Amongst other steps towards integrating sustainable development into all government activities, departments will have to buy recycled paper, and purchase sustainable timber products, according to the Green Ministers Second Annual Report, published on 14 November.

“The report reflects the greater emphasis Green Ministers have given this year to integrating sustainable development into policy making,” said Environment Minister, Michael Meacher, at the launch of the report. “Our impacts through policies are obviously much greater than those from our own operations. But the Government has to continue to set a good example in how it manages its estate if we are to have credibility when we call on business to do the same.”

An example of progress towards sustainable development is the cutting of energy use by 18.9% since 1990/91, which is set to continue with a 1% per annum reduction target. Nine departments purchase a proportion of their energy from renewable sources.

A new target of recycling and recovering 40% of total office waste is being implemented this year, together with a benchmarking project designed to provide central water and effluent monitoring service, and is intended to save departments, schools and prisons many millions of pounds. Eight departments are attempting to discourage the use of larger vehicles, by paying single motor mileage rates, and guidance is to be circulated on the least polluting vehicles, and the most energy efficient electrical products.

Copies of Greening Government: Second Annual Report of the Green Ministers Committee are available from the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions, DETR Free Literature, PO Box 236, Wetherby, LS23 7NB.

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