A report, by Dr Richard Carmichael of Imperial College, London, was commissioned by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), to look at behaviour change, public engagement and the UK Net-Zero target. It made a number of recommendations, one on advertising of flights. It says: “Advertising and marketing of holiday destinations and airlines also stimulate demand for flying and help set norms and aspirations about flying. Advertising and packaging for alcohol and tobacco has long been tightly controlled in view of their health risks, and gambling marketing must warn about irresponsible betting. More responsible flying could also be encouraged by new regulations for the marketing and promotion of flights and holiday destinations by requiring that carbon footprints of flights are stated in the advertising material. This could raise awareness and begin to change the norm of unproblematic unlimited flying.” Recommendation: “Encourage more responsible flying by mandating that all marketing of flights show emissions information expressed in terms that are meaningful to consumers (e.g., as proportion of an average household’s annual emissions now and under Net Zero).”
The endless advertising of holidays and cheap flights is hugely responsible for increasing the number of flights people take, and the impression that flying a lot – taking many holidays and short breaks per year, is normal. And desirable.
Nobody has done much yet to tackle this hugely damaging activity. This recommendation to the government’s climate advisers, is very welcome – and very timely.
The advertising industry is doing the planetary climate no favours, in continuing to shamelessly continue to promote activities, and products, with huge carbon and environmental footprints.
Should the advertising industry be doing more to tackle climate change?
Leaders from brands, agencies and Extinction Rebellion explain why the climate crisis demands a step change in approach from the industry.
Nicola Kemp Managing Editor, BITE
In an era in which attention is often only ever partial, puncturing the collective consumer inertia with a complex message is no easy feat. Yet it is a challenge which Extinction Rebellion have risen to.
The peaceful mass protests orchestrated by Extinction Rebellion have been nothing short of transformational, catapulting the crisis to the top of the media agenda. While a firm line from business leaders including former Unilever CEO Paul Polman and the governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney has underlined the responsibility of business to make tangible changes.
The scale of the climate crisis might make it easy for brands and businesses to believe themselves inept at making an impact. Yet according to the Carbon Majors Report only 100 companies are responsible for 71% of the world’s carbon emissions.
Polman issued a stark warning in The Guardian that “we are about to commit the biggest intergenerational crime in the history of mankind”. Noting that if business fails to address issues of inequality and climate change, a lot more people are going to be dissatisfied, feel not included or left behind. A state of play which means, according to Polman, business leaders must step up and move outside of their comfort zone to take personal risks.
Finding this willpower isn’t always easy. For the advertising industry, reaching the tipping point when it comes to acting on the climate emergency often comes second place to the urgency of hitting the next quarter’s targets. Yet there are signs that overlooking the important in pursuit of the urgent is no longer a long-term business strategy.
Business leaders must increasingly look beyond short-term profitability to address the pressing need to reduce emissions. For an industry based upon the success of its people, the increasing propensity of those people to speak out, boycott and opt-out of working for brands which don’t reflect their own personal values means that maintaining the status quo is no longer an option for ad agencies seeking to build a creative competitive advantage.
With this in mind we asked a selection of industry leaders to have their say on how the industry can address the climate crisis:
You don’t have to be on the wrong side of history. This is an industry capable of quickly shifting global public opinion and behaviour.
William Skeaping, Extinction Rebellion
WILLIAM SKEAPING – Activist – Extinction Rebellion
You don’t have to be on the wrong side of history. This is an industry capable of quickly shifting global public opinion and behaviour. You have an opportunity to lead where governments have failed; to use your skills to share a new message.
Tell the truth about the climate & ecological emergency, across campaigns on billboards and on screens. Speak to your brands; let them know their coveted Gen Z audiences will be gone if they don’t act now. Help us vision this urgent change as a positive opportunity!
Front-load spectacularly, if not for the planet and the billions in the global South currently fighting for survival, then do it for yourself because there won’t be any pop-up street food, holibobs or human rights when the crops fail.
Imagine if that billion-dollar persuasion machine was promoting quality of life rather than quantity of stuff.
John Sauven, Greenpeace UK
JOHN SAUVEN – Executive Director – Greenpeace UK
The advertising industry’s responsibility for what they promote, both good and bad, is an endlessly fascinating question. But in a time of climate emergency, more important than assigning credit and blame is looking at opportunities for change. We have the technical solutions, but the political will is lacking, and weak-willed politicians blame a fickle public whose commitment to decarbonisation may not survive a bit of real-world inconvenience.
But we have the technology to change that too. The ad industry has a budget of around $700bn a year, mainly to spend on promoting unsustainable consumption. Imagine if that billion-dollar persuasion machine was promoting quality of life rather than quantity of stuff.
How could companies like McDonalds use its marketing spend to promote a plant-based diet rather than a meat-based diet? And when it comes to greenwash, could the ad industry refuse to participate in the dirty business of selling the oil industry? BP spends most of its capital expenditure on hunting for more oil and gas. It spends most of its marketing budget promoting its ‘green’ credentials. If everybody withdrew their support, as artists, performers and some advertising agencies have done, they would eventually be forced to match their green advertising slogans with real green investment.
Should we all be doing more to tackle climate change? Yes of course. So why would the advertising industry be any different? The key question, for us as individuals, companies, governments, international organisations, is what can we best do? What are our obligations and opportunities? Framed this way, the questions for the advertising industry become what are our obligations to tackle climate change i.e. how might we have contributed to climate change and how do we stop doing so, and what are our opportunities i.e. where can we make a positive contribution to the issue?
What can we stop doing? Taking work from clients who aren’t actively reducing their own contributions to climate change; earning money from high carbon clients, the sort of companies from whom the investment community is increasingly divesting; promoting unnecessary and over-consumption.
What can we start doing? Use our two unique platforms of influence to promote positive action. We are, or should be, trusted advisors to business. We should be the ones advising them that climate change is an existential threat to their business and that we can help them find new ways to make their business sustainable in the new reality.
And we could also aspire to be the trusted guardians of people. We have our hands on the levers of behaviour change. We spend every day thinking of ways to change people’s behaviours, to prefer that washing powder, to shop in this store, to drive that car. These skills are the ones needed more than ever by the world to halt the human causes of climate change.
Morally neutral is no longer acceptable, to the talent who want to work with us, the businesses who need our best advice and the regulators who govern us. So yes, it’s in the advertising industry’s interests to be doing more to tackle climate change.
Advertising World, Why Are We Not Embedding Climate Change Discussions Into Our Boardrooms and Campaigns?
Because, honestly, a lot of these issues fall on the shoulders of big brands
By Deb Morrison|
July 23, 2019
Every year, our University of Oregon ad program brings 100-plus creatives, strategists, managers and producers to New York for Creative Week. It’s a remarkable front row seat to trends of the industry. While visiting agencies, production houses and awards shows, we get a snapshot of industry trends and professional realities that few get the chance to experience.
This year was no different. We heard about the decrease of AOR and the move in-house for many brands. We saw the increased need for diversity and the reality that some places talk about that need but do not act upon it. We witnessed the continued rise of small, entrepreneurial agencies that move quickly to do work of merit.
But what we didn’t hear concerns me more than implications of these more obvious trends. What we didn’t hear was anything about climate responsibility, the most serious issue of our time.
Policymakers point to climate issues at the core of food scarcity, national security crises, health concerns, social justice inequities, ecosystem collapse, loss of homes and land and extreme weather events. Climate scientists show data that prove we citizens of the world have a decade to slow carbon emissions and put the brakes on global warming. We can do this by engaging humanity in resilience and adaptation.
