Banning Flights On UK Routes With Fast Rail Links 'Would Cut Flight Emissions By A Third' | TOTUM
Ben Hayward October 11th

A ban on short-haul flights on routes that have fast rail connections could cut the UK’s emissions from domestic aviation by a third, a report has found.

Carried out by the Intergenerational Foundation (IF) thinktank, the report found that domestic aviation produced emissions of 2.7 megatonnes of CO2 in 2019 alone - the equivalent of the annual emissions from 1.7 million petrol cars or the energy to power 700,000 UK homes for a year, reports the Guardian. 

However, if domestic flights on routes with a rail alternative under 4.5 hours were banned, this would reduce emissions by 885 kilotonnes - a 33% reduction, the report’s authors state.


This reduction rises to 53% when only taking Great Britain into account  as there are no rail links between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.

The report calls for a domestic flight ban policy similar to the one implemented in France earlier this year, when the country implemented a nationwide short-haul flight ban where an alternative of a train journey  under 2.5 hours is available.

Analysis found that the disruption to commuters would be minimal, as for two-thirds of passengers travelling between city centres, taking the train would add less than 30 minutes to their journey compared with flying, while almost a third of journeys are as fast or faster by train.

Angus Hanton, from IF, said: “Now is the moment to challenge the unnecessary use of aviation fuel. This new, un-green government wants to use the current cost of living crisis as an excuse to keep people in planes rather than them taking the eco-option of train travel.”


IF says affected routes would be just 14 minutes longer on average by train than by plane, and would be of comparable price when rail journeys were booked in advance.

Other policies recommended by the report for reducing the demand for domestic flights include removing the millions of free pollution permits given to the aviation industry every year, introducing incentives for passengers to travel by train, and getting rid of the tax breaks currently granted to the domestic aviation sector.

Alethea Warrington, a campaigner at climate charity Possible, said: “Travelling by train rather than plane is one of the best things people can do to help tackle the climate crisis. 


“It’s ridiculous that the government refuses to adequately support our rail network, and yet freely hands airlines tax breaks which push unnecessary domestic flights.and even money back if you don’t claim.

“It’s time to get rid of domestic flights and start taxing frequent flying and aircraft fuel. Then we can invest in the efficient, affordable and climate-friendly rail network we so desperately need.”

Don’t forget that TOTUM members get all sorts of great discounts on rail travel. From 25% off Transpennine Express tickets to 10% off CrossCountry advance train tickets and 5% off train, bus and flight bookings with Omio, get there for less with TOTUM.

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