Air passenger duty (APD), the tax that people travelling by air pay on their tickets, should be used to fund environmental initiatives, the Airport Operators Association (AOA) has claimed.

Chris Goater, spokesperson for the association, underlined the group's opposition to the increase in APD that was announced earlier this year.

However he accepted that the tax is a reality and said that attention should be paid to how the revenue from the duty is used, rather than the manner in which it is raised.

Mr Goater said that funding could be given to a variety of initiatives, including the development of cleaner aircraft, research on biofuels or rail links to airports.

"It could be spent in a number of ways which could reduce the environmental impact of air travel," he said. "We would like to see that money used for that purpose."

The AOA has recently stressed the importance of regional air networks in the UK, saying that it is "very keen" to encourage and protect domestic services into Heathrow airport.

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Tony Hill Helen Gillilan

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APD 'should Fund Green Initiatives'