Thursday, February 22, 2007

Back to those MP travel expenses

Labour MP for Tyne Bridge, David Clelland, claimed in our North East regional evening newspaper, the Evening Chronicle (15th February) that he flies to London so much rather than uses the train because he “lives near the airport.” The explanation was given after the travel expenses of MPs were outed last week.

So I tested his claim against the AA online road map which tells me that the distance from his house to Newcastle Airport is 8.5 miles. But the distance from his house to Newcastle Central Station to catch a train is 7.3 miles.

Mr Clelland said in January at the launch of an exhibition in Newcastle about climate change (ironically in the Centre for Life which is next door to the Central Station!) that people should be encouraged to “make small changes to reduce their carbon footprint.”

In other words, we must each change what we do so that we cause less pollution.

I wonder why Mr Clelland does not seem to be following his own advice by taking the train? After all, it is a suitable alternative to get to London, it is a shorter distance for him to travel from his house to catch a train, and it is far less polluting. Were there to be no alternative, flying is acceptable. But we have the East Coast line that takes him straight into Central London.

His explanation that flying saves him a hour on his journey is questionable. He's got to get to the airport, check in at least half an hour before the flight, then there's the flight time, then landing and getting out of heathrow and then an hour on the tube to Westminster.

But he can get a train to London on a journey time of 2 hours, 45 min (the one I try to get on Monday mornings at 7.18am!). I can leave my house in Gateshead at 7am and be at my desk in Cowley St at 10.40am by going by train.

So is the advice of this Labour MP to cut down on carbon emissions just for others to follow?

1 comment:

Liberal Neil said...

It is also as quick to get from Kings Cross to Westminster at the other end than from any of the London airports.

In my experience it is also easier to work on a long train journey than it would be on his alternative.