By 31 August 2009, aircraft operators will need to have set out how they will measure their greenhouse gas emissions if they want free allowances.

On 4 March 2009, the Department of Energy and Climate Change published a consultation on the transposition of EU Directive 2008/101/EC (the "Directive") into UK law. The Directive includes emissions from aviation activities in the existing "cap and trade" EU Emissions Trading Scheme ("EU ETS"). As a result, from 2012 onwards, the net CO2 emissions from aviation in the EU will be under a binding cap of 97% of average 2004-06 levels, with the cap tightening to 95% from 2013. Any growth in aircraft emissions above these levels will be possible only through abatement or by purchasing emission allowances from the market.

The Directive will be transposed into UK law in two stages, and this consultation seeks views on the first set of draft implementing regulations, which will come into force on 3 August 2009. These regulations will place mandatory requirements on aircraft operators to start monitoring their emissions from 1 January 2010 in accordance with an approved emissions plan. The regulations will also establish a voluntary system so that aircraft operators can apply for their free allocation of allowances for 2012 and 2013-2020 if they fulfil certain conditions. Operators should be aware that, if they do not apply for a free allocation, they will not receive any allowances for the first two phases of the EU ETS for aviation. Responses to the consultation must be submitted by 14 May 2009.

The consultation document can be accessed at: http://www.decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/consultations/aviation_euets/aviation_euets.aspx