Cop 26: It's 'regrettable' that Government is cutting flight taxes, Ed Miliband says ahead of climate conference

It is “regrettable” that Chancellor Rishi Sunak is choosing to cut taxes on flights rather than invest in public transport, Shadow Energy Secretary Ed Miliband has said.

Activist Greta Thunberg has similarly suggested that the policy of slashing air duties should that “climate action is not really [a] main priority right now” for the British Government.

Speaking on the opening day of the Cop26 climate change conference, Mr Miliband told the BBC that the Government is “not making the investments” that are key to the green transition.

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“[Mr Sunak] could have been investing on train services, in bus services.

Shadow Secretary of state for business, energy and industrial strategy Ed Miliband delivers a speech and takes part in a panel discussion at Church House in Westminster, London. (PA)

“That’s the key,” the Doncaster North MP said.

“You know, fairness and giving people alternatives is an absolutely key part of making this transition. However, this Government not making the investments we need means that we don’t give people alternatives.”

During Wednesday’s Budget speech, Richmond MP Mr Sunak announced that there would be a 50 per cent cut in air passenger duty on domestic journeys.

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When asked about this change in the rules, eighteen year old Thunberg told BBC’s Andrew Marr: “Of course we can’t talk about this in, like, one single policy and so on. But when you see a pattern of these policies, that all the time are avoiding taking real action, then I think you can draw conclusions from that pattern.

“That climate action is not really our main priority right now.”

Cop26 President Alok Sharma has called on world leaders to reach an agreement on how to keep climate change to 1.5c at the Glasgow conference which begins today.

Asking figures to “leave the ghosts of the past behind” them on Halloween he suggested there should be a “focus on the future and unite around this one issue we know that matters for all of us, which is protecting our precious planet.”