Tax private jets to raise over a billion pounds for better buses: that is the demand from a transport charity.
The Campaign for Better Transport (CBT) says the UK is responsible for 19 per cent of Europe’s carbon emissions from private jets, more than any other European country.
It is calling for a “supertax” on non-scheduled flights using smaller aircraft, with the money directed toward improvements to UK public transport.
At present a “higher rate” of Air Passenger Duty (APD) applies to each passenger on aircraft of 20 tonnes or more with fewer than 19 passengers onboard.
For a European trip, the tax from April 2023 will be £78, while APD for private transatlantic flights in business jets will cost £574 per passenger – around six times the corresponding rates for economy travellers.
The higher rates apply to aircraft such as the Airbus A321 used by the UK government – including for a trip to Australia by then-foreign secretary Liz Truss earlier this year.
But the charity wants the charge to apply to smaller private jets, many of which weigh between 10 and 19.5 tonnes.
The former transport minister Norman Baker, who is now the CBT’s director of external affairs, said: “Private jets are hugely damaging to the environment and are the preserve of the super-rich.
“We think it’s about time that these individuals started paying for the damage their flights cause and the proceeds used to help improve public transport for communities up and down the country.”
The CBT says private jets are between five and 14 times more polluting than commercial flights and 50 times more polluting than trains. It claims the new rate could raise around £1.4 billion each year – equivalent to the annual investment by the Scottish government in its rail network.
The transport charity is also calling for VAT to be applied each time a private jet lands or takes off, regardless of size or distance travelled, which would further raise between £79 million and £623 million.
A spokesperson for the Treasury said: “Since 2017, we have almost doubled transport spending to £27.1 billion to help strengthen road and rail connectivity, and from April 2023 Air Passenger Duty will be lower for commercial domestic flights to further bolster links within the UK.
“Larger private jets will not benefit from the new lower domestic duty, and they…