The Mayor and London Assembly are to stop using short haul flights in an effort to achieve greater carbon savings, opting instead to use rail travel within the UK and Europe where possible.
Mayor Ken Livingstone has today published a report which sets out the practical implications in terms of costs and length of travel times to a range of European destinations, concluding that six hours is the upper time limit for rail to be a viable business option.
Mr Livingstone said: “It is already my policy that City Hall staff should not use air travel for short haul trips – barring exceptional circumstances – to destinations in mainland Britain, Paris, Brussels and Amsterdam, and wherever practical for travel elsewhere in Europe. I am confirming that from today staff employed by Transport for London and the London Development Agency will do the same.”
Separately the London Assembly has passed a motion to adopt the same travel policy, a move welcomed by the Mayor.
“This Assembly hereby agrees that its Members will not travel by air and will instead use more sustainable modes of transport, when travelling to Paris, Brussels or mainland Britain, in connection with Assembly business.”
was passed by the London Assembly with 13 Green, Liberal Democrat and Labour Assembly members voting in favour and 8 Tory and One London Assembly members voting against.
The One London Party say there is no evidence the new policy will help climate change and could end up costing London taxpayers more in the lon gterm.
One London Assembly Member Peter Hulme-Cross said he “proposed an amendment to this motion, pledging that Members will only use the most cost-effective mode of transport.”
“In their blind devotion to a ‘green’ agenda, the Labour/LibDem/Green coalition is ripping off the London taxpayer even further. When the train fare to Manchester is around £150, and the air fare is around £50, there should be no question about which to take – providing value to the taxpayer should always come first.”