Jet Zero Council CEO calls for SAF mandate

The CEO of the UK’s Jet Zero Council has urged the government to further “back” the use of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) by introducing a mandate requiring airlines to use at least 10 per of the fuel for flights by 2030.

Emma Gilthorpe, who heads up the council, said that setting a mandate for the minimum use of SAF by airlines would be “incredibly helpful” in driving more use of the fuel and reducing its price.

The Jet Zero Council is a partnership between the aviation industry and the UK government looking at how to drive down the sector’s emissions to reach net-zero by 2050. Gilthorpe is also currently chief operating officer of London Heathrow airport.

Gilthorpe, appearing at the House of Commons’ Environmental Audit Committee last week, said: “We must back SAF so that we can scale up and get the price down. We’re at an inflexion point; we have to keep up the momentum in the next couple of years.

“We need to finalise the mandate of 10 per cent SAF by 2030. It is, in effect, signalling the demand in the market.

“SAF is approximately four times more expensive than kerosene. As long as we have that price differential, it will have a dampening effect on the market.”

Aviation minister Robert Courts, appearing at the same committee hearing, said: “We have heard very clearly the request from the industry. Mandating is something we are consulting on and look forward to bringing it forward as soon as we can.”

Courts added that the subject of using SAF was “complicated” due to the fact the fuel can be made up of different materials, such as crops, waste and air capture, which were all at different stages of development.

France has already introduced a mandate requiring all airlines refuelling in the country to use at least one per cent of SAF in their fuel mix from 1 January 2022. This percentage is set to increase to two per cent in 2025 and five per cent in 2030.

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Calls for improvements at Boston tip as angry residents are turned away

Boston's Household Waste and Recycling Centre (HMRC), in Bittern Way.
Boston’s Household Waste and Recycling Centre (HMRC), in Bittern Way.

Many are now calling for an ‘overhaul’ of the the Household Waste Recycling Centre (HWRC) to be made.

Problems residents claim to encounter when attempting to use the tip include being turned away with car loads of recycling materials, being advised the relevant skips are full, or the tip simply not being open when needed.

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They are calling for the Lincolnshire County Council (LCC)-run site to increase its opening hours and staffing levels, and improve its general efficiency.

The entrance to Boston tip.

The purpose-built centre opened in 2018, relocating to Bittern Way from its former Slippery Gowt Lane site. LCC invested almost £1.75million in the facility, which includes huge skips with ‘state-of-the-art’ compressors. It is open every day except Wednesdays and Thursdays, 8am-4pm.

Boston Borough Council’s portfolio holder for councillor Deborah Evans has been pushing the need for improvements with LCC. She, along other local councillors, visited the site recently.”There have been quite a few issues at the site for a while now,” she told the Standard.

“I think many people are getting tip rage when they visit the site now. It should be a relief for people to be able to take things they need to get rid of – but many people are being turned away. People are understandably getting angry – and we have to support the staff at the tip as this is not their fault.

“Boston has grown quite a bit in recent years but the tip hasn’t grown – and that is part of the problem.

“We need to be looking at ensuring things which can be recycled are not turned away.

“I think one of the issues is the fact it closes on a Wednesday and Thursday, but so do the other tips in Lincolnshire meaning those people who only have those days to visit the tip have nowhere else to go in Lincolnshire. They are all shut on those two days.

“To myself and the public, it makes sense to make it as easy as possible to get rid of your waste.”

“I’ve had various meetings and been in touch with the county council about it. But I’m not happy with how slow it is to see any progress in addressing these issues.

“I think they need to rethink it.

“We’ve had meetings about this issue and all the borough councillors have been very supportive of what I’m trying to achieve.”

Coun Evans created the Upcycle Sunday initiative run once a month by Boston Borough Council to encourage residents to leave out large household items for others to help themselves to in a bid to ensure less items end up needing to go to the tip.

Steve Slater who founded the Wyberton Wombles litter-picking group, told us: “We are calling on the council to overhaul the site. The main issues are the site is not simply big enough to meet demand, it needs to open seven days a week during peak months when people are doing DIY and garden work, the routines in place to keep the site ticking over efficiently are not good enough, and there are simply not enough staff there. The current staff are doing their best, and often taking verbal abuse from people.

“It is not fit for purpose. It is now time we put pressure on the LCC to open tips in the county seven days a week. The waiting time to get into the tip is too long.”

Coun Daniel McNally, executive councillor for waste at LCC, said: “Our Household Waste Recycling Centres are incredibly popular with residents, and we’re pleased that they want to recycle as much as possible. Boston HWRC currently has an impressive 82% recycling rate of everything taken there.

