To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to increase the use of sustainable surface transport by (a) Ministers and (b) civil servants when travelling in the UK on Government business.
23 November 2021
The Government is committed to increasing the use of sustainable transport for Ministers and civil servants travelling in the UK on government business.
In October 2021, Defra published the new Greening Government Commitments Framework for 2021 to 2025, which sets out ambitious targets on the environmental impact of the government estate and its operations. This cross-Government framework includes three sub-targets focused on domestic business travel, which are designed to contribute to departmental greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets.
The sub-target that relates to surface transport is for the Government to meet the Government Fleet Commitment for 25% of the Government car fleet to be ultra low emission vehicles by 31 December 2022, and for 100% of the Government car and van fleet to be fully zero emissions at the tailpipe by 31 December 2027.
Departments are individually responsible for ensuring the core department and its agencies meet their targets, with data submitted to Defra every quarter for the purposes of the annual report. As of November 2021, almost 30% of the Government Car Service (which provides vehicles to Ministers and Senior Officials) are zero emission vehicles.
Defra provides a recognised Cycle to Work scheme for all eligible employees to use to purchase a bicycle for their commute to work, up to the value of £6,000. This is recovered via salary sacrifice as a tax-free benefit. For any employees who are not eligible for the salary sacrifice scheme, Defra offers a loan scheme similar to a season ticket loan, that provides up to £1,000 as an interest free loan to purchase a bicycle for their commute to work.