The advertising industry can’t hide from the fact that we played a role in this climate crisis.
Let me admit my own struggle about having 100 students fly across the country, knowing the amount of carbon output involved. We weigh the career opportunities of the trip, purchase carbon offsets, talk about New York’s impressive public transportation way of life. Though individual output pales in comparison to large scale corporate emissions, we still know everyone plays a role in climate adaptation.
Which—returning to the reality that the industry ignores climate issues—is the problem. Except for a few smart and engaged folks, this important issue is not at the forefront of concerns driving business and creative decisions in the advertising profession.
No agency we visited offered even a sigh in the area of climate discussion. There were no Creative Week rallying moments, no inspirational talks. Awards shows did nothing to rally the troops.
Last September, Advertising Week and Climate Week in New York were back-to-back in some random matchup of the calendar gods. There was no overlap. No discussions or bridges about what brands and creative people might do.
Our reality as a profession is this: the great creative revolution of the ‘60s, the development of strategy through planning in the ‘80s and the onslaught of technology into the 2000s all helped to build consumerism. The advertising industry can’t hide from the fact that we played a role in this climate crisis.
A recent study by the Climate Accountability Institute shows that 100 companies have been the source of 70% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions since 1988. Those companies include fossil fuel corporations that support transportation, manufacturing and distribution of products. The network of consumerism.
And so it begs the question: What matters?
We as a profession of idea makers, producers, strategists and educators must create a movement to address climate in an urgent fashion.
We as individuals need to find our place in this movement. We need to understand climate science and embrace the work of those who do it. We need to guide brands and clients to messages and actions that show bravery. We need to think of climate urgency as an ethical and moral responsibility, not an opportunity for pro bono work. We need to build energy within our systems—process, leadership, production, education—and embed climate responsibility into each. We need to talk and vote and rally. We need to do those actions that matter.
The brilliant strategy and beautiful craft made to engage consumers to buy cars and lifestyle are desperately needed to inform, engage and develop action about climate issues. Admittedly, this isn’t easy. Changing systems and mindset takes dedication beyond an obligation
A poll conducted by YouGov Plc, for Friends of the Earth (FoE), showed that 64% of people, after being told the potential benefits and negatives impacts of the Heathrow 3rd runway plans, were concerned about its climate impact. The survey also showed that only 1 in 4 people (25%) support the plans. The online survey’s total sample size was 2,017 adults and fieldwork was undertaken between 4th – 6th October 2019. Numbers were weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+). The 50% planned increase in the number of flights at Heathrow (about 700 more movements than now) would mean almost 50% more carbon emissions, that would all but destroy any chances of the UK meeting its targets for cutting CO2 emissions and fighting climate breakdown. The poll results come as FoE prepares to take its legal case against Heathrow’s 3rd runway plans to the Court of Appeal on climate grounds. The court will hear an appeal against the High Court’s decision that the government had not breached its sustainable development duties by allowing the expansion of Heathrow. The hearing begins on Thursday 17 October and is expected to last six days.
Polling reveals that nearly two thirds of Britons are concerned about the climate impact of Heathrow expansion
“Heathrow’s third runway project is fuelled by government climate hypocrisy. It would be an emissions disaster and doesn’t even have the public backing that the planners like to assume it has.”
14 Oct 2019
64% of people, after being told the potential benefits and negatives**, are concerned about the climate impact of building a third runway at Heathrow Airport according to polling released by Friends of the Earth today (14 October). The same survey found that only 1 in 4 people support the plans for a third runway.
A third runway at Heathrow Airport would put 700 more planes into the sky each day – 50% more than the airport currently sees. This would all but blow chances of the UK meeting its targets for cutting emissions and fighting climate breakdown.
Today’s polling comes as Friends of the Earth prepares to take its legal case against Heathrow’s third runway plans to the Court of Appeal on climate grounds. The court will hear an appeal against the High Court’s decision that the government had not breached its sustainable development duties by allowing the expansion of Heathrow. The hearing begins on Thursday 17 October and is expected to last six days.
Jenny Bates, campaigner at Friends of the Earth, said:
“Heathrow’s third runway project is fuelled by government climate hypocrisy. It would be an emissions disaster and doesn’t even have the public backing that the planners like to assume it has. Public opinion is emphatically demanding those in power take the climate crisis seriously. This means cutting down the number of planes in our skies, not giving them a massive daily boost.”
Will Rundle, head of legal at Friends of the Earth, said:
“We simply cannot allow the expansion of high carbon infrastructure projects like the third runway at Heathrow at a time of climate crisis. Expanding Heathrow will not only benefit a minority of people, while leaving us all to suffer the awful impact on the environment, but it will increase emissions and contribute to climate breakdown. The government has admitted that it did not consider the Paris agreement when agreeing to Heathrow expansion – we hope the court of appeal will now agree with us that this is not sustainable development and ignores the needs of future generations.”
Rowan Smith, solicitor in the environmental law team at law firm Leigh Day, said:
“It is clear that the damaging climate change impacts of a third runway will long outlive the 2050 net zero target. The results of this survey confirm the public’s concern that such state of affairs is manifestly unsustainable. We will be putting forward these arguments to challenge the expansion of Heathrow on climate change grounds on behalf of Friends of the Earth at our upcoming Court of Appeal hearing beginning next week.”
“There are currently plans for a third runway to be built at Heathrow Airport. The additional runway would put 700 more planes into the sky each day- 50% more than the airport currently does. It has been suggested that this will bring certain benefits by creating new jobs and domestic flight routes, but it will also contribute to climate change and negatively impact those living around Heathrow Airport.”.
**The survey asked people about their level of concern, and whether they support or oppose the expansion, after respondents were shown the following text:
Survey data from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2,017 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 4th – 6th October 2019. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).
The High Court ruled on 1 May 2019 that the government’s decision to allow the building of a third runway at Heathrow airport was lawful. This followed legal challenges brought by a number of environmental NGOs, pressure groups and local councils which were heard collectively by the court in March 2019.
Environmental group Friends of the Earth, represented by law firm Leigh Day, brought one of the legal challenges, focusing on the climate change impact of a third runway. They argued that the government’s decision to allow expansion was unlawful as it failed to explain how such expansion fitted with the UK’s climate change policy.
Friends of the Earth also claimed that the decision breached the Department for Transport’s sustainable development duties in failing to have regard to the desirability of mitigating climate change for future generations. This was specifically due to: not considering the UN’s Paris Agreement, the lack of any climate policy beyond the 2050 target under the Climate Change Act, and the failure to factor in any impact from the non-CO2 contribution of aviation to climate breakdown.
Heathrow legal challenge Appeals to be live-streamed from the Court of Appeal (from 17th October)
August 16, 2019
On 23rd July 2019, the Court of Appeal ruled that there were grounds for appeal for all four of the legal judicial reviews, challenging the Governments support for the expansion of Heathrow. These will take place at the Court of Appeal, from 17th October, for 6 days, and will be live-streamed. On 1st May 2019, the High Court dismissed the judicial review claims made by five separate parties that the Government’s Airports National Policy Statement (NPS), as approved by Parliament in June 2018, was unlawful. Paul Beckford, Policy Director of the No 3rd Runway Coalition, the leading campaign organisation opposing the expansion of Heathrow, said: “This is excellent news for transparency. It is vital that the public get the opportunity to hear that the Government chose to proceed with expansion at Heathrow because the former Secretary of State for Transport (Grayling) did not consider the Paris Agreement relevant. The fact that a net zero target has now been included in the Climate Change Act makes the climate case against expansion even stronger.”
