Government backs two domestic flight routes despite carbon-cutting efforts

The Government has confirmed £4.3m to fund domestic flights between London and Newquay, and London and Dundee, despite commitments to cut carbon emissions at COP26.

The Department for Transport (DfT) will give Cornwall Council up to £1.8m over 2 years for the Newquay route and up to £2.5m to fund direct flights for a further two years between Dundee and London until 2023.

This funding will keep the route running in order to support regional links across the country, the DfT said, and will bolster economic growth in the regions by encouraging tourism and business travel.

The announcement comes just weeks after the Government acknowledged the significant carbon impact of the aviation sector at COP26 in Glasgow. A recent study has found that while aviation’s present contribution to anthropogenic global warming is 4 per cent, this is expected to increase up to 2050, potentially consuming up to one-sixth of the remaining temperature budget to limit warming to 1.5°C.

Furthermore, short-haul flights that could be replaced with less carbon-intensive transport options have been shown to be responsible for the majority of Europe’s aviation emissions, rather than long-haul flights which are more difficult to decarbonise.

The airline Loganair will continue to run the flights to Dundee, operating from Dundee Airport to London City Airport. Flights from Cornwall Airport Newquay to Gatwick will start on 9 December 2021 and will be operated by Eastern Airways.

Aviation minister Robert Courts said: “We’re maintaining these vital transport links, including the hugely popular London to Dundee and the reinstated Newquay to London routes, for people right across the country for tourism and business travel.

“The Government is fully behind UK regional connectivity and strengthening these routes as we build back better from the pandemic.”

UK Government minister for Scotland Iain Stewart said: “It’s great news that flights between London City and Dundee have been secured for another 2 years.

“As we work to improve transport connectivity across the whole country, this route will continue to allow quick and easy travel between Tayside and the UK capital, supporting economic growth and job creation.”

Cornwall Council cabinet portfolio holder for transport, Philip Desmonde, said: “While connectivity is vital, we must seek to minimise the impact of air travel on the environment.

“The Council has worked with all parties to ensure that the environmental impact of the air route is kept to a minimum by selecting aircraft which have lower emissions and lower noise impacts, as well as aligning schedules to ensure capacity meets demand.”

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