Select Committee on Environmental Audit Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum from HM Customs and Excise



  1.  This memorandum provides information on Customs and Excise's input to UK preparations for the World Summit on Sustainable Development to be held in Johannesburg in August 2002.

  2.  Customs and Excise is represented on the MISC 18 ministerial group by HM Treasury. HM Treasury preparations for the World Summit on Sustainable Development are set out in their memorandum.


  1.  UK Sustainable Development Strategy "A Better Quality of Life" (1999) commits the Government to reporting annually on its progress towards achieving sustainable development. Progress is measured against the 15 headline indicators and 147 core indicators identified in the 1999 paper Quality of Life Counts.

  2.  Whilst Customs and Excise does not have direct responsibility for the headline sustainable development indicators, our forthcoming Sustainable Development Report will set out those indicators where we can make a contribution. They will include:

    H1:  Economic output (GDP).

    H3:  Employment (per cent of working age people in work).

    H8:  Reduction of crime.

    H9:  Reduction of emissions of greenhouse gases.

    H15:  Waste minimisation.

  3.  The Department's Public Service Agreement (PSA) is underpinned by three core aims which themselves contribute to sustainable development:

    —  To create opportunity for everyone to fulfil their potential through education and employment.

    —  To create a fair and inclusive society in which communities are healthy and secure.

    —  To achieve higher productivity, sustainable economic growth and effective co-operation with European and international partners.


  1.  The Sustainable Development Team in Logistics Directorate within Customs and Excise is responsible for co-ordinating and monitoring the Department's contribution to the Government's sustainable development agenda. This includes: initiating awareness raising activities (a recent example of which was the organisation of a forum for senior managers within Customs, Treasury, Cabinet Office and Inland Revenue to discuss the importance of sustainable development and how it should be incorporated into SR2002. There were a number of key speakers at the event including the FST and Green Minister for the Chancellor's Departments, Paul Boateng, MP who spoke about the importance of the World Summit on Sustainable Development in terms of raising awareness and demonstrating how the UK is facing up to its international responsibilities); producing annual sustainability reports and preparing the Departmental contribution to the Green Ministers Reports; monitoring energy, water, waste and co-ordination of activities to ensure that the Department meets Government targets.

  2.  Environmental impact assessment is an integral part of our policy making process for all potential Budget measures within Customs and Excise. Where an impact is identified, policy teams take this forward measure by measure in submissions to Ministers, so that significant impacts are highlighted and Ministers' decisions are fully informed. This is in line with Government guidance on appraising and evaluating the effects of policy measures.

  3.  Customs and Excise chairs the Inter Departmental Liaison Group (IDLG), which provides a forum for officials to discuss sustainable development issues, share best practice and identify ways in which we can support the Government's Sustainable Development Strategy.

February 2002

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