Islanders could have to pay a ‘holiday tax’ when they travel away from the island in future to generate money to combat the effects of climate change locally.
Ministers are planning to launch a review into whether what they describe as a “very modest travel duty…to signal the impact of carbon-based off-island travel and revenue will be hypothecated into the Climate Emergency Fund and Government finances reinvested in carbon-reduction polices.”
A Government spokesperson was unable to explain what form such a duty would take, but told Express that work to examine and review how the idea will begin next year. This will be undertaken internally, and involve looking at “lessons learnt in other jurisdictions.”
The assessment will take into account that “some off-island travel” is needed to support the economy, they said.
The spokesperson also said that, “as with all policy development, it will be carried out in discussion with key stakeholders and the community” and that the “social, economic and environmental impacts of any proposals” will be taken into account.
The States Assembly will have the final say on any new charges before they are implemented.
The travel duty proposal was outlined in the recently-released Government Plan 2022-2025, which sets out planned Government spending over the next four years and general ambitions.
The Plan detailed travel duty as just one of a number of “environmental economic instruments (charges, taxes or fiscal levers)” likely to be used to address the “significant macroeconomic challenge” in Jersey becoming carbon neutral by 2030.
Road user charges are also on the agenda “to replace revenue lost from future diminishing returns from fuel impot duty as the fleet moves away from internal combustion engines” as well as a “strategic review” of the car parking system and its associated charges.
“A package of proposals will be bought forward in the context of underpinning sustainable transport options to encourage behaviour change,” the Government Plan explains.
“This will move the island away from a culture of commuter single-car occupancy, to support the reduction of transport related emissions, towards a “polluter pays” policy outcome.”
Ministers are also planning to reinvestigate solid waste charges as a way of “fairly” charging commercial users for the waste they create, “to raise revenue to maintain and invest in infrastructure”, while also driving “behaviour change that minimises waste generation and increases recycling.”
Other types of waste charges (inert waste, household solids and liquid waste, for example) and carbon tax won’t be considered, however.
Such waste charges were deemed “unsophisticated” and “inappropriate” by Ministers due to the burden they would place on domestic households.
Carbon tax was discounted, as “due to its application to (home) heating oil, this was considered likely to be too untargeted and potentially regressive”.
Jersey’s Climate Change Assembly – a randomly selected group of citizens tasked with coming up with recommendations on how the island should work towards carbon neutrality – said that the Government should encourage islanders to “reduce the number of personal air travel trips targeting frequent flyers using a quota system that gets more expensive the more you do it.”
Results of a survey of 28,000 people across the EU and Britain published in 2020 indicated widespread support for carbon tax on flights (72%).
Air Passenger Duty is an excise duty charged on the carriage of passengers flying from a UK or Isle of Man airport on an aircraft with more than 20 seats. It takes distance into account, making long distance flying more expensive.
Air Departure Tax in Scotland is a pending tax to replace the UK-wide Air Passenger Duty. The Scottish Government intended to reduce the rate by 50% and eventually abolish it, but decided in 2019 that such a move would not be compatible with its climate change targets.
Amid a push to reduce carbon emissions by 40% by 2030, France is currently exploring an eco-tax on airlines taking off from a Franch airport, which is expected to raise around €180m.
Norway has had airline passenger fees since 2016. These were 80 kroner per passenger, but in 2020 fees were changed to 75 for passengers with a final destination in Europe and 200 kroner for passengers with a final destination outside Europe. In addition, VAT was added to the tax.
Switzerland was on track to introduce an environmental levy of 30 to 120 Swiss francs per airline ticket depending on distance and travel class, with around half of proceeds going into climate initiatives. However, a June 2021 referendum saw 52% of voters reject new CO2 laws, including the aviation tax.
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