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AEF gives evidence at parliamentary committee

28th April, 2011

Press release 28.4.11

Aviation taxes investigated by Parliamentary Committee

The Aviation Environment Federation (AEF) gave evidence before the Environment Audit Committee (EAC) on 27th April. [notes 1,2] This Parliamentary Select Committee is currently undertaking an investigation into the 2011 Budget and green taxes.

MPs asked questions about the role and structure of Airport Passenger Duty (APD). Speaking after the hearing, Director Tim Johnson said “We reminded the committee that APD is intended as a revenue-raising tax. It was introduced to compensate for the absence of duty on aviation fuel and other subsidies that meant that aviation was under-taxed compared with other sectors of the economy. Separate measures are needed to control aviation’s environmental impacts, especially climate change.”

MPs were also interested in the role of the European Emissions Trading System (ETS) in limiting environmental impacts. Tim commented: “The EU’s assessment suggests that ETS will have very little effect in reducing the aviation sector’s CO2 emissions. And because it only covers carbon, it will have no effect on the other greenhouse gases emitted by aircraft [note 3], let alone impacts such as noise and local air pollution. It is therefore essential to use other mechanisms – fiscal and regulatory – in addition to APD and the EU ETS, to control aviation’s growing impact on the environment.”


1. Members of EAC link. See parliamentary web page

There is a video of the hearing

3. Current scientific understanding supports the application of a multiplying factor of 1.9 to CO2 emissions to allow for the total impact from greenhouse gas emissions from aircraft. These include water vapour and NOx (nitrogen oxides) emitted at altitude. The factor excludes cirrus formation because the estimates for this are more uncertain. It is thought that taking cirrus into account, the factor would be between 2 and 4.