The Court of Appeal has granted the claimants against the Government’s plans to expand Heathrow permission to appeal their claims in a hearing beginning on 21 October 2019. The Government had argued permission should be refused. Lord Justice Lindblom stated: “The importance of the issues raised in these and related proceedings is obvious.” Four Councils (Wandsworth, Richmond, Hammersmith & Fulham, Windsor & Maidenhead) with Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, Plan B Earth and the Mayor London sought the appeal, after judges at the High Court ruled against the legal challenges on 1st May. Rob Barnstone, of the No 3rd Runway Coalition, commented: “Boris Johnson knows that Heathrow expansion cannot meet environmental targets, including on noise and air pollution. Mr Johnson has indicated he will be following the legal and planning processes very carefully. Then at the appropriate time, the project can be cancelled. We don’t expect any gimmicks but remain confident that Mr Johnson will stop this disastrous project, albeit at the correct time in the process. The decision by the Court of Appeal today may make that time a little sooner than previously thought.” Heathrow Hub has also been given permission to appeal.
A report written by Dr Richard Carmichael from Imperial College London, for the Committee on Climate Change, sets out several important recommendations on how to reduce the demand for, and the carbon emissions from, air travel. One recommendation is to impose a frequent flyer levy, that not only takes account of the number of flights a person takes in a year, but the distance travelled (and thus the carbon emitted). This should also include class of ticket bought, as premium classes cause the emission of much more carbon than economy seats. The levy would help discourage long-haul flights: as most flying is for leisure, some shift from long-haul to short-haul destinations would be expected, delivering further emissions reductions. Averaging-out flying habits over a longer period than one year would also be fairer: a 3-4-year period, for example, could mean a traveller could take a long-haul trip without incurring a substantial levy if they took few other flights during the rest of the period. The complexity of administering this levy need not be onerous, though would need a central database storing total miles flown in the accounting period under a passport number.
Behaviour change, public engagement and Net Zero
A report for the Committee on Climate Change
By Dr Richard Carmichael
Centre for Energy Policy and Technology (ICEPT) and
Centre for Environmental Policy (CEP) Imperial College London
The number of passengers flying, miles flown, number of flights and emissions are all rising (CCC, 2018). Forecasts indicate that demand for aviation will continue to grow in the period to 2050. Under the CCC’s Further Ambition Net Zero scenario, allowing for a 60% increase in aviation demand from 2005 levels (25% from present levels), this sector will by 2050 account for around 30% of the remaining positive UK emissions. There is a risk, however, of larger increases in demand for flying, with estimates of up to 127% for long-haul (DfT, 2017).
Sensitivity about pricing annual holidaymakers out of the sky has discouraged greater taxation on flights and policy has not addressed rising aviation demand. However, well-designed fiscal measures could offer effective, fair and publicly acceptable means to confront the risk of unrestrained growth in demand in the absence of alternative low-carbon aviation technologies. Fairness and how impacts are distributed are of key importance to public acceptability of policy in general (IPCC, 2018) and will be especially important for aviation.
If averaged over all households, UK aviation now makes up around 12% of a household’s carbon footprint. However, emissions from flying vary enormously between households. While the average household’s annual carbon footprint is approximately 8.1 tonnes (CCC, 2016a) return flights from London to Los Angeles for two people have a carbon footprint of approximately 5.7 tonnes CO2e for Economy Class and over 9 tonnes CO2e for Premium Economy. The emissions from one return ticket from London to New York are roughly equivalent to that of heating a typical home in the EU for a whole year (European Commission, 2019).
Seventy per cent of flights are for leisure and three quarters of this air travel is by members of the ABC1 social classes (Hopkinson, Sloman, Newson and Hiblin, 2019). While half of the UK population do not fly at all in any given year, it is estimated that 70 per cent of flights are taken by just 15 per cent of the population (DfT, 2014). There is a finite budget of carbon emissions allowable if global warming is to be held below 1.5 degrees so this highly uneven distribution of emissions due to flying raises equity concerns.
The greatest beneficiaries of aviation’s generous tax treatment in the UK (it is exempt from fuel duty and zero-rated for VAT) are therefore those who pollute most and could most easily afford to pay more. The norm of unlimited flying being acceptable needs to be challenged and, as a very highly-polluting luxury, it is suitable to taxation.
Suggestions have been made to replace the Air Passenger Duty with a Frequent Flyer Levy (Devlin and Bernick, 2015; Fellow Travellers, 2015; Hopkinson et al., 2019). Given the small number of frequent fliers, most of the population would be unaffected by the levy and families would not be penalised for an annual holiday in the sun.
Frequent flyers, who strongly tend to be wealthier and less price-sensitive, would incur increasingly powerful taxation to discourage additional flights. A levy which escalates in line with excessive flying behaviour would be less regressive than a simple carbon tax on flying (e.g., via aviation fuel tax) as instead of all passengers being equally exposed to the same tax per mile on all flights, those flying infrequently would pay less for the same flight than those flying frequently. At least some of the revenue from the levy could be directed towards research into lower-carbon aviation technology, further increasing the levy’s acceptability and helping to tackle this hard-to-decarbonise sector.
A recent UK survey found that people prefer a Frequent Flyer Levy over other potential policy options and over doing nothing: 56% agreed that a levy on frequent flyers would be fair, while only 26% felt it would be unfair (10:10 Climate Action, 2019).
However, a frequent flyer levy based on number of flights could fall more heavily on travellers who take several short-haul flights than those talking fewer but much more damaging long-haul flights: a flight from London to Melbourne Australia has approximately 15 times the impact of a London-toBarcelona flight.
An alternative replacement for the Air Passenger Duty which should be considered and explored is an Air Miles Levy which escalates with air miles travelled rather than simply the number of flights taken. It should also factor in the much larger emissions for First Class tickets which can have 7 times the emissions of an economy ticket (Murray et al., 2019) due to more spacious cabins and more unfilled seats.
By factoring-in distance, the levy would be more closely linked to emissions and fall more heavily on those polluting more. It would also more effectively discourage long-haul flights: as most flying is for leisure, some shift from long-haul to short-haul destinations would be expected, delivering further emissions reductions.
Averaging-out flying habits over a longer period than one year would also be fairer: a three or four-year period, for example, could mean a traveller could take a long-haul trip without incurring a substantial levy if they took few other flights during the rest of the period.
Travel for work should be kept separate from personal allowances and the 3-year cycle should be based on travellers’ dates of birth, rather than calendar year or tax year, to prevent distorting demand at the beginning and end of these periods.
The complexity of administering this levy need not be onerous, though would need a central database storing total miles flown in the accounting period under a passport number.
Flight-booking software would need to access this database to calculate flight cost and to update the air miles total on central database once the flight is paid for. The class of passenger tickets would also need to be recorded and it would be desirable to add a calculation reflecting the carbon intensity of the flight or ticket; this could go some way towards encouraging improvements in fuel efficiency per passenger.
Finally, data on the distribution within society of flying behaviour appears to be limited, so a database for an Air Miles Levy could also give Government accurate and up-to-date data for designing future policy for aviation demand and monitoring its impacts.
Flying is a uniquely high-impact activity and is the quickest and cheapest way for a consumer to increase their carbon footprint. An air miles levy is a promising option if policy objectives are to: limit rising demand for flying in a way which does not make it inaccessible to lower-income households; encourage shift in demand from flying to trains and from long-haul to short-haul; and generate funds for lower-impact aviation and improving high-speed rail networks. Given the scope for frequent flyers to have carbon footprints many times that of the average UK household, a lack of policy in this area is likely to be increasingly seen as inconsistent and unjust and risks damaging public engagement with climate action.
