Greens propose £1,000 ‘super tax’ on private jet passengers in Scotland

The party said it was ‘time for us to say private jets are not welcome in Scotland’.

The Scottish Greens have called for the introduction of a £1,000 per person “super tax” on all travellers in private jets landing in Scotland.

The party said its proposals could raise £75m for public transport and help tackle climate change.

Climate spokesperson Mark Ruskell said the levy would send a message that “private jets are not welcome in Scotland”.

With aviation not included in the party’s powersharing agreement with the SNP at Holyrood, there is no requirement on the Scottish Government to bring in such a charge.

But the Greens say devolved powers over air passenger duty could be used to introduce the new “super tax”.

However, this was denied by the Scottish Government which said such a tax could only be imposed with the cooperation of Westminster.

A spokesperson said Holyrood lacks the necessary powers to implement a “super tax” on its own.

More than 10,000 private jets came and went from Scottish airports in 2022, Civil Aviation Authority figures showed.

Meanwhile, the Greens claimed that across Europe, carbon emissions from private jets had increased by almost a third (31%) since 2005, with the UK accounting for 19%, more than any other European country.

But, at the moment, those travelling by private jet pay the same air passenger duty charges as business or first-class passengers.

Ruskell said that at present just 1% of people were responsible for some 50% of global aviation emissions.

He insisted: “Scotland should introduce a super tax on these flights, to urgently cut the number of jets in our sky and ensure that polluters are paying for the damage they are doing.”

Such a “super tax” on private air travel could raise £75m, the Greens said, adding that this cash could be used to improve public transport in Scotland to help fund projects to tackle climate change.

Highlighting the current heatwave in Europe, which has sparked wildfires in places such as the Greek island of Rhodes, the Green MSP insisted: “We are in a climate emergency. The current deadly heatwaves across Europe and wildfires on our doorstep show how urgently we need to act.

“Aviation is one of the biggest drivers of the crisis, yet hundreds of private jets are landing here in Scotland every single month.

“This isn’t people having an annual family holiday to Spain – it’s luxury, often half-empty, and completely unnecessary private flights which are fuelling the burning of our planet.

“Just 1% of people cause 50% of global aviation emissions – it’s time for us to say their private jets are not welcome in Scotland.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “The Scottish Government does not currently have the devolved power to introduce this kind of tax without the cooperation of the UK Government.

“Air Departure Tax will only be levied on flights that begin at an airport in Scotland.

“Scottish ministers remain fully committed to introducing Air Departure Tax when a solution to the Highlands and Islands exemption issue has been found.

“Air connectivity is critical for the Highlands and Islands and the existing exemption must remain in place to protect remote and rural communities.

“The Scottish Government continues to work with the UK Government to find a solution for aviation that remains consistent with Scotland’s climate ambitions.”

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