UK greener government initiative reviewed

Environment ministry claims good progress, sets new targets for improved performance

The UK government is making good progress towards improving its environmental performance, according to a first annual report on the country's "greening government" initiative published yesterday. The initiative was criticised by a parliamentary committee last month (ENDS Daily 5 July), but the government's own review paints a more positive picture. Central government energy consumption has been cut by over 18% since 1990 and is on track to exceed an existing target for a 20% reduction by 2000, according to the environment ministry. All ministries are being encouraged to introduce environmental management systems and five have already been certified to the ISO 14001 system. Meanwhile, all potential national budget measures have had an "initial environmental screening," the government says, while the foreign ministry has made a "full environmental audit" of its operations in the UK and abroad. Introducing the review, environment minister Michael Meacher announced a new target for all government bodies to recover at least 40% of total office waste by 2000/1, at least one quarter of this from recycling or composting. Other future plans include a commitment by the industry ministry to produce its own sustainable development strategy, a plan for the agriculture ministry to publish pilot indicators for sustainable agriculture and a target for the entire fleet of government cars to use alternative fuels by 2002.

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