“The closure of a recycling operator on Boston Industrial Estate has meant that material is having to be taken further afield so containers cannot be emptied as frequently. However we are working hard to find new disposal outlets closer to Boston to resolve this. We try our best to give notice when specific types of waste can’t be collected on some days, and would urge residents to check the county council’s social media before they travel for these notifications.

“In general our HWRCs run smoothly, though of course weekends and bank holidays will always be busy. If you can visit weekdays, you are less likely to have to queue and it will make peak times less busy for those who are unable to visit in the week. We are carrying out traffic surveys on all days to establish if there are quieter periods which we can then tell residents about.

“There’s no proven link between fly-tipping and recycling centre provision. Fly-tipping is a national problem. In areas of the country where recycling centres are open 7 days a week, they still have fly-tipping.

It is wrong to suggest that law-abiding residents who would usually go to their local recycling centre would instead fly-tip because it isn’t open on a Wednesday or Thursday. We invest £2.2m every year in running our household waste recycling centres but there simply isn’t the money to build more, bigger sites everywhere that are open 24/7; it’s not realistic.

“We also encourage residents to think about other ways minimising waste, such as donating items that are still useable, using recycling points in supermarkets and repairing items instead of buying new.”

For more information on taking waste to Boston Recycling Centre, visit LCC’s website.

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Patrick Lyoya: Family of unarmed Black man fatally shot during traffic stop in Michigan calls for termination and prosecution of officer


The family of a Michigan man who was shot and killed by a police officer earlier this month during a traffic stop reiterated their call for the termination and prosecution of the officer during a news conference on Thursday.

“They will express to you how very devastated they are at seeing, in their words, their son executed,” said civil rights attorney Ben Crump during a news conference Thursday. Crump is representing the family of Patrick Lyoya, an unarmed Black man, who was fatally shot in Grand Rapids on April 4.

Crump and the Lyoya family were joined by attorneys, religious and community leaders at a city church for a “community conversation” about civil rights and police violence.

Lyoya’s parents, Dorcas and Peter, and his brother Thomas wept at the community forum calling for the prosecution of the officer involved in the incident and demanded justice for the 26-year-old.

The Lyoya family moved from the Democratic Republic of Congo to the United States in 2014. Patrick’s father said he thought he’d be safe during police encounters in the US.

“What is making me cry more is to see my son killed by a police officer for a small, small mistake,” Peter Lyoya said through an interpreter. “My life has come to an end.”

Patrick’s mother said she’s “deeply hurt and wounded” and cannot stop herself from crying.

“When we run away from war in the [Democratic Republic of the Congo], I thought that I came to a safe land. And now, I’m surprised and astonished to see that my son is shot here,” Dorcas Lyoya said through an interpreter. “That is my beloved son, and you know how you love your first-born son.”

The incident began just after 8 a.m. CT on April 4, when a police officer pulled over a vehicle for improper registration, authorities said.

As CNN reported yesterday, Grand Rapids police released several forms of video footage capturing the approximately two minute and 40 second interaction, which begins with the officer walking toward the car. Lyoya is seen exiting the vehicle and is instructed by the officer to get back in the car and asks him if he has a driver’s license and whether he speaks English, the video shows.

Lyoya confirms he speaks English and says his license is in the car. He opens the driver’s side front door and speaks to an unidentified passenger in the car. He then shuts his door, turns his back to the officer and appears to walk toward the front of the car, according to video footage.

The fatal shooting of Patrick Lyoya by a Michigan police officer has sparked protests and rallies on his behalf.

“No, no, no, stop, stop,” the officer is heard saying. He then puts his hands on Lyoya’s shoulder and back. Lyoya is seen resisting the officer’s touch and quickly backs away from the officer, running away from him before the officer tackles him to the ground and tells Lyoya to “stop resisting.”

The video shows Lyoya getting up and standing, the officer drawing and then deploying a Taser.

Grand Rapids Police Chief Eric Winstrom told reporters during a news conference that the Taser was deployed twice during the confrontation but the prongs didn’t hit Lyoya.

“Let go of the Taser,” the officer is heard saying on his body cam video.

At this point, the officer’s body worn camera was deactivated. Winstrom said it takes pushing a button for three seconds to turn off the body camera and he thought pressure from Lyoya’s body caused the deactivation.

Another angle of the incident, taken from a neighborhood home surveillance camera, captures the rest of the altercation. The officer is heard shooting Lyoya, according to audio from the video. The cell phone video also shows the fatal shot.

