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Published on Thursday, September 19, 2019

EasyJet slammed for launching Birmingham to Edinburgh flights

EasyJet has been criticised for its plans to launch flights between Birmingham and Edinburgh, a journey of just 250 miles.

Environmentalists described the move as 'a pointless waste of carbon' at a time when the UK is trying to cut its CO2 emissions.

The 70-minute flight will operate 13 times a week from March 29 next year, flying around 500 passengers a day between the two cities.

Speaking to the Independent newspaper, Greenpeace UK chief scientist Dr Doug Parr said: "We have a carbon budget. One of the great challenges of this century will be how we allocate that limited carbon budget amongst vitally important industries that can't operate without carbon emissions - for example cement production, or whenever there is a genuine need to quickly cross an ocean.

"As things stand, we will have to limit these useful and important activities much more than we could have done, because we'll have frittered away much of that budget on pointless wastes of carbon like flying from Birmingham to Edinburgh."

The pressure group Flight Free UK said: "Flying is the fastest growing cause of climate change. If aviation was a country, it would be the seventh worst polluter globally. Brits already fly more than the people of any other nation - twice as much as Americans. Even if we take other steps to be environmentally friendly, one flight can completely wipe out all the other savings."

However, responding to a Tweet by the Independent's travel editor Simon Calder, in which he queried whether the Birmingham to Edinburgh journey was really necessary, several people pointed out that the flights would be cheaper and more efficient than the existing train service between the two cities.

One claimed the easyJet fare would be 25% less than a train ticket.

One wrote: "My plane tickets are cheaper than my train tickets even when I book in advance and I always look for the cheapest times. I'd like to take the train more often but sadly not cost effective for a lot of my journeys".

While some said easyJet's service was not environmentally friendly, others pointed out that there were shorter UK flights, such as Edinburgh to Glasgow.

In response to the criticism, easyJet told the Independent: "Where rail services currently offer a service that can take around four to five hours, this link between Edinburgh and Birmingham will provide new connectivity between the two cities. Climate change is an issue which we all have to tackle and at easyJet we are already taking our own action. We have modern, fuel efficient planes; we fly in ways to avoid unnecessary use of fuel; and we fly planes full of passengers.

"For the longer term we are also working with partners on new technologies to radically reduce the carbon footprint of flying."

EasyJet recently announced a new service from Birmingham to Glasgow, starting on the same date and with the same frequency.

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