Tory green package targets short-haul flights and landfill

(Guardian     10.9.2007)

The Conservative party’s quality of life report will this week propose a range
of incentives to increase energy efficiency in the home, including sliding cuts
in stamp duty to linked to carbon efficiency.   Taxes on short-haul domestic flights,
a doubling of landfill tax for business, and other suggestions are being proposed
in an attempt to give substance to David Cameron’s appeal to green voters.  

Mr Cameron has worked hard to ensure that the 700-page package from a policy
review group led by Zac Goldsmith, the millionaire ecologist, and John Gummer,
has been stripped of some politically dangerous sloganising that might have alienated
middle of the road voters.

They have dropped plans for taxes on air passengers exceeding a fixed number
of air miles per year, following advice that it would be difficult to police,
but will press ahead with plans for fuel duty increases and incentives for airlines
to improve fuel efficiency. Mr Goldsmith defended extra taxes on airlines, saying:
“You cannot be serious about climate change or quality of life issues unless you
address these very, very difficult issues in relation to short-haul flights.”

Since May the Conservatives have been consulting on putting VAT on fuel duty
on flights within the UK, as a means of encouraging passengers to switch to trains.
The consultation found the current recently doubled APD is not directly linked
to carbon emissions, and provides no incentives for airlines to be more fuel efficient.

They have proposed that car manufacturers ensure engines in the medium term produce
only 100 grammes of CO2 per kilometre.