Lyoya was shot in the head, Winstrom said.

Patrick’s father described his son as “non-violent” and said he felt the officer was the one being aggressive. He also said during the event that he has the right to know the name of the person who killed his son and what his history is.

Winstrom said on Wednesday that the officer involved in the shooting will not be identified publicly unless there are criminal charges. The officer, who has been with the department for seven years, is on paid leave and his police powers were suspended, Winstrom said. Michigan State Police are conducting a criminal investigation.

“This video was very difficult to watch, because what you see in that video is an unnecessary and unjustifiable excessive use of force,” Crump said Thursday. Crump has represented the families of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and Michael Brown and other high-profile victims of police violence.

During the news conference, Crump outlined different actions the officer could have taken to deescalate the situation instead of deploying his weapon.

“This officer failed to follow the basic training. When the officer engages Patrick he goes and puts his hands on him, and when Patrick goes to walk away he could’ve just stepped back and called for backup,” Crump said. “When you look at him escalating the situation, [the officer] was the one being violent.”

Crump said despite the officer’s violence, Lyoya did not retaliate and have “combat” with this officer.

“Even after he deployed the Taser twice, if he had been following his training, that would’ve presented to him again another opportunity to deescalate and call for backup,” Crump said. “What was so wrong about him calling for backup? It wasn’t like Patrick had murdered someone. It wasn’t like he had robbed anybody. He was being stopped for a traffic violation.”

Crump said there’s nothing in the body and surveillance footage that indicated Patrick was an immediate danger to the officer.

“You cannot shoot an unarmed person just because they resist,” Crump said, adding, “and you cannot shoot an unarmed person just because of the color of their skin.”

Crump said he and the Lyoya family have asked the state’s attorney to prosecute the officer to the fullest extent of the law.

Tamika Palmer, the mother of Breonna Taylor, was also present during the event and called for the officer involved in the shooting to be “arrested, convicted and prosecuted.” Taylor was fatally shot by Louisville police officers executing a no-knock warrant at her apartment in March 2020.

In calling for police reform on the federal level, Crump said: “We can’t afford not one more day to pass, because as Tamika Palmer said, ‘how many more of our children have to die before we change the laws and change the policy here in the United States of America?’”

There have been multiple protests and rallies on behalf of Lyoya. On Tuesday evening, dozens of people called for justice as they rallied outside a City Commission meeting.

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Jason Kenney calls federal COVID-19 travel restrictions ‘pointless’

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney says a motion will be presented in the legislature to call on Ottawa to end “pointless” COVID-19 travel measures.

In a six-minute video posted to Twitter Sunday afternoon, Kenney said pre-departure COVID-19 testing requirements and vaccine mandates had served their purpose.

As jurisdictions learn to live with the disease, Kenney added that the measures now hurt the economy and add little to no measurable public health benefit.

“It’s time for Justin Trudeau to stop the pointless federal COVID travel restrictions,” the premier said. “We can’t allow the division, the obstacles and the barriers of constantly changing health policy to hold our society back indefinitely.”

Federal regulations mandate travellers 12 years or older to be vaccinated to board flights and VIA Rail trains.

Kenney quoted several public health experts from across Canada and the world who say that vaccine passports are no longer effective as a tool when they consider fully vaccinated as receiving two doses instead of three due to the Omicron variant.

“Alberta has already dropped almost all of our public health restrictions, and we’ve done so safely,” he said.

“We’ve seen data in Alberta and from around the world that points to the same thing: that the worst of COVID is behind us, and we can focus on getting our lives back to normal.”

The premier said while the need to monitor the impact of COVID-19 and potential future waves remains, new pharmaceutical tools, treatments, and vaccination rates offer protection to allow the resumption of travel without pre-departure testing or vaccine passports.

“The pre-departure testing requirement is now,” Kenney said, “of very questionable value.

“It’s just another way of holding back the hundreds of thousands of people who work in our travel and tourism industry with no measurable public health gain,” he added.

According to national vaccine data from the Public Health Agency of Canada, Alberta has the lowest number of people in all Canadian provinces to be fully vaccinated.

Just over 75 per cent of the total population in Alberta has received two doses. In comparison, all other provinces except Saskatchewan and Manitoba have more than 80 per cent of their respective populations fully vaccinated.

Seventy-nine per cent of Manitobans and 76 per cent of those in Saskatchewan have received two doses of vaccine.

The national average for vaccination with a booster dose is just below 46 per cent, while Alberta has more than 35 per cent of the province’s population with a third shot. 

