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14 December 2006

Barrett calls for new approach to aviation

Responding to the Government’s publication of the Department for Transport document The Future of Air Transport, Edinburgh West MP John Barrett said:

“In the light of the Stern Review on climate change, the Government must urgently revise its plans for aviation expansion. It is time that we developed a new strategy for aviation which is genuinely environmentally sustainable.

“The fact is that the Governments ‘predict and provide’ strategy for air transport is fundamentally flawed. A new approach is essential to help reduce emissions from aviation.

“I believe a key plank of any new approach should be a high speed rail link between Edinburgh and London. Short haul flights are some of the worst offenders for pollution whereas proper high speed rail links could provide a fast, economically friendly alternative.

“Moving passengers from air to high speed rail would cut down on air pollution while feeing up capacity at Edinburgh airport for the long haul flights to America, the far East and elsewhere that benefit the City and Scotland.”

Commenting on Edinburgh Airport being commended for its recycling targets and action on noise reduction, Mr Barrett said:

“I am pleased to see Edinburgh Airport singled out for praise in the report. The establishment of the new noise-line and the ongoing work on noise reduction will make welcome reading for many constituents of mine.”


Key Statistics:

1. Passenger air travel has increased by 46% since 1997 (Transport Statistics Great Britain 2005). The Government’s own figures show that emissions from air travel under Labour (from 1997 to 2002) have risen 23% - from 6.6 to 8.14 million tonnes of carbon per year (MtC/yr).

2. Under the plans in the Aviation White Paper, released in late 2003, emissions from air travel are due to rise to 10.8 MtC/yr (+33% on 2002 levels) by 2010 and to 14.9 MtC/yr (+83% on 2002 levels) by 2020.

3. Leaked reports suggest that the European Commission’s report into the inclusion of aviation in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme will conclude that it will make very little difference to emissions, admitting that its proposals would only ‘trim the growth in air travel by between 1.7% and 2.9% over the entire 15-year period from 2005 to 2020’.

4. The Liberal Democrats proposals for aviation are set out below:

The Policy Paper: “A Soft Landing: Creating a Sustainable Market in Aviation” was passed as Lib Dem policy in March 2006.

Liberal Democrats propose to:

  • Draw aviation into the UK and IPCC emissions inventories, and ensure that the target for a 60% reduction in CO2 (equivalent) emissions for the UK includes aviation.
  • Develop a system of labelling to inform consumers of the pollution caused by their flights.
  • Replace Airport Departure Duty with a pollution charge covering both passenger and freight flights.
  • Support the inclusion of aviation in the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme, at a level which reflects the impacts of emissions at altitude.
  • Promote new developments and mechanisms such as internationally agreed aviation fuel duty.
  • Retain runway capacity at around the current level and permit the auctioning and secondary trading of airport slots.
  • End the regulation that effectively means retail rents subsidise the charge an airline operator pays to land at the busiest airports.
  • Support the development of an alternative system of dedicated, high speed, strategic rail links with access to the main airports.

5. In addition we have added further to our detail on reforming Air Passenger Duty as part of our “green tax switch” to an emissions charge, and doubling what the Government are planning. More details.


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This website was established while I was a Member of Parliament. The site content is being kept online as a source of information, but all forms / email have been disabled.