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UK’s top 1% earners produce seven-fold average transport emissions

A recent report reveals that the top 1% earners in the UK, those earning over £160,000 annually, contribute seven times more greenhouse gas emissions from their travel than the average person, and 13 times more than the lowest earners. This has sparked discussions about imposing a levy on frequent fliers to reduce carbon emissions.

The study by the IPPR thinktank also found that men and white Brits tend to travel more and thus emit more greenhouse gases. Conversely, individuals from deprived areas and those with disabilities travel less and therefore pollute less.

The report argues that reducing these emissions, which would also improve air quality and address inequality, should begin with those who can most afford it. Dr. Maya Singer Hobbs of IPPR states that while not everyone needs to make the same changes, the wealthiest should take the lead.

The idea of taxing the travel of the affluent is popular in the UK and Europe, with a recent poll suggesting that any green taxes on flying should start with private jets and first-class passengers.

Despite significant reductions in emissions from the power sector, the UK has made limited progress in reducing transport emissions over the past three decades. Transport is now the largest emitting sector in the country, accounting for 29% of emissions.

The IPPR calls for improved public transport, more support for walking and cycling, a quicker transition to electric vehicles, and new taxes on private jets. It also advocates for the reinstatement of the 2030 ban on new petrol or diesel cars, which was postponed to 2035 by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

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