France bans short-haul air travel that could be done by train

France bans short-haul air travel that could be done by train

By Lucy Jones  April 16th, 2021

The French government is banning domestic flights for destinations that can be reached by train in less than two and a half hours.


Trains are set to become the preferred method of short-distance travel for the people of France under a new law designed to curb CO2 emissions.

A bill passed in France's National Assembly last week will ban domestic flights for journeys that could be completed in two and a half hours or less. The measure is part of the country's climate and resilience bill, which aims to reduce carbon emissions by 40 per cent by 2030.

The legislation came out of a citizens’ climate convention established by President Emmanuel Macron that called for a ban on flights for travel that could be completed by train in less than four hours.

“We have chosen two and a half hours because four hours risks isolating landlocked territories including the greater Massif Central, which would be iniquitous,” transport minister, Jean-Baptiste Djebbari, said.

Some groups have objected to the reduced time threshold, calling on the government to uphold the original four-hour recommendation.

“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,” French consumer association UFC-Que Choisir said in a statement.

Austria banned domestic flights that could be completed in under three hours by train last June. The Netherlands has also been considering similar bans.

While this is perhaps not a viable solution for vast countries like Australia or Canada, hopefully other smaller countries will follow France’s lead. And, in the meantime, we can all do our bit to reduce carbon emissions by opting for low-impact transportation like walking, biking or public transport whenever possible.

Positive Environment News has been compiled using publicly available information. Planet Ark does not take responsibility for the accuracy of the original information and encourages readers to check the references before using this information for their own purposes. 


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Lucy Jones

Lucy started her career working as a writer and editor in print and digital publishing. She went on to create content for Australia's leading sustainable fashion platform while completing her Master of Cultural Studies. Lucy spends her downtime at the beach, crocheting and hanging out with her cat Larry. She believes words can change the world and is stoked to help Planet Ark spread the message of positive environmental change.

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