5. Heathrow should pay its way
5.1 It is the Green Party's view that airports should repay the community for the hidden costs they pass onto the community, and should certainly not be given tax breaks like the above.
5.2 Although international agreements prevent us from applying fuel charges to aviation, we can have essentially the same effect by applying emissions charges.
6. Example: aircraft emission taxes at Zurich airport [10 ]
6.1 Zurich airport has a system of applying an emissions charge in which the most highly-polluting aircraft incur the highest charges.
6.2 The total yearly revenue from Zurich airport's air emission charge is estimated at almost £2 million a year. [ 11 ]
6.3 Revenues from the charge are used to finance emissions-related projects such as air pollution monitoring stations, fixed ground power stations, measures to reduce road transport to/from the airport, and an emissions-reducing aircraft approach/departure system.
6.4 The emissions charge is added to the normal landing fee, expressed as a percentage of the latter. It's based on a number of considerations such as:
a. Clean air incentives.
b. Available technologies.
c. Existing and forecast fleet mix.
6.5 Aircraft are classified according to their emissions, with the worst polluters paying the highest charges. But the largest single class, accounting for 48% of all scheduled and charter planes, pays no emissions charge. Indeed, these 48% have had a 5% reduction in charges.
6.6 The other classes begin at a 5% charge, doubling class by class up to 40%, indicating the intended economic incentive for promoting and accelerating the introduction and use of the best available engine technology in order to stabilise airport emissions without having to set limits to operations.
6.7 But the emissions charge has NOT meant an overall increase in charges paid by airlines. At the time of introduction the overall landing fees were decreased by 5%. This means that nearly half of all landings pay 5% less overall landing fees than before, while landings of the most polluting planes costs 35% more.
6.8 Therefore while Zurich-style emissions charges encourage the less highly-polluting aircraft, and discourage the more highly polluting, they still do not reflect the external or hidden costs of aircraft pollution - the costs of pollution-related impacts (climate change, ill-health etc). Nor does this charge raise revenue beyond what landing charges raised previously.
6.9 Zurich-style emissions charges could be part of the solution - but the Green Party would go further.