Rome Hotels Articles

June 23, 2010

Cheap International Last Minute Airline Flights Ticket

It’s the peak holiday season, but it still takes just a few minutes online and a few pounds to book a flight to Glasgow, Manchester, Dublin … even Prague, Rome or Barcelona.

Not for much longer, though, if an influential group of MPs gets its way. Alarmed at what it sees as the government’s wilful disregard of the effects of cheap air travel on global warming, the cross-party environmental audit committee will tomorrow lay out a range of proposals to get people to pay for some of the damage they do.

It may take time and, given the tangle of international agreements that govern flights overseas, it is far more likely to mean the end of bargain fares to Manchester than to Moscow (£118 this week, if you know where to look). But the aim is to shift at least some passengers from air travel to high-speed rail links. The MPs also want changes on Britain’s roads, with increases in road tax, targeted road tolls and more congestion charges.

It is vital, one committee member told The Observer yesterday, that the government should factor in the environmental impact of its transport policies – something the MPs were surprised to find is not happening. There is an ambitious overall target to cut Britain’s carbon emissions by 60 per cent before 2050, but no specific plan for transport – which is the biggest emissions culprit and shows every sign of getting worse.

‘They don’t even measure the relative emissions impact of building a new road as against a new public transport project,’ the MP said.

While a national road-charging scheme to charge motorists by the mile is being piloted, its aim is to cut congestion, not to discriminate between a higher-emissions Land Rover and an environmentally less damaging Toyota Prius.

But tomorrow’s report is expected to say that the main challenge is air travel. Jetting off to the Mediterranean with a budget airline can now cost less than a tankful of petrol for a 4×4. The MPs will argue that the problem has arisen because airlines don’t pay tax on their fuel, because passenger duty charges have been kept unrealistically low, and because no one in the government is prepared to take on the airlines.

The Transport Secretary, Douglas Alexander, told the committee that the government was addressing the problem of airline emissions by pushing for air travel to be included in the Europe-wide emissions-trading scheme. But with many of the airlines backing that strategy, the MPs were sceptical. Their fear was that this ’soft option’ would not significantly change domestic policy on air travel, despite official figures showing that transport – particularly air travel – is the only sector of the British economy whose emissions have risen since 1990.

‘Given the predictions for aviation growth, transport emissions could take up our whole global target emissions, leaving no room for emissions by any other sector of the economy by 2050,’ said Desmond Turner, the Labour MP for Brighton Kemptown, during the committee’s questioning of Alexander.

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