Secretary of State calls on aviation sector to lead ‘green transport revolution’

Sep 22, 2019

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps on his visit to Cranfield University.

Grant Shapps has called on the aviation industry to take the lead in launching
a “green transport revolution”.

Setting out his
vision for aviation in a speech during his visit to Cranfield University, he
said: “We need to get to grips with commercial aviation greenhouse gas
emissions for the sake of our children and our fragile environment.”

Praising the UK
aviation sector, he said: “I know how the whole sector supercharges our
economy, drives prosperity, jobs and tourism and helps promote Britain’s
interests globally.”

However, he added:
“With aviation set to grow significantly over the next three decades, largely
driven by rising demand from emerging markets, particularly Asia, the Middle
East and India, I want to pave
the way for the transition towards
commercial use of cleaner electric planes. I want to create an electric
revolution in our skies.”

The government is
committed to helping the UK aviation industry seize future growth opportunities
following Brexit, the Secretary of State said. “Just as the UK led the world as
a pioneer of international commercial flight in the 20thc century, I want the
UK to become a hotbed for the design, manufacture and use of electric planes in
the 21st century and to seize a share of a market that could be worth £4
trillion globally by 2050.

 “The fight against climate change is the
greatest and most pressing challenge facing the modern world. The world’s first
ever jet airliner was built in my own constituency, now I want to see the UK
lead the world with electric flight too.”

Mr Shapps saw many
of the research projects currently under way at Cranfield during his visit.
Specialising in technology and management, Cranfield is well known for the
development of many aspects of aircraft research and design.

A Cranfield
University alumnus, Ralph Hooper, had a role in developing the Harrier Jump Jet
and Cranfield
Aerospace Solutions is working on what could be
the first electric-only passenger flight, due to be operational in the Orkney
Islands in Scotland from 2023.

The Secretary of
State also visited the E-Fan X hybrid electric aircraft which is a collaboration between Airbus
and Rolls-Royce based at the university’s global research airport.

University’s vice-chancellor and chief executive Professor Sir Peter Gregson said:
“There is a tremendous opportunity to bring academia, business and government
together to create an environment where the UK leads the world in the practical
deployment of electric-powered aircraft and I welcome the Secretary of State’s
commitment to this.

“We are delighted
that our global research airport at Cranfield, together with our industrial
partners, is helping the dream of electric flight become a reality.”

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