June 3, 2004

Officials try to hide rise in transport pollution

'Official figures showing sharp increases in gases responsible for climate change from air and freight transport were removed from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) report on the environment last week after pressure from the Department for Transport.

'In a week when Tony Blair was insisting the issue of climate change was "very, very critical" and Margaret Beckett, the environment secretary, claimed the UK was a world leader in reducing emissions, official statistics would have shown an 85% increase in pollutants from the airline industry and 59% for freight transport since 1990.

'Instead, the announcement was withdrawn and another substituted which did not mention transport emissions at all.'