DETR ‘could be greener’ says report

The UK Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (DETR) needs to do more to green its operations, says Glenda Jackson, the DETR's Green Minister following the publication of the Department's first Greening Operations Report.

The DETR’s Report covers activities in 1997-1998 and reports on the Department’s commitment to greening operations as its contribution to sustainable development.

Despite making green improvements to its activities, the Report identifies gaps in current knowledge or processes which need addressing:

Energy: Provisional figures for 1997-98 contained in the report show that the DETR’s current reduction in energy consumption is around 15%. Work remains to be done to achieve the 20% target reduction in consumption over 1990-91 levels by March 2000 set for all Government Departments. The department has commissioned an energy strategy to consider further energy reduction opportunities.

Transport: The DETR is looking at ways of reducing the environmental impact of the journey to work and travel in the course of work Therefore, each of the DETR’s property centres is working to produce Green Transport Plans (GTPs). All HQ buildings and main buildings occupied by executive Agencies and Government Offices for the Regions are aiming to have green transport plans by March 1999 and all other key buildings by March 2000.

Waste: The Report says the volume of waste produced by the DETR at a number of locations could be further reduced and recycling increased despite the fact that the DETR has established and achieved targets for reducing the amount of waste disposed of to landfill from its HQ buildings. The report also identifes the establishment of a DETR baseline and consequent corporate and local targets as a priority.

Water: Water consumption at some properties exceeds the guide to conserving water issued to all property centres by the DETR and the Environment Agency. Consumption will be subject to review during 1998-1999. However, consumption of water at the 14 properties where the Department has sole occupancy is better than the suggested standard in the guide, with some properties using considerably less than the level suggested.

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