Through the AOPA Maintenance Working Group we have been keeping abreast of moves to remove lead from AVGAS in the UK, Europe and the USA. In the USA and in Europe there is a growing lobby for the removal of lead products by as early as 2025.
The AOPA UK position statement on unleaded aviation fuel can be found here.
At home, the UK Government has been noticeable by their lack of interest or involvement, preferring to walk away from the issue. But the "Green" lobby and some news organisations are starting to ramp up the rhetoric against leaded products being used in aviation.
So the Government's indifference is not going to help us in the UK if the *supply of leaded AVGAS is stopped, the UK CAA have not appoved new fuels, there is no infrastucture or supply chain in the UK. We keep beating the doors at the CAA and DfT.
*Note: AVGAS is not refined in the UK so we are reliant on refineries in Europe. They are unlikley to continue to supply just the UK with leaded fuels and of course UK Registered aircraft wouldn't be able to refuel abroad if the CAA hadn't approved the fuels for use.
However, we estimate that at least 70% of GA Aircraft are fitted with engines that can run on curently approved unleaded AVGAS, such as UL91 and UL94, it it were available, and so long as the aircraft manufacturer has also approved unleaded AVGAS.
While UL91/94 might be more expensive than AVGAS 100LL you might find that you can offset this cost by reduced maintenance costs, e.g. 100 Hour Checks, better spark plug life. And you won't be spreading lead pollution in your wake.
By increasing demand for unleaded fuel it will encourage more aerodromes to stock it and, with higher sales, it may reduce the price.
AOPA are pressing the Government to incentivise the use of unleaded fuel, not by increasing the cost of leaded fuel, where there is no current alternative, but by reducing Duty on the unleaded fuels.
We also want the UK Government to provide funding for research and development of alternative unleaded fuels in the UK, grants for aerodrome infrastructure and to incentivise UK refining. The USA have provided $10M of funding, which the UK should be able to match.