NICOLA Sturgeon should abandon her plans to slash air passenger duty and instead consider a tax on wealthy frequent fliers, the Scottish Greens have said.

Patrick Harvie, writing in The Herald today, said it was clear that there is no longer a majority at Holyrood in favour of the move, which he said would add to pollution and do nothing to tackle social inequality.

The SNP leader has insisted she intends to deliver her manifesto in full, despite falling short of a majority. In the document, the SNP said it would reduce air passenger duty by 50 per cent over the next parliament.

However, no other party supported the move, with even the Scottish Conservatives, traditionally in favour of tax cuts, saying it could not be justified "at a time of constrained fiscal conditions."

Mr Harvie said: "Let’s look at this as an opportunity to resolve what is a complex issue. In the past Greens have suggested models such as the Frequent Flyer Levy. This would ensure the cost is shifted onto the minority of mostly wealthy individuals who fly most often.

"The SNP’s proposal would add to climate change emissions and do nothing to tackle social inequality. Instead we could create a new way forward that recognises the environmental impact of aviation and ensures the right people pay the lion’s share."

Ms Sturgeon has said that there remains a possibility that a referendum could take place in the next parliament, citing six Green MSPs, in addition to the 63 SNP members, meaning there remains a pro-independence majority at Holyrood.

Addressing the issue, Mr Harvie urged caution. He added: "We believe the timing of when Scotland asks itself the question again should be for the Scottish people to decide. Parliament retains a pro-independence majority but our case must be strengthened to address some of the weaknesses evident in 2014 such as those around currency. Yet while that work remains to be done, it may suit the Tories in particular to keep the constitution uppermost in everyone’s mind, while simultaneously demanding that everybody else “move beyond” it."