Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Environmental Tax?

I’m sure I’ve rambled about this before, but I feel the need to question the environmental credentials of Air Passenger Duty (APD), which is much higher in Britain than anywhere else in the world.

It is billed as an ‘environmental tax’ to discourage flying.  It is therefore ‘green’ and cuddly, and a reason for the unthinking yet trendy populous to love the government.

Unfortunately, the actual environmental effects are very dubious to say the least.  The tax for long-haul flights is much more than that for short-haul flights, which means that it works out better to fly indirectly.  In other words, you pay short-haul APD to fly from the UK and the long-haul leg departs from a country which is not bent on bleeding you dry.  Just see www.skyscanner.net for a myriad of examples.

So unless you are really tight for time, or on a business account, it becomes increasingly viable to give the French, the Germans or the Dutch your business and fly via Paris, Frankfurt or Schipol. Of course, this involves two take-offs and landings (which are by far the worst part of the flight from an environmental point of view) and may involve a longer routing, but you don’t really care about the environment, do you?

I doubt that the number of people who have stopped flying as a direct result of APD will have had any impact on the environment whatsoever, whilst the number of people flying via another European hub must surely be on the increase.

So next time you think about Air Tax and think that it’s something positive, think again.  Unless you’re French, in which case you may as well enjoy the benefits of our business.

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