17 Jan 2008 05:01:29
Contacting councils online 'can help combat climate change'
Using the internet to access local authority services can help combat climate change, according to a new government-backed report.
As well as allowing councils to save money by reducing paper usage, the reduced amount of travel that entails from people accessing services via the internet can cut down on carbon emissions, the Best Foot Forward study discovered.
Its figures, published on behalf of the Department for Communities and Local Government, also indicated that the carbon savings facilitated by these changes more than make up for the emissions caused by IT servers processing the public's queries.
Parmjit Dhanda, e-government minister, said: "We know that driving to the town hall to carry out a transaction uses 20 times more energy than doing it online. That's why it's so important that we encourage people to talk to their local authority through the web."
"The Best Foot Forward study supports government plans for a low carbon economy and debunks the received wisdom that increases in IT server capacity negate any CO2 savings arising from the internet economy."
According to figures included in the research, which focused on Sunderland City Council, promoting online applications in five areas of the authority's work saved as much as 80,000 kilograms of carbon annually.