Scottish Travel Firms Join Climate Pollution Scheme

New rules that come into force tomorrow (Sunday 1 January 2012) will mean UK travel firms, including a number in Scotland, will for the first time have to pay something toward the environmental damage their operations cause as result of pollution from air travel. [1]

From Sunday 1 January 2012, Scottish-registered bmi Regional, Loganair and Milburn World Travel [2] will join hundreds of other aviation-related businesses in the UK and throughout Europe in having to comply with the EU Emission Trading Scheme (ETS) – which aims to cut climate change pollution from all flights that arrive at or depart from an EU airport.

WWF Scotland welcomed the start of the scheme, which will see airlines having to buy carbon permits for 15 per cent of every flight's emissions. However, the environmental group warned that it was only the first step to cleaning up the environmental problems caused by the aviation industry.

Dr Richard Dixon, Director of WWF Scotland said:

“Aviation is the fastest growing source of climate change emissions in Europe, yet until now airlines have managed to avoid paying toward the environmental damage they cause globally. Despite the scare stories from the industry, ticket prices will rise by only a trivial amount. [3]

“Even though aviation enjoys significant exemption from taxes, including VAT and fuel duty, the scheme has been fiercely resisted by many in the industry with support from some countries outside of Europe. However, the scheme is both necessary and welcome. In the longer term there needs to be a fully global agreement to curb pollution for airlines.”

Ends

NOTES TO EDITORS:

[1] From the Sunday 1 January 2012, emissions from all domestic and international flights that arrive at or depart from an EU airport will be covered by the EU Emissions Trading System.

The original EU Emissions Trading System, which started on 1 January 2005, covered in the past only energy-intensive industrial installations – more than 10,000 of them across Europe, which are collectively responsible for nearly half of total EU CO2 emissions. Following the EU legislation adopted in 2009, air operators will also be covered from today.

Like industrial installations, airlines will receive tradeable allowances covering a certain level of CO2 emissions from their flights per year. After each year operators must surrender a number of allowances equal to their actual emissions in that year.

More details: http://ec.europa.eu/clima/policies/transport/aviation/index_en.htm

Plans to include aviation in the ETS were introduced because of the rapid rise in aviation emissions – 110% growth between 1990 and 2008 compared to 34% growth in all transport emissions: http://www.aef.org.uk/uploads/EmIncTandE.pdf  

[2] In Scotland, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) is the environmental regulator for all Aviation ETS operators that have their registered office in Scotland.  According to SEPA, the three Scottish-registered firms have been awarded the following allowances for 2012: 

• bmi Regional: 21,257 tonnes CO2
• Loganair: 12,496 tonnes CO2 
• Milburn World Travel: 39 tonnes CO2

For comparison purposes, allowances for some bigger UK-registered airlines:

• British Airways: 10,344,000 tonnes CO2
• Easy Jet: 3,697,353 tonnes CO2
• Virgin Atlantic: 3,579,729 tonnes CO2

A full list of the 300 companies covered in the UK can be found here: http://www.decc.gov.uk/assets/decc/11/cutting-emissions/eu-ets/2880-uk-prov-free-alloc-for-eu-ets-2013-2020.xls  Scotland's are the last three at the bottom.

[3] The EU estimated in 2006 that ticket prices for a return flight within Europe would rise by between EUR1.5 and EUR9.  With carbon prices at a record low the lower estimate is most likely:

http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/06/1862&format=HTML&aged=0%3Cuage=EN&guiLanguage=enH
http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/feature/2083671/ultimate-guide-aviations-inclusion-eu-emissions-trading-scheme

Contact: Mandy Carter
Phone: 07771 818 677

Website: http://www.wwfscotland.org.uk