COTSWOLD District Council has defended its decision to spend £50 on chocolates for staff as a reward for switching off their computer monitors.

The reward scheme, which came to light following a Freedom of Information request, was devised as a part of the council’s wider environmental awareness campaign.

It followed concern that staff did not automatically turn off their computer monitors at night, which could have cost the council up to £3,000 a year.

“Having a £50 chocolate reward scheme seemed a very cost effective way to achieve this much greater saving, whilst contributing to the council’s priority of lowering carbon emissions,” said CDC spokesman Bob McNally today.

The council ran a promotional campaign among staff about the issue 18 months ago, which was followed by an after-work survey. Those staff who had turned off their monitors were given a snack size chocolate bar as a “thank you”, added Mr McNally.

Following a second similar survey the number of monitors left on fell by 60 per cent.

“Generally, across the council we have seen an improved attitude to green issues and a raised level of awareness across the council which is due in some part to the incentivised campaigns and reward schemes which were designed to engage staff on sustainability issues,” said Mr McNally.

Since the reward schemes, the council has installed PowerDown plugs on all its computers, which automatically turn off the monitor when the computer is powered down.