‘Tax frequent flyers and ban SUVs’ says climate assembly

The 108 assembly members said: ‘It is imperative that there is strong and clear leadership from the government that should forge a cross-party consensus that allows for certainty, long-term planning and a phased transition’

Banning the most polluting vehicles and introducing taxes that increase as people fly further and more often should be introduced to help cut carbon.

That’s according to a citizens’ assembly of 108 people from across the UK, 80% of which strongly agreed or agreed that taxes that increase as people fly more often should form part of the strategy for how the UK gets to get zero.

The final report, published by Climate Assembly UK and originally commissioned by six parliamentary select committees to understand public preferences on how the UK should tackle climate change, also supports a ban on the sale of new gas boilers and new petrol, diesel and hybrid cars from 2030 to 2035 to help Britain meet its legal goal to cut emissions.

In terms of homes, almost 94% of assembly members strongly agreed or agreed that people in different parts of the UK should be offered different solutions to zero carbon heating, with more than 80% strongly agreeing or agreeing that hydrogen, heat pumps and heat networks should all play a part in decarbonising the country.

The findings also support a switch to low carbon vehicles, improved public and active transport and using the educational system to help people reduce meat and dairy consumption and in doing so, drive down food-related emissions.

The citizens assembly suggested an electric vehicle (EV) market should be made more accessible for the public and said they thought current grants on offer are not high enough to adequately incentivise purchasing a new EV.

The assembly also backed measures including emissions labelling on food and drink products, payments for farmers to use their land to absorb and store carbon and increased investment into renewables such as offshore wind.

In a statement opening the report, assembly members said: “It is imperative that there is strong and clear leadership from the government that should forge a cross-party consensus that allows for certainty, long-term planning and a phased transition.”

Chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Select Committee, Darren Jones MP said: “It is vital that Parliament and government examine and use the recommendations which the assembly sets out today.”

Climate Assembly, Energy UK’s Deputy Chief Executive and Advisor to the Assembly, Audrey Gallacher said: “This report will not only help shape some of the immediate policy decisions but also set an example for ensuring that we keep people closely involved and informed with the choices that lie ahead.”

The formation of citizen’s assemblies is one of the three main demands of the environmental group Extinction Rebellion.

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