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‘Twisted economics’: UK trains 4 instances dearer than planes


The associated fee distinction between travelling on a low-carbon practice or an emissions-intensive flight is extra acute within the U.Okay. than it’s in every other nation in Europe, new analysis has revealed.

A report printed earlier this month by marketing campaign group Greenpeace argues that European governments are actively encouraging residents to journey in probably the most emissions-intensive manner potential, by enabling an uneven regulatory panorama that advantages low-cost airways on the expense of the local weather.

Nowhere in Europe is the price disparity between rail and air journey extra pronounced than within the U.Okay., based on the analysis.

Throughout the continent, trains are on common twice as costly as flying, however within the U.Okay. they’re 4 instances dearer, the analysis notes.

To succeed in its conclusions, Greenpeace in contrast the price of practice and airplane tickets for 112 routes between giant cities in 27 European nations.

The analysis, “Ticket costs of planes versus trains: How low-cost carriers destroy the local weather whereas their unfair and aggressive pricing methods go unchecked,” finds that flights had been typically cheaper on seven out of 10 routes, regardless of being 5 instances extra polluting than flying.

Flights had been constantly cheaper than practice tickets on all 12 U.Okay. routes included the examine, together with home routes between London and Scotland and worldwide routes to Paris, Berlin, Barcelona, Marseille and Amsterdam.

For instance, touring from Barcelona to London by practice was discovered 10 instances dearer on common than flying. The worth differential widened additional for tickets booked at brief discover, with a practice ticket in some instances as much as 30 instances dearer than a flight.

The journey between Edinburgh and London was equally discovered to be “systematically cheaper by airplane,” main to three.4 million passengers a yr touring between the 2 cities yearly by air, regardless of dozens of practice connections every day.

Greenpeace stated the value distinction was a results of an uneven regulatory enjoying discipline, resulting in elevated emissions and rewarding low-cost airways with questionable employment practices.

Whereas airways pay no kerosene tax or VAT throughout Europe, practice operators pay vitality taxes, VAT and excessive rail tolls in most European nations. Within the U.Okay., operators are relieved of VAT, however are infamous for imposing a few of the highest ticket costs in Europe.

“As hundreds of thousands of Brits head off on their European breaks — many to areas which are being scorched by this historic heatwave — the twisted economics of the transport business means they’re being inspired to maintain throwing gas on the local weather inferno,” stated Doug Parr, director of coverage at Greenpeace. “Flying solely appears to be like like a cut price as a result of the price of air pollution is so low-cost. Low-cost airways are paying negligible tax whereas imposing low wages and poor situations on employees.”

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, a eager consumer of home and personal flights himself, was closely criticized when, as chancellor, he reduce passenger tax for flights within the U.Okay. in October 2021, simply days earlier than Glasgow hosted the COP26 Local weather Summit.

Greenpeace has referred to as for short-haul flights to be banned the place there’s a cheap rail various — a coverage embraced earlier this yr in France — and for an finish to subsidies for airways and airports, beginning with a phase-out of tax exemptions for kerosene and the introduction of a frequent flier levy.

It has additionally referred to as for European governments to introduce “local weather tickets” — easy long-term tickets which are legitimate on all technique of public transport in a rustic or area.

In response to the report, a authorities spokesperson stated: “We’re dedicated to decarbonizing air journey with out the necessity to restrict demand. Our Jet Zero Technique units out our method for internet zero aviation by 2050, and up to date reforms to air passenger tax means those that fly furthest, and have the best affect on emissions, incur a higher price.”

The report follows an evaluation earlier this month from Transport and Setting, which calculated that governments throughout Europe are lacking out on $38.05 billion a yr in income resulting from aviation tax loopholes.

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