Written evidence submitted by the House
of Commons Management Board |
1. This memorandum provides a summary of 2009-10
Parliamentary environmental performance and plans to reduce the
environmental impact of Parliament. It also provides an update
on the memorandum submitted by the Management Board as evidence
to the Environmental Audit Committee's Sixth Report of Session
2008-09, Greening Government.
2. In March 2009, Parliament's high level environmental
strategy was developed and approved by the House of Commons Commission,
the House of Lords House Committee, and the Management Boards
of both Houses. A joint policy statement setting out the arrangements
for environmental management and high level commitments to continuous
environmental improvement was approved by the Commons Management
Board in December 2009 and endorsed by the Commission in January
2010 (Annex A). The policy was subject to review by internal stakeholders
and external review by the Sustainable Development Commission.
3. Whilst Parliament is not covered by Government's
Sustainable Operations on the Government Estate (SOGE) framework,
the 2009-10 Parliamentary environmental targets drew on the SOGE
targets with specific focus on short term performance improvements.
Following independent verification of baseline data and an assessment
of environmental opportunities longer term, strategic targets
have been set for 2010-11 and 2020-21.
4. An environmental improvement plan was developed
to ensure Parliament meets its short term environmental targets.
In line with good practice, departments were requested to include
preliminary environmental objectives into their 2010-11 business
5. At the end of 2009-10, and for the first time,
Parliament reported an annual reduction in its carbon dioxide
emissions resulting from energy use, reduction in water consumption
and waste generation, as well as an increase in the total percentage
of waste recycled.
6. In March 2009 environmental goals were proposed
to the Commons Management Board. In this initial year of environmental
performance assessment these goals were distinct from formal targets,
in recognition of concerns regarding the validity of baseline
data and uncertainty regarding the extent of the Houses' ability
to improve performance. The goals for 2009-10 were drawn up after
discussion with the Sustainable Development Commission, and were:
- To reduce Parliament's carbon footprint from
energy and utility consumption by 3%, relative to 2008-09.
- To reduce water consumption by 2%, relative to
- To reduce waste generated by 5%, relative to
- To recycle 50% of waste generated by volume.
7. Performance against the 2009-10 goals and
targets has been presented monthly to the Management Board. As
part of its balanced scorecard, monthly performance data is provided
on carbon emissions, electricity, gas and water consumption, waste
generation and the recycling rate. This reporting process has
8. Performance in 2009-10 was positive with all
goals met and, for the first time, Parliament recorded a year
on year reduction in carbon dioxide emissions. We achieved:
- A 3% reduction in absolute carbon dioxide emissions
as compared to 2008-09, including a 1% reduction in weather corrected
energy consumption and a 9% reduction in weather corrected gas
- A 10% reduction in water consumption per m2
of estate area, as compared to 2008-09.
- A 13% reduction in waste generated per person
as compared to 2008-09.
- A 56% waste recycling rate.
- Further details of 2009-10 performance are shown
at Annex B.
9. The House continued in its aim to source electricity
from renewable sources to the maximum available, and over 99%
of the electricity used is from green tariffs. However, to better
reflect changes in energy efficiency rather than purchasing, average
carbon factors are used for the purposes of reporting our emissions
from energy use.
10. Parliament's environmental impacts were identified
and prioritised at staff workshops in summer 2009. The significant
environmental impacts were identified as energy consumption, resource
use, waste generation, pollution and wildlife management. Parliament's
policy and strategy are based on the management of these areas.
To ensure that the correct focus and prioritisation were applied,
the policy and strategy were subjected to DEFRA's Stretching the
which positively confirmed the approach being taken.
11. Following independent validation of baseline
performance data and completion of an environmental opportunities
assessment in 2009-10, short term (2010-11) and long term (2020-21)
targets, based on wider UK commitments, best practice and Parliament's
operating arrangements, have been set and approved by the Management
Board and the Commission (and by the Lords Management Board and
House Committee). To provide assurance of the robust nature of
Parliamentary environmental performance data and in line with
best practice, independent validation was sought for our previous
baseline data (1999-2000), and 2008-09 data (new baseline). The
successful validation of the 2008-09 data provided assurance that
this could be effectively used as a baseline year for short and
long term targets. Data for future years will be subjected to
the same level of independent validation. These new targets include:
- To reduce carbon emissions (resulting from energy
consumption) by 7% by 2010-11 and by 34% by 2020-21, relative
- To reduce water consumption by 12% by 2010-11
and by 25% by 2020-21, relative to 2008-09.
- To reduce the volume of waste generated by 10%
by 2010-11 and by 25% by 2020-21, relative to 2008-09.
