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Travel industry to launch climate-change lobby group

28.05.07

A lobbying group chaired by former CBI boss Sir Digby Jones to represent the travel industry over climate change will launch next month, the Independent newspaper reports. Environmentalists have been criticising airlines over the carbon emissions they cause. Just last week a Climate Change camp at Heathrow airport this summer was announced. Now the aviation industry plans to fight back.

Called 'Flying Matters', the coalition includes airports operator BAA, airlines British Airways, easyJet and Virgin Atlantic, as well as aerospace companies Airbus and Rolls-Royce. It will also include trade unions, including Unite, and travel agents. It has appointed former energy minister Brian Wilson as vice chairman.

Including all emissions from flights taking off from UK airports - domestic and international - the share of the UK's emissions caused by airlines could rise almost fivefold to 24 percent by 2050.

The industry believes that because it is losing the debate on climate change, this is allowing politicians to levy opportunistic 'green taxes'. Gordon Brown, the Chancellor, shocked the industry in December when he doubled air passenger duty on flights. Airlines pointed out that the tax was not directly linked to plane emissions.

The lobbying group, which will have its own website, will try to influence the media and politicians. Michelle DI Leo, campaign director of Flying Matters, said: 'Flying isn't a luxury - it underpins our economy and contributes to our lives in so many ways.'

'It is precisely because flying matters that this coalition has been formed to ensure we're part of a balanced and informed debate about our contribution to climate change and what we're doing about it.'

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