This is according to charity the WWF’s new report Excess Baggage: the case for reducing government flying.

Released this morning (June 10) the report reveals the full extent of flights taken by government ministers and officials over the past three years- with 90% of those flights within the UK.

Of the 22 government departments interviewed for the report, less than half had reduced the number of flights taken from 2007 to 2009.

The two best performing departments are Defra (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) and Education, which together have reduced flight costs by 39% over the last three years.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change spent £715,115 on 1,378 flights last year – 676 of which were domestic.

The worst performers include the Department of Health and HM Revenue and Customs, both of which increased their flying during this period.

The most common domestic routes were London-Edinburgh and London-Belfast, while the top non-UK short-hauls were to Brussels, Geneva, Luxembourg and Strasbourg.

WWF director of campaigns, David Norman, said if government departments followed their own best practice, they could cut at least 600,000 flights, reduce CO2 emissions by more than 59,000 tonnes and save well over £100M of taxpayers’ money over the next three years.

Mr Norman, said: “Businesses have done everything in their power to cut out wasteful spending on unnecessary flights during the recession.

“Yet our report shows that very few government departments have made similar efforts.

“They should start by cutting out at least one flight in every ten over the coming year.”

Luke Walsh

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