A top uni boss who preached about climate change last week enjoyed the use of a pool car and chauffeur for six months which cost nearly £9,000, it has been revealed.
University of Sheffield vice-chancellor Koen Lamberts recently announced all students would have to attend compulsory lessons on sustainability in response to the “climate emergency”.
However, in an embarrassing turn of events, an FoI request has revealed the £285,000-a-year earner has benefited from thousands of pounds worth of gas bills and travel expenses.
Between November 2018 and April 2019, the University Executive Board (UEB), which Mr Lamberts is president of, spent £8,734 on diesel for one pool car and drivers.
The UEB is formed of Sheffield Uni’s 11 most senior managers, including the vice-chancellor.
Deputy vice-chancellor Gill Valentine, who last week spoke of a “climate crisis” and an “urgent need to cut emissions”, is also thought to have used the pool car.
The FOI request, submitted by student news site The Tab, also found that Mr Lamberts’ £1,500 gas, electricity and water bills for just six months living in a university-owned mansion was paid by the uni.
University bosses have now been slammed for preaching about environmental destruction while themselves living high-emission luxury lifestyles that harm the planet.
The University and Colleges Union (UCU) hit out at a “lack of self-awareness” from Mr Lamberts and vice-chancellors nationally who think there is “one rule for those at the top and another for everyone else”.
Mr Lamberts’ appointment as vice-chancellor came after a storm of criticism over predecessor Sir Keith Burnett’s £50,000 expenses bill for first-class flights in 24 months, while on a salary of £455,000.
It’s believed Mr Lamberts did not pay any rent or bills while residing at The Croft, a luxury 20th century townhouse in the leafy Ranmoor suburb, despite him being the university’s highest earner.
His £1,249 gas bill was double the national average, according to energy regulator Ofgem.
Mr Lamberts, who has stressed the “need to work and live in a sustainable way”, also spent £11,190 on flights, most of which were first-class and business class, in 2016-17 while vice-chancellor of the University of York .
The revelations came as the vice-chancellor unveiled plans to become Britain’s first university to place sustainable development classes in every course curriculum.
Jo Grady, general secretary of the UCU, said: “The lack of self-awareness from university leaders when it comes to their own spending continues to be a concern for the sector, especially at a time when staff are balloting to protect their pay and pensions.
“As the widespread support for last week’s climate protests shows, staff and students across the UK are deeply concerned about fighting climate change.
“University leaders need to play their part, and that must include reviewing the environmental sustainability of their decisions about travel and expenditure.”
A National Union of Students spokesman added: “Senior management must prioritise spending that will benefit the entire university community and strive to reduce their impact on the environment in everything they do.
“Students and staff in higher education expect nothing less.”
The University of Sheffield claims to be reviewing its usage of vehicles and plans to shift to electric-only cars by 2025.
A spokesman said: “At the time Professor Lamberts was appointed, it was a contractual requirement for him to live in the University’s provided premises for its President and Vice-Chancellor.
“This changed in April and Professor Lamberts moved out of the property and is currently living in University-owned student accommodation, paying rent on a full commercial basis.”