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Regulations / Treasury & Capital Markets
UK mandates 10% green jet fuel use by 2030
Mechanism added to help manage prices, minimize impact on passenger ticket fares
The Asset 26 Apr 2024

The UK government has set new targets to ensure 10% of all jet fuel in flights taking off from the UK comes from sustainable sources by 2030 through its sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) mandate.

The UK’s SAF mandate, subject to parliamentary approval, will come into force in January 2025 and will be one of the first in the world to be put into law. It follows the world’s first commercial 100% SAF transatlantic flight taking off from Heathrow in November – backed by up to £1 million (US$1.5 million) in government investment.

Following extensive consultations with the industry, the government, it says, “has committed to ambitious but achievable targets that will see around 1.2 million tonnes of SAF supplied to the UK airline industry each year – enough to circle the globe 3,000 times”.

The plans are good for aviation, the environment and for the UK overall, notes the UK’s Department of Transport, with the SAF industry estimated to add over £1.8 billion to the economy and create over 10,000 jobs across the country. 

This comes following £135 million of recent funding allocated through the Advanced Fuels Fund, supporting the growth of 13 ground-breaking SAF projects across the country.

“While we recognize SAF may be more expensive than traditional jet fuel in the immediate term, we’re ensuring decarbonization doesn’t come at the expense of consumers,” the department states. “This plan is part of our approach to ensure that the rationing of flights through ‘demand management’ is ruled out.”

The plan includes a review mechanism to help manage prices and minimize the impact on ticket fares for passengers. The government also has the power to change key limits within the mandate to block higher price rises in the case of SAF shortages – keeping the impact on consumers to a minimum. 

Providing sufficient SAF is available, any increases in air fares as a result of SAF, the department notes, will fall well within the range of usual fluctuations in prices, and the government has plans in place to prevent any major hikes.

“SAF protects the future of UK aviation, the thousands of British jobs that depend on it, and the holidays and business travel flights that we all rely on,” adds the UK transport secretary Mark Harper. “The fuel produces up to 70% less carbon emissions than the traditional fossil fuels used in most commercial flights. It is made from waste materials or by-products – like household waste, industrial gases or used cooking oil.”

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