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Issues | Transport | Cheap flights in the UK

 
 

Cheap flights in the UK

 
 

Cheap flights are damaging the environment

In Britain some airline companies like Ryanair and Easy Jet offer passengers very cheap flights for short haul journeys to destinations within Europe and the British Isles. These cheap flights might save people money and make travelling quicker and give more people the opportunity to travel abroad, but they are not very good for the environment at all.

Air travel is the most polluting form of transport because it uses the largest amount of fuel per mile travelled. Scientists predict that if carbon dioxide emissions continue to increase, global warming will bring higher annual temperatures and heavier rainfall. Air transport has increased twice as fast as road transport over the last 40 years and is expected to continue to rise at 3-5% a year. This increase in air travel is contributing to global warming because carbon dioxide is produced when aviation fuel is burnt in the planes’ engines.


Make travelling by plane more expensive

One way to reduce the number of planes in the sky is to stop people taking so many flights buy making plane tickets more expensive. At the moment passengers travelling by plane are charged between £5-£10, in addition to the price of the ticket, depending on where they are travelling to. But environmentalists think that more needs to be done – one idea is to put a tax on aviation fuel.

Putting a tax on aviation fuel would mean that airline companies would have to pay tax on the fuel they put in planes. One suggestion is that the charge for this tax should be the equivalent of the tax that is charged per litre of petrol fro cars. This would mean that airline passengers would be paying for the environmental damage that they're doing by travelling by plane.


A global approach is needed

Airline companies have to compete in a global market and if airline companies in Britain make their flights more expensive they won’t be able to compete with companies from other countries offering cheaper flights. Countries across the world will all need to put a tax on aviation fuel in order to really make a difference to the number of people choosing to travel by plane. The problem is that the Kyoto Protocol and the UK government's energy White Paper targets do not currently cover emissions from international aviation, as there is no global agreement on the allocation of these emissions to countries.


What is being done?

A proposal has been put forward to the European Commission, which includes an incentive for airlines to pay less into emissions trading if they use more environmentally friendly aircraft. A White Paper has been submitted to the UK government proposing to charge different landing charges at different airports according to their noise levels and air pollution. This would mean that airports with heavy air pollution would be charged more.


 

 

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