Pollution tax may put up air fares

AIRLINES may have to put up their prices after European ministers decided aviation should be included in a radical project to cut pollution.There has been growing concern over the amount of greenhouse gas carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere by passenger jets - adding to global warming.

AIRLINES may have to put up their prices after European ministers decided aviation should be included in a radical project to cut pollution.

There has been growing concern over the amount of greenhouse gas carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere by passenger jets - adding to global warming.

In Suffolk there is also mounting worries about the impact of that pollution on those living below busy flightpaths, with scientists seemingly unable to agree whether pollution particles fall to earth or not.

With 1,200 planes overflying the county every day and air traffic to increase dramatically in the next 20 years, the problem needs to be dealt with.

The European Union's decision to include aviation in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) means CO2 emissions from aviation will be capped at current levels.

Airlines will have to meet quotas either by reducing their emissions - or buying CO2 credits from other industries or emission-reduction schemes to cover any growth.

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To pay for this they will be allowed to charge passengers up to £13 more for the price of a return flight. The scheme will come into effect in 2012.

It will apply to all flights between EU countries and flights taking off from or landing in any EU country, including all intercontinental flights, not simply the part of the journey in European airspace.

The EU decision has provoked a mixed reaction.

Michelle Di Leo, director of pro-flying campaign group FlyingMatters, said: “This is very good news.

“The European scheme is a key step in the direction of the ideal: a fully international scheme.

“We want to see this delivered in a way which encourages improved environmental performance in aviation and generates a positive response from the rest of the international community.”

Friends of the Earth though was less happy and felt it would only have a “small impact”.

FoE aviation campaigner Richard Dyer said: “Urgent action is needed to cut soaring emissions from air travel.

“But bringing aviation within the EU Emissions Trading Scheme will only have a small impact, and must be part of a package of measures.

“This must include ending tax breaks enjoyed by the industry and abandoning airport expansion plans. Our targets for tackling climate change are unlikely to be met unless we urgently tackle rising emissions from planes.”

Environmental campaigning group WWF labelled the decision as “lenient” and felt with aviation's carbon emissions growing at four to five per cent a year the industry should be doing far more to combat climate change.

Are you worried by pollution from aircraft? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

Campaign panel: Air Fair

Government is encouraging a dramatic increase in air travel - and that will have huge consequences for Suffolk's skies and the communities which live below them.

More than 1,200 planes currently cross Suffolk every day and the number is set to grow hugely - possibly double - in the next two decades

The planes bring noise, pollution, and blot out the sun with their contrails, and the fear is flights will get lower.

Our campaign agrees with and supports Stansted Airport at its current flight and passenger limits, but is against expansion of the airport which will have an intolerable impact on the quality of life of people in Suffolk.

It is against proposals to increase the number of passengers by ten million a year on possibly 75,000 extra flights, and against the building of a second runway which would more than double the current flights - another 300,000 a year.

The campaign wants a full review of pollution being caused by the jets - both the impact on ozone layer and on the environment at ground level - and of the increasing noise being caused by the aircraft 24/7.

We want assurances that planes will not be allowed to fly lower than the present lowest levels across Suffolk.

There must also be a full review of the current flightpaths to look at the possibility of moving flight corridors on a regular basis so the same communities do not suffer noise nuisance incessantly.

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