Councils 'putting cost above environment'

Only half of local government bodies employ someone who has specific responsibility for environmental performance.

A survey by Enterprise Rent-A-Car has shown that 49% of public bodies in the UK have an employee whose sole or primary role is to address sustainability issues.

And although 87% of public sector procurement managers said that their organisation is assessed on its environmental performance, they admitted cost remained the most important consideration when deciding on their organisation's transport policy.

Convenience was also very important, pushing the environmental impact of travel into third in the list of factors.

Oz Choudrhi, public sector sales manager at Enterprise, said the rise of environmental managers was a step in the right direction but they needed to be given more authority.

"It's not surprising that cost ranks high on the list of factors when choosing methods of transport - after all, it's important to get the best value from money that comes out of the public purse," he said.

"The worry is that environmental concerns came in such a distant third place.

"These new environmental managers need to be given a louder voice within the public sector.

"They need to be given the authority to make a real difference in procurement patterns and ensure that cost concerns don't completely overshadow environmental considerations."

An opinion poll by the Local Government Association has shown that more than three quarters of people agree councils have a major role to play in tackling climate change.

The LGA, Environment Agency and the United Kingdom Climate Impacts Programme teamed up to produce guidance on the risks of climate change for local government.

Be Aware, Be Prepared, Take Action was published on Friday.

Kate Martin


| transport


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