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Swiss love of travel poses environmental threat

The Swiss are clocking up more kilometres in their spare time than travelling to and from work. A new survey by the National Foundation says 60 per cent of all journeys are undertaken in people's free time, 10 per cent more than previously thought.

This content was published on August 16, 2000 - 15:25

The author of the report, Ruedi Meier, says that for journeys within Switzerland the car is the preferred means of transport, and car journeys account for around two thirds of the 40 billion kilometres run up every year. Most of those trips are to see relatives and friends, with visits to sporting facilities accounting for around 30 per cent.

The report forecasts that leisure-time travel will continue to increase in the years to come, making it difficult for Switzerland to meet its international obligations to reduce use of fossil fuels and greenhouse gas emissions.

To lessen the environmental impact of the increased traffic, the study suggests introducing a tax on aviation fuel and increasing the price of petrol by around half a franc per litre. It also calls for stricter controls to ensure cars are more energy efficient.

The report says greater reliance on public transport is the key to a sustainable transport policy, but that trains and buses need to be cheaper to use and more comfortable.

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