Environmental Audit Committee Press Notice

NEW INQUIRY

Greening Government

The Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) is today launching an inquiry into the Government’s  continuing efforts to reduce the environmental impact of its operations. The operations of Government have a sizeable environmental impact, and the Government has committed to leading by example on sustainable development.

This inquiry will draw on the data published by the Sustainable Development Commission (SDC) as part of the seventh annual Sustainable Development in Government (SDiG) assessment. While these data show that progress has been made against targets for waste, water and travel, the Government is still not on track to meet targets in other areas, most notably carbon emissions from offices. The EAC will be looking at what needs to be achieved to ensure that key  targets are met in future years.

Since the publication of Making Government operations more sustainable: A progress report,  the latest in a series of EAC inquiries on this subject, there have been a number of major changes to the machinery of Government. The Budget in 2008 announced the creation of a Centre for Excellence in Sustainable Procurement (CESP) within the Office of Government Commerce, and a Cabinet Office Minister now has responsibility for ensuring co-ordination across Whitehall of the Government's work on sustainable operations and sustainable procurement. This inquiry will examine the effectiveness of these new governance structures and the role they will play in improving departmental performance and co-ordinating activity across government.

The Committee invites organisations and members of the public to submit memoranda setting out their views on the overall performance of government against its own sustainable development targets.  While respondents are free to comment on any issues that they consider relevant, some specific subjects on which the Committee would welcome comments are set out below:

- the role of the Centre for Excellence in Sustainable Procurement and the Minister for Transformational Government in co-ordinating and driving forward activity across government;

- the extent to which government commitments and mandated targets are being enforced;

- the gap between the level of ambition set for the UK by government policies and the level of ambition the Government sets itself within the Sustainable Operations on the Government Estate (SOGE)  framework;

- whether attainment of SOGE targets at the level at which they are currently set would result in sustainable operations;

- the planned review of the SOGE framework;

- the potential for interdepartmental carbon trading;

- the use of credits and offsetting in achieving targets;

- the Government’s Greening ICT strategy;

- the reasons behind the continuing poor progress on reducing carbon emissions from offices;

- the reasons for the wide variations in departmental performance on issues such as carbon emissions from transport.

The Committee asks for written submissions in accordance with the guidelines stated below by Tuesday 21st April 2009.  An evidence session is likely to take place in early May.

Please note

Each submission should:

• Be no more than 3,000 words in length;

• Begin with a short summary in bullet point form;

• Have numbered paragraphs; and

• Be in Word format with as little use of colour or logos as possible.

A copy of the submission should be sent by e-mail to [email protected] and marked ‘Greening Government Inquiry’. An additional paper copy should be sent to:

Clerk of the Committee

Environmental Audit Committee

House of Commons

7 Millbank

London

SW1P 3JA

It would be helpful, for Data Protection purposes, if individuals submitting written evidence send their contact details separately in a covering letter. You should be aware that there may be circumstances in which the House of Commons will be required to communicate information to third parties on request, in order to comply with its obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Please supply a postal address so a copy of the Committee’s report can be sent to you upon publication.

A guide for written submissions to Select Committees may be found on the parliamentary website at:

http://www.parliament.uk/commons/selcom/witguide.htm

Please also note that:

• Material published elsewhere should not form the basis of a submission, but may be referred to within a proposed memorandum, in which case a hard copy of the published work should be included.

• Memoranda submitted must be kept confidential until published by the Committee, unless publication by the person or organisation submitting it is specifically authorised.

• Once submitted, evidence is the property of the Committee. The Committee normally, though not always, chooses to make public the written evidence it receives, by publishing it on the internet (where it will be searchable), by printing it or by making it available through the Parliamentary Archives. If there is any information you believe to be sensitive you should highlight it and explain what harm you believe would result from its disclosure. The Committee will take this into account in deciding whether to publish or further disclose the evidence.

• Select Committees are unable to investigate individual cases.

FURTHER INFORMATION:

1. The data published by the SDC as part of the seventh annual Sustainable Development in Government (SDiG) assessment are available at http://www.sd-commission.org.uk/sdig2008/

The SDC will publish a report on its findings in April 2009.

2. Membership:

Chairman:  Mr Tim Yeo, MP

Gregory Barker MP Mr Nick Hurd MP Mrs Linda Riordan MP

Mr Martin Caton MP Jane Kennedy MP* Mr Graham Stuart MP

Colin Challen MP Mark Lazarowicz MP Jo Swinson MP

Mr David Chaytor MP Mr Ian Liddell-Grainger MP Dr Desmond Turner MP

Martin Horwood MP Mr Shahid Malik MP Joan Walley MP

* The Minister for the Environment has ex-officio membership of the Committee in like manner to the Financial Secretary’s membership of the Committee of Public Accounts.

Media Enquiries:

Hannah Pearce, 020 7219 8430  or via email:  [email protected]

Specific Committee Information:  Details of all the Committee’s press releases and inquiries, together with its Reports, oral evidence and other publications, are available on the Committee’s Internet home page, which can be found at:

www.parliament.uk/parliamentary_committees/environmental_audit_committee.cfm

 Watch committees and parliamentary debates online:  www.parliamentlive.tv 

Publications / Reports / Reference Material: Copies of all select committee reports are available from the Parliamentary Bookshop (12 Bridge St, Westminster, 020 7219 3890) or the Stationery Office (0845 7023474).  Committee reports, press releases, evidence transcripts, Bills; research papers, a directory of MPs, plus Hansard (from 8am daily) and much more, can be found on www.parliament.uk