In Search of Sustainable Solutions
Edited by Eran Feitelson and Erik Verhoef
Chapter 4: Are current air transport policies consistent with a sustainable environment?
Kenneth J. Button INTRODUCTION Transport has been an important element in the economic development of virtually all countries. It is not, however, without its problems. The state of the natural environment is a continuing public concern in most countries and the impact of transport in general on the environment has received particular attention in recent years (Button, 1993). Transport has been the subject of major pieces of legislation at local, state, national and international levels as policy makers and those supplying transport services have acted to respond to this public concern. Much of this legislation has focused on immediate environmental impacts of transport, such as lead emissions, but the debate has more recently moved forward to the consideration of wider and longer-term effects within the context of a sustainable development framework. Transport is not the only sector with major environmental implications. The underlying difficulty that is leading to public debates is that, because of a number of intrinsic features that are associated with transport, it is seen to lead to particular environmental policy problems. These features include.1 • it is a major sector in its own right (accounting for approaching 20 per cent of private expenditure in some countries); • it is a growth sector; • it is highly visible; • transport is demanded where people are and this is becoming more common as urbanization expands; • it is a mobile source of pollution (in the widest sense); • it generates a diverse range of environmentally intrusive effects that extend from local noise issues to the...
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