Thu 6 Aug, 2015

Patrick Harvie MSP, the Scottish Greens' finance and economy spokesperson, today pressed Scottish ministers on the need for highly-profitable, heavily-polluting airline companies to pay a fairer share of tax.

Ministers today convened a forum involving airlines to discuss Air Passenger Duty, control over which is due to be devolved.

The Scottish Government's policy to scrap the duty would increase climate change emissions by 60,000 tonnes a year. Since the Climate Change Act was passed in 2009 Scotland has put nearly ten million tonnes more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere than targets allow.

Patrick Harvie, Scottish Green MSP for Glasgow, said:

"While it's encouraging that Scottish ministers are no longer proposing to scrap APD without a replacement, it's clear that the aviation industry will fight tooth and nail against any fair and sustainable solution. They already enjoy massive tax breaks, and they know that continual growth in aviation is simply incompatible with responsible climate change policy.

"Ending APD would increase climate change emissions by 60,000 tonnes a year. If the Scottish Government is remotely serious about its climate change commitments, it needs a replacement tax that will cut pollution without making aviation unaffordable for everyone but the wealthiest.

"The most positive idea yet proposed is a frequent flyer levy, under which people would pay nothing if they took one return flight a year, but after that the levy would rise with each extra flight. This would acknowledge the enormous environmental impact of aviation, while recognising that most of the growth in flights isn't due to people taking an annual family holiday - it's due to a wealthy jet-set minority, who are coming to treat air travel as casually as hailing a taxi."

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