To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to his written statement of 1 April 2003, Official Report, column 52WS, what response he has had from the Northbridge Services Group to UK Government representations that they should desist from recruiting mercenaries to operate in Cote d'Ivoire; and if he will make a statement on what further steps he intends to take. 
Northbridge Services Group issued a press release on 2 April defending their proposed deployment to Cote d'Ivoire. On 7 April, the office of the
|FCO||Energy consumption (GWh/y)||Energy expenditure (£ million)||Energy/m2 (kWh/m2/y)||Savings over 1997–98 (percentage)||Energy efficiency spend (£k/y)|
|1. Energy Consumption: this is weather-corrected in the usual manner, using annual degree days relative to the 20-year average for 1990–91. The figures are those reported on for the Central Government Estate campaign. Figures include the FCO's only Agency, Wilton Park Conference Centre, for 2000–01 and 2001–02 only.|
|2. Energy Expenditure: this is actual spend, and from April 2001, includes the Climate Change Levy. Costs are inclusive of VAT from 1999–00.|
|3. Energy/m2: this variable allows for changes in both weather and estate size on energy consumption. So annual changes will generally reflect efficiency changes.|
|4. Savings over 1997–98: These have been expressed as percentage savings relative to the first year quoted here, and are based on the figures in the preceding column.|
|5. Energy efficiency spend: Note that this is not necessarily a good measure of an effective energy efficiency policy. For example, when a new building is commissioned or an existing one refurbished, good design can actually reduce capital costs, e.g. by avoiding air conditioning. The £801,000 recorded by the FCO in 2000–01 is the capital sum invested in energy efficiency measures incorporated into the refurbishment of the Old Admiralty Building.|
The Energy White Paper, "Our Energy Future—Creating a Low Carbon Economy" made clear the importance the Government attaches to improving energy efficiency in its own estate. This is reflected in several targets. There is currently an interim target of a 1 per cent. per annum ongoing reduction in weather-corrected carbon emissions, pending the development of new indicators and targets based on benchmarking the performance of each Department's largest buildings. These new targets are planned to be in place later this year. New targets for Government Departments' use of CHP generated electricity will also be established during 2003.
In addition, the review of Government procurement has identified areas where procurement could reinforce the achievement of these targets, and arrangements are being made centrally for Departments to purchase goods with high energy efficiency standards and which provide good value for money.
Ivorian president publicly denied any contract with Northbridge Services Group, and re-affirmed the President's commitment to the Linas-Marcoussis Agreement. We remain concerned that any deployment by foreign military units would seriously jeopardise the peace process. We are continuing discussions with our partners in the UN Security Council and wider international community on this issue.