Air taxes

This is going to take some careful political and practical planning.

Air fight is very damaging to the environment, that is not in dispute. Air flight also provides a lot of people with the chance to relax, do business, see family, experience other cultures etc.

I think we are all taxed far too much but I do also believe that tax can be a good way to influence behaviour, increasing taxes on behaviour that you want to reduce matched by decreasing taxes on behaviour you want to encourage. If this plan works and “damaging” behaviour reduces then so does the tax take. This is a good way to reduce the overall tax burden, increase green behaviour and cut the tax burden. Green and Conservative.

Convincing the British people of this, however, will not be easy. I am confident that these plans will form part of a changing of taxes rather than an increase in overall taxation rates but it will be a minefield none the less.

24 responses to “Air taxes

  1. How is taking a business trip “damaging” behaviour, James? If your company sends you, is that wrong? What of the family who go to the Costa Brava once a year?

  2. How is taking a business trip “damaging” behaviour, James? If your company sends you, is that wrong? What of the family who go to the Costa Brava once a year?

  3. Damaging in the sense that every flight dumps C02 into the atmosphere. But that does not make flying wrong, yet you should pay for the amount of damage you cause – polluter pays principle.If he puts VAT on fuel it would not hurt the family taking a cheap Thomson flight as much as it would a business man taking a first class trip to the US frequently. It would make business sit up and notice and would encourage more to change their behavior, so many could tele-conference rather than fly. (Actually maybe we could just put a tax on first/business class as they are terrible in creating inefficiency; the lack of such classes is what makes no-frills airlines the greenest!) Obviously this would have to be offset with tax cuts generally and in areas you wish to encourage such as incentives for new technologies.

  4. Damaging in the sense that every flight dumps C02 into the atmosphere. But that does not make flying wrong, yet you should pay for the amount of damage you cause – polluter pays principle.If he puts VAT on fuel it would not hurt the family taking a cheap Thomson flight as much as it would a business man taking a first class trip to the US frequently. It would make business sit up and notice and would encourage more to change their behavior, so many could tele-conference rather than fly. (Actually maybe we could just put a tax on first/business class as they are terrible in creating inefficiency; the lack of such classes is what makes no-frills airlines the greenest!) Obviously this would have to be offset with tax cuts generally and in areas you wish to encourage such as incentives for new technologies.

  5. Air travel accounts for 0.1% of CO2. Introducing strict controls on people’s right to travel is not the answer. Getting the Chinesse to improve their factories would be a more effective control.

  6. Air travel accounts for 0.1% of CO2. Introducing strict controls on people’s right to travel is not the answer. Getting the Chinesse to improve their factories would be a more effective control.

  7. Yes I know its tiny, the UK only accounts for something like 2% overall. In fact I think I saw somewhere that farting cattle produces a massive amount of green house gases, maybe a Tory government should have tax reductions on rubber bungs.

  8. Yes I know its tiny, the UK only accounts for something like 2% overall. In fact I think I saw somewhere that farting cattle produces a massive amount of green house gases, maybe a Tory government should have tax reductions on rubber bungs.

  9. James, Global warming may well not be caused by man made CO2. The left wing green lobby have been hysterical in their support, but that doesn’t make it right.I hope you saw Dispatches last week on this – if not go and watch it on 4oD. On one point – the group think of research people etc – I can confirm from personal experience.I have written a paper for the IEA Greenhouse Gas R&D programme on some of the practical issue of storing CO2, and the company I worked for has been paid for it. But I’m worried that the underlying science is wrong. (I’m not 100% sure – but I think the level of doubt is very significant).If so then this it is political suicide. Somebody in Conservative HQ needs to sit up and take notice.

  10. James, Global warming may well not be caused by man made CO2. The left wing green lobby have been hysterical in their support, but that doesn’t make it right.I hope you saw Dispatches last week on this – if not go and watch it on 4oD. On one point – the group think of research people etc – I can confirm from personal experience.I have written a paper for the IEA Greenhouse Gas R&D programme on some of the practical issue of storing CO2, and the company I worked for has been paid for it. But I’m worried that the underlying science is wrong. (I’m not 100% sure – but I think the level of doubt is very significant).If so then this it is political suicide. Somebody in Conservative HQ needs to sit up and take notice.

  11. As < HREF="http://jamescleverly.blogspot.com/2006/09/lib-dem-tax-plans.html" REL="nofollow">I predicted<> on your blog six months ago. Of course there is no point levying VAT or fuel duty on domestic flights, unless you are prepared to invest in the rail network and make sure people have reasonable alternatives. It is ridiculous that it costs less to fly from London to Manchester than to take the train.

