UK to champion green aviation through £343m Sector Deal
Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark has vowed that the UK will "lead the world" on an electric and hybrid aircraft revolution, after announcing the £343m Aerospace Sector Deal as part of the UK Government's Industrial Strategy.
The Aerospace Sector Deal pledges £343m in government and industry investment for research and development and productivity improvements to facilitate the rollout of electric and hybrid aircraft.
With aviation accounting for approximately 6% of total UK emissions, the new agreement will enable technology institutes, public bodies and private firms to mobilise funds to create cleaner and quieter aircraft.
“The UK has a rich heritage in civil aviation as the home of the jet engine and the wings factory of the world,” Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark said. “Technology is driving revolutionary changes in aviation that have not been seen since the 1970s and today’s investment is foundational to the future of commercial aviation and ensuring the UK remains at the cutting-edge of the sector.
“This revolution in civil aerospace will bring significant benefits to UK industry, passengers and the environment. Through our modern Industrial Strategy, we are working with industry to lead the world as we embark on this journey into the new age of air travel.”
More than £250m, supported by the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) and UK Research & Innovation (UKRI), will be spent on 18 research and technology projects, while £68m has been set aside to support small and medium-sized companies with research and development opportunities. Finally, £20m will be spent on improvements to long-term productivity in the sector.
Airbus and Rolls-Royce are two of the early beneficiaries of the fund, with the latter using up to £70m to support the development of an engine that will set new benchmarks in fuel efficiency, CO2 reductions and significant cutbacks in engine noise.
Clark also announced that formal negotiations had started for an Industrial Strategy sector deal that will increase business investment in the UK, focusing on electrification, supply chain productivity and skill levels in the aerospace sector.
The UK’s Industrial Strategy sets out a vision for clean technology and innovation to play a key role in boosting the UK’s long-term economic prospects.
The 255-page document focuses on how the Government can support business innovation in the areas of AI, clean growth, medical care and driverless vehicles. The Government has vowed to spend 2.4% of GDP on R&D by 2027, which it hopes will add an extra £80bn in advanced technology in the next 10 years.
When the UK Government unveiled its clean growth Industrial Strategy at the end of 2017, it pledged to publish various sector deals to outline long-term partnerships between the Government and industry to boost industry productivity. The launch of the Aerospace deal follows on from sector deals covering construction, the automotive industry, the public sector and an offshore wind deal.