SNP backs airline emissions charges

05 July 2006
Scottish National Party MEP and European Spokesman Alyn Smith today welcomed the European Parliament's recommendations on taxes and charges for air transport.

Mr Smith also supported the recommendation that remote and peripheral areas which rely on air transport for connections be given special consideration.

The Parliament's recommendations will be forwarded to the Commission which is currently drafting new laws on carbon emissions and the aviation industry.

Speaking from Strasbourg Mr Smith said

"It is clear that the aviation industry is a significant contributor to environmental problems facing the world today, but it is also clear that we rely on air transport.

"Including the aviation industry in carbon reduction schemes and taxing aviation fuel will hopefully encourage the industry to develop greener, more efficient fuel and technology, so the price of flights stays low. It worked with cars, why not try it with planes."

"In remote and peripheral areas of the EU like Scotland the reliance on air transport is particularly acute and very justifiable. I welcome the Parliament's decision to pay special attention to their needs and hope these areas will be exempt from any charges in the future.

"The cost of flying from areas like Scotland's islands is high enough - the problem is the short hop flights across mainland Europe when there are other means of travel, often just as quick.

"I hope the European Commission will listen to the Parliament's recommendations - there is no need to allow the aviation industry a free ride anymore."

Note to Editors

The European Parliament voted 439-74 in favour of a report by Green MEP Caroline Lucas calling on the European Commission to introduce taxes and emissions schemes in relation to the aviation industry.