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Delta calls for a national unruly passenger no-fly list : NPR

A Delta Air Lines jet seen parking at Southern California Logistics Airport (SCLA) in March 2020, in Victorville, Calif.

David McNew/Getty Images

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A Delta Air Lines jet seen parking at Southern California Logistics Airport (SCLA) in March 2020, in Victorville, Calif.

David McNew/Getty Images

The number of disorderly passengers on commercial airplanes has skyrocketed during the pandemic. Now, one airline executive is renewing his call for a national unruly passenger no-fly list.

Edward Bastian, CEO of Delta Air Lines, sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland last week asking for the federal government’s help in setting up a nationwide no-fly list for people who misbehave — sometimes violently –on planes.

“In addition to the welcome increase in enforcement and prosecutions, we are requesting you support our efforts with respect to the much-needed step of putting any person convicted of an on-board disruption on a national, comprehensive, unruly passenger “no-fly” list that would bar that person from traveling on any commercial air carrier,” Bastian said in the letter shared with NPR.

The news, which was first reported by Reuters, rekindled the debate over creating a new national no-fly list, with critics warning that it could face some of the same pitfalls of previously established government no-fly lists, such as the one the Transportation Safety Administration maintains for suspected terrorists.

“Generally, we think it’s a bad idea,” Jay Stanley, a senior policy analyst for the American Civil Liberties Union, told NPR. “Our experience with government watch lists and ban lists has not been a good one.”

Another no-fly list raises civil liberties concerns

The ACLU has sued the U.S. government on behalf of people who were put on the TSA’s terrorist no-fly list without being told why they were included or how to be removed.

Stanley said the government has “fought tooth and nail against basic fairness and due process protections” in such litigation, which makes him skeptical of another proposed no-fly list.

Also, he said he worries about the disparate effects the same punishment — being prohibited from flying — could have on a slew of different alleged offenders.

“If somebody is a casual flier who only flies once or twice a year for a family vacation, then this punishment of not being able to fly would not amount to much,” he said. “On the other hand, if you’re in sales or some other position where your job depends on being able to fly every week, it could be an enormously significant punishment.”

Still, airlines do have some legal authority to create their own no-fly lists that are separate from the databases the federal government maintains for suspected terrorists and others, according to Charles Stotler, co-director of the Center for Air and Space Law at the University of Mississippi School of Law.

“As long as the airline’s not acting in an arbitrary and capricious manner, and they’re taking actions in order to curb activities that might be inimicable to safety, then the airline no-fly list is legitimate,” Stotler told NPR.

“There has to be some link with safety. Obviously unruly passengers fall into that,” he said.

Delta said it has already put 1,900 people on it’s own no-fly list for refusing to comply with masking requirements.

Unruly passenger incidents have increased during the pandemic

The U.S. has seen a spike in unruly passenger incidents since 2020, largely attributed to the stresses brought on by COVID-19 and new masking rules in airports and on planes.

The Federal Aviation Administration fielded 5,981 reports of unruly passengers last year, 4,290 of which were related to masking.

“This also predated coronavirus. We were already seeing an increase in the number of unruly passengers,” Clint Henderson, senior news editor at the travel news website The Points Guy, told NPR.

Henderson said the increase before spring 2020 could have been caused by planes and airports being more crowded and the fact that people have become less willing to put up with bad behavior, including unwanted sexual advances. Then, the pandemic added a whole new set of difficulties that caused the number of unruly passenger incidents to spike.

“COVID has poured gasoline on the fire, as it were,” Henderson said.

Delta previously called for a national unruly passenger no-fly list in the fall but it was never adopted.

Still, the federal government has vowed to crack down on in-flight misconduct. The TSA has threatened to revoke PreCheck privileges for people who act out on planes and doubled its fines for those who refuse to wear masks on board. The Justice Department also said in November that it would prioritize prosecuting federal crimes on airplanes that put the safety of those on board at risk.

But the ACLU’s Jay Stanley worries that if the surge in unruly passenger incidents is largely driven by COVID and eventually comes down, then a no-fly list could continue to cause negative consequences for people long after the pandemic has subsided.

“[Unruly passenger incidents] may go back to normal levels when this is over,” he said. “And yet we’ll have this infrastructure for creating this punishment that will long outlast the current circumstances and that has the potential to create real unfairnesses for people if it’s not done just right.”

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W.H.O. says it’s time to lift COVID-19 restrictions; Calls travel bans “ineffective”

W.H.O. says it’s time to lift COVID-19 restrictions; Calls travel bans “ineffective”

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