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Treasury’s aviation tax proposals would create perverse incentives for flying over rail

Published 21 June 2021 by Transform Scotland

Transform Scotland has published its response to the HM Treasury’s ‘Aviation Tax Reform’ consultation.

Contrails by Les Chatfield on Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Transform’s policy officer Marie Ferdelman said:

“Flying is by far the most climate-damaging form of travel. Reducing the cost of flying, especially in a domestic context where there are less environmentally damaging viable alternatives, sends the wrong message and undermines confidence in the UK Government’s own climate goals.

“Transform Scotland strongly objects to the proposal to reduce Air Passenger Duty on domestic flights. It not only misses the opportunity to effectively address aviation taxation in the context of the climate crisis but instead puts forward proposals that would be actively detrimental to the UK’s ability to reduce emissions.

“In recent years we have seen a shift from air travel to rail travel between the Central Belt of Scotland and London. The proposals for reducing taxation on domestic air travel threaten to reverse this trend by creating a financial incentive for flying over travel by rail.

“The proposals stand in marked contrast to some of the proposals for reducing the number and necessity of domestic flights in France and other European countries that are currently being discussed, such as banning domestic flights on routes where there are fast rail alternatives.”