UK needs ‘reliable railway’ before considering short-haul flights ban | Travel News | Travel

UK needs ‘reliable railway’ before considering short-haul flights ban | Travel News | Travel

France introduced a ban on short-haul domestic flights last month in a bid to reduce carbon emissions but readers do not think the UK should follow, a new poll has found.

The law means that journeys which can be covered by train in less than two-and-a-half hours cannot be taken by air. 

The law was brought in on May 23, two years after it was passed by Emmanuel Macron’s Government, and rules out flights between Paris and Nantes, Lyon and Bordeaux but does not affect connecting flights.

The train journey time was reduced from four hours after objections and the law also states that train routes must be frequent to meet the needs of passengers who would have flown.

Speaking about the ban, Max Boycoff, chairman of environmental studies at the University of Colorado, Boulder, told Al Jazeera that the law will be a test case for governments around the world.

In a poll that ran from 8am on Saturday, June 3, to 3pm on Monday, June 26, asked readers: “Should the UK follow France and ban short-haul domestic flights?”

From the 1,004 votes received, a staggering 70 percent (705 people) said “no” the UK should not introduce a similar ban. Whereas 28 percent (283 people) answered “yes” and two percent (16 people) said they did not know.

In the comments left below the accompanying article, readers debated whether the UK could successfully ban short-haul domestic flights.

The majority of readers rallied against the UK adopting a similar ban to France, with some citing geographical differences between the two countries. 

Username Gaspodethedog said: “No. Our country is three times smaller than France and doesn’t have the fast train services of that country across miles of open country. The UK is too crowded for such train services now.”

Another, username MikeD81, explained: “France has a very capable rail service, and the ability to take passengers between major cities direct to major airports. 

“For example, you can get a TGV direct from Strasbourg to Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport to fly long-haul internationally. Manchester to London Heathrow requires multiple trains and the tube – try doing that with two to three cases. Same with Birmingham to London Heathrow.”

Other readers commented on the quality of the UK railway network compared to France, which has the second-largest railway network in Europe with several low-cost, high-speed routes available across the country. Username taranis remarked: “It will not be possible to ban short-haul flights until we have a reliable rail service.”

Likewise, username coldste said: “France has something we don’t have and that’s a decent working railway network.”

However, some readers were more optimistic and thought that with infrastructure improvements, a ban could be enforced. Username Getting On said: “If the UK’s public transport infrastructure was anywhere near as good (and cheap) as France has, then yes.”

Similarly, username twinklelittlestar added: “If the UK wasn’t so congested with road traffic and our trains were on time and not overcrowded, perhaps!”

Username ohgoodgrief suggested an alternative for the UK, writing: “There is a better more creative option particularly suitable for the UK. In fact, what should happen is domestic flights should be mandated to fly on low carbon intensity Sustainable Aviation Fuel, it’s possible right now and would be the real start down the road to carbon-free flying.”

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Author: Shirley