Monday, August 07, 2006

Tax all air travel says UK swampy MP's.

Bidness: The growth of air travel is too much, too many people have the ability to use these climate killing machines to get where they want to go at a reasonable rate. Kill it!

The figures from the committee confirm that aviation is the fastest-growing source of greenhouse gases, with flights within Europe on course to double by 2020 and triple by 2030. The report states: “It is scandalous that governments around the world have failed to grasp the nettle of taxing aviation fuel. It is equally scandalous that no member state within the EU charges VAT on international air tickets. While this would require co-ordination across the EU, individual states are free to impose VAT on domestic tickets. “The Government has the power to increase taxes on domestic flights: it should do so, and as soon as possible. It should further work to conclude bilateral agreements with European partners to levy additional taxes on flights between them. The Government has no excuse for not raising air passenger duty. “Air passenger duty should be raised, so as to slow the growth of aviation and stabilise its absolute level of emissions.” The committee said that ministers should join their European counterparts to develop additional taxes on EU flights that could be used to design more energy-efficient aircraft. The Treasury said that it was waiting for European consensus, but at the time of the Budget it said that a freeze in air passenger duty would result in a small increase in carbon emissions and local air pollutants. Tim Yeo, the Conservative chairman of the committee, said that drastic measures were required, and that Britain had to take the lead. Mr Yeo conceded that a 17.5 per cent rise in prices would be difficult for many to accept.
Yeo is not a conservative. More from the BBC.
Tax hike The recent introduction of variable Vehicle Excise Duty, which means that the lowest-carbon cars pay no road tax, while gas-guzzling 4x4s pay an increased rate of £210, was welcomed. However the committee recommended expansion of this, highlighting proposals by the Sustainable Development Commission which suggest increasing the top band of VED to £1,800. Under the plans, lower bands would be at £300 intervals down to the least-polluting cars which would be tax-free. The report noted that the purchase of zero-tax cars fell between 2004 and 2005. Protests It also suggested a return to the fuel tax escalator, which increased the cost of petrol above inflation in order to deter road usage and caused widespread protests six years ago. Committee chairman Tim Yeo said: "We are concerned that the department seems to have a fatalistic attitude which sees carbon-intensive activities and economic growth as going hand in hand. "The government should take much more decisive action to shift the balance of affordability in favour of trains, buses, and lower carbon cars and lorries."
Nothing says good government policy than bringing back something that caused "widespread protests" the last time. Pretty much want to kill the airline industry and force people to uses trains and buses. How about working on ways to get the technology to cut down on emissions to the market faster instead of taxing people to death. Update# Stephen Bayley of the Guardian writes about it but you get the sense he hates the fact he has to fly with the unwashed commoners.
"Before the environment was invented as a cause, we had to make do with High Tory bigotry to protect us from error. Appalled at the prospect of proles enjoying democratic travel, John Ruskin mused on the rapacious penetration of a railway into the hitherto virgin Peak District. He boomed that the sole advantage to be gained from this 'progress' was that every fool in Birmingham could be in Buxton and every fool in Buxton could be in Birmingham. Sometimes at Heathrow, I get an inkling of what he meant. Why is it always someone in front of me who wants to take a fridge-freezer on as hand-baggage? Acutely aware of the heavier-than-air formula and thrust-to-weight relationships, why are my flights always full of golfers with bags the weight of corpses? Ruskin's train of fools has become a plane of fools. And there are lots of takers. Within 10 years, the culture of air travel has changed completely. Is it a Golden Age or one made of nasty pollutants? British Airways (now quaintly known as a 'legacy' airline in the travel industry demotic) used to retain traces of the Imperium's tastes, hierarchies and disciplines. It was high-tech colonialism, adventure and paternalism executed by nerveless middle-class men of military stature. A small inheritance allowed Freya Stark to buy her first air ticket: she was wrapped in sheepskins and bundled next to the pilot without even being strapped in. She described it as one of her best experiences. Low-cost has turned romance and adventure into ordeal. People used to get dressed up to fly. Now they dress down. Way, way down, as shocked aesthetes surviving Gatwick North at four in the morning can testify. I recently asked: 'How long is this flight?' 'Dunno, love,' came the answer. More air travel means worse air travel, but once you have let the genie of access out of the box, it is as difficult to put him back in as re-packing a partially inflated B737-800 escape slide with one hand. What was once the rare indulgence of a privileged elite has become everyday. When I was a child in Liverpool, a visit to Speke Airport's Art Deco building gave a thrilling sense of connection with the possibilities of Modernism. Strange to say how they have now been so completely realised not by le Corbusier, but by easyJet. That same child used to go on a 20-mile drive to Southport as a weekend treat. Now people in Liverpool go to Barcelona for the weekend. Not, perhaps, to connect with Gaudi or Ildefonso Cerda, but because Catalonia is cheaper and just as accessible as the Lancashire coast."
As a commentator put it.
crabby99 August 6, 2006 10:04 AM Sanctimonious snob. This is justg one of many examples of middle class snobs trying to differentiate themselves from the plbes. Creeps like this may vote Blair and declare themselves for decent treatment for all etc, but only if they don't have to sit next to the plebs (in Nice or anywhere else). I thought idiots like this wrote for the Spectator and dined with Taki.

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