The announcement comes in tandem with the publication of a new report, called ‘Developing a UK SAF industry’. The independent evaluation – commissioned by the Department for Transport in October 2022 – assesses what conditions are necessary to create a successful UK SAF industry.

The report, written by Philip New, former CEO of the Energy Systems Catapult and BP Alternative Energy, sets out a number of recommendations to help stimulate SAF production in the UK.  

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“The Two-Year Plan published today, building on recent government commitments to secure demand for SAF in the UK, will ensure we continue to accelerate progress and achieve the Jet Zero Council’s objectives of delivering 10% SAF in the UK fuel mix by 2030 and zero emission transatlantic flight within a generation,” said Jet Zero Council CEO Emma Gilthorpe.

The existing Jet Zero Strategy sets out how the country can achieve net zero emissions from UK aviation by 2050 and the £165m Advanced Fuel Fund is also kickstarting production, with five projects already chosen to receive funding.  

The UK Government says that it recognises that many investors are looking for longer-term revenue certainty that the SAF mandate will not provide, and is “committing to work with the aviation industry on the best ways to decarbonise, including options for additional revenue certainty for a UK SAF industry.”