- To recycle 60% of waste generated by weight by
2010-11 and 75% by 2020-21.
The full list of 2010-11 Parliamentary Environmental
targets is set out in Annex C.
12. Looking forward, the House recognises that
improving performance against these targets requires not only
physical changes to the fixed assets of the Parliamentary Estate,
but also behavioural change of those who use the Estate to achieve
more sustainable outcomes. Work to develop a strategy to achieve
this, which will provide further reductions in environmental impact
of Houses' activities, continues.
13. In 2009 Parliamentary environmental performance
was reported publicly for the first time as a memorandum submitted
to the Commons' Environmental Audit Committee as part of their
Greening Government inquiry. This provided a summary of Parliament's
environmental performance in 2008-09 and plans to reduce impacts
further. As part of the environmental policy statement, the Houses
have agreed to report publicly on environmental performance in
accordance with environmental and financial reporting best practice.
14. The Management Board continues to recognise
that the activities of the House of Commons have a significant
environmental impact. The 2010-11 Corporate Business Plan recognises
the expectation that we should improve our environmental performance,
with a strategic objective of increased and demonstrable value
for money and environmental sustainability in the services we
15. The recently introduced Carbon Reduction
Commitment Energy Efficiency Scheme (previously known as the Carbon
Reduction Commitment) requires public and private organisations
to report on their carbon emissions. Whilst Parliament is not
covered by the scheme, the Finance and Service Committee have
expressed an interest in Parliament mirroring the requirement
to report annual carbon emissions publicly. It is currently proposed
that this will be completed in 2010-11 by reporting in line with
the recently formalised HM Treasury Guidance for Government Departments
on Sustainability Reporting
after the end of the current financial year.
16. The 2010-11 environmental improvement plan,
supporting the delivery of the 2010-11 Parliamentary targets,
is based on the output of an independent, Estate-wide environmental
opportunities assessment. Budgets have been approved for the improvement
actions identified in the plan and additional staff resources
allocated to the House's Environment Section.
17. The 2010-11 environmental improvement plan
will further focus efforts on improving energy efficiency and
reducing carbon emissions through modifications to the building
management system, voltage optimisation and transformer tapping,
continuation of the successful lighting replacement programme,
server virtualisation, a behavioural change programme and a pilot
of roof insulation materials suitable for use within heritage
buildings such as the Palace.
ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY STATEMENT
Both Houses are committed to improving the sustainability
of their activities and operations and leading by example, for
the benefit of the environment and society as a whole.
This policy statement applies to the activities of
both Houses of Parliament and Parliamentary ICT. It outlines Parliament's
priority actions to deliver sustainability. Sustainability and
environmental improvements are to be integrated into business
planning and decision making to ensure that sustainability is
not separate from core business but forms part of a balanced overall
strategy to achieve Parliament's goals and objectives.
Parliament already seeks to observe the wider principles
of corporate responsibility, of which environmental sustainability
is one aspect; for example maintaining the heritage and integrity
of the Parliamentary estate, ensuring the highest levels of staff
and Member welfare, ensuring people are treated fairly and inclusively,
promoting public understanding of the work and role of Parliament
and procuring goods and services in a fair manner within procurement
rules, including fair trade products where appropriate. Parliament
will focus on environmental improvement in the immediate future
as the area of greatest opportunity and potential impact.
The Clerk of the House of Commons and the Clerk of
the Parliaments are responsible for environmental management by
their respective House Services. Strategic environmental management
and responsibility for the implementation of this policy has been
delegated, through the Director General of Facilities in the House
of Commons and the Reading Clerk in the House of Lords, to the
Head of Fire Safety and Environment in the Parliamentary Estates
All managers are responsible for environmental management
in their area of responsibility. All staff shall follow the principles
of the policy statement to assist in meeting the sustainability
commitments identified in the policy statement.
The policy statement will be communicated to all
staff, Members and Members' staff. The current version of the
policy statement and associated environmental strategy documents
detailing Parliament's environmental arrangements will be posted
on the environmental pages on the intranet. The policy statement
will be made available to the public.
ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY STATEMENT
Both House Services and Parliamentary ICT are committed
to working together to achieve continuous improvement of the sustainability
performance of Parliamentary activities and that of their supply
chains. This is wholly consistent with achieving value for money
and will benefit Members, Members' staff, House staff, visitors
and other members of society. Parliament aims to comply with all
applicable legislation, codes and good practice pertaining to
sustainability. In particular, Parliament will focus on:
- Maintaining a system and framework to manage
and improve environmental sustainability performance
- Implementing an annual environmental sustainability
- Ensuring provision of adequate resources to deliver
- Securing the co-operation and involvement of
staff, Members, Members' staff and the Trade Union Side in environmental
- Improving employee environmental awareness, engagement
- Reducing Parliament's environmental impacts by:
- Reducing carbon emissions and the consumption
of energy and water
- Conserving natural resources and minimising the
use of harmful substances
- Minimising waste generation, and disposal to
landfill by reuse and recycling
- Preventing pollution and reducing emissions
- Managing wildlife for the benefit of the Parliamentary
- Addressing climate change through adaptation
Parliament will produce an action plan and set targets
to ensure these commitments are turned into results.
