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Government carbon calculator launched

Passengers concerned about the environmental cost of their flights will be able to use an official carbon calculator in the future to assess the impact of their holiday.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has launched a government approved carbon calculator on its website to encourage people to think about the impact their life has on the environment.

Several airlines and airports already offer passengers links to carbon calculators, but these are often provided by carbon offsetting companies and so some passengers have questioned their reliability.

Environment secretary David Miliband said that Defra's calculator was built on the latest research and users could be sure that it was giving them an accurate reading of how much impact their holiday would have on the environment.

"Around two thirds of people are already taking action to try to limit climate change - but there is a lot of confusion about what people can do and how effective those changes actually are," Mr Miliband explained.

"We want to cut through that confusion. This carbon calculator will help people decide what they can do - and be sure it will make a difference.

"Using it, people can work out the impact of their actions and, with the tailored recommendations provided by the calculator, identify the best way to reduce their footprint."

Airlines like Ryanair and easyJet have repeatedly argued that aviation accounts for less than two per cent of the UK's emissions.