In a letter sent yesterday to the committee chairman, environment minister, Earl Ferrers, said:
'The committee's report is a welcome contribution to the debate about the government's strategy for sustainable development. The response gives our considered reaction to the recommendations which were made in the report.
'We have taken the opportunity to consider further the role of quantifiable targets in our strategy, particularly in relation to waste and recycling, air pollution, greenhouse gases, transport, agriculture, forestry and biodiversity. We have also used the response to clarify the role of Green ministers and some of the other arrangements for integrating economic and environmental policies.
The main topics covered in the committee's report, and consequently in the response, are:
- definitions of the principles of sustainable development
- the use of targets in environmental policy
- a number of specific policy measures for sustainable development
- the net costs of sustainable development policies
- the integration of economic and environmental policies
- the challenge of raising awareness publicly
The government intends the response to help inform the continuing debate about sustainable development. It will continue to keep under review many of the findings of the committee and will use the annual white papers in the This Common Inheritance series to report on any further conclusions on these, as on other, issues.