There is also evidence that mobility can be induced, or fulfil purposes other than transport needs. For instance, as much as 60% of Low-Cost-Carrier (LCC) demand may be stimulated by low prices. Evidence also suggests that frequent flyers engage in additional flights to maintain their privileged traveller status (so-called ‘mileage runs’ or ‘status runs’) and that frequent flying is related to status and social identity (Gössling and Cohen, 2014). Introducing restrictions to ‘all-you-can-fly’ passes and loyalty schemes which offer air miles would remove incentives to excessive or stimulated flying.
Advertising and marketing of holiday destinations and airlines also stimulate demand for flying and help set norms and aspirations about flying. Advertising and packaging for alcohol and tobacco has long been tightly controlled in view of their health risks, and gambling marketing must warn about irresponsible betting.
More responsible flying could also be encouraged by new regulations for the marketing and promotion of flights and holiday destinations by requiring that carbon footprints of flights are stated in the advertising material. This could raise awareness and begin to change the norm of unproblematic unlimited flying.
• Introduce an Air Miles Levy which escalates as a function of air miles travelled by the individual traveller and factors-in larger emissions for First Class tickets. This would provide strong price signals against excessive flying by 15% of the UK population responsible for 70% of flights without raising prices for other travellers as an aviation fuel tax would. It would also encourage shifting from long-haul to short-haul leisure destinations while using 3 or 4- year accounting periods would allow travellers greater flexibility for an occasional long-haul flight without incurring the levy
• Introduce a ban on air miles and frequent flyer loyalty schemes that incentivise excessive flying (as was enforced in Norway 2002-13).
• Encourage more responsible flying by mandating that all marketing of flights show emissions information expressed in terms that are meaningful to consumers (e.g., as proportion of an average household’s annual emissions now and under Net Zero).
2.4.1 Work-related flying
Business travel accounts for approximately 19% of flights and has declined as a proportion of flights, mostly due to growth in flights for leisure (DfT, 2017). A separate scheme to the Air Miles Levy will also be needed for business travel in order to avoid loopholes or gaming the system. Also, over a third of business passengers travel first or business class, compared with only 1 in 17 leisure (POST, 2000) and these classes of tickets are associated with much higher emissions due to the larger space taken up onboard and more unfilled seats.
Tele-conferencing and telepresence technologies offer an alternative to some work-related travelling and measures to promote these alternative ways of working and doing business could deliver economic savings and benefits for well-being as well as emissions reductions. For institutions with employees flying frequently, match-funded financial support could be provided for the installation of video-conferencing/tele-presence suites. Funding for venues to install facilities for hosting ‘nodal conferences’ (where a conference is distributed over numerous sites around the globe) or fully ‘distributed meetings’ (Le Quéré et al., 2015) could also be piloted. Such investments and new practices would contribute to shifting norms and workplace cultures towards alternatives to physical meetings and work-related travel, and should also stress other benefits, such as improved accessibility (Ibid).
It is well-established that making the positive behaviour of others more visible can increase wider engagement in low-carbon behaviour (Schultz, Nolan, Cialdini, Goldstein and Griskevicius, 2007). Among academics for example, survey data has found over 80% would support an organisation-wide policy to reduce flying (Le Quéré et al., 2015). Other surveys suggest there is an ‘appetite for leadership’ and that high profile individuals reducing or giving up flying appears to contribute to changing norms and a collective effort to reduce flying (Westlake, 2018). Funding could be made available for the development and introduction of ICT systems which monitor and make more transparent work-related flying behaviour, avoided flying, and the use of alternatives in order to help to make visible others’ efforts to minimise flying.
• Provide match-funded financial support to institutions (with employees flying frequently) for the installation of video-conferencing/tele-presence suites.
• Funding for venues to install facilities for regional hosting of nodal conferences and fully distributed meetings offering an alternative to physically attending conferences/meetings.
– Summary of recommendations (re. air travel)
• Introduce an escalating Air Miles Levy to discourage excessive flying by the 15% of the UK population estimated to be responsible for 70% of flights. Unlike a fuel tax, this would provide strong price signals for frequent flyers without raising prices for people taking an annual holiday. It would also encourage shifting from long-haul to short-haul leisure destinations while 3 or 4-year cycles would allow travellers greater flexibility for long-haul. The levy should also factor in the much larger emissions for Business and First Class tickets.
• Introduce regulation to ban frequent flyer reward schemes that stimulate demand.
• Raise awareness and encourage more responsible flying by mandating that all marketing of flights show emissions information expressed in terms that are meaningful to consumers.
While most people agree we should take steps to reduce carbon emissions, there’s huge variance in terms of how extreme people want to be — some people want to play their small part, while others view this as an emergency and want extreme measures to be taken overnight.
Anyway, there’s now an interesting proposal that not only impacts airlines, but more specifically impacts frequent flyer programs.
Should Frequent Flyer Programs Be Banned?
A new Imperial College London report commissioned by the Committee of Climate Change has some comprehensive proposals to prevent further climate change.
Not surprisingly, air travel is a big topic in this, including a proposal for a frequent flyer levy on the 15% of the UK population that takes 70% of flights.
Perhaps the most radical suggestion is eliminating frequent flyer programs. The report argues that frequent flyer programs cause people to take more flights than they need to, including people taking extra flights to “maintain their privileged-traveller status.”
Essentially they are suggesting that frequent flyer programs are rewarding environmentally damaging behavior.
The report by Imperial College London, commissioned by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), says that frequent flyer loyalty schemes are particularly damaging because they can result in people taking extra flights simply to “maintain their privileged-traveller status”.
The CCC said the report had “helped inform” its recommendation to government in May that it should adopt a legally binding target of “net zero” emissions by 2050, which means that the UK would become carbon neutral.
Theresa May adopted that target in legislation in June in one of her final acts as prime minister, making the UK the first major economy to bind itself to such an ambitious target.
Imperial College London’s report sets out how that target could be achieved. It says the government must abandon its approach of encouraging households “to make small and easy changes” and instead seek “high-impact shifts in consumer behaviours and choices”.
It says that the government should “introduce a ban on air miles and frequent flyer loyalty schemes that incentivise excessive flying”.
It also recommends making meat more expensive by reducing subsidies for livestock farmers.
It calls for mandatory labels on food showing the product’s impact on the climate. Supermarkets would be required to show shoppers the total carbon impact of their groceries on the receipt and inform them how it compared with a household with a sustainable diet.
All canteens in the public sector should be required to have at least one vegan option “available to everyone every day”.
Switching from cars to trains should be encouraged by cutting the price of long-distance travel, with the report suggesting that a ticket from London to Edinburgh should cost £25. It calls for disused rail lines to be reopened.
Electricity should be made cheaper by shifting more of the taxes on household energy to gas.
Much of the report focuses on the need to limit flights, for which it says there is no low-carbon alternative.
It says: “Flying is a uniquely high-impact activity and is the quickest and cheapest way for a consumer to increase their carbon footprint. The emissions from one return ticket from London to New York are roughly equivalent to that of heating a typical home for a whole year.
“Low-carbon aviation technology is expected to remain technically unfeasible and so it is vital to restrain rising demand, despite this having been considered politically difficult to address hitherto. Aviation has so far enjoyed generous tax treatment despite a large proportion of flights being taken by a small, wealthy segment of the population.”
The report adds that if the government fails to adopt tough measures targeting frequent flyers its climate policy is “likely to be increasingly seen as inconsistent and unjust and risks damaging public engagement with climate action”.
