Greener travel: Government consults on giving consumers the option to offset carbon

Transport accounted for around one third of UK carbon emissions in 2018

Big Zero Report 2022

A new call for evidence into whether more consumers could be offered the chance to offset their carbon emissions when buying travel tickets has been launched.

The government is inviting views on whether companies selling travel tickets, including for flights, trains, ferries and coaches, should offer additional carbon offsets so consumers can choose to compensate when they book.

Carbon offsetting can enable individuals and organisations to compensate for the carbon emissions produced from their journeys, by paying for projects that reduce an equivalent amount of emissions.

These emissions savings are generated through a range of projects, from planting trees to installing solar panels.

The consultation will also look at whether transport operators should provide information on carbon emissions and explore the public’s understanding of emissions from the journeys they make.

Transport accounted for around one third of UK carbon emissions in 2018, according to government figures.

Among the issues the call for evidence will address are concerns that some consumers may not trust their payments are supporting “worthwhile, quality projects”.

The government aims to set up a “stronger and more attractive” market for domestic carbon offsetting that will encourage more businesses to support cost-effective emissions reductions.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said: “Climate change affects every one of us and we are committed to ensuring that transport plays its part in delivering net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

“An offsetting scheme could help inform travellers about how much carbon their journey produces and provide the opportunity to fund schemes, like tree planting, to compensate for those emissions. However, our focus remains to target the development, production and uptake of zero emission technology across all modes of transport.”

The consultation will run until 26th September 2019.

The Environmental Audit Committee has also launched a new inquiry into the impacts of tourism and travel on the environment and how they can be reduced.

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