Scotland business

Charity WWF Scotland defends airport green tax

Edinburgh Airport terminal building Image copyright Edinburgh Airport
Image caption The operators of three Scottish airports have called for Air Passenger Duty to be devolved to Holyrood

The conservation charity WWF Scotland has cautioned against moves to scrap Air Passenger Duty (APD).

It claimed the ending of the tax without any workable policy alternatives would be a "backwards step".

The charity believes APD plays a part in curbing harmful emissions.

The Scottish government has called for control of the duty to be devolved from Westminster, which would allow it to be abolished for Scottish passengers.

The move has been backed in principle by the operators of three major Scottish airports - Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen.

WWF Scotland director Lang Banks said: "Aviation is the fastest growing sector of carbon pollution and threatens to undermine other efforts to curb climate change emissions.

"Despite all their special pleading, the aviation industry still enjoys significant exemption from taxes, including VAT and fuel duty.

"Therefore, scrapping APD would be a backwards step in efforts to curb soaring climate emissions.

"The reality is that, if we want to meet our climate targets, any growth in emissions from the aviation sector will have to be offset by deeper cuts elsewhere in Scotland's economy."

The airports' submission to the Smith Commission on powers for the Scottish parliament was welcomed by the SNP.

MSP Colin Keir, whose constituency includes Edinburgh Airport, said: "Assuming this common sense submission is taken forward by the Smith Commission in its proposals - the pressure will be on David Cameron and the Westminster system to act immediately and devolve the powers over APD at once."

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