Airlines UK, a trade body, criticised the report, saying that if the UK adopted unilateral measures targeting aviation, such as banning air miles, it would damage the country’s reputation and could result in people taking more flights from other countries.
Key recommendations in the Imperial College London report commissioned by the Committee on Climate Change:
– Mandatory labels on food should show climate impact
– Total carbon impact of your weekly shop should be shown on till receipts
– The price of meat and dairy should be raised by reducing subsidies for livestock farmers
– Public-sector canteens should offer vegan option at all times
– Air miles and frequent flyer reward schemes should be banned
– An escalating levy on flights based on total distance flown should be introduced
– The price of intercity rail travel should be cut
– Disused rail lines should be reopened
– Tax should be reduced on electricity
The Department for Transport’s held a consultation “Carbon offsetting in transport: a call for evidence” which closed on 26th September. The consultation outlined a proposal to require all air travel providers and other providers of ticketed travel to give passengers the option to buy a carbon offset for their journey. The Aviation Environment Federation did a response, in which they agree with the CCC’s view that “the UK should not plan to meet is climate change obligations using international offset credits.” They also agree with the EU’s decision to exclude international offsets from its ETS. There are few good quality carbon offsets available, and very few deliver CO2 reductions beyond what would have happened anyway. In the not-too-distant future, when all countries and sectors are cutting their emissions, there will not be many spare credits available. AEF say: “But a key argument against offsetting is that it risks distracting from the need to rein in aviation demand in order to tackle emissions.” People think that having bought a cheap offset for a few ££s means that’s all OK, and they can book another flight. It delays real cuts in aviation emissions, that can only be achieved by the industry not expanding.
Offsetting won’t get us to net zero, says AEF in response to government consultation
Oct 9 2019 (From the Aviation Environment Federation)
AEF responded to the Department for Transport’s consultation Carbon offsetting in transport: a call for evidence which closed on 26 September 2019. The consultation outlined a proposal to require all air travel providers and other providers of ticketed travel to give passengers the option to buy a carbon offset for their journey. In our response we said:
We agree with the Committee on Climate Change’s view that the UK should not plan to meet is climate change obligations using international offset credits, and with the EU’s decision to exclude international offsets from its Emissions Trading System.
While voluntary offsetting by individuals may help to finance worthwhile low-carbon projects, good quality offsets can be hard to come by. A European Commission review in 2016 of the Clean Development Mechanism, for example, found that only 7% of the projects that could be eligible for use by EU states in complying with climate obligations had a high likelihood of delivering carbon reductions beyond what would have happened anyway.
More fundamentally, in a net zero future every country and every sector will need to get emissions to zero – there will be no room for offsetting. UNEP’s position, that carbon offsets be seen only as “a temporary measure leading up to 2030” reflects this.
Offsetting risks distracting from the need to rein in aviation demand in order to tackle emissions. The cheap cost of offset credits at present could actively undermine an ambition to ensure the public is better informed about the scale of aviation’s environmental impacts, and the sector’s ability to adequately reduce its emissions in line with the UK’s net zero commitment.
The full consultation can be accessed here. Our response to the consultation is available here.
 We note that the Government has said that while it has not legislated to exclude international offset credits under the Act, it does not intend to use them.
The AEF response is long, detailed and authoritative. Worth reading in detail.
Just one section of it is copied below:
Q5. Do you agree that offsetting journeys could play a role in tackling emissions, whilst transport is decarbonised? Can you provide evidence supporting your view?
We agree with the CCC’s view that the UK should not plan to meet is climate change obligations using international offset credits9 , and with the EU’s decision to exclude international offsets from its Emissions Trading System.
There are well-established problems with offsetting that the EU Reporting Guidelines go some way towards addressing, though in practice it can be hard to find good offsets. A European Commission review in 2016 of the Clean Development Mechanism, for example, found that only 7% of the projects that could be eligible for use by EU states in complying with climate obligations had a high likelihood of delivering carbon reductions beyond what would have happened anyway10. But more fundamentally, in a net zero future every country and every sector will need to get emissions to zero – there will be no room for offsetting. UNEP’s position, that carbon offsets be seen only as “a temporary measure leading up to 2030”11 reflects this.
What is needed for aviation is a national policy designed to cut in-sector emissions through a combination of technology incentives, demand management measures and carbon removals. The carbon offsetting proposal set out by DfT appears instead to shift responsibility for tackling emissions on to consumers and give them the option of whether or not to take action on climate change. While voluntary offsetting by individuals may help to finance worthwhile low-carbon projects, it is not an effective policy approach to reduce emissions and is likely, in our view, to distract from the implementation of meaningful measures. Consumer offsetting should not under any circumstances be included in the accounting methodology for UK aviation CO2 emissions. The cheap cost of offset credits at present could, meanwhile, actively undermine an ambition to ensure the public is better informed about the scale of challenge needed to rein in aviation growth in line with the UK’s net zero commitment.
We dispute the implication in the question that air travel is in the process of decarbonisation. While aircraft are gradually becoming more efficient, they are not on pathway to zero carbon. A recent report12 co-commissioned by DfT and CCC found for example that no fully electric aircraft are likely to be in service for commercial routes until after 2055 – too late for achievement of net zero. For this reason we accept the view of the CCC that to the extent that we are flying by 2050, carbon removals – by way of technologies that have yet to be rolled out – will be required to balance aviation’s CO2. The alternative would be the production of synthetic ‘e-kerosene using renewable energy, though CCC regards this as a more costly option. Afforestation is not an appropriate carbon removal for the aviation sector since its potential is limited in geographical scale in the UK and will be required for other sectors. Carbon removals of the kind CCC recommends cannot currently be purchased as carbon offsets however.
For these reasons we don’t support the DfT’s proposal for provision of voluntary offsetting options for air passengers.
Without prejudice to this view, should the Department decide to proceed, we have made some comments on the remaining questions on methodology
9. We note that the Government has said that while it has not legislated to exclude international offset credits under the Act, it does not intend to use them.
The airline industry is feeling under threat, from growing awareness across society – and it many other countries – that its carbon emissions are a problem. It fears there will be a drop in passenger numbers, if the concept of “flying shame” catches on, and if more people decide to fly less. So the industry is fighting back, with claims about how it is a “force for good” in the world, and how it is working really, really hard to reduce its emissions. Doing everything it can, other than actually not trying to keep growing. Willie Walsh admits aviation will keep on burning huge amounts of fossil fuel for decades, as there are no real alternatives (other than very tiny amounts of alternative fuels). He admits that the only solution is carbon offsets, as the emissions from aviation rise, and so at best emissions are net, not gross. Increases in aviation carbon just wipe out the cuts made elsewhere. The industry like to keep emphasising that the cost of flying must not be raised, putting it out of reach of the poor – but ignores the solution, that a frequent flyer levy could be imposed, giving each person a free flight per year, with escalating tax on subsequent flights. Most flights are taken by people who fly several (or many) times per year. IAG wants to give the impression of being a leader in carbon responsibility …while continuing with “business as usual” flying as much as it can.
BA to offset domestic flight emissions from next year
Announcement comes as parent company commits to net-zero carbon flying by 2050
British Airways will offset all domestic flight emissions from next year, after its owner IAG became the first airline group to commit to net-zero carbon flying by 2050.
IAG’s chief executive, Willie Walsh, said that the company would reach the net-zero target largely through offsetting but pledged its airlines, including Aer Lingus and Iberia, would also substantially reduce emissions through sustainable fuels and replacing older aircraft. [sic]
Walsh said offsetting was the only way aviation could promise to carbon net zero and that electric or hydrogen planes would not be an option for most international flights.
