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Departmental Travel

Volume 448: debated on Thursday 6 July 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans she has to ensure that all flights undertaken by Ministers and officials in her Department are carbon neutral; and if she will make a statement. (81408)

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) offsets the carbon dioxide and other emissions generated by the air travel of Ministers and officials based in the UK. Each year we offset the previous year’s air travel emissions, so in 2005-06 we offset our 2004 emissions. An agreement was signed with the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP) at the end of 2005 to offset our 2004 emissions, one year ahead of the requirement for Government Departments to offset air travel by April 2006. Through REEEP we offset our emissions by investing in projects which provide carbon credits from renewable energy and energy efficiency schemes. Investment is concentrated in developing countries, which are highly dependent on fossil fuels and inefficient energy technology.

We are also running a travel management campaign to encourage staff to consider and use means other than travelling to communicate with their colleagues overseas wherever practical e.g. videoconferencing.