Flights pump out 10 times Eurostar emissions

The YouGov poll reveals that four out of ten (39%) people have changed their travel habits in some way due to worries about climate change, including 3% of people who have stopped flying and 6% who have reduced the amount they fly. More than half (54%) say they are more concerned about the environmental impact of flying than they were five years ago.
Richard Brown, Chief Executive, Eurostar, said:

“The research shows that travelling by Eurostar is less environmentally damaging than flying by a factor of ten.  A Eurostar passenger generates enough CO2 to fill a Mini, while an airline passenger generates enough to fill a double-decker bus.

“Business passengers and leisure travellers are increasingly demanding factual information about the environmental impact of their travel plans, and what they can do to reduce emissions of gases which are causing climate change. 

“The research provides people with an informed choice. The poll demonstrates what we are already seeing, which is a growing switch to Eurostar as people become more environmentally aware.”

The calculation that travelling by air is ten times more environmentally damaging than going by Eurostar is in fact conservative.  The research points out that the additional environmental impact of the CO2 emitted during the high-altitude cruising section of London-Paris and London-Brussels flights further increases the disadvantage of short-haul air.  The extra fuel burnt when aircraft are delayed in holding patterns also increases CO2 emissions. 


The completion of the UK’s first high-speed line in autumn 2007, with 186mph trains cutting journey times between London, Paris and Brussels by 20 minutes, will make the environmental advantages of Eurostar even more attractive to passengers.

The new line from St Pancras International will plug the UK into the growing high-speed rail network across the continent, further boosting train travel as an attractive option for business and leisure journeys. 

The research also shows that travelling by high-speed rail will generate even less CO2 per passenger in future years, due to increased supplies of renewable energy and UK policies to reduce CO2 emissions.