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A study by the Meteorology Department at the University of Reading suggests that a widespread adoption of night-flying restrictions could help minimise the impact of aviation on our climate. The study is published in Nature today.Commenting, Friends of the Earth's aviation campaigner Richard Dyer said:
"We already knew that night flights inflict noise misery and sleepless nights on communities living under flight paths. Now it seems that they may increase the impact that aircraft have on climate change too. The Government must consider phasing outnight flights as part of a comprehensive and urgent review of its aviation strategy."
Friends of the Earth is also calling on the Government to back a new climate change law - called for by Friends of the Earth's The Big Ask campaign - obliging successive Government's to make annual reductions in carbon dioxide emissions. A new climate change law already has the backing of most MPs and 75 per cent of the public. See www.thebigask.com
Last year the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change research published a report warning that all householders, motorists and businesses will have to reduce their carbon dioxide pollution to zero if the growing aviation industry is to be incorporated into Government climate change targets for 2050
UK taxpayers give the aviation industry an effective subsidy of £9.2 billion a year because airlines pay no tax on fuel used, virtually no VAT and benefit from duty free. Because of this, other taxes like income tax and national insurance have to be higher.
Passenger numbers using UK airports rose by eight per cent in 2004 to 217 million. Since 1987, passenger numbers have doubled at London airports and tripled at regional airports. The Government forecasts that passenger numbers could more than double again by 2030
Aviation - UK domestic flights and international departures from the UK - is responsible for around 6 per cent of the country's total carbon dioxide emissions.
At least five of the top ten destinations served by London airports could be reached by high-speed rail links, either now or in the future.