Friday 17 January 2020

Green levy on flights taken by ministers

Charges: Paschal Donohoe wants to cut official air travel. Photo: Frank McGrath
Charges: Paschal Donohoe wants to cut official air travel. Photo: Frank McGrath
Hugh O'Connell

Hugh O'Connell

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe has announced plans to force Government departments to offset the greenhouse gas emissions generated from air travel by ministers and their officials.

All departments and offices have been told they must record carbon emissions associated with every flight taken by ministers and staff.

Their liability will then be calculated by taking every tonne of carbon emitted and multiplying it by the €26-per-tonne carbon tax rate. The money will be transferred from departments' travel budgets into the Government's Climate Action Fund.

"By increasing the cost of government air travel and taking this cost from existing travel budgets, it will incentivise departments to reduce their air travel, while all of the funds raised will go toward new investments in Ireland that will reduce our greenhouse gas emissions," Mr Donohoe said.

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Departments will have to use a travel calculator from the International Civil Aviation Organisation and the procedures will also apply to use of the government jet. Department of Finance examples show that the use of the government jet for a three-hour flight will incur a €156 charge, while an eight-hour return flight will incur a €832 charge.

Sunday Independent

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