A shortage of verification bodies presents Aviation EU ETS aircraft operators with a major challenge
Fri 30 Apr 2010 – With the monitoring and collecting of data now underway, aircraft operators included in the Aviation EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) face yet another and imminent hurdle, says Paris-based VerifAvia. The CO2 emissions and tonne-kilometre data has to be verified by an independent accredited verification body before submission to the relevant administering Competent Authority by March 31 of each year, beginning in 2011. However, according to VerifAvia CEO Julien Dufour, with over 2,000 aircraft operators worldwide included in the scheme, only a handful of declared verifiers are so far in place and the aviation industry risks a shortage in the lead-up to the deadline.
The aim of verification is to check that the data in the annual reports is correct and to ensure the existing procedures conform to the approved monitoring plans and the EU ETS regulations.
VerifAvia says operators should already be preparing for a pre-verification ‘readiness’ analysis to determine if any weaknesses exist in their EU ETS management and control systems, and to identify any areas where compliance with the rules and requirements may need attention. A failure to correct, suggests the company, could impact on the audit and result in a failed verification, a so-called ‘denied opinion’.
“We encourage operators to start the verification process as early as possible in 2010 in order to spread the verification work over the year and avoid pressure by conducting the work at the last minute. Verification can start as soon as some data is available,” advises Dufour. “Verification is an iterative process aiming at continuous improvement of the operator’s EU ETS management system.”
One reason for the shortage of verifiers is the procedures they must go through to be accepted. VerifAvia, with offices in Paris and London, has applied to Cofrac – the French accreditation body – for ISO 14065 accreditation and to the UK Accreditation Service (UKAS) for BS EN 45011 accreditation. This is in accordance with EA-6/03, which is the European guidance for recognition of verifiers under the EU ETS directive. VerifAvia says these accreditations will allow the company to verify EU ETS reports of aircraft operators administered by most EU Member States.
According to the Environment Agency, the UK’s Competent Authority for the Aviation EU ETS, aircraft operator reports which have not been verified by a UKAS-confirmed accredited verifier will not be acceptable and will be deemed noncompliant. The agency says it will publish a list of accredited verifiers “as soon as we are able to”.
VerifAvia has already built up a team of auditors who have all received professional training in EU ETS verification, and has also worked with aviation clients preparing EU ETS monitoring plans and implementing EU ETS management and control systems. The company is offering a Pre-verification Gap Analysis, which aims to highlight any weaknesses in such systems and non-compliance with the regulations.
“We are aviation experts with strong EU ETS experience so we can focus on the key areas and not waste clients’ time and resources,” says Gary Cleven, one of VerifAvia’s worldwide auditors. “We will be using an electronic EU ETS data analysis system developed by OpenAirlines, called SkyBreathe, to ensure a more accurate verification process.”
VerifAvia has recently become an associate member of the European Business Aviation Association (EBAA) and an affiliate member of the European Regions Airline Association (ERA).