Short Guide to the Environmental Audit Committee


Established in November 1997 to consider the contribution of policies and programmes of all government departments and non-departmental public bodies to environmental protection and sustainable development; to audit performance against targets set by Ministers; and to report.


The EAC has looked at Government's performance in integrating environmental considerations into: systems (greening government machinery, budget, comprehensive spending review); individual policies (climate change, energy, housing, GMOs) and multilateral negotiations (at the EU, OECD and WTO).

Top Achievements

Establishing a recognisable role in making Government more green, employing both encouragement and constructive criticism. The Committee sharpened up the Green Ministers Committee (which, under the chairmanship of the Environment Minister, oversees departments' progress) and secured an annual greening government report. The Committee has contributed to the Treasury's growing recognition of environmental priorities as the Chancellor has himself acknowledged. The Committee has also played its part in calling for a more coherent policy for sustainable development from Government; and in pointing out the links between aviation, housing and climate change.

Next 5 Years

To continue to apply pressure on government at all levels (local, national, etc) to work together to combat the threat of climate change; to secure an effective infrastructure for environmental accountability within government for the impacts of its policies, programmes and operations; to identify, assess and audit Government's targets and indicators related to sustainable development; and to watch for examples of good and bad practice on policy appraisal and the environment and, going further, on sustainability as a whole.

In charge

The fifteen backbench Members on the Committee are in charge under the leadership of a chairman that they elect. The Committee is assisted, and its work facilitated, by a staff of 5, plus specialist advisers.

Contribution to environmental protection

Holding the Government to account over its environmental impacts and its commitments to meet simultaneously the threefold objectives of sustainable development: economic, environmental and social improvements.

Little known fact

The EAC is not the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Departmental Select Committee.

Further information

More detailed information about the work of the Committee can be found in its series of annual reports.

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