Sustainability performance and effectiveness of management
arrangements will be regularly monitored and reviewed. Independent
assurance of annual environmental performance data will be obtained.
An annual management review will be provided to the Management
Boards and performance information made publicly available. Revisions
to the policy statement will be submitted to the Clerks of the
two Houses for their approval.
|Clerk of the House of Commons
||Clerk of the Parliaments|
This policy is endorsed and supported by the House of Commons
Commission and the House Committee of the House of Lords.
2009-10 PARLIAMENTARY ENVIRONMENTAL PERFORMANCE
|To deliver the action plan for Greening Parliament.
||Complete||The action plan has been endorsed by the Management Boards.
|To reduce Parliament's carbon footprint from energy and utility consumption relative to 2008-09
||3.7% decrease ||In 2008-09 absolute carbon dioxide emissions from energy used on the Parliamentary Estate were 22,184 tonnes. This reduced to 21,490 in 2009-10. The main contributor to this reduction was an improvement of 19% at Portcullis house, as a result of improvements in control of the Building Management System.
|To develop an energy and utility improvement plan identifying options for renewable energy and combined heat and power generation and reducing energy and utilities consumption.
||Complete||Following a programme of energy surveys and audits carried out by independent consultants, a detailed improvement plan with a series of recommended measures has been produced for each building on the Parliamentary Estate.
|To review and challenge Parliament's display energy certificates with the aim of improving 2009 energy ratings
||Complete||Further improvements in ratings are anticipated for 2010 with a review of the operating hours applied in calculation of the ratings to better reflect the actual pattern of building use.
|To reduce water consumption by 2%, relative to 2008-09
||4% decrease||The 4% decrease represents a reduction in the amount of water used to 309,785m3 in 2009-10, compared with 322,393m3 in 2008-09.
In addition, a 13% reduction in water consumption was achieved at the Palace of Westminster as a consequence of the improvements to the cooling towers.
|To develop a waste improvement plan identifying options to reduce waste generation and improve recycling rates.
||Following a programme of waste audits, carried out by independent consultants, a detailed waste improvement plan with a series of recommended measures has been produced for the Parliamentary Estate.
|To recycle 50% of waste in 2009-10||57% recycled
||A recycling rate of 57% was achieved in 2009-10. In addition, the weight of waste generated in 2009-10 fell by 12% compared with 2008-09.|
All general waste generated on the Parliamentary Estate is either recycled or diverted from landfill through disposal to incinerators generating energy from waste.
|To ensure all major Parliamentary Estate projects specify environmental requirements.
||Complete||All business cases for new projects require approval by the Environment Section.
|To achieve BREEAM "Excellent" rating for new builds and major refurbishments and "Very Good" rating for major refurbishments of heritage/listed buildings.
||Achieved||The design for the refurbishment of the Millbank Island site achieved a Very Good BREEAM rating. This was the only project that required a BREEAM assessment in 2009-10.
|To identify the threats and opportunities of climate change on Parliament's activities and services.
||Complete||An assessment of the impact of climate change has been carried out and forms part of the Risk Register for the Parliamentary Estates Directorate
2010-11 PARLIAMENTARY ENVIRONMENTAL TARGETS
Carbon, energy and utilities:
- To reduce carbon emissions by 7% by 2010-11 and by 34% by
2020-21, relative to 2008-09.
- to source a maximum volume of electricity from renewable sources.
- To reduce water consumption by 12% by 2010-11 and by 25% by
2020-21, relative to 2008-09.
- To reduce the volume of waste generated by 10% by 2010-11
and by 25% by 2020-21, relative to 2008-09.
- To recycle 60% of waste generated by weight by 2010-11 and
75 % by 2020-21.
Procurement and projects:
- To ensure all major Parliamentary Estates projects specify
- To achieve BREEAM
"Excellent" rating for new builds and major refurbishments
and "Very Good" rating for major refurbishments of heritage/listed
Climate change adaptation:
- To identify the threats and opportunities of climate change
on Parliament's activities and services.
10 December 2010
HM Treasury, Public Sector Annual Reports: Sustainability Reporting.
June 2010. Back
BREEAM-Building Research Establishment's Environmental Assessment