From the office of the Green MEPs

3 September, 2002


GREEN proposals for a 'noise tax' on aircraft using UK airports received the backing of the European Parliament in Strasbourg today (Tuesday, September 3).

MEPs called for aircraft to be taxed on the basis of the noise pollution they produce - and rejected a European Commission proposal to keep the charges artificially low for the largest, and noisiest, aircraft.

Jean Lambert, Green Party MEP for London, said: "This is good news, especially for the Heathrow residents who made history by successfully arguing the noise of night flights breached their human rights.

"MEPs voted for a compulsory noise charge that will give airlines a direct financial incentive to cut the noise pollution suffered by the thousands of Londoners living under flight paths."

The European Commission had proposed to limit noise charges for the largest aircraft to 20 times the minimum charge levied on the quietest aircraft - meaning the quieter flights would be effectively subsidising the noisier ones - though this was rejected by MEPs.

But the parliament accepted a Commission proposal that the charges raised by the scheme should just cover its own running costs and not be used to offset other hidden costs of aviation - to the health service, the environment and the economy.

Mrs Lambert added: "Rather than supporting the economy, aviation currently acts as a drain on it. It is estimated that the hidden costs of "cheap" flights amount to an average of #550 for every family in London. The new noise charge - and the air traffic congestion charge proposed by Greens - could better be used to recoup some of these costs."