International flights almost double at Transport Scotland, claim LibDems
By Bill Heaney
Scottish Liberal Democrat transport spokesperson Mike Rumbles MSP has warned that “news of the climate emergency does not seem to have reached Transport Scotland” as he revealed that staff at the organisation have taken almost 1,400 flights in the past five years.
The SNP government’s to hide the figures was thwarted by a freedom of information request submitted by the Scottish Liberal Democrats to Transport Scotland revealed that between 2014/15 and 2018/19, staff at the organisation took 872 domestic flights and 483 international flights.
Transport Scotland took almost twice as many international flights last year as they did in 2014/15.
Mr Rumbles said: ““News of the climate emergency does not seem to have reached Transport Scotland.
“Every public body should be working out how they can reduce their impact on the planet and Transport Scotland in particular should be leading by example.
“The SNP record on the environment is one of fiddling and fudging. They are still flip-flopping on Heathrow expansion, told the public they had banned fracking while arguing the opposite in court, and have utterly failed to make a dent in fuel poverty levels.
“The Liberal Democrats have a clear and ambitious plan to cut harmful emissions by 2030 and get to net zero by 2045. We want to see every home and building insulated through an emergency 10-year programme, and ensure all new cars are electric within a decade.
“Nobody should get a free pass – especially not Transport Scotland.”
Reaction locally to the government request for people to cut down on flying came from SNP councillor Ian Dickson, who revealed that he had travelled across the Erskine Bridge to Glasgow Airport for flying lessons which would lead to him becoming a pilot.
Jackie Baillie, the Labour MP for Dumbarton and Lomond, travelled to Germany by air for the festive holidays with family and friends.
She said that while climate change was high on her agenda, the time allocated for her holidays and the fact that had she gone by any other means would not have allowed her to fit the holiday into her work schedule.
She said: ““Whilst I understand the need to travel for business it would perhaps be more helpful if domestic journeys, which include holidays, could be undertaken by alternative means such as train travel.”
The SNP and Conservative Party refused to comment.