8 June 2020
No-one takes any satisfaction from the current trouble of the aviation industry in the UK, but strong lobbying from Arundel & South Downs MP Andrew Griffith, to have full planes ASAP and more industry tax benefits as well as rejecting the new quarantine policy, is the opposite way to go, say Arun Greens.
Heavier-than-air craft are one of the most energy intensive and polluting forms of transport and the fastest growing source of greenhouse gas emissions. They have also proven to be a very successful vector for transporting COVID 19 around the world.
The party seeks a reduction in the amount and impact of air travel but this does not have to mean throwing workers out with the polluted bathwater. Visionary steps to re-skill and re train airline and aerospace workers for new and emerging green industries are not naive. If we are to meet carbon zero and emissions goals, having green jobs and people able to deliver them is essential. Not all current aviation workers will be willing and able to re-train, but if these policies are implemented as part of an integrated approach to an overall green transition, there will be new jobs created in other service and manufacturing sectors e.g. eco -friendly domestic tourism, if the government provides the initial investment boost.
Interim measures to enable the industry to adjust naturally could include removing all direct and indirect subsidies, introducing air freight levies and phasing out old, damaged and heavy airplanes.
Faye Catterson, Arun District Councillor for Arundel says “As we prepare to leave lockdown, this is a rare chance to seize the growing public momentum asking for a rethink of some planet-damaging industries. We believe the way to go is frequent flyer levies and proper taxation of aviation. For the government to take measures to reboot air travel to pre-Covid levels would be an extraordinary act of self defeat against its own stated climate-related goals, never mind the more radical ones recommended by progressive economists and climate change scientists. ”