Here is your monthly round-up of the key transport developments in July 2022

All the key transport developments from the last month, including the Jet Zero strategy, a mandate for sustainable aviation fuels, ending the sale of non-zero emission motorbikes, a consultation on increasing rail freight, and decarbonising the domestic maritime sector.

DfT sets out Jet Zero strategy

The Department for Transport (DfT) has published the Jet Zero strategy policy paper, setting out the framework and plan for achieving net zero aviation by 2050. The Policy Paper follows the DfT's Jet Zero consultation and Jet Zero further technical consultation and includes a 5-year delivery plan, setting out the actions that will need to be taken in the coming years to support the delivery of net zero aviation. There is also the Jet Zero investment flightpath which is part of a series of roadmaps to be published over the course of 2022 for each sector of the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution.

UK part of newly formed National Aviation Authority

The Department for Transport has announced the launch of the National Aviation Authority, a network designed to support resilience in the aviation sector and help regulators tackle emerging challenges. The NAA is made up of regulators from the UK, USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand and aims to establish cohesive aviation policies including on how new aviation technology is integrated and regulated and supporting efforts to reduce carbon emissions.

CMA and CAA publish joint open letter to airlines

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) have published a joint open letter to airlines about their practices and processes regarding flight cancellations and reimbursements, and to remind airlines of their obligations particularly under general consumer protection law. This letter sets out the CMA and CAA's concerns that some airlines may not be doing everything they could to avoid engaging in one or more harmful practices and provides guidance to airlines to ensure they are complying with consumer law and treating consumers fairly.

Outcome of consultation on mandating the use of sustainable aviation fuels in the UK

The Department for Transport has published the outcome of its July 2021 consultation on proposals for a UK sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) mandate requiring jet fuel suppliers to blend an increasing proportion of SAF into aviation fuel from 2025. The response confirms that the Government will mandate SAF supply in the UK by introducing a bespoke SAF mandate, separate from the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO). In line with the original consultation proposals, the mandate will obligate aviation fuel suppliers to reduce the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions intensity of jet fuel delivered to the UK. 

Government accelerates aviation industry security checks

The Department for Transport (DfT) has announced that the Government has accelerated the national security vetting checks that all new aviation recruits must undergo, with Accreditation Checks being completed in around 5 days on average and Counter Terrorist Checks in under 10 days. The changes are designed to help get new employees into the industry as quickly as possible to meet the surge in demand for flights.

Law Commission launches project to examine the legal implications of increased autonomy in aviation

The Law Commission has announced plans for a new project to examine the law around autonomous flight, in order to support the safe development of rapidly advancing technology. The review will explore legislation to identify any legislative blocks, gaps or uncertainties linked to the introduction of highly automated systems into the aviation sector. The two-year review is expected to begin in September 2022.

Cycling & Walking
Government announces developments in cycling and walking investment strategy

The Department for Transport (DfT) has announced the launch of the second cycling and walking investment strategy (CWIS), covering the period 2021 to 2025. The strategy includes new and updated objectives including doubling cycling, increasing levels of walking across the community, and walking to school, whilst also setting out the funding in place to achieve these. Alongside the updated strategy, the DfT has also published the second report to Parliament on the progress in meeting the objectives of the CWIS.

Government publishes a review of the Transport Decarbonisation Plan

The Department for Transport has published Decarbonising transport: one-year-on review, summarising the progress made towards delivering the transport decarbonisation plan. The report summarises what has been achieved to reduce emissions from transport and next steps the government will take to support decarbonisation of the transport sector.

Government publishes policy paper on the use of commercial drones in the UK

The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the Department for Transport (DfT) have published a join policy paper setting out the ambition statement and vision for the use of commercial drones in the UK. The policy paper is created jointly by government and the sector, outlining the 2030 potential, current use cases and support and enablers for the future.