  12. As < HREF="http://jamescleverly.blogspot.com/2006/09/lib-dem-tax-plans.html" REL="nofollow">I predicted<> on your blog six months ago. Of course there is no point levying VAT or fuel duty on domestic flights, unless you are prepared to invest in the rail network and make sure people have reasonable alternatives. It is ridiculous that it costs less to fly from London to Manchester than to take the train.

  13. James Higham – companies can make more use of conference calling…this doesn’t mean business people never travel. Personal relationships are vital to business, but if it can be reduced surely this is a responsible thing to do?

  14. James Higham – companies can make more use of conference calling…this doesn’t mean business people never travel. Personal relationships are vital to business, but if it can be reduced surely this is a responsible thing to do?

  15. Becky, it has already been reduced – probably too much. I compete head on with US, German and French firms. If they spend time with clients and I don’t, my multi-million pound business remitting profits back to Britain will fail. There has to be some balance here. We don’t even know whether we should be spending on CC avoidance or adaptation. Possibly the whole thing is as “real” as the new ice age scare of 20 years ago. Whatever the truth, destroying our economy will not solve whatever the problem is.

  16. Becky, it has already been reduced – probably too much. I compete head on with US, German and French firms. If they spend time with clients and I don’t, my multi-million pound business remitting profits back to Britain will fail. There has to be some balance here. We don’t even know whether we should be spending on CC avoidance or adaptation. Possibly the whole thing is as “real” as the new ice age scare of 20 years ago. Whatever the truth, destroying our economy will not solve whatever the problem is.

  17. I don’t believe the Global Warming guff – I was taught at school (1) that the plankton in the great oceans can absorb all the CO2 thrown at it and (2) we are still emerging from the last ice age. Something else is going on, and John Redwood seems to have the same opinion. Making the ‘glorious gesture’ and taking the ‘strategic lead’ in the face of farting cows, Indonesian forest fires and the one-new-one per week Chinese base-load coal power stations show incredible poverty of thought.The additional problem with DC’s latest initiative is that to police a ‘green air miles’ policy would require an intimate data base of travel habits that would outstrip even the requirements of the national ID card – so has David Davis written in to rescind his ‘notice to cancel the ID card when we are in office’? Note: What if a grown-up family of four take four holidays a year and rotate buying the tickets(heaven forbid … we don’t actully do that). The point is that the detailed surveillance required to check on our travel would have made the Stasi’s eyes pop out. (Although we have already succumbed to Oyster). Why are we building the apparatus for a totalitarian state under the platitude ‘if you are doing nothing wrong you have nothing to fear? How do I know that what I am doing (like voting Tory) might suddenly be deemed wrong by some group in the future? DC’s plans are incompatible with an Open Society.And as for taking the rail to Manchester …very little spare capacity on the trains I use, except in the largely empty 50% of the train devoted to first class … perhaps Virgin are just waiting.

  18. I don’t believe the Global Warming guff – I was taught at school (1) that the plankton in the great oceans can absorb all the CO2 thrown at it and (2) we are still emerging from the last ice age. Something else is going on, and John Redwood seems to have the same opinion. Making the ‘glorious gesture’ and taking the ‘strategic lead’ in the face of farting cows, Indonesian forest fires and the one-new-one per week Chinese base-load coal power stations show incredible poverty of thought.The additional problem with DC’s latest initiative is that to police a ‘green air miles’ policy would require an intimate data base of travel habits that would outstrip even the requirements of the national ID card – so has David Davis written in to rescind his ‘notice to cancel the ID card when we are in office’? Note: What if a grown-up family of four take four holidays a year and rotate buying the tickets(heaven forbid … we don’t actully do that). The point is that the detailed surveillance required to check on our travel would have made the Stasi’s eyes pop out. (Although we have already succumbed to Oyster). Why are we building the apparatus for a totalitarian state under the platitude ‘if you are doing nothing wrong you have nothing to fear? How do I know that what I am doing (like voting Tory) might suddenly be deemed wrong by some group in the future? DC’s plans are incompatible with an Open Society.And as for taking the rail to Manchester …very little spare capacity on the trains I use, except in the largely empty 50% of the train devoted to first class … perhaps Virgin are just waiting.

  19. Air travel accounts for 0.1% of CO2 and CO2 represents a low concentration of approximately 0.03%-0.06% of the atmosphere so saying this effects the climate is pure nonsense.why do people belive politicians without checking the facts.

  20. Air travel accounts for 0.1% of CO2 and CO2 represents a low concentration of approximately 0.03%-0.06% of the atmosphere so saying this effects the climate is pure nonsense.why do people belive politicians without checking the facts.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s