Select Committee on Environmental Audit Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum submitted by the Secretary of State for the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs


Practical examples:

  DEFRA has worked closely with the Treasury to ensure that sustainable development issues are considered and reflected in Departmental bids for the 2002 Spending Review. Specific guidance on sustainable development has been issued for the first time and each Department has been asked to produce a sustainable development report.

  DEFRA is working with DTLR, DoH and CMPS to develop an integrated policy (sustainability) appraisal framework for use across Government.

  DEFRA is working with DTI and (the trading arm of HMT) to set up a high level, cross-government sustainable procurement group, with I announced on 24 October. This group will look at what can be done within the framework of EC public procurement directives better to support sustainable development through Government procurement.

  DEFRA is working with DTLR in order to deal with the growing problem of abandoned cars. A joint DEFRA/DTLR consultation document was launched (31 October 2001) in order to get dumped cars off the streets quickly and efficiently and make our neighbourhoods better places to live. This action against abandoned vehicles which pollute and blight the environment, present safety hazards, and become targets for vandalism and crime, was welcomed by the Home Office.

  On November 2001, I brought together key players to tackle the issue of waste. The Waste Summit provided a forum for Green groups, local government, the Environment Agency and business representatives. Discussion ranged from cutting down on waste, to increasing recycling, and finally what to do with waste, which cannot be avoided but also cannot be recycled. The Summit follows publication the day before the Performance and Innovation Unit's report on resource productivity. Making more productive use of resources is essential for the future health of our environment, businesses and society. I also announced that the PIU will be working on a new study with DEFRA and other departments to review the government's strategy for waste. Starting its study in December, the PIU will report in summer 2002. I will be the sponsor Minister.

  DEFRA has worked with DTI to produce the Government's newly adopted Fuel Poverty Strategy (21 November 2001). The Strategy sets out measures to ensure that no low-income or disabled household will be in fuel poverty by 2010. Over the last five years, one and a half million households have been removed from fuel poverty. (Fuel Poverty is defined as people needing to spend more than 10 per cent of their household income on fuel to keep warm). The Government intends to look at further improving this positive record through piloting the use of cutting-edge technology that can provide individual homes with both central heating and electricity (micro-CHP) and renewable energy-based solutions.

  DEFRA, DTLR and DTI will be publishing shortly a consultation document on Powering Future Road Vehicles, to encourage low carbon vehicles and fuels such as hydrogen fuel cells.

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