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Departmental Video Conferencing

Volume 474: debated on Tuesday 1 April 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will set a target to increase the use of video-conferencing by his Department to reduce the need to travel to meetings. (195877)

My Department makes regular use of the video conference facilities it has in its offices in Belfast and London. These facilities are capable of handling multi person meetings and therefore significantly reduce the level of travelling required between both locations. Staff are actively encouraged to use these facilities to reduce travel cost and save time. The possibility of a VCR meeting is always considered before travel is approved.

The amount of travel undertaken fluctuates depending on business pressures at the time, and some meetings can only be effectively undertaken face to face, therefore I do not believe it is possible to set targets in this area.

The NIO participates in the DEFRA-managed Government Carbon Offsetting Scheme which offsets the carbon emissions from ministerial and official air travel.