‘A disgrace’ Britons support raising flight prices and frequent flyer tax for climate

Prince Charles: UK must 'lead the way' in climate change fight

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Aviation is one of the fastest growing causes of greenhouse gas emissions and experts have said things will need to change for the UK to reach its carbon zero target. In the survey, 21,000 Brits were asked to vote on different policies the UK could enforce to tackle climate change.

Raising flying costs, especially for frequent flyers, was one of the top five policy measures voted for by the British public.

A recent study found that a small minority of frequent flyers caused most of the UK’s aviation emissions by flying internationally more than four times per year.

Tanya Steele, CEO of WWF, said: “The British public have chosen the future they want – one with green jobs, clean air and thriving nature – and which doesn’t hit the worst-off in the pocket.

“This is within our grasp, but only if the UK Government listens and sets out a clear plan and strategy for getting there.”

Some climate campaigners have called for the UK to ban domestic flights to combat emissions.

Twitter user, goose tweeted: “Grant Shapps, your parliament declared a climate emergency right? What are you doing about the fact that UK domestic flights are cheaper than rail travel? It’s a disgrace. Please subsidise rail and tax aviation.” 

The proposed ban would outlaw flights where the journey can be taken by train in five hours or less.

UK charity, The Campaign for Better Transport, has called upon the Government to introduce cheaper rail fares to encourage people to take the train.

The charity has also argued for a tax on people that fly internationally more than three times per year.

Other proposed plans include a ban on airport expansion until “net zero” flights are possible.

The aviation industry has said it is looking at ways to run flights using sustainable fuel and other greener methods.

Campaign for Better Transport chief executive, Paul Tuohy, said: “Cheap domestic flights might seem a good deal when you buy them, but they are a climate disaster, generating seven times more harmful greenhouse emissions than the equivalent train journey.

“Making the train cheaper will boost passenger numbers and help reduce emissions from aviation, but any cut to Air Passenger Duty – coupled with a rise in rail fares in January – will send the wrong message about how the Government wants people to travel and mean more people choosing to fly.

“The Government has led the way with bold climate ambitions, now it needs to take similarly bold actions to make those ambitions a reality.”

The most popular policy option chosen in the WWF survey was a carbon tax of £75 per tonne on polluting construction and manufacturing businesses.

Better public transport was also a popular policy choice with the British public, with 93 percent voting for it.

Encouraging more plant-based food choices was also favoured by the public, as was creating a UK-wide electric car charging network.

When frequent flyer taxes were proposed by campaigners earlier this year, many in the airline industry complained the rule would be “ineffective”.

Michael Gill, executive director at the International Air Transport Association,told The Guardian: “Taxes have proved to be an ineffective way to tackle emissions.

“The focus instead should be on practical means to mitigate the CO2 impact of aviation, while still enabling people to fly for business and family reasons.

“Airlines are investing billions in cleaner aircraft, sustainable aviation fuels and the use of carbon emissions trading or offsetting as part of a long-term strategy to cut 2005-level emissions in half by 2050.”

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