UK flights must adhere to European Union environmental regulations after Brexit if Britain wants to keep its access to the European aviation market.
Transport group Transport & Environment (T&E) made the call in a report that took at look at how guarantee environmental protection remains in the aviation sector post Brexit.
The report recommended that EU regulations on the aviation emissions trading system (ETS) and state aid should still be implemented.
Applying these would ensure that a check on aviation emissions remains and avert increased UK subsidies for airport infrastructure and airlines which would be “distortive and detrimental” to the environment.
The same report also proposed that the UK should re-join the European Common Aviation Area as a non-member state after it departs the EU in March of 2019.
This would be the UK’s best choice of action, allowing UK registered carriers to continue to benefit from all freedoms of the air when flying to Europe.
It would also mean that existing and forthcoming environmental legislation by the EU would continue to apply to UK carriers and their subsequent operations.
Britain should also become a non-voting, fee paying member of the European Aviation Safety Agency, as this would “guarantee adhesion to aviation safety standards and mutual recognition”.
Kristina Wittkopp, a legal analyst of T&E, remarked:
“As London works out its future relationship with the EU, it should be able to keep its current level of access to Europe’s aviation market by agreeing to maintain EU rules designed to curb flying’s environmental impact.
“Undermining action on European aviation’s climate impact would be in no one’s interests and would create an uneven playing field for airlines.”
The UK providing unregulated financial assistance to national airports and airlines would also alter competition and harm the environment by driving traffic upward.
To prevent Britain becoming a “carbon haven” for the aviation sector after Brexit, it is important that EU state-aid rules be applied to the UK, the report said.
Wittkopp remarked: “The UK’s airports and airlines must abide by EU state-aid rules after Brexit if they are to continue their current easy access to one of the world’s largest aviation markets.
“Anything else would create an unfair advantage and see the UK aviation industry increase traffic and thus emissions through handouts to its domestic aviation industry.”