Manchester City Council has paid for flights to Exeter, Southampton, Belfast, Southend and Edinburgh in the last year, while simultaneously telling everyone how seriously they take climate change.
In addition to these numerous domestic flights, there are a number to easily accessibly by other means destinations, such as Dublin, Brussels and Amsterdam. (Sure, it takes a little bit more time, but do we give an actual damn about leading by example or doesn’t it? Because – and this is the fun bit – the Council still doesn’t have any policy about favouring other forms of transport.
Quoting from correspondence –
Me: I would also for each of these flights, (and especially domestic and short-haul) were any alternative methods of travel (e.g. train) considered. If they were considered, why was air travel given priority? I note that two years ago you said “Generally when booking domestic and short haul flights the cost of air travel is compared with the cost by train. When booking air travel the Council considers the notice given to arrange travel, time taken to arrive at the destination, start time of the events and return to Manchester. In these instances air travel is the most cost effective.”
Council: I can confirm that this still applies.
This strongly implies that you’d rather pay for air travel than put someone up in a Travellodge. Has any thought been given, by anyone, to the emissions implications? If so, please supply the paperwork
There is no formal Council staff travel policy. However, the Council only uses air travel when it is the most viable option.
But it gets better still.
Me: … Two years ago you wrote ” There is no specific written guidance regarding reducing the amount of air travel, nor are there any plans to produce such guidance at present” Is that still the case?
Council: Yes. There is no specific written guidance regarding reducing the amount of air travel, nor are there any plans to produce such guidance at present” (emphasis added)
You have to weep for this city, for this ‘democracy’.
Tomorrow: Andy Burnham and his flights.
Doubtless the Council and its apologists will bleat about what a small proportion of their total carbon budget flying is (while cancelling quarterly climate reports, and refusing to ever release how many council buildings they’ve sold off, which contributes to the alleged ‘reduction’ in their carbon budget). But this doesn’t get to the crux of the issue – they fly people to EDINBURGH for Christsakes. They have NO POLICY about reducing their flying. And yet they happily produce these idiotic glossy reports, and people who ought to know better – who DO know better – play along with it.
By the way, all information comes not from a scrutiny committee: these are made up almost entirely of loyal Labour councillors. It does not come from the local media, which basically reprints the City Council’s press releases as front page ‘journalism’. It doesn’t come from ‘campaigning’ environmental groups that claim to be friendly with the earth. Nope, it comes rather from a Freedom of Information Act request submitted by an unpaid citizen.