Committee accuses UK government of environmental failures

The Environmental Audit Select committee has concluded that the UK government is failing to implement its own "greening government" initiative.


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“We are disappointed that the Government has not met its commitment to set targets for energy, water, waste and transport for 1999-2000, but we welcome the evidence that departments are making efforts to start measuring consumption and develop targets,” the Greening Government Initiative 1999 report says.

Reporting for the second consecutive year on the Government’s own environmental goals, the committee’s report concludes that environmental monitoring and target setting by government departments remain in the early stages of development.

Individual ministers’ failure to integrate environmental concerns into decision-making is also a concern. The committee would like to see departments assessing the environmental impacts of their policies in addition to operational impacts: “We consider that it is inappropriate for government departments with significant environmental impacts associated with their policies and programmes to restrict their environmental management systems to addressing only their operational impacts on the environment..”

The report calls on DETR to take a lead in developing environmental assessments of its policies.

The Environmental Audit Committee expects to report on energy efficiency and the Budget before the Parliamentary summer recess. It will continue to take evidence on the Government’s sustainable development strategy into the autumn.

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