Monday, March 12, 2007

Is Cameron greener than me?

Harsh new taxes on air travel, including a strict personal flight "allowance", will be unveiled by the Conservatives tomorrow as part of a plan that would penalise business travellers, holidaymakers and the tourist industry.

The proposals, to be disclosed by George Osborne, the shadow chancellor, include levying VAT or fuel duty on domestic flights for the first time as part of a radical plan to tackle global warming.

The Conservatives will also suggest - most controversially of all - rationing individuals to as little as a single short-haul flight each year; any further journeys would attract progressively higher taxes, a leaked document entitled Greener Skies suggests.

Will we be able to trade our flight allowances to other people if we aren’t going to use them?

This is stupid and like The Last Ditch says it will spell ruin for the economy of this country.

Of course I have my own weird solution like always. If you believe that humans are causing global warming (which I don’t) then this would probably reduce the CO2 without seriously damaging the economy. I will be getting some of my info from a Civil Aviation Authority report which you can read here.

In 2004 there were 3,670,000 (see page 93). My proposal would be put a cap on the number of flights each year. The first time we could cap the amount of flights at 3.5 million which isn’t decreasing it much and it would be putting it to around 1999 levels.

Once the cap has been put on it you then auction off these journeys in 5%s putting a cap at around 15% so as not to create a monopoly. The bidders would of course be aeroplane companies. Once 85% of them have been auctioned off another 10% would be auctioned off to the smaller aeroplane companies in 2%s. The last 5% would not be auctioned off at first until the year started. When it did the 5% would be traded per journey and sold for the market price (whatever the average price was for each journey at the auction). After 1 month the other companies can sell off the journeys that they had bid on in a journey trading scheme.

Reducing the number of journeys would decrease CO2 and it wouldn’t harm the airlines because they would decide on their own tax which would be what they could afford.

This would also probably reduce Airprox’s (see pg 89 for definition but they are essential ‘near misses’) which stood at 130 in 2004 (see pg 91) because the skies would be less crowded.

The treasury would get a lot of money from this. Consider that each journey was sold for £5,000 (which isn’t much especially when there are about 300 seats on a plane which would mean £16.66 ‘tax’ on a plane ticket) and that there were 3.5 million journeys. This would mean that £17.5 billion would be taken in tax revenue which is a lot of money. This wouldn’t count the VAT on journey trading.

Clean aircraft that contributed less CO2 would be given a tax rebate but most of the money would still be taxed. This would encourage innovation in the plane industry to either develop greener aircraft or develop aircraft that were bigger to get more passengers on.

It would also be good for the environment especially if it mean that Stansted airport was not increased in size which local residents do not want because it will mean the bulldozing of:

• 73 homes, including 18 listed buildings
• 4 county wildlife sites
• 21 hectares of woodland
• 386 hectares of special landscape value
• 47 hectares of high quality landscape character area
• 5.2km of rivers

I think you will agree that even if you think this is a bad idea it is still good for the environment.

Any thoughts on the idea?

1 comment:

Bernard said...

What a well researched notion, old bean!
Can'nt see any holes in it, but then again if a govt think-tank had not thought of it first, they won't give it the light of day.