Green group dismisses UK’s first biofuel flight

Victoria
By Victoria October 7, 2011 14:30

Green group dismisses UK’s first biofuel flight

Friends of the Earth has dismissed Thomson Airways first commercial flight run on biofuel as a “hollow PR stunt that paves the way for rainforest destruction”.

The Thomson Airways aircraft claims to use “sustainable” biofuel, however FOE says the fuel uses virgin plant oil from the United States and babassu nuts from Brazil, which “are very short in supply”, which means the airline will be forced to seek unsustainable alternatives to fuel daily flights from next year.

Thomson’s parent company TUI is already looking into soya and palm oil for its Thomson Airways fleet – and these are known drivers of rainforest deforestation, says the green pressure group.

In a statement, FOE continued: “Research has shown that biofuels from crops could be causing more climate-changing emissions than they save. Friends of the Earth is calling on the Government to halt airport expansion and develop greener alternatives to flying such as better rail services to replace short-haul flights.”

Friends of the Earth’s biofuels campaigner Kenneth Richter said: “Biofuels won’t make flying any greener – their production is wrecking rainforests, pushing up food prices and causing yet more climate-changing emissions.

“It’s not realistic to run daily flights to Lanzarote on used cooking oil – it would take about a hundred years for each passenger to save up enough chip fat.

“The Government must curb future demand for flights by halting airport expansion, promoting video conferencing, and developing faster, better and affordable rail services.”
Thomson Airways had initially planned to launch test flights in July running on used cooking oil, but could not source enough fuel. The Thomson Airways’ test biofuels flight leaves from Birmingham to Lanzarote today.

Victoria
By Victoria October 7, 2011 14:30
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