Officials from the government agency that is championing the fight against climate chaos have taken 1500 climate-wrecking flights between Scotland and England in the last year reports the Sunday Herald in Scotland. The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) has been sending its staff on an average of five or six mainland air trips every working day - at the same time as urging everyone else to "fly less" to help save the planet.

The revelation has prompted a series of ferocious attacks from shocked environmental groups, who accused Sepa of being a "serial polluter".

Sepa accepted that it hadn't "got the balance right".

Short-haul flights are by far the most polluting way to travel, emitting three times more carbon dioxide per passenger than trains. Every one of the 17 destinations to which Sepa's staff have flown since November 2005 is serviced by trains. Sepa regards the climate change being caused by pollution as "the biggest environmental threat facing Scotland".

The agency has recently stepped up its calls for action, warning on Friday that the country was "in danger of relying on luck" to combat the crisis. The Sunday Herald asked Sepa, under freedom of information legislation, to provide details of every flight within mainland Britain taken by its staff on official business in the past year. Its response was a spreadsheet extending to 28 pages. It detailed over 800 journeys, involving some 1500 individual flights. B

y far the most frequent trips were between Edinburgh and London, which is serviced by 20 trains a day, and can be reached in as little as four and a half hours by rail. Sepa officials also flew often from Edinburgh and Glasgow to Birmingham, Manchester and a variety of other destinations in England and Wales. There were also flights within Scotland, from Inverness to Edinburgh and from Aberdeen to Wick.