Most people don’t realise how environmentally damaging air travel is! On the left, you see what people identify as environmentally helpful actions – on the right is the actual effect of those actions!
The polling identified a striking, widespread lack of awareness about the level of damage air travel inflicts on the climate. When asked to select one or two actions from a list that would have the biggest impact on reducing an individual’s carbon footprint, only 15% correctly identified taking one fewer transatlantic flight, whereas 37% correctly identified ‘going car free’ as effective. Tellingly, the most frequent flyers – those taking seven or more flights each year – ranked ‘upgrade to energy efficient light bulbs’ above reducing air travel.
At a time when vital services and the things that make a good society are being cut, there’s industrial tax avoidance on an epic scale going on in the skies above us.
- Air travel has been getting a free ride on tax for 70 years.
- There is no tax on jet fuel – the only fossil fuel that is banned from being taxed by international treaty.
- Plane tickets are zero-rated for VAT, alongside wheelchairs and baby clothes.
- The annual value of this tax subsidy to air travel is now estimated to be around £11.4bn.1
- To put that in context, that’s roughly enough to reverse the cuts to legal aid, disability benefits and buses, scrap tuition fees, employ 5,000 more nurses and build ten new hospitals every year.2
- The more often someone flies, the more benefit they get from these tax breaks.
Frequent flyer levy – could be an idea!