Travellers flying to see Santa Claus in Lapland this year will produce fewer emissions than ever before thanks to new flight routes for airplanes (and sleighs).

Christmas flights to Rovaniemi in Finland from the United Kingdom will fly through special "Green Routes," in Norwegian airspace, Norway's national air traffic controller Avinor has announced. The scheme, a result of co-operation between Norway, Finland, Sweden, Denmark and the UK, aims to reduce total emissions by 12-15 tons of CO2 a day by allowing a more direct flightpath to cut the total journey length.

"At peak times 35 planes are headed in each direction daily," said Jan Gunnar Pedersen from Avinor's Air Navigation Services. "By cutting 700 - 800 nautical miles off the trip each way, we are talking about a significant reduction in emissions from this traffic."

Rovaniemi is a popular December holiday destination, particularly for UK-based holidayers where children's folklore holds that Santa lives in Lapland. Children in the United States and Canada widely believe that Santa Claus lives at the North Pole, at a destination assigned the special postal code H0H 0H0 by Canada Post.