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ARTS MINISTER URGES PUBLIC BODIES TO BECOME EVER GREEN

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Arts minister Tessa Blackstone today called on the cultural ...
Arts minister Tessa Blackstone today called on the cultural

organisations sponsored by the DCMS to do more to help promote

sustainability.

Speaking at 'Building a Sustainable Heritage', a conference organised

by the DCMS and the Science Museum, Baroness Blackstone, who is

also a Green minister, said of its title:

'Building a Sustainable Heritage' illustrates rather neatly the dual,

and equally important, implications for my department. On the one

hand, we are concerned with conserving and maintaining our

irreplaceable national heritage. On the other, we have to ensure

continuity and sustainability, so that future generations have

something worthwhile to inherit. I am keen that today's conference

comes up with clear plans which DCMS sectors can put into action.'

She commended several current initiatives including:

- Royal parks' formal system of assessing the energy and

environmental impacts and opportunities of all their new projects

and its plans to set up a sustainable energy park at Bushy Park

- English Tourism Council's 20 national indicators to chart the

sector's progress in protecting and enhancing the built and natural

environment, supporting local communities and benefiting the

economy

- Green Spaces and Sustainable Communities, a£125m New

Opportunities Fund initiative to help local communities enjoy the

local environment.

But she said more could be done, particularly in spreading the

message of sustainable development with the public:

'Museums, galleries and libraries can provide neutral spaces where

discussion can take place. We can engage the public in understanding

the past, and in thinking about what might happen in future to make

our society more sustainable. We must ensure that examples of good

practice and lessons on what works are disseminated widely. People

have to know what they can do, and feel encouraged that they can make

a difference.'

DCMS recently published its own environmental policy and has sent out

a questionnaire to find out what practical steps its sponsored bodies

are taking.

Other speakers included Jonathon Porritt, the chairman of the

Sustainable Development Commission, Alan Morton, the senior curator

of Energy at the Science Museum, and Jeremy Leggart, chief executive

of Solar Century, a solar electric power company, and author of The

Carbon War. The event also featured workshops, a discussion on the

Lottery's role and a performance by Kandu Arts entitled

Sustainability, Life, the World and Everything.

Welcoming the conference, environment minister Michael Meacher

said:

'Sustainable development is a priority for the whole of government.

Every department must contribute and DCMS has clearly recognised

this. There is a simple idea at the heart of sustainable development

- it means a better quality of life for everyone, now and for

generations to come.

'DCMS' areas of responsibility - tourism, sport, museums and

galleries, heritage and the arts - mean it has much to contribute in

the promotion of understanding of the sustainability concept and the

achievement of our objectives. I look forward to seeing this action

plan.'

Note

A Green minister has been appointed in each of the main central

Government departments. The objectives they work to are:

- To promote the integration of the three strands of sustainable

development (economic, environmental and social) into decision

making across government and the wider public sector

- To promote understanding of sustainable development across

government

- To build on the work already taken to identify the significant

environmental impacts of each department's operations (both

negative and positive), developing strategies to improve

departments' environmental performance.

They work towards these objectives both individually and collectively

and meet as the Green ministers committee, chaired by environment

minister Michael Meacher.

Further information on sustainable development, including the last

Greening Government Annual Report and the Second Annual Report

'Achieving a Better Quality of Life', can be found here .

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