With just two days to go before Britain goes to the polls, Conservative party leader Boris Johnson has angered environmentalists by taking an 80-mile ride in a private plane. Instead of traveling by road or rail, the former Eton schoolboy decided it would be advantageous to fly from Doncaster Sheffield Airport (DSA) to Teesside International Airport (MME).
Should the Prime Minister have traveled by rail it would have taken 53 minutes to get from Doncaster to Darlington. However, the 55-year-old politician opted for a 25-minute flight instead.
Opposition parties and environmental groups have called Johnson’s short flight “unnecessary and environmentally damaging” even going so far as to say it was “absurd and unacceptable” according to British newspaper the Independent.
The ATR 42/72 is owned by Alsie Express
While touting the virtues of his capitalist minded Conservative Party, Johnson has always talked up his part’s green agenda. Only last month he said there was” nothing more conservative than protecting our environment”.
Onboard the ridiculously short flight with Johnson was his campaign team and several journalists who said the aircraft, at best, was just two thirds full.
The plane in question was a 72 seat French/Italian built ATR 42/72 belonging to a Danish charter company Alsie Express.
According to the Sønderborg based airline, flying with them guarantees “time, comfort, [and] hassle-free travel without a moment wasted” and promises passengers that it will make sure “that your favorite drink is perfectly chilled.”
Labor called the fight “unnecessary”
When asked what he thought of the Prime Minister flying to Teeside rather than traveling by train or campaign bus the Labor Party’s shadow transport secretary Andy McDonald had this to say:
“How can Boris Johnson say he is committed to bringing down emissions when he’s prepared to take unnecessary and environmentally damaging flights?
“Boris Johnson is living proof that the majority of flights are taken by the privileged few, while the rest of us pay the price of global heating.
“Under a Labor government, we’ll make sure that our trains and buses are properly invested in so that Boris Johnson can make more environmentally friendly decisions in the future.”
Meanwhile, environmentalist group Greenpeace’s top scientist Doug Par, said,
“Boris Johnson’s manifesto came second bottom in our climate and nature ranking, and now he’s turbocharging his carbon footprint during an election campaign where the climate emergency is one of the top concerns for voters.
Greenpeace called the flight “absurd and unacceptable”
“It’s absurd and unacceptable for anyone to take a flight for a journey that could be done less than an hour by train, not least the prime minister, who should be leading by example. It makes his lack of ambition for tackling the issue glaringly obvious.”
Adding to that, Aaron Kiely, a climate campaigner at Friends of the Earth, said: “Saving half an hour of travel time has resulted in a journey that’s far worse for the planet. It’s impossible to see what benefit could come from flying over such a short distance rather than using a train, or even a campaign bus. Nobody, including the prime minister, can get away from the fact that fewer planes in the sky will help to fix the climate crisis.”
When Conservative Party officials were asked about the Prime Ministers’ decision to fly they explained that he was on a tight schedule ahead of Thursday’s general election.
What do you think about Johnson’s decision to take such a short flight? Please let us know in the comments.