Walsh said: “We will continue to use a carbon-based fuel throughout. We don’t see a credible alternative. It’s going to be some time until we see an electric or hybrid-electric plane … you’re looking at smaller aircraft capable of flying up to 150 passengers up to 1,000km. The technology to cover the entire network is some time away.”
However, he argued that aviation offsetting would invest in regulated, verified carbon-reduction schemes, whereas levies on flying would disappear into general taxation.[Non-sequitur….] He said: “In the past there have been concerns about the schemes. It’s very clear that any offsetting scheme has to be a permanent reduction in CO2, and verifiable.”
The aviation industry has set a general target of a 50% cut in emissions from 2005 levels by 2050, largely through offsetting in the Corsia scheme set up by the UN aviation agency, ICAO. Aviation accounts for more than 2% of global emissions but its contribution to CO2 levels is forecast to grow rapidly, due to rising passenger numbers and the industry’s reliance on fossil fuel-burning planes.
Walsh agreed flying could become “socially unacceptable” if it did not cut emissions. “For some people it will be, in the same way that a car is. But a lot of activity that is normal and socially acceptable today will not be in future.”
Walsh said BA was offsetting domestic flight emissions as people could choose to travel by train: [sic] “In the UK where there is an alternative, there is a greater focus on making sure aviation is paying its way to address the environmental impact.”
IAG is responsible for about 3% of global aviation’s emissions, which equates to 29.9m tonnes of CO2 per annum out of the industry’s 915m tonnes.
Walsh said BA would not fly its remaining 33 Boeing 747 jumbos, the heaviest consumers of fuel in the fleet, after 2024.[Probably just because they are not economic to fly, rather than any great carbon concern …. AW comment]
Walsh said the new Airbus A350-1000, which has just entered service on the transatlantic route to Toronto, would typically use 43 instead of 70 tonnes of jet fuel to carry a similar number of passengers.
Questioned if it should do more, he said: “We are the first to do it, so if it’s not enough, the world has to do more. We’re aligning ourselves with the government. It’s a huge change from what the industry committed to, so it’s a challenging target, a lot of work and a lot of money.” [Really ????]
The cost of offsetting UK flights, which generate about 400,000 tonnes of CO2, is expected to be about €3.2m (£3m) next year. [That works out at just £7.50 per tonne of carbon, a very low price. It would be ? £1 or so for a domestic flight – which is scarcely a deterrent. AW comment]
BA has pledged to invest £327m in sustainable fuel over the next 20 years, including its recently approved joint venture to build a waste-to-jet fuel plant in the UK. [This waste fuel thing has been planned for about 10 years … bit of a token gesture…. AW comment]
Environmental groups, however, dismissed the IAG initiative. Greenpeace said BA wanted to “have their cake and eat it”. John Sauven, the executive director of Greenpeace UK, said: “Offsetting is no answer to the climate emergency that we face, where we have to stop business as usual. BA really need to think much more seriously than this.
“What we need is a frequent flyer levy, which would be a better way to go in terms of reducing demand.”
British Airways chief Willie Walsh hits back at ‘flight shamers’
By Oliver Gill (Telegraph)
10 OCTOBER 2019
The boss of British of Airways owner IAG has slammed “flight-shaming” environmental campaigners who want to curb air travel.
Willie Walsh said holidaymakers and workers should not feel ashamed about boarding a plane – and insisted that commercial flying is a force for good which has lifted the horizons of millions of people. [It might have done, but not for a package holiday involving sitting on a sun-bed or beach, dipping in to the pool, eating and drinking in a resort, and doing a bit of shopping. Or a stag party abroad. Scarcely much cultural experience with that. AW comment}
In an attack on campaigners who want punishing taxes on flights, Mr Walsh said it would be “socially unacceptable” to ground ordinary families. [The answer is the Frequent Flyer levy, A Free Ride, giving everyone one tax-free flight per year, with tax escalating upwards, on each subsequent flight. AW comment]
And he insisted that airlines do not need [he probably means do not want ….] any advice from the Extinction Rebellion protesters who have been marching across the world.
The BA chief – one of the most influential voices in the aviation industry – was speaking as IAG pledged to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050. The FTSE 100 airline group includes Aer Lingus and Iberia as well as BA.
Mr Walsh said: “I think aviation has been a fantastic development.
“People being able to travel, see the world, travel for work; it clearly has generated huge economic value for the world. With that economic value comes to environmental cost.
“The first flight I ever took was in 1979. Flying then was definitely a privilege. In 40 years it has very much changed. The idea that you go back to only a privileged few can experience travel and aviation is socially unacceptable.”
As part of a string of changes, BA will offset all carbon emissions from domestic UK flights from next year by funding green schemes such as tree planting programmes in South America.
The airlines industry is coming under increasing pressure from campaigners, which have attacked its large carbon footprint and urged the public to travel less by air.
Analysis published last month by investment bank UBS found that more than a fifth of people have reduced the number of times they fly over concerns about its impact on the environment.
The global airlines industry has previously pledged to offset half of its carbon emissions by 2050.
Unveiling his pledge to go even further, Mr Walsh said: “We feel it is time for somebody to take the lead in the industry.
“It’s important to point out that this is net. We will continue to use carbon-based fuel through that period. We don’t see that there is a credible alternative at this point to the industry using kerosene or a biofuel.”
The announcement came as climate change campaigners from Extinction Rebellion, which has specifically targeted the industry with protests at Heathrow airport in recent weeks, continued demonstrations in central London.
Mr Walsh insisted that pressure from the campaign group had not made any difference to IAG’s decision.
He said: “I don’t think we need Extinction Rebellion to convince us that this is something we need to do.”
IAG plans to achieve its zero-carbon target by running planes on biofuel, setting aside money for United Nations carbon offsetting scheme called CORSIA and operating more fuel efficient aircraft.
As first reported by The Telegraph, IAG earlier this year invested in a biofuel plant in Humberside that will convert waste into jet fuel.
Around 2-3pc of the world’s global carbon footprint comes from airlines.
Mr Walsh said the sector’s share will rise as other industries develop technology to reduce dependency on fuels that emit CO2 such as electric cars or hydrogen buses.
If left unchecked, some analysts believe airlines could be responsible for a quarter of CO2 emissions by 2050.
Mr Walsh hopes that other airlines will follow IAG’s lead, but admitted it will take time to bring the global industry together the effort globally.
He said: “Because some countries that don’t accept the issue needs to be addressed, there isn’t a common global understanding and acceptance of the need to address it.
“I think there is much greater awareness of it within Europe than in some other parts of the world.”
However, Mr Walsh said that such awareness is more patchy in the US.
“As an industry we’re going to have to do more or else we’re going to face more taxation,” he said.“Taxation isn’t going to do anything for the environment.
“If that £40bn that CORSIA is going to generate went into the central exchequers of government, I don’t think any of that will go (towards) environment purposes.”
The IAG announcement coincided with Credit Suisse analysts publishing a note on the aviation sector’s carbon emissions.
They said: “Despite [its] modest share, air transport is often targeted by environmental groups as a sector where emissions are expected to keep growing, and potentially consume up to 25pc of the global carbon budget in 2050, according to Transport & Environment (an NGO),” Credit Suisse wrote.
“The steady improvement in the average emissions of the fleet (1-2pc per annum) is not enough to compensate for the mid-single-digit annual increase in traffic volumes.”
