Committee of Public Accounts Press Notice

A STATEMENT FROM EDWARD LEIGH MP

CHAIRMAN OF THE COMMITTEE OF PUBLIC ACCOUNTS

National Audit Office report: Building for the future: sustainable construction and refurbishment on the government estate

Today’s report highlights a fundamental lack of priority given by government departments to the environmental sustainability of their buildings. Departments are failing to carry out environmental assessments and, in 2005-06, only nine per cent of the Government’s new building projects could prove that they had achieved the required environmental standards.

There is little hope that departments will meet the hugely challenging operational targets they now face - including carbon neutrality by 2012 and massive reductions in water consumption and waste. Despite its green rhetoric, the government is clearly failing to put its own house in order.

Departments’ potential to meet sustainability targets are being undermined by confusion and misunderstanding. Nobody truly knows who should have overall responsibility for setting policy or who should monitor compliance.  And departments are short sighted in their failure to consider the long term value of sustainable buildings: the lower running costs, the tangible economic and social benefits, and the reduction in environmental impacts. 

Notes for Editors

Requests for further comment from Edward Leigh should be made via Alex Paterson, Select Committee Media Officer, on 020 7219 1589 or 07917 488 488.