UK seeks higher tax on air travel

An influential committee of MP’s, the House of Commons Environmental
Audit Committee, have suggested the UK Government should raise taxes on
air travel and high-polluting cars in order to reverse the trend of
increasing greenhouse gas emissions.According to today’s press coverage the Committee has heavily criticised
current UK transport policy.

The Associated Press and BBC reports the Committee’s chairman, Tim Yeo
as saying, ‘The Department for Transport has announced some important
initiatives, but it needs urgently to accelerate its efforts: transport
is the only sector of the UK economy in which carbon emissions have
risen consistently since 1990.

‘Air travel in particular is the fastest growing source of CO2, with
emissions more than doubling since 1990. Meanwhile, Government measures
to cut emissions from transport by 2010 are now projected to be some 0.5
metric tonnes of carbon below the lower end of the Government’s original
projections made in 2000.

‘This points to a failure of purpose from the Department for Transport.

‘We are concerned that the Department seems to have a fatalistic
attitude which sees carbon-intensive activities and economic growth as
going hand in hand.


‘The Government should take much more decisive action to shift the
balance of affordability in favour of trains, buses, and lower carbon
cars and lorries.

‘We strongly recommend that the existing differentials in Vehicle
Exercise Duty are widened substantially. These changes could be
introduced at once on a revenue-neutral basis, and would reward
consumers for making greener choices.

‘On aviation, sadly little has changed since the Environmental Audit
Committee’s last report. Progress on introducing mechanisms to reduce
the growth in aviation emissions is slow, and both the Government and
the industry are as intransigent as ever.

‘We urge the Department to widen the terms of its current progress
review of the 2003 Future of Aviation White Paper into a fundamental
rethink of its airport expansion policy.’‘