Firstly, we are interested in Public Bodies’ targets for business travel:
1. Do you have a target to cut emissions from air and/or business travel? If so, please share information about any target(s) you have (e.g. description of the target, when the target was adopted, timeline to meeting the target).
Secondly, we are interested in Public Bodies’ corporate travel policies and plans:
2. Please provide copies of any corporate policy your organisation has on the reduction of emissions from business travel.
3. Please provide copies of any corporate policy your organisation has on the reduction of the use of air travel for business travel purposes.
Finally, we are specifically interested in Public Bodies’ use of rail and air for domestic travel:
4. Please provide details of the number of flights your staff have taken from Edinburgh & Glasgow Airports to London Airports for business purposes in the past 12 months (or your most recent 12 month reporting period) for travel to destinations within south-east England.
5. Please provide details of the number of rail journeys your staff have taken from Edinburgh & Glasgow railway stations to London railway stations for business purposes in the past 12 months (or your most recent 12 month reporting period) for travel to destinations within south-east England.
In response to questions 1, 2, and 3. The previous Core Scottish Government sustainable travel policy and emissions reduction objectives ran to a target date of 2020. The Pandemic caused a delay in updating the targets and policy. A new Carbon Management Plan with emission reduction objectives is being prepared, which will include targets for lowering emissions from business travel.
Business Travel guidance for staff is as follows:-
Using technology to reduce travelling for work
The best way to reduce overall business travel is to use technology to interact with colleagues, instead of having a face-to-face meeting. By choosing to avoid travel you will almost certainly save money, time and emissions.
Before organising or agreeing to attend a meeting ask yourself:
- Do we need to meet face-to-face?
- Can this be discussed over an email or phone call?
- Can we use audio or video conference software for this meeting?
Travelling to a meeting
If business travel is necessary to attend a meeting, you need to balance cost, carbon emissions, and the time spent away from work.
Apply the following sustainable travel hierarchy for your most efficient and eco-friendly travel:
- walking and wheeling are most preferable
- public transport
- taxis and shared transport
- private car is least preferable
If you are travelling less than 2km, you should consider walking as it is the healthiest and cheapest form of transport. Cycling can be great for journeys up to 5km and is a healthy, reliable and flexible way to get around.
Medium to long journeys
You should always consider public transport as your first option. Rail travel is the best option for longer trips, while buses are good for local journeys.
If you need to use a car, and your business area doesn't have access to pool vehicles, a hire car should be your first choice. We promote the use of hire cars over colleagues' own vehicles because there are likely cost and carbon savings, and health and safety risks are reduced.
Taxis are no longer available for use through a contract. A taxi should be used only as a last resort, or for travel as part of a reasonable adjustments agreed by HR, and the costs may be claimed back through travel and subsistence.
Air travel has high carbon emissions per journey and should be avoided for travel within the UK, unless travelling to the islands and only when ferry travel is not cost effective.
In response to questions 4 and 5:-
There were 193 flights from Edinburgh & Glasgow Airports to London Airports for business purposes in the past 12 months.
There were 558 rail journeys taken from Edinburgh & Glasgow railway stations to London railway stations for business purposes in the past 12 months
The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at http://www.gov.scot/foi-responses.
Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000
The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
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