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GOVERNMENT NEEDS TO STEP UP ACTION TO DELIVER SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

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Government departments have to work harder to deliver sustainable...
Government departments have to work harder to deliver sustainable

development (SD), environment minister Michael Meacher said at the launch

of the annual progress report on SD in government today.

The report measures departmental performance against the government's

own environmental targets and progress on making SD a key factor in

all policy making.

Achievements over the past year include:

- All departments exceeded the current target for a 1% per year

reduction in greenhouse gas emissions for all buildings for both of

the last 2 years. In terms of carbon savings the improvement was 3%

in 2000/2001 and 7% in 2001/2002 against a baseline of 1999/2000

- Departments have moved quickly to purchase green electricity - some

are already exceeding the target of 5% set for next year.

- 6 departments are now recovering more than 40% of their office

waste, 2 more than last year. 5 more are recovering between 29% and

40%.

- 8 departments achieved the target to reduce water use in office

buildings to 11m3 per person per year by March 2002 in some or all

of their buildings.

The report also shows how further progress will be made towards

sustainable development though:

- Interdepartmental agreement on a new Framework for Sustainable

Development on the Government Estate, including cross-government

targets for travel, water and environmental management systems

- All departments with a Public Service Agreement submitting

sustainable development reports in support of their bids for

resources in the 2002 Spending Review

- Departments considering the impacts climate change may have on

their policy and operational responsibilities

Mr Meacher said:

'This report shows how we are stepping up our action to deliver

sustainable development in government, as part of our commitment to

deliver it for the UK as a whole.

'People are expecting more from the government on these issues. It is

vital that we practise what we preach on sustainable development,

with transparent reporting which does not just cover what we are

doing well but also the areas where we need to improve in future

'As well as continuing to monitor our environmental performance we

have launched some major new initiatives within government this year

- including new targets for the Government Estate - the buildings and

land managed by government departments.

'Our top priorities in the year ahead will be further development and

roll out of integrated policy appraisal tools, development of further

targets for the estate and finalising the scope for social as well as

environmental reporting on the Estate to more fully reflect the

contribution that departments can make to sustainable development.'

NOTES

1. The Sustainable Development in Government 1st Annual Report is

published in 2 parts:

Part 1 is a summary report and provides an overview of progress

across government on policy and operational areas covered by the

Sustainable Development in Government initiative

Part 2 accompanies the summary report and provides details of

departments' performance in all the areas highlighted in Part 1. To

facilitate investigation of the performance of each department, and

to make effective use of resources, the data is being made available

as a database on the Sustainable Development in Government website.

2. Part 1 and an executive summary are available in hard copy from

Defra Publications, 10 Whitehall Place, London SW1A 2HH -

tel 020 7270 8782/8783.

3. The Sustainable Development in Government report is the successor

to the Greening Government Reports. It focuses on key actions to

incorporate sustainable development into policy making and to improve

the contribution that Departments make to sustainable development

through, for example, the running of their buildings, and purchase of

goods and services. This year's report contains a focus on social as

well as environmental impacts of running Departments.

4. The report covers 19 central departments and their executive

agencies which are covered by the Cabinet Sub Committee of Green

Ministers, ENV(G). It does not cover NDPBs or the wider public

sector.

5. The Framework for Sustainable Development on the Government Estate

was launched on 24 July 2002. It is a major new initiative to improve

management and reporting on sustainable development impacts by all

departments and includes challenging performance targets. The first 3

parts of the Framework have been published, including targets on

environmental management systems, travel and water. Further parts

will follow over the next year. When complete the Framework will

cover the following areas

Activities

Travel Procurement Estates Management

Environmental Impacts

Energy Waste Water Biodiversity

Social impacts

Impacts as an employer (eg career development, work-life balance

Health and safety)

Impacts on the community

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