Report recommends removal of air miles to combat climate crisis

Air miles schemes should be removed and an escalating “Air Miles Levy” introduced, according to a new report commissioned by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC).

Published on 10 October, Behaviour change, public engagement and Net Zero, by Dr Richard Carmichael of Imperial College London, looked into lifestyle changes that the public will need to make to tackle climate change. It noted that as 2050 draws closer, aviation is set to make up a large share of the UK’s remaining positive emissions. With an estimated 70% of UK flights taken by just 15% of the population and aviation having enjoyed “generous tax treatment”, it stressed action was needed with “a finite budget of carbon emissions allowable if global warming is to be held below 1.5 degrees”.

As well as the removal of air miles, the escalating levy would provide strong price signals and curb demand from less price-sensitive frequent flyers. The report suggested this could see a shift from long-haul to short-haul destinations and fund research into low-carbon aviation technology, while also having no impact on the large majority of travellers.

Other recommendations to be made by the report included a reduction in meat and dairy consumption, switching cars for bikes, trading gas boilers at home for electric alternatives, and for the VAT on the installation of insulation and low-carbon heating systems to be removed.