POLITICS
31/07/2020 7:40 PM AEST | Updated 31/07/2020 10:21 PM AEST

Environment Ministers And Officials Have Flown 11m Miles In Five Years

The equivalent of flying over 23 times to the moon and back.

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Ministers and officials from the environment department have flown 11.3m miles in the past five years, it has been revealed.

The distance is the equivalent of flying over 23 times to the moon and back.

It means 1,952 tonnes of CO2 were emitted by the department over the five years since 2015 due to flights, including 540 in 2019.

The figures were uncovered by a parliamentary question to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) by Lib Dem leadership candidate Layla Moran.

According to the data, 3.3m miles were flown by Defra officials and ministers officials in 2019, double the 1.5m flown in 2015.

SIPA USA/PA Images

Moran said: “This department is supposed to be responsible for protecting our environment.

“So it is deeply troubling to see such a steep rise in flights taken by ministers and officials over the past five years.

“The government should be leading by example in the fight against climate change, not racking up air miles and carbon emissions.

“I want to see Britain move to a carbon-negative economy by 2045, through a green recovery that creates new jobs while tackling the climate emergency.”

But environment minister Victoria Prentis said Defra had reduced its CO2 emissions by 49% since 2009-10.

“Rather than offsetting our emissions, we have done this through investing in energy efficiency measures across our estate, reducing the amount of travel we do and changing the way we travel to lower CO2 emitting forms of transport, shrinking our estate, and we have benefited from the UK grid becoming greener,” she said.