(F)air trade

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First it's Hilary Benn telling us to buy Kenyan flowers; now it's Claire Melamed of ActionAid telling us to buy air-freighted food.

Air-freighted fresh vegetables may have a lower carbon footprint than similar vegetables grown in Dutch greenhouses or in Spanish Polytunnelia, because energy use in European agriculture is virtually untaxed. But does this mean that we should buy food being carted all over the place? And is 'development' a sustainable arguement for doing so?

Ryanair in self-promotion shocker!

Fed up with only getting into the broadsheets by buying an advert or two, Micheal O'Lairy has re-invented himself as the people's champion, saving us all from 'Greedy Gordon' and his evil tax grabbing ways (surely 'returning APD to its 1999/2000 budgetary level' - Ed.).

Funny how a company which got rich by demmanding bungs from local councils to fly into their airports can accuse anyone else of highway robbery isn't it? But, as the Independent reports, O'Dearie goes further, taking on lastminute.com and other travel agents in a battle over overcharging for flights.

Is it a bird? Is it a plane?

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Hundreds of homes will be destroyed, noise levels will increase and the oldest community in the UK could be wiped out if plans to expand Lydd airport get the go-ahead. Sound familiar? Well this time, it's not just people who'll be affected - it's birds!

Over 60 species have been sighted at Dungeness nature reserve, the oldest RSPB reserve in the country, which is under threat from the airport owner's plans to increase commercial capacity from 5,000 to half a million passengers per year.

Travel operators throw tantrum (part 94)

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The Federation of Travel Operators is upset at the Chancellor's decision to return Air Passenger Duty to its pre-2000 budgetary level. It's decided to sue the Government under the Human Rights Act, complaining that the tax is unfair and mean and that the Chancellor is a bully and stole all its candy.

Some agents are so upset, they're refusing to co-operate over the Government's plans to greenwash the carbon offsetting nonsense. The new code only recognises schemes which might actually reduce carbon in some way, shape or form - whereas the airlines would much rather go for the cheaper option of planting a tree somewhere - if, indeed, they can be bothered to do anything at all.

Beat the congestion charge...

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...fly from France.

It seems that the growth in cheap travel is fueling a rise in people jetting over from France and Spain to the office each morning. The Daily Telegraph spoke to a Mr. Saunders, who commutes across the channel to an on-line mapping company in Hampshire. "It's amazing, we're still pinching ourselves, we've transformed our lives completely".

Plane Stupid thought we should cover the other side of the story, and phoned a few villagers in Bangladesh. "It's amazing, we're still pinching ourselves, they've transformed our lives completely" they said. "Our crops are dying, goats are starving and it looks like there'll be another serious drought this year - and all so some tosser can live and work in different countries."

Green entryism at Metro

While the Guardian pushes cheap flights and the Indy lets travel columnist Simon Calder rant on about the need to expand airports, Metro seems to have been infiltrated by environmentalists.

Article after article on cheap flight nonsense get juxtaposed with photos of daffodils in December or floods and storms in the developing world. Clearly one of their interns is a secret Earth First!er.