Pollution charges loom

Although the assembly called for a three-year moratorium on lifting the exemption of aviation fuel from tax, there was tacit acceptance of the fact that pollution charging in some form was on the cards beyond 2007. "The package explicitly recognises for the first time that ICAO policy on the exemption from taxation has been called into question in some states", says the UK Department for Transport.

UK transport minister Alistair Darling called the result "very successful", but pronounced himself "puzzled ... at the hostile position of many countries to the European Union's position on aviation's greenhouse gas emissions". GreenSkies Alliance co-ordinator Jeff Gazzard refers to "the European delegations which have seen off this US-inspired challenge of the right of individual countries to set their own environmental protection and taxation policies". ICAO has also given its blessing to the establishment of emissions trading schemes, enabling aviation to buy from industries better able to reduce their emissions. Darling says the UK, which takes over the presidency of the EU next year, will push for the introduction of such a scheme.




Flight International






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