Stop Climate Chaos makes last minute plea for SNP to retain Air Passenger Duty
SCC warns an APD cut is inconsistent with Scotland’s climate commitments and unaffordable in a time of austerity
Environmental campaigners have made a last ditch appeal to the SNP not to scrap Air Passenger Duty (APD).
With the Scottish Government consultation on APD closing today, Stop Climate Chaos Scotland, the umbrella group for environmental campaigners, warned the cut was inconsistent with Scotland’s climate commitments and unaffordable in a time of austerity.
Tom Ballantine, chair of SCCS, said: “At a time of austerity cuts and whilst funding is urgently needed to support Scotland’s low carbon future, this money giveaway for already undertaxed airlines is the last thing Scotland can afford.”
He said: “If the premise of any change in APD is that it will increase flights to and from Scotland, proper weight should be given to the emissions implications of that rationale if it were adopted by all members of the international community.
“Reducing taxes on aviation is inconsistent with the aim of keeping us on track to become a low carbon economy. Scotland should be continuing to act as a positive example on climate change. That can only be done by implementing low carbon policies in a coherent way.”
The SNP plans to cut APD by 50 per cent, with a view to eventually scrapping it entirely.
But SCC warned the £250m-300m raised from APD each year could be used to employ over 11,000 nurses or install solar panels on 60,000 homes. Scottish Government analysis suggests cutting APD by half could mean an extra 60,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases released every year.
Ballantine highlighted that air travel is responsible for 13 per cent of Scottish greenhouse gas emissions, warning that it is the highest emitter of carbon dioxide per passenger kilometre and the only sector where emissions have risen significantly over the past 20 years.
Scottish Green co-convener Patrick Harvie last week called on Nicola Sturgeon to explore alternatives to the cut.
He said: “I am convinced that an alternative to the SNP’s policy can be developed – one that meets an environmental test by reducing aviation emissions, and a social justice test by not placing the burden only on those who fly once a year for an annual holiday.
“We will seek the Government’s agreement on that point of principle. For example, the idea of a frequent-flyer levy deserves examination.”
Scottish Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie MSP said: “The SNP have forced through swingeing cuts to councils that are hammering local education budgets. Instead of supporting services, their priority is cutting taxes for airlines based on research carried out by the aviation sector.
“We need to support protections for lifeline services but a wider cut when things like schools and policing budgets are under the cosh is not the right way to go.”
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