A carbon emission tax?

By | Category: Travel rumblings

The British government has issued a consultation document about carbon offsetting in transport. Those wishing to comment have until the 26th of September to make their views known

passenger flight delay compensation
Will a carbon offsetting charge make a difference to your travel plans?

The eighteen page document looks at not just airlines but buses, coaches, trains, ships because transport contributes 27% of all carbon emissions emitted by the UK.

Guess what?

It is suggesting – yet again – that a tax might incentivise people to move away from flying. Among the considerations is a carbon offset charge for UK flyers which would be automatically added to the cost of a ticket. Passengers could refuse to pay the charge by opting out of the fee which, is I confess, what I do where such an option is available.

Why do I opt out?

Frankly because I don’t believe in carbon offsetting. All that happens is that the responsibility is passed elsewhere.

When the then chancellor, Ken Clarke, introduced APD back in 1993, it was an environmental tax to woo us off planes. It did nothing to reduce emissions or inhibit flying and it has done nothing of any consequence since so why will another levy work? Unless, that is, you are talking of such a substantial sum that it will make you rock back on your heels and wonder whether the trip is necessary.

But why should the individual be pilloried? We travel on what is available. If there is a bus or coach it is likely to be used if competitive and convenient. No bus and no train and a car is the alternative. Living on an island, a journey by sea or air is the only choice so the pressure must be on the transport providers.

Back fifty years ago and there was talk of joined –up infrastructure. It still hasn’t happened so large swathes of rural areas have little choice but to use a car because rural transport is usually uneconomic.

Despite the energy crisis of the early 1970’s, fifty years on and despite having energy ministers at cabinet level, the debate continues

More useful would be a ban on anything other than electric planes flying from, say 2040 just as it has been decided that diesel and petroleum run vehicles will be banned. The same would have to be applied to ships and ferries, trucks, buses, coaches and any other form of transport.

Until that has been achieved anything else is just tinkering around the edges.

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