Government leading by example as usual - NOT!!!!


Lantern Swinger

Red Card On Whitehall's Green Goals

Catherine Jacob
Environment correspondent
Updated:14:53, Tuesday March 18, 2008

If saving energy starts at home then the Government needs to put its own house in order - according to its environment watchdog on CO2 emissions, recycling and renewable energy.

Westminster: not green enoughThe damning verdict comes from the Sustainable Development Commission which has issued its latest annual report into how Whitehall is faring.

The SDC's sixth assessment of Government performance, against a series of sustainability targets, shows that two-thirds of departments are not on track to meet their goal of reducing CO2 emissions by 12.5% by 2010.

Emissions from departmental travel also increased by 1.5% last year, which shows no progress towards the 15% reduction by 2010/2011 set by the Government.

Water consumption is another area of concern, with a meagre 0.1% reduction in use, against a 25% target by 2020.

But on the positive side, recycling targets could well be met and the 28.3% of electricity gained from renewables is well above the 10% target set for 2010.

Rebecca Willis, vice-chair of the Sustainable Development Commission, says the UK is making history by introducing the world's first Climate Change Bill - giving Britain the opportunity to lead the way on one of the most pressing issues facing the world.

"But Government as a whole needs to take radical action to put its own house in order if it is to be in a position to lead by example," she says.

"Failure is not an option. These targets must be the first step in a journey towards much greater sustainability; yet progress to date has been far too slow."

The report reveals that office emissions have, on the face of it, fallen by 4%.

But the SDC points out that if the Ministry of Defence is discounted, overall emissions have actually risen by 22%.

The MoD produces almost three-quarters of Whitehall emissions and has done so well it has positively skewed government performance on most targets.

Praise over recyclingThe failings seem to have hit home at the highest level with the government responding by announcing a new centre of excellence for cutting its own emissions.

Ministers will also have to use greener transport on official business by the summer and bottled water in departmental meetings is being phased out.

Cabinet Secretary Sir Gus O'Donnell has made sustainability of the government estate one of his priorities.

"The Civil Service must be fully committed to sustainable working, reflecting the increasing priority placed on environmental responsibility by the public we serve," he says. "We must find new and innovative ways of raising the bar for sustainable working, planning and procurement."

But the SDC says that while so many big businesses are making efforts to achieve challenging environmental goals, the Government's own record looks particularly weak.

The worst 10 offenders (based on a five-star rating)

1) Dept of Constitutional Affairs (no stars)
2) Dept of Culture, Media and Sport (1 star)
3) Forestry Commission (1 star)
4) Cabinet Office (2 stars)
5) Foreign Office (2 stars)
6) Law Officers' Department (2 stars)
7) Dept of Education and Skills (3 stars)
8) Home Office (3 stars)
9) Revenue and Customs (3 stars)
10) Defra (4 stars)
trehorn2 said:
The worst 10 offenders (based on a five-star rating)

3) Forestry Commission (1 star)
How did they work that out? Surely all those trees are enough to offset the whole of the Civil Service!

Similar threads

Latest Threads