Binnelandse vlugte moet verbied word en langtarieftariewe word gesubsidieer, vervoerders het aangedring, beklemtoon die relatiewe omgewings- en finansiële koste van lug- en treinreise.
The Campaign for Better Transport (CBT) called on ministers to outlaw internal UK flights if an equivalent train journey took less than five hours and to resist calls for any cut in air passenger duty.
Mandatory emissions labels on tickets and a frequent flyer levy should also be introduced, the charity said.
The demands came before the 27 October budget, in which the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, may decide to cut taxes on domestic flights in response to pressure from the aviation industry, a possibility mooted by the prime minister earlier this year. Such a move could, egter, prove an embarrassment a week before the UK hosts the Cop26 climate conference in Glasgow.
The proposed ban would not affect isolated communities or the longest UK air corridors, but would hit flights such as Manchester to London, London to Edinburgh and Birmingham to Glasgow. Passengers should be offered cheaper train tickets, while anyone taking more than three international flights a year would be required to pay a frequent flyer levy, the campaign proposes.
Paul Tuohy, the chief executive of CBT said: “Cheap domestic flights might seem a good deal when you buy them, but they are a climate disaster, generating seven times more harmful greenhouse emissions than the equivalent train journey.
“Making the train cheaper will boost passenger numbers and help reduce emissions from aviation, but any cut to air passenger duty – coupled with a rise in rail fares in January – will send the wrong message about how the government wants people to travel and mean more people choosing to fly.”
British Airways now offsets carbon emissions on all domestic flights and there are hopes that short-haul electric planes could operate internally within 15 jare. Egter, “jet zero” ambitions remain some way from reality and CBT argues that major internal routes are feasible by direct train instead, with similar journey times once airport journeys and formalities are factored in. Egter, ticket prices are often prohibitive.
In a staged “race” carried out on Friday from central London to Glasgow city centre, Tuohy took the plane and – including airport transfers and check-in – arrived in five hours 17 minute, two minutes before the former transport minister Norman Baker, who travelled by train. CBT said the train journey emitted less than one-sixth of the carbon emissions of the flight – 20kg compared with 137kg – but cost twice as much at £109 v £52.
Rail fares have risen steadily above inflation for well over a decade. A walk-up return ticket to travel on morning train services between London and Manchester now costs £369.40, while an off-peak return is £94.50 between the capital and northern England’s biggest city.
The government has not announced a decision on further rail fare increases, but should they follow the RPI+1% formula the cost could increase by another 4.8% in January. Ministers are keen to reduce rail subsidy after spending an additional £8bn to cover lost revenue during the pandemic.
Passenger numbers have returned to around 65% of pre-Covid levels, according to the latest Department for Transport figures.