After a much-needed Easter boost for the UK economy, community group, CAGNE asks residents to help with the prosperity of our coastal regions whilst helping to reduce climate change by holidaying here in England.
Leisure travel overseas hits our coastal areas twice by flying:
• Coastal erosion due to climate change
• Low cost package holidays that our coastal and rural regions cannot compete against
Aviation and Gatwick Airport is the ‘big elephant’ in the room when it comes to carbon emissions with Gatwick alone flying over 285,000 aircraft movements and burning fossil fuel, every year. Overflight also increases the disturbance over rural villages, areas of outstanding natural beauty and English heritage sites that visitors may wish to visit.
Aviation is one of the most energy and carbon intensive forms of transport, whether measured per passenger km or per hour travelling.
“Aviation growth needs to be capped to save our coastal holiday centers from economic decline and global warming,” says CAGNE. “By holidaying here in England, we would be boosting the UK economy whilst reducing the carbon emissions for the UK.”
The 1960s saw package holidays abroad and the desire for guaranteed sun enticing some to venture overseas. A major concern was whether the tourists would be able to find English food, and if they would end up at a hotel half built, as featured in the ‘Carry On’ films of the time.
Today’s travellers worry about whether they’ll be charged more than the flight for an extra suitcase in the hold, or if they will lose their bottle of water or make-up cream at security since the threat of terrorism has reared its ugly head.
Holidays and package holidays have evolved and the low prices (and the sunshine) have made going abroad a more tantalising option than holidaying in the UK, to the detriment of our coastal regions and climate change.
Many UK seaside towns’ economies were badly affected by the advent of cheaper foreign travel in the 1970s. This led to a depleted economy in these communities. Since then our own UK-based holiday industry has suffered and continues to decline, and now it faces competing against overseas holiday hotels and locations that offer unsustainable prices which they simply cannot compete against.
For example to fly from Gatwick Airport to Alicante would cost you £27.20 whereas it costs £31.70 to travel from Gatwick to London by train. To fly, burning fossil fuel, to Spain, some 1,109km, is burning 0.2 tonnes of carbon per passenger (equivalent to travelling 16370km by train**) and costs £27.20 one way!
To stay in a hotel in Brighton will cost you from £350 a night for a family of four plus travel whereas a hotel in Alicante would be about £79 a night plus flight.
It is not just about the decline of coastal economies brought by holidaymakers travelling overseas, but the impact that flying has environmentally on the coastal regions.
Climate change forecasts predict an increase in global temperatures. Over the past 25 years an increase of 0.2°C per decade has been observed*.
This is likely to cause global sea levels to rise yet further — they are currently rising around 3 mm per year* — and an increase in the frequency and magnitude of storm events. When these two factors are combined it will have the effect of focusing wave energy closer to the shore and cliff faces, leading to increased rates of coastal erosion in areas where cliffs are composed of soft rocks.
The aviation industry’s emissions are forecast to grow both in real terms and as a proportion of the national total. In the UK, the share of emissions taken up by aviation is predicted to grow from around 6% today to 25% by 2025, even if the sector is successfully capped at a level of 37.5 MtCO2 (equivalent to UK aviation emissions in 2005), which has been recommended by the Committee on Climate Change.
www.aef.org.uk and www.CAGNE.org.uk