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More private jets took off from UK than any other European country in 2022, study finds

More private jets took off from UK than any other European country in 2022, study finds

The UK can claim the most flights and the most emissions as well as the busiest and most carbon-intensive routes, aviation experts said.
More private jets took off from the UK than any other country in Europe in 2022 - with one leaving every six minutes, according to research commissioned by Greenpeace.

Last year saw a surge in private jet use to 90,256 flights, causing half a million tonnes of CO2.

The UK can claim the most flights and the most emissions as well as the busiest and most carbon-intensive routes, the aviation experts said.

The route between London and Paris - for which there is also the option of travelling by rail, with Eurostar running trains between 10 and 15 times a day - was the most popular, with 3,357 flights last year.

The most polluting route was between Farnborough and Blackbushe airports in Hampshire - a distance of fewer than five miles which Google Maps says can be walked in just over an hour-and-a-half.

Thirteen flights were made on this route which produced 23 tonnes of CO2, equivalent to driving around 50,000 miles, the research found.

Researchers said these flights were likely to have been made for positioning - when an aircraft is moved to another airport to begin its primary flight.

There were also 1,343 flights between Farnborough - which describes itself as the "business gateway to Europe and beyond"- and various London airports through 2022.

Dutch environmental consultants CE Delft carried out the research using data from aviation analytics company Cirium.

They analysed private jet traffic across Europe in 2020, 2021 and 2022 and found there were 1,041,640 flights in total, causing 5,377,851 tonnes of CO2 - equal to the entire annual emissions of Leeds.

The analysis also showed that after a drop in private jet use in 2020 due to the COVID pandemic, its popularity rose again and exceeded 2019 levels once travel restrictions were lifted.

Flights increased still further in 2022 from 350,078 to 572,806, with the associated CO2 more than doubling to over 3.3 million tonnes.

Greenpeace is calling for a ban on private jets. The global environmental campaign group said 39% of the flights made across Europe last year were considered "very short haul", less than 500km, and therefore easily navigable by train.

Doug Parr, policy director at Greenpeace UK, said: "Private jets are staggeringly polluting and generally pointless. Many of these journeys can be covered almost as quickly by train, and some of them by bicycle.

"Millions of people around the world are facing climate chaos, losing livelihoods or worse, while a tiny minority are burning jet fuel like there's no tomorrow."

Max Thrower, of the Aviation Environment Federation, a group that campaigns on aviation's environmental impacts, said: "Flying by private jet is the most carbon-intensive way to travel and it's unacceptable that people continue to do it unnecessarily in the midst of a climate emergency.

"The fact it continues suggests that the super-rich are laughing in the faces of normal people, who are becoming increasingly concerned about their carbon footprint from flying."

He called for a government crackdown through measures such as an increased tax on private jets, which has been considered recently in France, or by setting a deadline for private planes to be zero emission or face a ban.

A spokesperson from the Department for Transport said: "We are committed to decarbonising aviation, and our jet zero strategy sets out how we can achieve net zero emissions from UK aviation by 2050, without directly limiting demand.

"The UK's sustainable aviation fuels programme is one of the most comprehensive in the world, and our £165m advanced fuel fund is kickstarting production. Meanwhile, our recent reforms to the tax on air passengers will ensure those who fly private jets or fly the furthest contribute the most to the public purse.

"The UK is decarbonising faster than any other G7 country, and we remain committed to reaching net zero by 2050 while growing the economy and supporting hundreds of thousands of well-paid green jobs."

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