Pressure group urges higher air taxes to penalise 'rich' flyers

A A A

The Government should impose more green taxes on aviation because flying is "primarily an activity of the rich," according to a study.

In a hard-hitting report published today, the anti-poverty pressure group the World Development Movement warns ministers they will fail to achieve big enough cuts in carbon dioxide emissions unless they halt the planned growth in aviation in Britain.

It accuses the Government of subsidising the aviation industry by £10.4bn a year - £173 for every man, woman and child - through tax reliefs and airport expansion. "The UK Government's support for the expansion in aviation contradicts its rhetoric on tackling climate change and global poverty," it says.

The report, Dying on a Jet Plane, claims: "Flying is an activity dominated primarily by the rich. The richest 18 per cent of the UK population are responsible for 54 per cent of flights, while the poorest 18 per cent are responsible for just 5 per cent. The average salary of passengers at UK airports is £48,000."

The study dismisses claims that the recent growth in flying has been due to people on lower incomes taking advantage of cheaper air fares. It says the number of trips from UK airports by passengers earning less than £14,374 a year fell from more than eight million in 2000 to seven million in 2004, while the number made by people earning over £28,750 rose from 28.8 million to 36.5 million in the same period.

According to the group, existing subsidies should be redirected to provide cavity wall insulation for UK households in fuel poverty; provide electricity to every household in the world lacking it and halve the number of people without access to safe drinking water and in sub-Saharan Africa.

It calculates that Britain needs to cut its carbon dioxide emissions by 90 per cent by 2050 to make its contribution to the global fight against climate change - a much bigger reduction than the Government's 60 per cent target.

"Government action now to at least halt the growth in emissions from UK aviation should therefore be viewed as a critical part of the overall effort to tackle climate change," it says.

The report could provide useful ammunition for the Conservative Party, which last week proposed a "green air miles" scheme for higher taxes on people who take more than one short-haul flight each year.

David Cameron told his party's spring conference in Nottingham yesterday: "The truth is that you can't be serious about climate change unless you're serious about aviation.

"We don't have to stop people flying. But we have to take action on emissions."

But Mr Cameron was accused of hypocrisy after it emerged that he used a private plane to fly 93 miles from Oxford to Hereford to meet a businessman who was designing a new wheelchair for his disabled son, Ivan. A spokesman for Mr Cameron said the journey was one of only two private flights the Tory leader took last year and that he offset the carbon emissions from them.

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Clinical Lead / RGN

£40000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: IT Sales Consultant

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT support company has a n...

Recruitment Genius: Works Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A works engineer is required in a progressive ...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Hire Manager - Tool Hire

£21000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client is seeking someone w...

Day In a Page

Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent
Markus Persson: If being that rich is so bad, why not just give it all away?

That's a bit rich

The billionaire inventor of computer game Minecraft says he is bored, lonely and isolated by his vast wealth. If it’s that bad, says Simon Kelner, why not just give it all away?
Euro 2016: Chris Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Wales last qualified for major tournament in 1958 but after several near misses the current crop can book place at Euro 2016 and end all the indifference
Rugby World Cup 2015: The tournament's forgotten XV

Forgotten XV of the rugby World Cup

Now the squads are out, Chris Hewett picks a side of stars who missed the cut
A groundbreaking study of 'Britain's Atlantis' long buried at the bottom of the North Sea could revolutionise how we see our prehistoric past

Britain's Atlantis

Scientific study beneath North Sea could revolutionise how we see the past
The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember,' says Starkey

The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember'

David Starkey's assessment
Oliver Sacks said his life has been 'an enormous privilege and adventure'

'An enormous privilege and adventure'

Oliver Sacks writing about his life
'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

The Rock's Chief Minister hits back at Spanish government's 'lies'
Britain is still addicted to 'dirty coal'

Britain still addicted to 'dirty' coal

Biggest energy suppliers are more dependent on fossil fuel than a decade ago
Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

Orthorexia nervosa

How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

Set a pest to catch a pest

Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests