Lincoln Uni spends £68k on travel and fuel costs despite declaring climate emergency

The university even held a Climate Emergency Action Day Discussion

A Freedom of Information request by The Lincoln Tab found that University of Lincoln staff spent over £68,000 on air travel, fuel and private cars in one academic year – despite holding climate lectures and declaring a state of climate emergency.

Between August 2018 and July 2019, University staff who hold an expense card spent £22,151 on air travel, £34,478 on travel, £1,404 on vehicle hire and, £10,727 on vehicle hire fuel. Totalling to £68,760.

The University has held and continues to host a series of talks about various aspects of climate change, in response to signing the climate change emergency declaration last year; with the next talk taking place on the 25th March titled “Carbon conscious: calculating and being aware of your personal carbon footprint.”

The University held a Climate Emergency Action Day Discussion in September 2019 for people to “share their ideas on what form our collective response to the climate emergency should take. There will also be an opportunity to hear Professor Libby John, Pro Vice Chancellor for Science, describe the science behind some of the environmental threats we face, and how this can inform action. There will also be updates on some of the proactive steps the University is taking to reduce its environmental impact.”

According to Declare a Climate Emergency, the University of Lincoln wrote in a blog post in May of the last year: “The University is developing leading climate change research. […] The University is investing more in our research to help make a difference and to help us all to live more sustainably. We will be challenging ourselves and all of our staff and students to change for the better. We will invest and take action over the coming years to help transform our lives for the health of our planet.”

The Climate Emergency Declaration was adopted as the threat of climate change intensified, and Parliament declared a climate emergency on 1 May 2019.

A spokesperson for the university said: “As a top 20 UK university which connects with universities and employers across the UK and internationally, inevitably some long-distance travel takes place.

“We’re very conscious of our environmental impact and have ambitious targets to reduce our carbon footprint. More than £600,000 has been invested in green infrastructure projects in the past decade and we have received the EcoCampud Platinum Award for our approach to environmental management.

“Although there is plenty more to do, it has been reassuring to see how staff and students from across the academic community are contributing to that effort in various ways, for example; we recently launched our climate education lecture series which has been received very positively.”