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Aviation

Volume 470: debated on Thursday 10 January 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many air miles were travelled by Ministers in his Department in each year since 2000; and what estimate he has made of the total amount of carbon dioxide emissions produced as a result. (172267)

DEFRA came into being in June 2001. From information held centrally, and for the period April 2006-September 2007 inclusive, ministerial air travel totalled £112,118 miles with an associated carbon dioxide emissions figure of 66,021 Kg/CO2. Information for the period(s) prior to April 2006 could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

DEFRA Ministers attend meetings abroad for the purpose of representing the UK Government, and for furthering international dialogue. Where possible and appropriate, video conferencing is utilised as an alternative to air travel.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many air miles were travelled by (a) the Secretary of State and (b) Ministers in his Department on short haul flights over the last year; and what estimate he has made of the total amount of carbon dioxide emissions produced as a result of these flights. (172454)

Since 1999 the Government have published a list of all overseas travel by Cabinet Ministers costing over £500. Information for the last financial year was published on 25 July 2007. Details for the current financial year will be published as soon as possible after the end of the financial year. From next year, the list will include details of overseas visits undertaken by all Ministers. All ministerial travel is undertaken in accordance with the Ministerial Code

All central Government ministerial and official air travel has been offset from 1 April 2006. Departmental aviation emissions are calculated on an annual basis and subsequently offset through payments to a central fund. The fund purchases certified emissions reductions credits from energy efficiency and renewable energy projects with sustainable development benefits, located in developing countries.

In addition, offsetting the flights of Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Department for International Development, and the Prime Minister has been backdated to 1 April 2005.

A list of Government Carbon Offsetting Fund members, their emission figures and what activities they have offset through the fund is available online at:

http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/climatechange/uk/carbonoffset/government.htm

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much has been spent by his Department on international flights in each year since it was established. (174357)

DEFRA came into being in June 2001. From information held centrally the core-Department's expenditure on domestic, continental and inter-continental flights for the period April 2006-November 2007 inclusive is:

£

Domestic

296,937

Continental

541,271

Inter-Continental

1,372,694

Since 1999 the Government have published a list of all overseas travel by Cabinet Ministers costing over £500. Information for the last financial year was published on 25 July 2007. Details for the current financial year will be published as soon as possible after the end of the current financial year. From next year, the list will include details of overseas visits undertaken by all Ministers. All ministerial travel is undertaken in accordance with the Ministerial Code.

All central Government ministerial and official air travel has been offset from 1 April 2006. Departmental aviation emissions are calculated on an annual basis and subsequently offset through payments to a central fund. The fund purchases certified emissions reductions credits from energy efficiency and renewable energy projects with sustainable development benefits, located in developing countries.

In addition, offsetting the flights of Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Department for International Development, and the Prime Minister has been backdated to 1 April 2005.

A list of Government Carbon Offsetting Fund members, their emission figures and what activities they have offset through the fund is available online at:

http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/climatechange/uk/carbonoffset/government.htm

Other information on the core-Department's flights expenditure prior to April 2006 could be provided only at disproportionate cost.