Monday 26 April 2010

Why the BBC despises cycling and cyclists

It’s quite easy, really. Who’d want to cycle on roads jammed with motor vehicles, in a society where cycle parking provision is laughable, including at major railway stations – not when you can get a taxi to the nearest airport at public expense!

The BBC has spent nearly £5million on tens of thousands of short-haul flights across Britain for its executives, staff and guests. At a time when programmes regularly highlight the environmental impact of air travel, licence-fee payers have funded more than 68,000 internal trips over the past two years – an average of nearly 100 flights a day. The BBC’s daily carbon footprint generated by the UK air trips is the equivalent of that produced by the average person in a year, say environmental experts.

Among the users of domestic flights was the BBC’s Deputy Director-General Mark Byford, who flew from Southampton to Edinburgh to watch an England-Scotland rugby match.

Mr Byford, who earns £471,000 a year, also took a flight from London to Manchester to attend the Open golf championship. The same journey would have taken three hours by train.

In March 2008, Mr Byford flew from Southampton – the airport closest to his Winchester home – to Edinburgh to watch a Scotland-England rugby match.

On the same trip he also incurred £26 worth of taxi fares to get to and from the airport, a bill picked up by the licence-fee payer.

In July that year he flew from London to Manchester to attend the Open golf championship at Royal Birkdale.

The total cost to licence-fee payers of the 68,063 flights amounted to £4,686,850 between 2007 and 2009. Those who took the flights included BBC staff, freelance workers and guests.

A spokesman for Friends of the Earth said: ‘There’s no excuse for flying across the UK when there are greener alternatives such as travelling by train.