AIRPORT DEBATE MUST FOCUS ON SUSTAINABILITY - MARSDEN
Paul Marsden MP, Liberal Democrat Transport Spokesman today called on the Government to go back to the drawing board and rethink its strategy on managing Britain's crowded skies. He said:
"It is not good enough for the Government to predict 500m total passengers by 2030 and do nothing to curb this growth. We cannot have more and more planes in our crowded skies without increasing the risks of a serious accident.
"Air travel has other negative side effects too. Pollution from aviation fuel, noise levels that frustrate people who live under flight paths, and increased pressure on communities, roads and public transport close to airports. In order to effectively manage the growth in demand for air travel the Government must now take five definite steps:
- The Kyoto agreement must be expanded to cover aviation pollution.
- The Government should lobby for an increase to the EU fuel duty on aviation kerosene currently at zero pence per litre compared with 50p per litre for unleaded petrol used by motorists.
- End the present incentive for airlines to make the main airports busier to off set airport charges.
- Move from airport tax paid by passengers to a tax on aircrafts discouraging airlines from running half empty plains.
- Encourage a more sensitive and efficient use of regional airports and move the focus away from short haul flights to the increased use of rail.
"The Government has to take decisive steps to manage the growth in air travel within sustainable limits, rather than cave in to the demands of big business."