CHESHIRE County Council has spent almost £100,000 sending its councillors and officers on flights in the UK and across the globe since January 2006.
Information provided following a Freedom of Information request shows £96,000 was paid for flights between January 2006 and July of this year, although some of the money would have been recouped.
There have been a number of trips to the EU’s Brussels headquarters.
But there are also flights to Kenya, Massachusetts in the US, Krakow in Poland and Hong Kong.
Members’ air travel abroad has to be authorised by the council’s organisation committee.
Officers mustŠget the authorisation of their director or head of service before they travel abroad.Š
Partners sometimes accompany their spouses on the trips but these are not paid for by Cheshire County Council.
Many of the flights relate to Brussels where the council maintains an office.
County council spokesman Ian Callister said: “Around 70%Šof all legislationŠaffecting local GovernmentŠhas a European implicationŠmaking it essential to be aware of the latest strategic policy, legislation and funding issues which could impact on Cheshire.
“Since 2000 more than £51m of external funding has been attracted into Cheshire via Brussels.”
Mr Callister said the county council did sometimes use air transport within the UKŠbecause it is often cheaper than rail or when timing was crucial.
He said a typical return train fare to London was £179 compared with £70-100Šby air on the same day.
County waste manager Harold Collin and John Thistlewood, strategic manager contract procurement, travelled to Nantucket and Boston in the US to assess waste treatmentŠtechnology not in operation in EuropeŠbut expected to beŠsubject of a Cheshire application.
Strategic manager of planning Andrew Farrow and colleagues flew to Hong Kong to advise China’s Hainan Province on regeneration best practice. The trip was made at the requestŠof, and paid for, by the European Commission.