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Last Updated: Wednesday, 22 June, 2005, 02:06 GMT 03:06 UK
Air and road charges 'must rise'
Emissions from aviation need to be cut, the SDC warns
New taxes on road and air travel are needed if the UK is to meet greenhouse gas targets, a watchdog has warned.

An immediate emissions charge on domestic flights should be followed by a levy on international travel, says the Sustainable Development Commission.

It also suggests increased road taxes to cut pollution from vehicles and measures to cut building emissions.

The SDC said such action would help the UK meet an annual shortfall of at least 10 million tonnes in carbon reductions.

"The UK has a massive gap to fill if we are to get back on track in meeting our 2010 target of a 20% cut in carbon dioxide emissions and the signs at the moment do not look good," said SDC chairman Jonathan Porritt.

'Real test'

The SDC urged ministers to meet domestic emissions targets in order to encourage international action on climate change.

It said the UK should not neglect "its own backyard" when climate change is discussed at the G8 summit.

"This is the real test of the UK government's leadership in this area, whatever may or may not emerge from the G8 Summit," said Mr Porritt.

The body also called for more household energy saving and a "carbon neutral" public sector by 2020.

The report is a summary of a full submission into the government's Climate Change Programme Review which is expected to report later this year.

The SDC recommendations include:

  • Immediately impose an emissions charge on all internal air travel, followed by a charge on all aircraft leaving the UK.

  • A 50% cut in carbon emissions from buildings (over 1990 levels) by 2050.

  • A 50% cut in carbon emissions from road transport by 2025 (over 1990 levels.)

  • Radical new levels of Vehicle Excise Duty to tackle road transport emissions (currently 24% of total emissions) and encourage the take up of lower emission vehicles.

  • Review road charging proposals to ensure they dramatically reduce emissions as well as tackling congestion.

  • Not seeking to fill the 10m tonne carbon gap by buying up carbon savings from other countries.


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