Government publishes response to the Regulatory Horizons Council report on drones

The Aviation Minister has published a response to the recommendations made by the Regulatory Horizons Council (RHC) on how the UK can unlock the benefits of drones and support wider commercial deployment through regulation. In his response, Mr Courts sought to highlight that the government is taking forward work to meet the needs of the sector and that the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is being fully resourced to develop the regulatory requirements going forwards. The response follows an earlier response from the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to the report.

Electric Vehicles
DfT consults on ending the sale of new non-zero emission L-category vehicles models

The Department for Transport has published a consultation on proposals to end new non-zero emission L-category vehicles sales by 2035, and 2030 for other specified vehicles. The consultation also seeks views on exemptions, enforcement and alternative fuel use. L-category vehicles include mopeds, motorcycles and quad bikes. Consultation ends: 21 September 2022.

GBRTT consults on how to grow freight to reduce road congestion and carbon emissions

The Great British Railways Transition Team (GBRTT) has published a consultation on ways to increase the amount of freight that is transported by rail in order to reduce the carbon footprint associated with road related freight. According to estimates, rail freight may need to treble in the UK in order to meet the country's net zero ambitions. Consultation ends: 27 September 2022.

Goods Vehicle Operator Licensing Guide updated

The Traffic Commissioners for Great Britain has updated the Goods Vehicle Operator Licensing Guide to reflect changes in legislation and bring it into line with accessibility criteria. The Guide provides advice to operators of goods vehicles and trailers on how the operator licensing system works and is intended to help both new and existing operators understand the requirements of the operator licensing system.

Private Hire Vehicles
New laws to protect disabled people when travelling in taxis and PHVs

The Taxis and Private Hire Vehicles (Disabled Persons) Act 2022 came into force on 28 June, amending the Equality Act 2010 to place duties on taxi drivers and private hire vehicles (PHVs) and operators to ensure disabled people in England, Scotland and Wales receive the assistance they need and not be charged over the odds. As part of the amendments, taxi and PHV drivers could face fines of up to £1,000 if they fail to provide reasonable mobility assistance to disabled passengers taking a pre-booked vehicle.

Rail Network
Consultation on a draft Rail Ombudsman operating model

The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) has published a consultation on proposals for an operating model for the future Rail Ombudsman. The consultation covers the proposals for an operating model for the future Rail Ombudsman, which specifies the functions it will perform and to what standard, as well as the way it will be constituted, governed and held to account; and the proposed licence modifications required as part of the ORR sponsorship process. Consultation ends: 5 August 2022.

Road Network
Road safety investigation branch launched

The government has announced that it will recruit a specialised team of inspectors to join the country’s first Road Safety Investigation Branch (RSIB), looking at how and why incidents happen. The RSIB will also seek to provide insight into how new technologies – such as self-driving and electric vehicles – can be rolled out on our roads. The Department for Transport expects to include measures to enable the creation of the branch in the forthcoming Transport Bill.

DfT consults on domestic maritime decarbonisation

The Department for Transport (DfT) has launched a consultation seeking views and evidence on the optimal pathway to net zero emissions in 2050 for the domestic maritime sector, including where there is scope to accelerate decarbonisation across sub-sectors. The consultation also seeks to gather feedback on the barriers to maritime decarbonisation and explore the technological, operational and policy options that could be employed to address these barriers. Consultation ends: 6 October 2022.

DfT publishes nine-point plan for seafarers

The Department for Transport (DfT) has published a 9-point plan for seafarer protections that seeks to boost and reform seafarer employment protections and welfare, ensuring they are paid and treated irrespective of flag or nationality, whilst closing down legal loopholes that could give employers the ability to avoid doing so.

Extending the UK ETS to domestic maritime – will it be smooth sailing

This Insight from AG's Carbon Markets and Emissions Trading team looks at a recent consultation on the UK Emissions Trading Scheme (UK ETS) which proposes including domestic maritime in the scheme by the mid-2020s.

Key Contacts

Paul Hirst

Paul Hirst

Partner, Infrastructure Projects and Co-head of Transport
United Kingdom

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Anna Sweeney

Anna Sweeney

Principal Knowledge Lawyer, Projects & Infrastructure

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