Argument blown out of the air

PUBLISHED: 14:32 16 November 2006 | UPDATED: 21:26 29 May 2010

BEHIND the scenes at Uttlesford there have been meetings with lawyers and others preparing the countdown to the November 29, decision day on BAA Stansted s planning application. At national level the public debate over aviation has continued unabated. Env

BEHIND the scenes at Uttlesford there have been meetings with lawyers and others preparing the countdown to the November 29, decision day on BAA Stansted's planning application.

At national level the public debate over aviation has continued unabated. Environment Secretary David Miliband was on the radio last week making much of climate change.

But he was still repeating the government mantra that aviation doesn't matter and the world can go on increasing its carbon emissions.

They also seem hooked on the myth that they are promoting a social service for poor people to have foreign holidays.

Yet that specious argument has been blown out of the air by a report in The Times newspaper on Saturday that said the CAA is about to announce that the social profile of people who fly has hardly changed in the past ten years at Stansted.

The Times wrote: 'Those in social groups D and E, which cover low-skilled workers and those on benefits, took only 9.5 per cent of leisure flights at Stansted last year, despite making up 27 per cent of the population.

The As and Bs - professionals and senior managers who make up

24 per cent of the population - took 41 per cent of the flights'.

There is virtually no tax on flying. This means the poor in society subsidise affluent people to destroy the planet through climate change.

I doubt the government is embarrassed: even less ashamed. Yet green taxes on aviation could, for example, provide free wind turbines for pensioners to reduce their electricity bills.

That's far fairer than giving the better-off tax breaks to enjoy regular weekend breaks.

BAA's aspirations for continuing growth at Stansted raise challenges such as these. That growth must be constrained.

Cllr Alan Dean

Member for Stansted Mountfitchet

Uttlesford District Council

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