Political party backs our campaign

LIBERAL Democrat leaders are today backing The Evening Star's No More Stansted campaign - calling for a better transport system to reduce the need for air travel.

LIBERAL Democrat leaders are today backing The Evening Star's No More Stansted campaign - calling for a better transport system to reduce the need for air travel.

The party has launched new transport polices aimed at creating a zero carbon transport system by 2050.

Plans include greater investment in the railways to be paid for by introducing a charge for air flights within the UK.

Deputy Leader of Suffolk County Council's Liberal Democrats, Andrew Cann, said: “The Government hasn't done very much at all to reduce air travel and its associated impact on the environment.

“The plans being proposed by the Liberal Democrats would mean investment in new airport runways would be less likely and provide £12bn over five years extra to invest in the railways.

“At present too many aircraft are flying with empty seats; our plans would see a more efficient use of air travel within the UK, because the tax is targeted at the air companies and not the passengers.

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“Taxing the aircraft and not the passengers will increase efficiency, reduce passenger numbers and reduce demand for new runways.

“As the Evening Star's campaign on Stansted airport's proposed second runway has shown, many people have serious concerns over expansion of the airport - with better rail, high speed, connections UK wide there would be no need for a second runway at Stansted.

“In Europe high-speed rail links have really reduced the demand for domestic air flights, and if the UK followed that lead it would be a big step in tackling climate change.”

The Lib Dems' proposals include:

Establishing a new Future Transport Fund to pay for a programme of railway investment: removing bottlenecks, providing more trains and reopening lines.

Introducing a new Climate Change Charge on internal flights to generate at least £150m a year.

Introducing a distance charge on road freight, related to weight and emissions, as an incentive to shift freight to rail, raising at least £600m a year.

Backing new north-south and east-west high-speed rail lines to the best European standards to replace internal flights.

Toughening new legal limits on the average emissions of new cars sold in the EU, to be reinforced with a steadily declining total that reaches zero by 2040.

The Evening Star's No More Stansted campaign is seeking to keep flights to their current limits because expansion of the airport will have an intolerable impact on the quality of life of people in Suffolk.

In some places the sound of the jets is even now a near constant drone as three or even four planes can be seen in the sky at once with the sound of one merging into the arrival of the next, ruining the county's peaceful and tranquil nature.

What do you think of the Lib Dems' radical ideas? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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