This follows a call for evidence issued last spring on the barriers seen by organisations to greater use of new technologies to reduce demand for travel – and to using ‘greener’ means when travel was essential.
Many public and private respondents were willing to pursue these concepts, but that there was a widespread lack of knowledge on how to do so.
The Government will try to spread knowledge and lead by example through a campaign titled Anywhere Working, Baker said.
In Alternatives to Travel, the Next Steps, Baker said: “Ours is an age that has given rise to communications technologies of dazzling sophistication. An era that did more than merely reduce the distance between A and B but, thanks to innovations like teleconferencing and instant messaging, removed it altogether.
“Yet, to date, our approach to alternatives to travel has not kept pace with the benefits available.”
He said his main purpose was to “challenge inflexibility” over working practices and business travel and said Whitehall would set an example as a flexible employer.
The Government had set out business travel policy principles, which were not compulsory for departments but should be seen as target as to work towards, the report said.
These stated that travel should be kept to a minimum, and departments should ensure telephone and videoconference facilities were available as needed.
“The Department for Transport has implemented these principles at all levels, with ministers frequently pre-recording video speeches, rather than travelling to the actual event,” the report noted.
Its only public sector case study was for Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service, which seeks a 30% reduction in carbon emissions over the 2008-13 period. Some 30% of its emissions are from business travel and up to a father 25% from commuting.
It used a travel hierarchy to successfully drive culture change among staff, which asked:
• Is the journey necessary? Can it be replaced by an audio or videoconference?
• Can local journeys be undertaken safely on foot or bicycle? If so use pool bikes / cycle to work scheme.
• Is public Transport viable and effective? Executive director approval is required for air travel.
If none of these choices were practicable cars could be used with a strong preference for low emission models. Home working was also encouraged
The service’s emissions from vehicle mileage are so far estimated to have fallen from 118.52 tonnes in 2007-08 to 82.23 tonnes in 2010-11, saving some £70,000.To receive our free weekly round-up of all news stories from our site, click here
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