A HIGH-profile Parliamentary Reception has been held in Westminster to highlight the work of the OMEGA Project in aviation science.
Government ministers, MPs, academics, NGOs and industry players were shown first hand how the MMU-led project is making a critical difference to the sustainability of air transport in the UK and beyond.
Jim Fitzpatrick MP, recently appointed Minister for Aviation, addressed the reception along with Professor John Brooks, MMU Vice-Chancellor, and Omega Chief Executive Roger Gardner.
Welcoming OMEGA as an important addition to the drive for sustainable transport, Mr Fitzpatrick said: "Omega will help us develop long-term strategies for a more sustainable aviation industry – by taking forward important scientific research and providing an influential forum for debate.
"OMEGA is a vital part of that process. Its aims are closely linked with those of Government, and will allow us to make better use of the exceptional academic resources we have in this country."
Thanking Jim Fitzpatrick for his support, Vice-Chancellor Brooks said that the impact that mankind has on the environment is now attracting massive attention from Governments, the media and the public and that the universities were playing a key role through OMEGA.
He said: "After six months in business and with 17 studies initiated, OMEGA now has a clear path forward to address current gaps in knowledge. OMEGA is now squarely on the map as a major academic partnership addressing aviation’s environmental challenge."
CEO Roger Gardner said: "Much is being done by the industry and Government but there is a sustainability ‘gap’ that needs urgent attention. Advances in technology cannot keep pace with predicted growth giving rise to the need for innovative solutions.
"No-one wants to give up flying; but equally no-one wants global warming, climate change or the local impacts of noise and pollution around airports."
OMEGA, based in the Faculty of Science and Engineering at MMU is partnership of nine UK Universities, to find sustainable ways forward for aviation.
Wide-ranging studies and knowledge transfer activities examining a number of priority technological, scientific and economic issues are now underway and include areas such as: Carbon offsetting and emissions trading, low carbon technologies, biofuels, cleaner engines, and more.
A variety of further studies will be set in hand later in 2007 jointly between academia and industry and other stakeholders.
Omega involves Cambridge, Cranfield, Oxford, Reading, Southampton, Sheffield, Leeds and Loughborough universities. Collaborative partners also include Government departments, stakeholders such as commercial organisations like BAA plc, Manchester Airport, British Airways, Rolls-Royce and Airbus and NGOs like the Aviation Environment Federation.