Greenpeace sets up 'climate ticket exchanges' in airports across UK

Campaigners offered free train tickets to travellers at Edinburgh airport
Campaigners offered free train tickets to travellers at Edinburgh airport

Greenpeace set up 'climate ticket exchanges' in airports across the UK last week, where people booked on British Airways domestic flights could swap the return section of their plane ticket for a climate-friendly train ticket. The campaigners say companies like BA are trying to create a 'binge-flying' culture in Britain that threatens the UK's global warming targets.

The environment group rapidly constructed booths by check-in desks at London City, Manchester, Newcastle and Edinburgh as travellers queued for morning flights. Campaigners dressed as stewards and stewardesses offered the free return train tickets to passengers while security guards attempted to move the ticket exchange booths. Greenpeace members announced the ticket exchanges on megaphones and took questions from travellers about the impact of aviation on the climate.

Greenpeace director John Sauven was at London City, where eco-stewardesses offered free flights to travellers booked on the Edinburgh flight. He said: "We're giving free train tickets to people in queues for domestic flights so they can take the climate-friendly train on their return journey. By operating and aggressively promoting domestic routes British Airways is fuelling the binge-flying culture. Planes are ten times more damaging to the climate than trains, so if we don't do something about the growth in aviation Britain will find it very hard to meet its global warming targets. City centre to city centre the train doesn't take much longer and the walk-on price is a lot cheaper."

Flying does ten times more damage to the climate than taking the train. The free Greenpeace train tickets from Manchester to London normally cost Ł59.50, while a BA walk-on ticket costs significantly more. The train takes 2hrs 15min, while city centre to city centre including check-in the plane can take in excess of 3hrs. Yet BA flies between Manchester and London thirty times a day.

Flying is the fastest growing source of greenhouse gas emissions in the UK, doubling in the 1990s. According to the government, flights from and within the UK account for 13 per cent of the UK's climate impact because greenhouse gases create more global warming when emitted at altitude.

John Sauven continued: "We'd love to operate a permanent climate ticket exchange, but our resources don't stretch that far. Instead it will be down to politicians to stand up to BA and reverse the emergence of binge-flying that's doing so much to wreck the climate."


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