An updated business travel and expenses policy for anyone undertaking University business will be launched on the 21st February 2022.

Changes to the policy include restrictions on the use of flights in the UK, and updated allowances for overnight hotel bookings, subsistence and entertaining.

The policy review group based the policy revisions on staff feedback from the internal all-staff survey, annual climate action survey, Clarity user surveys of University of Bath staff, carbon data from the University’s PowerBi dashboard, and individual staff feedback.

The surveys showed that an overwhelming majority of staff are in favour of policy change restricting short haul flights, and non-economy class flying, whilst being open to significantly reducing and changing their travel behaviour in order to achieve reductions in carbon emissions.

From the 21st February 2022, all new travel bookings and expenses incurred should follow the updated policy. Key changes to the policy include:

  • All travel bookings including hotel bookings must be made through the University’s Travel Management Company – Clarity.
  • Flights will be allowable only beyond mainland UK and Eurostar destinations, with the exception of destinations north of Glasgow and Edinburgh.
  • For flights under 6 hours economy class flights must be used, for longer flights premium economy will be permitted.
  • An expectation that the least carbon emitting method of travel should be used subject to the principle of economy and reasonableness, even where costs may be higher.
  • Updated rates for overnight hotel stays, subsistence and entertaining to reflect current costs.

To ensure that no-one with caring responsibilities, disabilities, or other exceptional circumstances is negatively affected by the policy change, the policy includes an exceptions mechanism. With sign off from the respective member of the University Executive Board, this allows staff to travel outside the policy guidelines under exceptional circumstances.

This is not a full list of the changes, a copy of the full policy can be found using the link below.

Professor Toby Jenkins, and Professor Petra Cameron recently wrote of the benefits of train travel across Europe, and Professor Lorraine Whitmarsh MBE recently spoke with us about the importance and benefits of reducing University business travel in relation to our Net Zero Carbon commitments.

Tony Brett, Head of Procurement, said:

The survey responses have allowed us to get a good insight into what staff are supportive of in order to reduce our emissions from travel, and where else we can use the policy to support strategic objectives. Taken together we hope the changes to the updated policy will support staff to make more sustainable travel choices, and through other improvements help our staff achieve their aims.

A copy of the Travel and Expenses policy and associated guidance can be viewed here.

For more information on University activity around Climate Action and how you can get involved click here.