The UK government must make up its mind on whether it wants to encourage airport expansion or reduce carbon emissions, according to a new report. The UK will fail to meet its targets for reducing climate change impacts unless it curbs demand for air travel, according to the Oxford University study.

The study calls for a change in strategic policy that discourages airport expansion in the UK. It complains that even though the government wants to reduce carbon emissions by 60 per cent by 2050, the UK's aviation white paper supports air passenger growth to about 470 million by 2030.

Carbon emissions cannot be cut any further across other activities to offset aviation emissions, because the 60 per cent target is already "extremely challenging", the report argues. The government must also work to gain greater public support for tackling the problem, as well as make flying less attractively priced. This could include raising levels of air passenger duty and introducing new taxes and charges.

"This isn't the first time that academic research has highlighted the government's failure to control the climate change impacts of flying, said Aviation Environment Federation board member Jeff Gazzard. Predict and Decide: Aviation, Climate Change and Policy is available by clicking here.