Lorna Slater is at the centre of a row after she admitted the Scottish Government is yet to consider using waste to create Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF). 

The Scottish Government’s Circular Economy Minister has been called on to explore using any remaining waste for SAF as part of efforts to clean up air travel. 

But Ms Slater said that SAF was not yet being considered as part of The Scottish Government's commitment to ban waste being sent to landfill by 2025, as part of its drive to net zero. 

What is Sustainable Aviation Fuel?  

Simply put – it's fuel created from waste. Most aircraft run on kerosene, but the use of SAF is growing.  

It is fuel derived from cooking oil and other non-palm waste oils from animals or plants, while solid waste from homes and businesses, such as packaging, paper, textiles, and food scraps that would otherwise go to landfill or incineration can also be used.  

READ MORE: Lorna Slater admits no assessment to use waste for aviation fuel

Other potential sources include forestry waste, such as waste wood, and energy crops, including fast growing plants and algae 

How does it help fight climate change?  

Around 8per cent of UK carbon emissions come from air travel, and this is predicted to grow. SAF is estimated to cut plane emissions by 80 per cent – and uses carbon already in the system rather than releasing from particles from fossil fuels.  

The Herald:

Is it being used already?  

The Uk Government is relying on the development of alternative fuels to continue growth in aviation and to allow passengers to enjoy “guilt-free travel”. 

In its Jet Zero Strategy published last year it said it wants five “sustainable aviation fuel” plants under construction by 2025.  

In 2021, ahead of COP26, the UK Government shortlisted eight companies to share £15 million to support the development of "first-of-a-kind production plants turning waste into sustainable aviation fuel". 

A Transport Scotland consultation ahead of the Scottish Government’s aviation strategy revealed “a desire to encourage production of SAF in Scotland. 

The Herald:

What has Lorna Slater said?  

Ms Slater said: “The Scottish Government has not assessed the impacts of source reduction and separation on the availability of residual waste, specifically for the production of SAF, and other fuels, oil and chemicals. 

“However, it is considering potential actions it could take on Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) as it develops its aviation strategy.” 

READ MORE: Aviation biofuel would need half of UK agricultural land, report says

She added: “The independent review of incineration assessed what residual waste capacity Scotland needs to manage Scotland’s unavoidable, unrecyclable residual waste. 

“It modelled several scenarios, including the impact of meeting Scotland’s waste reduction and recycling targets, and concluded that, if all energy from waste facilities in the development pipeline are built to schedule, there is a risk of long-term overcapacity beginning from 2026 or 2027.”