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New travel policy

11 Jan 2023

Changes to travel policy to halve our emissions from aviation – full details and guidance for staff

Our University aims to limit annual emissions from air travel to 50% of our 2018/19 level (pre the Covid-19 pandemic). This is important as it is essential that we all change our behaviour as part of the global need to address climate change.

To do this, we are changing our travel policy as part of a wider project to reduce our total carbon footprint, not just from our buildings, fleet vehicles and business travel but also the emissions from what we buy, our investments and our staff and student travel.

We are supporting those of you who are affected by the policy change. This includes paying a ‘top-up fund’ to cover additional costs and providing full details and support on Before Travelling website.

Please note, the way travel is approved will not be changing. 

Guidance for staff

We acknowledge that international travel is an integral part of working in academia and key to maintaining collaborations and enhancing global presence.  Our intention is not to eliminate flying but to actively reconsider our high carbon practices and habits to create a new, lower carbon, norm.

All colleagues are asked to consider the following before deciding to travel:

  • Could the meeting or conference be successfully carried out online rather than in-person?  
  • Can you minimise the impact, for example reducing frequency of meetings, delegating fewer representatives for group travel or combining or extending trips? 
  • Where travel cannot be replaced by online meetings or conferences, there is a now a default expectation that UK mainland travel will be by train. Any exceptions to this will be approved locally. 
  • For European travel, colleagues are expected to routinely consider using rail and to plan their projects and activities to accommodate this where possible.  

Full details and support

For full Travel Policy requirements and supporting guidance to help you weigh up essential travel against environmental cost, please visit:

Our Travel FAQs address concerns you may have when attempting to reduce your air travel:

Our University produced 18,500 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2018/2019 from work-related air travel – the same as driving 2,800 times around the world in a petrol car or 17,800 passenger flights between Manchester and New York.

Changing our policies and behaviour will make a difference to our world now and for future generations.

Thank you for your support in this important initiative.