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Departmental Emissions

Volume 449: debated on Wednesday 19 July 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent estimate she has made of the carbon emissions of her Department; what commitment she has made to reducing such emissions; and if she will make a statement. (81059)

In 2004-05, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s (FCO) carbon emissions from energy on the UK estate totalled 3,374 tonnes. We are committed to reducing our emissions and are taking the following actions:

we are in the process of implementing the Carbon Trust’s Carbon Management Programme to help us identify opportunities to reduce our use of energy;

we are upgrading the energy control systems at Hanslope Park, our rural site in Buckinghamshire, and in our Main Building. We have commenced a programme of replacing inefficient light fittings across the estate;

we monitor our performance against targets for energy reduction, among other environmental issues, through an externally certified Environmental Management System, in line with the Framework for Sustainable Development on the Government estate;

we apply the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM), which includes forecast energy consumption, to new builds and major refurbishments;

we actively encourage staff and contractors to follow good practice in using energy efficiently and effectively through, for example, an Energy and Recycling Campaign in February 2006;

we are installing software on the next generation of the FCO’s global IT network, due to start roll out early in 2007, to power down workstations automatically out of hours.

In addition, the FCO is offsetting the carbon dioxide and other emissions generated by the air travel of Ministers and officials based in the UK starting with our 2004 emissions—one year ahead of the requirement of Government Departments to offset air travel by April 2006. We encourage our posts to apply good environmental management and are running a pilot project on environmental management at nine posts to determine how best we might introduce the principles of formal environmental management to our wider network.