Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Government clueless about cutting travel costs or emissions - Baker

Commenting last week on the Tandberg report, which shows that most Government departments are failing to reduce unnecessary travel or investigate green alternatives to flying, Liberal Democrat Shadow Transport Secretary, Norman Baker said:

“This Government simply doesn’t understand how to cut carbon emissions or control costs.

“The report shows that basic steps are not being taken to reduce the need to travel. The taxpayer and the environment are paying the price for the Government’s extravagance.

“Ministers clearly prefer jetting around the world to using less glamorous but more sustainable alternatives, such as video conferencing.”

The Tandberg report found that:

- There is a clear problem with government departments not recording travel adequately, with only four departments able to provide details on the number and cost of flights taken to overseas destinations in response to parliamentary questions.

- Government departments do not routinely record the amount spent on travel, and rarely ask civil servants to justify their travel by stating that they have looked at alternatives such as tele or video conferencing

- The Treasury spent over £1m on just 753 flights at an average cost of £1397 per flight in one year

Parliamentary Answers to the Liberal Democrats show that out of the 18 ministries questioned, only two had set targets for the use of video conferencing to reduce departmental travel.
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