At the ABTA Travel Convention in Tokyo, Tim Williamson, director of marketing and content at Responsible Travel, told delegates he couldn’t “sugar coat” his message that “we all need to fly less and we need to encourage our customers to fly less”, in order to tackle the challenge of climate change. He said: “Given that I’m talking to travel companies, that’s a difficult message, but if we’re going to stop the planet heating above two degrees, I can’t see how you can do it without flying less.” Also that a reduction in flying was key to lowering emissions created by travel and he warned “we need to act now …We’ve not done nearly enough in the last ten years on carbon.” He told the Convention that carbon offsets are also “a very murky world”, and voluntary offsetting is not enough – and that the answer may lie in a carbon tax on aviation. He claimed turning Air Passenger Duty (APD into a kind of emissions fee, combined with raising rates to discourage people from flying unless necessary, could “fund sustainable aviation”. A delegate gave the warning to the audience to “Change before you have to.”
Industry told ‘we have to fly less’
9 Oct 2019 By Molly Dyson (Buying Business Travel)
Travel companies have been told they must encourage their customers to fly less to tackle the challenge of climate change.
Speaking at the ABTA Travel Convention in Tokyo, Tim Williamson, director of marketing and content at Responsible Travel,* told delegates he couldn’t “sugar coat” his message that “we all need to fly less and we need to encourage our customers to fly less”.
“Given that I’m talking to travel companies, that’s a difficult message, but if we’re going to stop the planet heating above two degrees, I can’t see how you can do it without flying less,” he added.
Williamson said a reduction in flying was key to lowering emissions created by travel and warned “we need to act now”. He said: “We’ve not done nearly enough in the last ten years on carbon.”
Carbon offsets are also “a very murky world”, according to Williamson, who said voluntary offsetting is not enough to immediately begin helping towards the goal of limiting the impact of greenhouse gases.
On a controversial note, Williamson – who formerly held roles at companies such as Monarch Airlines and TUI UK – said the answer may lie in a carbon tax on aviation. He claimed turning Air Passenger Duty (APD into a kind of emissions fee, combined with raising rates to discourage people from flying unless necessary, could “fund sustainable aviation”.
Williamson’s proposal mirrors a new ‘eco-tax’ being introduced in France. Governments in Germany and the UK are also reportedly considering a levy designed to tackle climate change.
Earlier in the day, Travel Convention attendees were told by writer and broadcaster Dr Gabrielle Walker the potential negative effects of Brexit “pale in comparison to what will happen if we don’t act on climate change”.
Walker said: “Twenty years ago I was on stages saying that if we didn’t do something about climate change, we’d start seeing the effects in 15-20 years. It’s not news anymore – this is life now.”
Commenting on the UK government’s commitment to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050, Walker said “it’s not good news. Things will get worse before they get better. We already know what to do, we’re just not doing it fast enough.”
One of the first things the travel industry can do to help save the environment is to “reduce and avoid”, according to Walker, who praised companies for their efforts to cut plastic waste and airlines for their investment into alternative fuels and new aircraft technology aimed at limiting emissions.
Walker closed her session by quoting Jack Welch, former CEO of technology giant GE, telling the audience: “Change before you have to.”
* Unfortunately virtually all the holidays promoted by Responsible Travel, on their website athttps://www.responsibletravel.com/involve flying, including short break, long weekend holidays in Europe. So they have a long way to live up to what their director of marketing and content says …
As part of the Extinction Rebellion protests in London, as well as in around 60 cities around the world, London City Airport was a target for action. The intention to disrupt the airport, the plans were announced well beforehand. Many XR people got into the airport, causing disruption in a non-violent manner. A smartly dressed man, who had bought a flight ticket for an Aer Lingus flight, got onto his plane and then refused to sit down. He “walked down the aisle, delivering a lecture on climate change”; this caused about two hours delay to the flight. Another, a Paralympic cycling medallist James Brown, who is visually impaired, also had a ticket for an Amsterdam flights, but when approaching the plane door, instead climbed onto the roof of the BA plane About 50 arrests were made at the airport, including those who had blocking the airport entrance or glued themselves to the terminal floor. There were delays to some flights. The airport was chosen for the action because of the glaring incompatibility of the government’s legally-binding commitment to be net carbon neutral by 2050, with expanding the aviation sector. Many of the flights from London City are leisure, (skiing, city breaks, beach holidays, etc) not for business.
Extinction Rebellion: Man climbs on top of plane in climate protest
A Paralympic medallist climbed on top of a British Airways plane at London City Airport as part of ongoing protests by Extinction Rebellion.
James Brown, who is visually impaired, filmed himself clinging to the fuselage as he streamed a live message online.
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick described the action as “reckless, stupid and dangerous”. About 50 arrests were made at the airport.
Another man refused to sit in his seat, delaying a flight by nearly two hours.
On the fourth day of climate change protests, disruption in the UK has centred around London City Airport.
Earlier, police arrested people blocking the airport entrance as others glued themselves to the floor.
Flights have largely run on time or with slight delays in and out of London City Airport. As of 12:15 BST, a spokesman for the airport said more than 100 flights had either arrived or departed.
Meanwhile in Westminster, tents and protesters have been cleared from the roads leading to Parliament Square.
Police said they were working to clear a camp in St James’ Park, with Trafalgar Square the only other site still occupied in central London.
BBC Newsnight’s Nicholas Watt was on a Dublin-bound flight when a “smartly dressed man” stood up and walked down the aisle, delivering a lecture on climate change.
Cabin crew “calmly and very politely” asked the protester to retake his seat and, when he declined, they alerted the pilot, Watt said in a tweet.
He said the plane then taxied back to the gate, where police escorted the protester off the plane.
Aer Lingus said the passenger was removed “due to disruptive behaviour on board” and a full security check of the aircraft was completed before the delayed flight could depart.
At lunchtime, James Brown, a Paralympian cyclist from Northern Ireland, filmed himself sitting on top of an Amsterdam-bound plane which had been due to take off just after 13:00 BST. He was booked on to the flight.
Met Commissioner Dame Cressida said: “My early understanding is somebody has been arrested after they presumably bought a ticket, went through security perfectly normally, went up the steps of a plane and hurled themselves on top of a plane.
“Actually, that was a reckless, stupid and dangerous thing to do for all concerned.
“But I think you can see that is quite a hard thing to predict or stop from happening.”
She said a full review of security at the airport would be carried out.
Police said more than 1,000 people have been arrested since Monday, including about 50 at the airport on Thursday.
Twenty-nine people have been charged with various offences, police said, including seven who were due to appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Thursday.
Activists are attempting a three-day “Hong Kong-style occupation of the terminal building” to highlight what they claim is the “incompatibility” of the east London airport’s planned £2bn expansion with meeting the government’s legally-binding commitment to go net carbon neutral by 2050.
However, by Thursday afternoon, the number of protesters at the airport was beginning to dwindle, and an Extinction Rebellion spokesman said they would decide later whether to stay there overnight and continue their protest on Friday.
Former Metropolitan Police detective John Curran was among those arrested, after he glued himself to the pavement outside the airport.
An 83-year-old man, Phil Kingston, was also arrested, as hundreds of people blocked the main passenger entrance.
It is the third time he has been arrested as part of the Extinction Rebellion protests this week.
An activist who gave her name as Claire told the PA news agency that protesters wanted “to make the statement that there are many areas of our lives that are going to have to change because of the climate crisis we’ve created, and one of them is flying”.
“We can’t carry on with life, with business as usual,” the 51-year-old said.
Protesters also caused disruption outside the terminal, as several sat down on the zebra crossing, blocking traffic going in and out of the passenger drop-off zone.
Cars and buses were backed up in both directions before the demonstrators were cleared from the roads by police.
