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Grayling launches call for evidence on carbon offsetting

The transport secretary Chris Grayling has launched a call for evidence to investigate whether more consumers could reduce their carbon footprint when buying travel tickets.

The government has said that it aims to set up a stronger and more attractive market for domestic carbon offsetting that will encourage more businesses to support cost-effective emission reductions.

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.”

In 2018, transport accounted for approximately a third of the UK's carbon dioxide emissions.

Among the issues the call for evidence will address are payments consumers make in supporting worthwhile projects. It will also look at consumer awareness around the carbon emissions from different journey types, what carbon offsets are available or how they might offset the emissions from their journey.

The government has invited views on whether companies selling travel tickets for flights, ferries, trains and coach travel should have to offer additional carbon offsets so that consumers can choose to compensate when they book.

Tim Alderslade, chief executive of Airlines UK, said: “UK airlines are committed to decarbonising aviation and are working with government to continue progress through the introduction of new greener technologies, including more efficient aircraft and engines, sustainable aviation fuels and vital airspace modernisation.

“As a global sector, international carbon offsetting has a critical role to play in enabling aviation to reach our targets, and UK airlines are participating in the global carbon offsetting scheme – CORSIA – which will deliver carbon-neutral global aviation growth from 2020.”

The government will publish its aviation strategy later this year, which will map how the sector will tackle climate change.

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