Flying is just about the most damaging form of transport there is. More fuel is used per passenger mile than in any other form of transport. The problem is that, because of a number of economic tricks, flying has been made artifically cheap.

Air travel does not require such a massive infrastructure investment as other forms of transport: once you have two runways, each a couple of miles long and serviced by an air terminal, and a few aeroplanes, that is all you need. Compare that to road or rail transport, in which miles of track or motorway have to be built and maintained. Also, whereas the fuel for road travel is subject to many different kinds of tax, aviation fuel is tax free.

A recent trip to Scotland underlines the ridiculous state of British public transport. To have bought two sleeper returns for the days we wanted to travel would have been little short of £300. Travelling by plane from Stansted to Glasgow Prestwick was little over £100, plus a further £20 for the bus fare from Stansted to Southend. We are prepared to make some financial investment to help reduce our environmental impact, but there are limits.

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