Home > Verifavia News
> A Refresher on the UK ETS incorporating the latest developments

A Refresher on the UK ETS incorporating the latest developments


Since January 2021, there have been several updates from the UK ETS authority and the Environmental Agency. It is imperative for aircraft operators to stay up to date with these developments to comply with the regulations for UK ETS. This article aims to help you get up to speed with the must-know information.

A recap of the UK ETS for aviation

The Scope of UK ETS

The UK ETS covers the following types of flights:
  1. UK domestic flights
  2. Flights departing from UK to EEA states
  3. Flights departing from UK to territories of EEA member states. These includes Ceuta and Melilla (Spain), the Aland Islands (Finland) and Jan Mayen (Norway).
  4. Flights between UK and Gibraltar
  5. Flights to offshore installations from UK
Note: the UK ETS does not cover/ require the reporting of flights to or from the three crown dependencies of the Isle of Man and the Bailiwicks of Jersey and Guernsey. On the same note, it also doesn’t cover the flights to or from the nine EU outermost regions (Canary Islands, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Mayotte, Réunion, Saint-Martin, Azores, and Madeira).

All thresholds under the UK ETS are based upon the full scope activity while all surrendering obligations would be calculated based on the UK ETS reduced scope. With the scope boundaries between EU ETS and UK ETS being the same, any operator subject to the EU ETS and having at least one UK ETS flight (any of the flights listed in the above section) will be subject to report and surrendering allowances.

Exemption Thresholds

There are different exemption thresholds for commercial and non-commercial operators under UK ETS. These are based on the annual (full scope) emissions. Commercial air transport operators are exempt if they emitted fewer than 10,000 tCO2 annually in the full scope or if their number of full scope flights is below 243 flights per period for three consecutive four-month periods. Non-commercial operators are exempted when they emit fewer than 1,000 tCO2 annually on the full scope. The full scope refers to flights that depart from or arrive at an airport located in the UK or EEA region including Ceuta, Melilla, Aland Islands, Jan Mayen, and Gibraltar as well as 9 EU outermost regions noted above. For more detailed information on thresholds and exemption, please refer to our UK ETS program page. Frequently asked questions on UK ETS can be found here
To comply with UK ETS obligations, an operator must: 
  1. Check with their UK ETS regulator and apply for a UK ETS emissions monitoring plan.
  2. Comply with the approved processes in their EMP to Monitor their aviation emissions over the year.
  3. In the following year, report the emissions and surrender a number of allowances equal to those emissions by the statutory deadlines
  4. Compliance deadlines:
Action Time
Monitor aviation emissions in line with the EMP Between 1 January and 31 December in year n
Start preparing the annual emissions report (with time for verification, if required) Towards the end of year n
Submit the annual emissions report via ETSWAP By 31 March of year n+1
Surrender allowances equal to your reportable emissions By 30 April of year n+1

If anyone is unsure about who their regulator is or want to apply for an EMP, please use the following link for the official UK government page. It is also imperative for the aircraft operator to open a UK registry account. To get more information regarding opening of UK Registry account, please click here.
Reminder on how free allowances were allocated
The UK Environmental Agency (EA) allocated free allowances to the operators who had submitted 2010 and/or 2014 verified tonne-kilometre (tkm) data to their regulator.  For operators who have not received free allowances or have missed the deadline to apply, please contact your regulator.
On the 28 of June 2021, The UK ETS authority published the Aviation Allocation Table (AAT) which contains the number of free allowances allocated to them for the period 2021-2025. This information is available for all operators who applied for free allowances with their 2010/2014 verified activity reports.  Although the Aviation Allocation Table details the whole 2021 to 2025 allocation period as outlined in the regulations, the years 2023 to 2025 are to be treated as indicative pending the outcome of the ongoing free allocation review by the government.
The UK ETS free allowance entitlements for 2021 were transferred to aircraft operator holding accounts on 16 July 2021. Find the official guidance here.
The Allocation Table, which outlines each aircraft operator's entitlement for free allowances for scheme years 2021-2025 was published on 28th June 2021 and can be found here.
Latest updates on UK ETS and implementation of CORSIA in the UK

The UK ETS Proposals under consultation

The UK ETS authority has proposed two amendments to the statutory instrument titled the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Trading Scheme Order 2021. The Amendment No. 1 and No. 2 address several technical and operational concerns identified during the development and amendment of the Order 2020.

The public consultation for the proposed amendments ended on the 7th of September 2021. The UK government will consider any changes to the draft legislation that are suggested in stakeholders’ responses to the consultation and, if necessary, appropriately revise the draft Order. The government’s response will be published within 12 weeks of the closing date of the public consultation.

The consultation on proposed amendments to the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Trading Scheme Order 2020 can be viewed here.

Implementation of CORSIA in the UK

The Environmental Agency’s July 2021 Newsletter provided much needed clarity on the UK Government’s implementation of monitoring, reporting, and verification aspects of CORSIA in UK law using the Air Navigation (Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation) Order 2021 (No. 534) [the ‘ANO’] which came into force on the 26th of May 2021.
CORSIA EMPs will be issued to the aircraft operators based in the UK via a regulator-initiated variation. If a CORSIA EMP workflow has not appeared in your ETSWAP account, please write to your regulator to apply for a CORSIA emissions monitoring plan. Operators are required to comply with both the CORSIA and UK ETS parts of the EMP if they are in both schemes.
CORSIA Offsetting Requirements

The CORSIA offsetting will be taking place on emissions originating from international flights from 1st January 2021 subject to Chapter 3 State Pairs.
The reporting of emissions must be based on Chapter 3 State Pairs and on the use of CORSIA Eligible fuels which are used to calculate the offsetting requirements. The Environmental Agency will be updating its portal (ETSWAP) to facilitate the verification of reports in accordance with the ANO.

The UK Government still needs to implement the offsetting requirements under CORSIA and will be issuing a consultation later in 2021 on the related amendments to the ANO.
The UK Environment Agency has prepared guidance materials to help UK-administered aeroplane operators comply with the CORSIA. If you are not sure about your obligations, or any aspect of this guidance, please contact your regulator.
New EU ETS competent authority post-Brexit

Following the expiry of the transitional period laid down in the Agreement on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom (UK) from the European union, a new competent authority has been allocated for the aircraft operators who had an EU ETS registry account in the UK. The most recent list from European Commission (as of 22 April 2021) notifying operators of their new EU ETS administering state can be found here.
There might be few differences in the reporting procedures from one regulator to the other. This is particularly relevant for operators who have been reassigned to Spain, Belgium, or Luxembourg, who enforce an early reporting deadline. The aircraft operators are recommended to liaise with their new Competent Authority well in advance of the reporting and verification season.

Please contact us if you have any questions or doubts regarding UK ETS / EU ETS / CORSIA / SWISS ETS.

Further readings
3. Guidance to help aircraft operators understand and meet their compliance obligations under the UK Emissions Trading Scheme (UK ETS): UK Emissions Trading Scheme for aviation: how to comply - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
4. UK ETS Free Allocation Guidance Doc. Link: UK Emissions Trading Scheme (UK ETS): apply for free allocation - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

5. Guidance to help UK administered aeroplane operators comply with the CORSIA: CORSIA: how to comply - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Back to all Verifavia News