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Department of Meteorology – University of Reading

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Carbon Budget for Travel

In line with the University sustainable travel principles we seek to reduce the carbon footprint of our research travel. Our approach is structured around a travel hierarchy with the aim to avoid travel or use lower carbon alternatives where possible. Details of how this approach is applied can be found in the up-to-date travel policy.


The school has been set a target to reduce our emissions from travel by a factor of 30% by 2026 on a 2018/19 baseline. Our target is for 927.388 tCO2eq annual emissions from travel by the end of this period. We have chosen to implement a progressive reduction over this period, reducing by 10, 20 and 30% for each of the next three years. We have also been set a stretch target of a 50% reduction by 2026, with the aim to reduce our budget to this level by 2030.


In MPCS we have chosen to implement an individual carbon budgeting approach. Following an extensive consultation with staff and consideration by the school executive board this was felt to be the simplest and fairest approach to reducing our travel emissions. To allow everyone to plan their travel over this period, each member of staff and PhD student has a three-year individual budget for carbon.


For the period 2023/4 to 2025/6 this is:

  • 12tCO2eq per staff member.
  • 3 tCO2eq per PhD student – this allocation assumes that each student will have the opportunity to travel to one international conference during their studies.


When you travel, please enter the carbon emitted by your journey in this online form. You can estimate the carbon using this calculator. When using the calculator, please make sure you check the box to include the radiative forcing. In the future, we hope that this information can be automatically provided by our travel management company, Grey Dawes, and logged through a central reporting process. In the meantime, we are collecting this information in the school to allow us to implement our policy.



  • If someone else pays for my travel should I log on the form? We are only reporting travel that the University pays for so this does not need to be logged. We hope that you will still consider the travel hierarchy though and try to travel via lower carbon means.
  • My personal circumstances mean I find traveling by train difficult, can I fly? There will always be circumstances where this is necessary, and we don’t want to disadvantage anyone. The travel policy allows for exceptions to be made and these are completed at departmental level. Please e-mail your Head of Department with the request fly if your destination can be reached from St Pancras within 8 hours by train.
  • I’ve exceed my carbon budget what happens now? We anticipate that some colleagues will exceed their budget, particularly where their research requires fieldwork or interaction with stakeholders in another country. If you are aware that you might breach your budget or will need to in future please discuss with your Head of Department. Where we can grant exceptions we will do so – but this will depend on the overall progress of the school and departments toward meeting our carbon targets.
  • I need to travel to NUIST for teaching does this count in my personal budget? No, please still log the travel but this will not be included in your individual budget.

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