Blair environmental adviser commutes by air
By Colin Brown, Deputy Political Editor
Published: 27 December 2006A top adviser to Tony Blair on sustainable development and the environment has been accused of undermining government policy on curbing aviation pollution after it was revealed that he makes a 500-mile round trip by jet from Birmingham to Edinburgh each week.
Richard Wakeford, a senior civil servant in charge of the Scottish Executive's environment department, commutes to work in Edinburgh every week from his home in Gloucestershire producing an estimated 90kg of carbon dioxide.
Over the four years of his contract, Mr Wakeford is likely to travel as many as 94,000 air miles getting to work, accounting for approximately 17 tons of carbon dioxide. The figures do not include his weekly 100-mile round trip to Birmingham airport from his home outside Cheltenham, or the 20-mile round trip between Edinburgh airport and the headquarters of the Scottish Executive.
He refused to move to Scotland when he became department head nearly two years ago for "family reasons".
Richard Lochhead, the environment spokesman for the SNP, said Mr Wakeford's choice of travel was hugely embarrassing for Scotland's Environment minister, Ross Finnie. "How on earth can he persuade the rest of the working population to review how they travel to work to help the environment when the head of his own department flies?"
Mr Wakeford, who joined the Scottish Executive in early 2005, put forward a Scottish Executive plan for sustainable development within months of his appointment. According to minutes of the meeting, members of the Executive discussed cutting their own air travel but decided that it would inconvenience themselves or their staff too much. "The positive value of a signal to the wider public sector should be balanced against the potential detrimental effect on the conduct of business and convenience for staff," they said.
I am with you Wayne. I use those 4 watters all over and do the same thing, pop off that plastic cone.