Greens seek to cut “sky-high” council flights bill

Edinburgh Greens have pledged to review the council’s policy on business flights in a bid to reduce emissions and costs to the public purse.
Figures from the Council show that in 2009/10, councillors and officials flew over 200,000 miles within the UK, and over 400,000 miles internationally). The council administration promised in 2010 to review the process that managers use to approve official travel, the report stating that “a protocol on domestic air travel is at an advanced stage” but nothing has been made public since.

The Greens’ manifesto commits to a policy whereby a list of long-distanceflights would be scutinised by full council meetings, and they want to see far greater use of videoconferencing and ‘Skype’ type communication to reduce domestic flights.

Green Cllr Steve Burgess said:

“We need to challenge the culture in which flying everywhere gives you a certain status and importance. Many of these air miles are totally unnecessary and not compatible with bringing down pollution or the sky high travel bill. The Lib Dem/SNP council promised two years ago to review this but they have sat on their hands while the mileage clocks up.

“We want to see more transparency and that means councillors being able to scrutinise a list of official flights at every full council meeting. In the era of smartphones and Skype, it’s totally unacceptable that councillors and officials are racking up thousands of air miles attending meetings within the UK.”