In an attempt to reduce carbon emissions, French lawmakers are calling to ban short-haul domestic flights.
Over the weekend they voted in favour of a bill to end routes where the same journey could be made by train in under two-and-a-half hours. The planned measures will face a further vote in the Senate before becoming law.
The new law could affect flights between Paris and cities including Nantes, Lyon and Bordeaux. Connecting flights, however, will not be affected.
Initially, France’s Citizens’ Convention on Climate, created by President Macron in 2019 and including 150 members of the public, had proposed scrapping plane journeys where train journeys of under four hours existed. This was reduced following objections from some regions and the airline Air France-KLM.
Francios Pupponi, a member of the French National Assembly, supported the reduction to two-and-a-half-hours, stressing that whilst the environment must take precedent we cannot abandon the social and economic choices around industry and airports.
Despite this, French consumer group UFC-Que Choisir called on lawmakers to retain the four-hour limit.
"On average, the plane emits 77 times more CO2 per passenger than the train on these routes, even though the train is cheaper and the time lost is limited to 40 minutes," it said.
It also called for "safeguards that [French national railway] SNCF will not seize the opportunity to artificially inflate its prices or degrade the quality of rail service".
We can see no reason why such measures shouldn’t also be seriously debated in the UK.