Cornwall Council prints around 21 million pages a year - which is the equivalent of 2,600 trees.

And with the council having declared a climate emergency it is now being urged to try to reduce the amount of paper it uses.

Colin Martin, Liberal Democrat Cornwall councillor, said: “This is 2019, not 1920. Paper still has a use for reaching people who don’t use computers, but the council’s internal business should be ‘digital by default’. Every councillor and every officer has a laptop, which they should bring to meetings rather than expecting to be handed a pile of papers when they walk into a room.

“The carbon footprint of all this unnecessary printing is more than the proposed spaceport. Don’t even get me started on those who voted against allowing more council meetings to be attended via the internet.”

New figures show that in June 2019 the council and its group of companies – including Cormac, Cornwall Development Company and Cornwall Housing – printed off 1.7m pages.

If looked at across a whole year that would result in 21m pages or 2,600 trees a year.

The printer cost for the council was £280,000 and a report to councillors suggested that cutting that by half would save 1,300 trees and £140,000.

Ironically the figures were included in a report which went before the council’s customer and support service overview and scrutiny committee which was part of a 170-page agenda.

The report was about the council’s digital transformation which is aiming to increase the council’s use of technology which will help to reduce the use of paper as well as making the council more efficient.

In January the council agreed to declare a climate emergency and has since published a climate change action plan which sets out what it plans to do to try to cut carbon emissions and improve the environment in Cornwall.

This includes a major plan to create a Forest for Cornwall which would see 50,000 trees planted.

Environmental campaigner Nichola Andersen added: “Like the fudged spaceport report, using this amount of paper is an example of the council not taking ownership of their own environmental impact. They need to take radical action now – on average 20% of this paper would have been used un-necessarily. The amount of natural resources they are planning on using means that the ‘Forest for Cornwall’ needs to get ever bigger.”

In the past week there have been three council meetings which have had agendas containing hundreds of pages printed off for the public and councillors.

Last week’s Cabinet meeting agenda stretched to 483 pages, the west sub-area planning committee agenda was 226 pages and the customer and support services overview and scrutiny committee agenda had 170 pages. All were printed on both sides of the paper.

Cornwall Council has been asked to respond to the comments.