Britain’s Top Universities Spent Millions of Pounds on Flights Despite Climate Change Pledge, it has emerged.
Britain’s top universities have spent tens of millions of pounds on hundreds of thousands of flights over the last four years, it can be revealed today – despite repeated pledges to tackle the climate crisis and the fact that aviation is one of the single biggest causes of global pollution and a key factor in climate change.
It is understood that almost 170,000 plane journeys – including long-haul, continental and domestic trips – were taken by staff at just eight institutions including Cambridge, Bristol and Newcastle universities. Imperial College London alone racked up 38,000 flights in the period between 2016 and 2020, the equivalent of 26 every single day of the year!
“We have seen just how possible it is to do so much work in ways that do not require so many air miles,” said Baroness Natalie Bennett, the former leader of the Green Party. “If we can use the last year for anything, it must be to usher in a new age of less aviation use, and universities must be at the forefront of that.”
It has been revealed that the biggest polluters were Newcastle University which accrued 34,551 flights and the University of Cambridge with 22,277, while Southampton University racked up 23,613, University College London some 21,138, and Bristol University another 13,969.
Thousands of the flights were also booked to New York, while other exotic destinations included Bangkok, Nairobi and Beijing, as well as pretty much every European capital. Hundreds of domestic hops to cities connected by rail – including between London, Bristol, Manchester and Edinburgh – are also among the list.
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