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The UK Round Table on Sustainable Development today published a report describing in detail its first year's work....
The UK Round Table on Sustainable Development today published a report describing in detail its first year's work.

The round table's co-chairman, Richard Southwood, says:

'In its first year, the round table has explored its method of working and reviewed some major sectors of development. Within the latter, it has sought to identify particular and defined aspects where its recommendations might aid progress towards sustainability. On their own, many of these steps would be modest; but cumulatively, their impact could be significant.

'Moving into our second year, I hope we can build on our achievements. We need to make the round table a body whose voice is heard in debate on the central issues concerning the role of the UK in a world environment.'

The round table's priorities in its first year have been

-- transport

-- energy

-- environmental mechanisms

The annual report includes the full texts of the round table's initial reports on freight transport; the domestic energy market - 1998 and beyond; and environmental management and audit.

It also describes other work completed or under way, including recommendations on the landfill tax and environmental trusts; key principles for sustainable transport, on which it will be publishing a report later this year; and a study in Northampton which is examining opportunities and obstacles to achieving more sustainable transport patterns.

The annual report is addressed to the government, and to all other organisations with an interest in, or a responsibility for, the issues it raises. The government has undertaken to respond formally by mid-June to all the round table's recommendations.

That response will be published and drawn to the attention of parliament. The round table would also welcome comments from others on the report, its programme and approach, by 14 June.

-- The UK Round Table on Sustainable Development was established by the government in January 1995. It aims to encourage discussion on major sustainable development issues and to build consensus between people who have different perspectives and different responsibilities.

The round table has about 30 members, drawn from central and local government, business, environmental organisations and other sectors of the community. Its co-chairmen are the environment secretary John Gummer and Richard Southwood.

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