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Pilots challenge 'eco-myths'

A number of UK pilots have challenged the widely held perception that air travel is the major cause of carbon dioxide emissions.

Pilots represented by the British Airline Pilots' Association (BALPA) have presented a research report to the government which looks to dispel the myth and highlight how air travel has become a scapegoat for global warming issues.

"We were determined at the outset to concern ourselves only with the facts, and what is clear is that aviation has become a scapegoat for global warming," said Captain Mervyn Granshaw, chairman of BALPA.

"Something certainly has to be done about the rising level of carbon dioxide emissions and we will play our part. But we cannot accept the false accusations our study exposes," he added.

The survey reveals that long distance high-speed trains emit more polluting gases than planes, while European ships are responsible for producing more carbon dioxide than European aircraft.

"Air travel has just been an easy target. But not any more," insisted Captain Granshaw.

"Our message to all air passengers is to stop feeling guilty about flying. Passengers going by high speed train to the south of France would be responsible for emitting more carbon dioxide than if they had flown there," he concluded.

The BALPA represents 85 per cent of Britain's 10,000 airline pilots.

Tony Hill

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Tony Hill