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ExCeL London - 24-25 February 2021
Environmental charity WWF has called on the UK government to reduce the number of "unnecessary" flights it takes.
The organization published a report on the number of flights taken by staff at government departments, which revealed that 90% were within the UK.
David Norman, WWF-UK's director of campaigns, said: "It's shocking that nine out of ten flights by government officials are to destinations within the UK.
"Businesses have done everything in their power to cut out wasteful spending on unnecessary flights during the recession.
"Yet WWF's report shows that very few government departments have made similar efforts to reduce their flying, throwing away potential savings of well over £100million of taxpayers' money."
According to the research, carried out by JMP consultants, government departments could cut 600,000 flights, reduce CO2 emissions by more than 59,000 tonnes and more than £100 million over the next three years.
"There's a huge opportunity here to cut costs and carbon emissions - as shown by the star performers Defra and the Department for Education, which have reduced flight costs by 39% over three years," said Norman.
"It's time for the rest of government to catch up, and they should start by cutting out at least one flight in every ten over the coming year."
WWF classed Belfast, Brussels, Geneva, Luxembourg and Strasbourg, as journeys which could be "reachable or replaceable by train, ferry or videoconferencing". These were the top destinations taken by government staff, said the report.
The report also revealed that of the 22 government departments contacted by WWF, less than half had reduced the number of flights taken between 2007 to the end of 2009.
The worst performers, according to the report, included HM Revenues & Customs and The Department of Health, as flying in both departments increased between 2007 and 2009.