Taxi driver Jason Lempiere said the protests had disrupted his work in and around the city.
“It’s disturbing everyone’s everyday life; working, travel in and out of the airport,” he said.
“Yeah, have a voice, but not disrupt people’s lives like this.”
A spokesman for London City Airport said: “We continue to work closely with the Metropolitan Police to ensure the safe operation of the airport, which remains fully open and operational.”
The airport advised passengers to check the status of their flight before travelling.
Stop Stansted Expansion say the 2018 Stansted Airport Planning Application should be considered entirely afresh. That’s the verdict of leading planning barrister Paul Stinchcombe QC in an independent legal opinion prepared for Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE). In the interests of transparency the full (25-page) legal advice is now published today and will be available online at http://stopstanstedexpansion.com/ The QC’s opinion sets out the key precedents in planning law and confirms that Uttlesford District Council (UDC) is lawfully entitled to reconsider the entire Planning Application even if there have been no material changes in circumstances or any relevant new considerations. However, a number of new material factors which have arisen since the Application was provisionally approved last year mean there is not only an entitlement to reconsider, but an obligation to do so. The QC’s advice explains that, provided there are good planning reasons, the new Planning Committee could quite lawfully and reasonably reach a different planning judgment from the former Committee who, by the slenderest of margins provisionally approved the Application last November.
The 2018 Stansted Airport Planning Application should be considered entirely afresh. That’s the verdict of leading planning barrister Paul Stinchcombe QC [Note 1] in an independent legal opinion prepared for Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE). In the interests of transparency the full (25-page) legal advice is being published today and will be available online at http://stopstanstedexpansion.com/(For convenience, it is also attached to this email as a pdf.)
The QC’s opinion sets out the key precedents in planning law and confirms that Uttlesford District Council (UDC) is lawfully entitled to reconsider the entire Planning Application even if there have been no material changes in circumstances or any relevant new considerations.
However, a number of new material factors which have arisen since the Application was provisionally approved last year mean there is not only an entitlement to reconsider, but an obligation to do so.
The QC’s advice explains that, provided there are good planning reasons, the new Planning Committee could quite lawfully and reasonably reach a different planning judgment from the former Committee who, by the slenderest of margins (the Chairman’s additional casting vote), provisionally approved the Application last November.
It is worth noting that the five members of the former Planning Committee who voted in favour of the expansion plans last year are no longer councillors, whereas the five who opposed it were all re-elected and all continue to serve on the Committee.
Importantly, the legal advice also points out that UDC could support SSE’s High Court challenge [Note 2] for the Planning Application to be treated as a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP). If UDC’s barristers – as well as SSE’s barristers – made representations to the High Court that the Application should be treated as a NSIP, there would be a greater prospect of success and, if the case is won, the responsibility for the Application would automatically transfer to the Secretary of State for Transport thereby removing the risk of a costs award against UDC as well as the costs of a Public Inquiry. [Note 3]
SSE Chairman Peter Sanders commented: “This leading QC’s opinion provides a comprehensive and balanced assessment of the issues and clearly shows that UDC would not only be justified in re-considering the 2018 Stansted Airport Planning Application, but is obliged to do so.”
“Furthermore,” he continued, “we urge UDC to make representations to the High Court for the Planning Application to be treated as a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project. There is compelling logic for UDC to do so, not least in the interests of local council taxpayers. A successful outcome would remove all risks of a costs award against UDC as well as the costs of a Public Inquiry.”
Note 1: Paul Stinchcombe graduated from Cambridge University with a Double First in Law, and from Harvard Law School with a Masters, having won a Frank Knox Fellowship. He was called to the Bar in 1985 and built up a substantial practice in planning, public and environmental law before becoming an MP in 1997. After returning to the Bar in 2005, he rapidly re-built his practice and was elevated to QC within six years. In 2005, he was elected Visiting Fellow to Cambridge University’s Centre of Public Law.
Note 2: SSE is pursuing a judicial review challenge aimed at forcing the 43mppa planning application to be dealt with nationally rather than locally. The case has been scheduled for a three day hearing before Mr Justice Dove in the High Court from 12th-14th November.
Note 3: The QC’s advice alsosuggests that UDC should consider writing to both the new Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, and the new Secretary of State for Transport, formally requesting the Planning Application to be dealt with at national level. Both Secretaries of State have the statutory powers to do this and it would clearly be to the advantage of UDC to be relieved of the responsibility for determining this problematic Application. It would also remove the risk of UDC – i.e. local residents – incurring the substantial legal costs which could arise in the event of a contested local decision.
On 3rd October, British Airways Airbus A319 flight BA1496 to Glasgow was forced to turn back to Heathrow, after declaring an emergency 9 minutes after take off. According to reports, no Pan-pan signal was declared but the pilots ‘were wearing oxygen masks’. The flight was scheduled to leave London at 9.40pm, but took off at 10.20pm. The plane took off towards the west, turned north and circled round London, did a loop around east London, before approaching Heathrow – flying right across the middle of London, over tens or hundreds of thousands of people – to land safely on the southern runway. A the time of the emergency, the plane was at approximately 10,000ft. The reason for the emergency has not yet been released. This brings back memories of a flight in May 2013 that had an engine problem (caused by faults on maintenance, due to technicians been too tired….) which caused one engine to catch fire. The plane flew right across London, visibly trailing smoke all the way, using just one engine. There are many more flights that return to Heathrow with problems, about which we never hear. These raise serious concerns about the location of SUCH a busy airport – let alone its plans to increase numbers of flights by 50%.
Heathrow Airport: British Airways flight ‘declares emergency’ minutes after departing London
Flight BA1496, an Airbus A319, was bound for Scotland but has returned to runway 27L and landed safely [but it flew right across London, in order to land – over tens of thousands of people].
By Ian Hughes (My London New)
3 OCT 2019
The flight was scheduled to leave London at 9.40pm, but took off at 10.20pm
British Airways flight BA1496 has been forced to turn back to Heathrow Airport after declaring an emergency nine minutes after take off.
According to reports, no Pan-pan signal was declared but the pilots ‘were wearing oxygen masks’.
The flight, an Airbus A319, was bound for Glasgow but has now ‘returned to runway 27L and landed safely’.
The path taken by flight BA1496
After landing back at Heathrow Airport, the plane appears to have left the runway safely – according to flight tracking data.
A the time of the emergency, the plane was at approximately 10,000ft.
The reason for the emergency has not yet been released but London Heathrow Airport and British Airways have both been contacted for comment.
Damaged BA plane on one engine and trailing smoke from the other, flies right across London for emergency landing at Heathrow
May 24, 2013
A British Airways flight (BA 762) from Heathrow to Oslo was forced to turn back immediately after take off, due to what is likely to have been bird strike. The Airbus A319 was powered by two IAE V2500 engines. The left engine appears to have hit an object at take-off, which stripped off the engine cowling. The right engine then may have hit something, and there are observer accounts of a bang. The plane did a large loop around London, in order to land again, using only the left engine. Many observers saw, and recorded, the plane – trailing smoke from the right engine, as it flew right across London. The plane made a safe landing, though passengers were evacuated down emergency chutes, and there were only 3 minor injuries. Heathrow airport was disrupted for hours due to the emergency landing. While those in favour of expanding the airport are likely to use this dangerous incident to call for more airport capacity (so Heathrow can cope with incidents without delays) it would be more relevant and more responsible to question how safe it is to have disabled planes flying miles over densely populated London. Luckily this time, there was no crash. With Heathrow airport hoping to get another runway (or two) the safety issue of flying more and more planes over hundreds of thousands of people has to be confronted.