Tax flyers to fund tree planting scheme, says new report

The UK is being encouraged to introduce a “green” aviation tax to fund tree planting schemes in order to hit its net zero carbon emissions target by 2050.

The Committee on Climate Change (CCC), an independent body that advises the government on emissions targets, has released new in-depth advice on how the UK needs to change to meet its goal.

One of the key objectives it advised was to increase tree planting, growing UK forestry cover from 13 per cent to at least 17 cent by 2050 by planting between 90 and 120 million new trees.

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It recommends funding some of these tree-planting schemes by introducing a tax on the aviation industry.

The advice reads that there should be “New funding and revenue raising actions – a new market-based measure to promote tree planting, either through auctioned contracts similar to those offered for renewable electricity or with the inclusion of forestry in a carbon trading scheme. 

“This should be funded by a levy on greenhouse gas-emitting industries like aviation, but must not offset emissions reductions needed to meet Net Zero in other parts of the economy.”

Elsewhere in the report, the CCC emphasises the need to transform land use across the UK through measures including: encouraging low-carbon farming practices; restoring peatlands; encouraging bioenergy crops; and reducing food waste and consumption of the most carbon-intensive foods.

It comes after the French government announced it would introduce an “eco-tax” of up to €18 (£16.19) on tickets for all flights leaving the country.

Transport minister Elisabeth Borne told a news conference in July 2019 that the €180m (£162m) it is expected to raise annually from 2020 would help finance daily transport, notably rail, in the country. 

The new tax will range from €1.50 for short-haul flights and up to €18 for long-haul journeys in business class. 

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