Mileage drops as council staff work from home

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Mileage clocked up by Argyll and Bute Council staff in the course of their work has fallen by around 90 per cent during the COVID-19 pandemic, a report has revealed.

The document also reveals most of the authority’s staff are keen to continue with home working despite some returning to office-based work.

The report on the council’s climate change-related activity was considered by its climate change environmental action group at its Skype meeting on Monday September 7.

An update on the council’s waste services shows recycling from April to June was down nearly 14 per cent on the same period in 2019.

Recycling uplifts were suspended, and household waste and recycling centres closed, for much of that period because of the number of staff who were shielding or self-isolating.

The report, by executive director Douglas Hendry, states: ‘Business mileage by council staff has significantly reduced by around 90 per cent due to suspension of non-essential travel and homeworking or digital meetings.

‘This situation has eased in recent weeks with site visits now sanctioned again and a limited amount of staff returning to office working.

‘The vast majority of staff still work at home and most are still keen to continue with this arrangement, at least in part.

‘However, [there are] new sources of mileage from activities like the community food project, delivering food parcels and additional vehicles to ensure social distancing is complied with for refuse collections.

‘Carbon emissions from council business miles makes up around three per cent of [the council’s] total carbon footprint.

‘The economic growth team applied for Spaces for People funding to help provide alternatives to the car and enable more space for pedestrians and cyclists.

‘They received £315,000 and have consulted with the public and now intend to implement a series of schemes for some of the main towns.

‘The team also secured funding as part of the £315,000 for 15 cycle repair stations.’