EBACE: Britain's bureaucrats make a fortune out of the ETS

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The UK tops the European league for taxes and proposed taxes on business aviation, and for bureaucratic charges associated with the emissions trading scheme. It is also the only European Union member state to have its penalty fines for non-compliance enshrined in law more than a year in advance of ETS implementation, according to European Business Aviation Association president Brian Humphries.

Britain is also one of the nations that has said it is not to apply the revenues collected from the ETS credits to environmental causes. The only nations in Europe to have pledged ETS revenues to reduce global warming are Cyprus, Germany, Greece and Portugal, said Humphries.

And because the UK is Europe's biggest hub for business aviation activity, it will collect more ETS revenues than any other member state, although no-one has yet worked out how much that is likely to be.

The UK is also so far the only state to levy an administrative charge as well as registration charge for a business operator to join the ETS, making the cost of joining the scheme around £6,000 ($9,700) before purchasing a single carbon credit, according to Universal Weather and Aviation's regulatory services team head Adam Hartley.

Finally, the Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs is preparing to charge unrecoverable VAT on services supporting business aviation operation on the grounds that they are not public transport providers.

All of this, said Humphries, will ensure that the British G-registration list will die for business aviation operation, and the charter and aircraft management businesses in the country will be penalised. There is no European level playing field for business aviation, he said.

Everywhere in the EU the bureaucratic and administrative cost of participating in the ETS is far greater than the revenues it will yield, said Humphries. He gave an example of one mainland European large business aviation operator that has estimated that it will pay €35,000 ($50,000) for carbon credits a year from 2012, but in addition to that its total administrative cost of compliance will be €70,000 a year.

Universal offers a free advice service for operators baffled by the ETS bureaucracy. So far, he said, about 50% of operators liable for ETS participation are unprepared for entry to the system