SPAA criticises Edinburgh policy on flight and cruise advertising

The Scottish Passenger Agents’ Association (SPAA) has criticised Edinburgh’s decision to ban the advertising of “high carbon products” on council-owned space, meaning flights and cruises will fall foul of the rules.

The City of Edinburgh Council’s policy and sustainability committee approved the policy last week in a bid to support the administration’s net-zero targets.

But SPAA president Jacqueline Dobson called on the council to overturn its decision, arguing that the policy “fails to consider the advances the travel industry is making towards a greener future”.


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She added: “Our travel agency members are part of the lifeblood of the high street and are already facing massive challenges due to the lack of investment in town centres and the competitive disadvantage they are at paying significantly higher business rates than their English counterparts. Why is our industry being targeted? What about other sectors like fast fashion?”

The ban will apply to advertising on infrastructure owned or contracted by the council, with high-carbon products being defined as airlines and airports, cruises, cars and fossil fuel companies.

Dobson said: “We acknowledge the need for strong climate policies, but this measure fails to consider the advances the travel industry is making towards a greener future.

“The aviation industry, for instance, is investing heavily in sustainable aviation fuels and more efficient aircraft. Airlines such as British Airways have committed to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, and new technologies are continually being developed to make air travel more sustainable.

“The council should consider the strides all Scottish airports are making with decarbonising the energy used in airports, reducing their carbon footprint with solar panels and making their ground operations greener too with further decarbonisation measures.”

She said the cruise industry was making “equally significant steps” towards a greener future, pointing to developments on liquefied natural gas, advanced wastewater treatment systems, efficient ship design and shore power connections.

The SPAA said it champions greener travel solutions and investment in SAF, adding that it also believes Scotland should be a test-bed for hydrogen and electric flight.

“Effective climate policy should support and accelerate these positive trends, not stifle the industry’s ability to communicate with consumers about their greener options,” said Dobson.

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