• Swedish air ticket tax scrapped by new government

    Sweden’s proposed environmental tax on air tickets has fallen victim to the country’s change of government.

    The first budget proposed by the centre-right coalition headed by Fredrik Reinfeldt included a stop to the environmental taxation programme known as “green tax shift”, and as expected that meant no place for the air tax. T&E’s Swedish board member Magnus Nilsson said: “The green tax shift had become very unpopular, but in truth the government is not decreasing the price of motoring. If anything it is raising it through other measures, so it needed to kill off something, and the aviation tax was an easy target. The structure of the tax was far from perfect, and the hope is now that some form of aviation emissions trading at EU level will make a greater contribution.” Yet the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme has come in for criticism in a report from WWF, which says the ETS’s second phase – which is expected to include aviation in some form – may well not deliver any reduction in climate changing emissions. The report, based on nine national allocation plans, says “very weak” national emissions caps and “extremely generous” rules on Kyoto project credits bought abroad are effectively transferring emission cuts to developing countries and act as a disincentive to investing in clean technology in the EU. It says the scheme must deliver emissions reductions, or it would contravene the ETS directive which requires use of trading mechanisms to be additional to action at national level. The Commission is expected to publish its assessment of a first group of national allocation plans by the end of this year. • The head of the Virgin airline Richard Branson says up to 25% of the world’s CO2 emissions from aircraft could be cut if airlines, airports and governments worked together. Branson made various recommendations to improve efficiency, including towing aircraft to the start of runways so they only start their engines shortly before take-off, slower and smoother descent methods, and a single European air traffic control system. This news story is taken from the October 2006 edition of T&E Bulletin.