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Aviation

Volume 472: debated on Monday 25 February 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills (1) how many air miles were travelled by Ministers in his Department in each year since its establishment; and what estimate he has made of the total amount of carbon dioxide emissions produced as a result; (172234)

(2) how many miles he and other Ministers in his Department travelled on short haul flights in the last 12 months; and what estimate he has made of the total amount of carbon dioxide emissions produced as a result of these flights.

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 Innovation, Universities and Skills how much has been spent by his Department on international flights since establishment. (174349)

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.

Information in respect of flights taken by officials could be provided only at disproportionate cost.