Liberal Democrats propose higher APD for frequent flyers

Frequent flyers would pay more Air Passenger Duty and airport expansion halted under a Liberal Democrat government.

The party’s ‘Stop Brexit’ General Election manifesto outlines plans for a £5 billion rise in the air tax levy against the £3.7 billion a year raised now mainly though those taking international flights in economy class.

However, infrequent air travellers, such as families taking annual holidays abroad, will save money, the Lib Dems claim.

Under the party’s ‘clean and green’ plans to achieve a net-zero climate target by 2045, it wants to accelerate the development of new technologies and “cut demand for flying, particularly from the 15% of individuals who take 70% of flights”.

While seeking a switch from private to public transport and a transition to electric vehicles to cut air pollution, the Lib Dems admit: “Emissions from the UK’s share of international aviation are much more difficult to tackle”.

The manifesto says the party would reduce the climate impact of flying by reforming the taxation of international flights “to focus on those who fly the most, while reducing costs for those who take one or two international return flights per year”.

A moratorium would be placed on the development of new runways in the UK, opposing any expansion of Heathrow, Gatwick or Stansted and any new airport in the Thames Estuary as previously promoted by Boris Johnson when mayor of London.

APD would be devolved to put Wales on “a fair playing field” with Scotland and Northern Ireland. Welsh government-owned Cardiff airport would also be put on a “fair playing field” with regional airports in England.

A zero-carbon fuels blending requirement would be introduced for domestic flights while efforts are made to encourage more use of rail travel including a freezing of fares.

The manifesto also pledges to support the tourist industry, described as being “vital” for many local economies, by:

  • Upgrading the status of tourism within government, by creating a Department of Digital, Culture, Media, Sport and Tourism, with a designated tourism minister .
  • Enabling local authorities to bring in tourist levies to fund local tourism infrastructure.

The Labour Party is due to highlight proposals to tackle climate change in what is being flagged as a “radical” manifesto later today.

The Conservative Party has yet to reveal its general election manifesto.


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