Planes running on batteries and hydrogen to become a reality under new group of aviation experts

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps and Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng have today (20 April 2022) set out a new group of aviation experts across industry and government who will work together to make zero emission flight a reality.

As world leaders in aviation decarbonisation, the new Zero Emission Flight (ZEF) Delivery Group, will further Britain’s role in the global effort to end flight emissions.

Launched at the fifth meeting of the Jet Zero Council, the new steering group will help position the UK at the forefront of the global shift to green aviation by supporting the development of zero emission aircraft and airport infrastructure. It will also look at how the law needs to adapt so that sustainable flying can truly become a reality.

The new group will sit under the Jet Zero Council – an advisory forum with experts from across the industry – and will focus specifically on the technology, infrastructure and regulation needed to make zero emission flight a reality.

Speaking at the fifth Jet Zero Council meeting today, the Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps said:

From the first jet engine created here in the UK, Britain is truly a world-leader in flying. Now we are determined to revolutionise flying and we want to see everyone have the opportunity to travel guilt-free.

“We are determined to bring forward the flight technology of the future, and through our new Zero Emission Flight Delivery Group, we will help create thousands of jobs around the country and take another step toward zero emission flights.”

The new group will be led by aviation expert Rachel Gardner-Poole, who joins with over 20 years of experience in military and commercial aviation, both in the public and private sector. Currently the Chief Operating Officer for the Connected Places Catapult, Rachel has previously worked at the Civil Aviation Authority, the UK Space Agency and IBM.

Under Rachel’s leadership, the ZEF Delivery Group will build on the progress made through the Aerospace Technology Institute’s (ATI) FlyZero project and the Department for Transport’s Zero Emission Flight Infrastructure project.

Zero Emission Flight Delivery Group Chair, Rachel Gardner-Poole: 

“It is a great privilege to be asked to be the Chair of the ZEF Delivery Group and I am committed to the critical work ahead to make zero emission aviation a reality.

“I am passionate about using innovation and technology to create a positive impact on our planet and look forward to collectively addressing the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead of us.”

The Government is investing in Aerospace R&D through the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) Programme and £685m will be provided over the next three years, which was announced in March by the Business Secretary.

In addition, Government is providing £125m (matched by £175m from industry) of support for Innovate UK’s Future Flight Challenge. The Challenge will shortly announce projects successful in its third funding competition including those advancing electric flight technologies that will support the operation of sub-regional aircraft and the UK in reaching its net zero target.