Parliament opts for train over plane for overseas trips


The Flemish Parliament has announced that it will prioritise train travel for overseas journeys of up to 500km and will introduce a carbon offset scheme

Sustainable alternative

The Flemish Parliament is to use alternatives to flying for overseas business trips. As of the next legislature in 2019, members will travel by train when a destination is within 500km or six hours.

The parliament makes between 20 and 30 overseas trips every year, for commission visits, taking part in overseas conference and other work-related events. Decisions on the method of transport have always been based on practicality, duration and cost, with sustainability not explicitly taken into consideration.

The parliament has now unanimously decided to no longer fly to relatively close destinations, though trips of more than 500 kilometres or six hours by train will still be made by plane. As well as choosing the train for shorter journeys, the parliament will implement a carbon dioxide compensation system in an effort to offset the impact of flying.

SP.A member of parliament Joris Vandenbroucke (pictured) previously suggested that the whole of the Flemish government should follow this measure, but it was voted down. He plans to reintroduce the proposal. “If this example by the parliament is supported, I don’t see why we can’t introduce it for the whole government.”

Photo: Jasper Jacobs/Belga