Therese Coffey was criticized for racking up 40,000 miles in five months after it was revealed that the environment minister had even flown off to speak on sustainability
Environment Minister Therese Coffey has been criticized for accumulating air miles by making five overseas trips in five months – even flying to talk about sustainability.
Dr. Coffey, whose department discourages staff from flying because of the effect it has on the environment, has covered nearly 40,000 miles since taking office last October.
She attended international events, including the inauguration of President Lula da Silva in Brazil, the COP27 Climate Summit in Egypt, the COP15 Biodiversity Summit in Canada, and agricultural trade talks in Washington DC.
During her short time in office, she has made more trips abroad than the previous four environment ministers combined.
Her most recent trip this month was to the Our Ocean conference in Panama, where she spoke about ocean conservation and sustainability in fisheries.
Environment Minister Therese Coffey speaks at the National Farmers’ Union Conference at the ICC
Critics have condemned her actions as Britain faces environmental crises, including fruit and vegetable shortages and the dumping of sewage into rivers.
The greenhouse gas impact of its flights is estimated to be equivalent to about 19 tons of carbon dioxide. The Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is currently 24 percent behind its official target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions – worse than any other government department.
Jim McMahon, Labour’s shadow environment minister, said: ‘At a time when the UK is facing food shortages, Therese Coffey should be doing her duty here to supply Britain with food, not through Duty Free.’
Defra said: ‘Part of the Secretary of State’s job is to represent the UK on crucial international issues, such as protecting nature, tackling climate change and ensuring our food security.’