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Aviation: Volcanoes

Question for Department for Transport

UIN 291531, tabled on 27 September 2019

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what contingency plans his Department has put in place to mitigate disruption to air travel in the event of a large Icelandic volcanic eruption.

Answered on

7 October 2019

The department prepares for a wide range of incidents that have the potential to disrupt air operations in the UK.

Details on the risk to aviation from an Icelandic Volcanic event are set out in “UK National Risk Register of Civil Emergencies 2017.” This document includes details on the actions taken by government and industry since the Eyjafjallajokull eruption in 2010, as well as an assessment of the likelihood and impact of a future eruption. This covers both the risk of disruption from an ash rich eruption, as well as air pollution risks posed by a prolonged gas rich eruption, generating large amounts of sulphur dioxide and sulphate aerosol.

We are confident that contingency plans developed by the government and the aviation industry, alongside actions taken by the Icelandic authorities, will reduce significantly the level of disruption arising from a similar eruption to that in 2010. Volcanic activity across Iceland is kept under constant scrutiny and the contingency plans can be deployed quickly if required.