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Environmental Management

Volume 449: debated on Monday 24 July 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether his Department (a) is committed to the achievement of environmental management to ISO 14001 standard and (b) has been externally certified as in compliance with that standard; and if he will make a statement. (81183)

DEFRA is firmly committed to the achievement of environmental management systems ISO 14001 standard in its buildings. A programme of independent accreditation to that standard is under way. The priority is for our larger sites to achieve accreditation and at the end of June, a total of 27 sites (offices and laboratories), covering 78 per cent. of staff in the Department and its Executive Agencies, were accredited to ISO 14001. Three further sites covering eight per cent. of staff in the Department have environmental management systems in place, which are yet to be independently certified to the standard.

DEFRA has submitted data relevant to this question (including external certification) for annual Sustainable Development in Government Reports. The last Report published by the Sustainable Development Commission in December 2005, covering the reporting period April 2004 to March 2005, is available at: http://www.sd-commission.org.uk/watchdog.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will commit the Government to compliance with the ISO 14001 Environmental Management Standard. (85982)

On 12 June the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs announced new sustainable operations targets for the Government estate. Environmental management systems (EMS) are a key enabler in supporting improvements in operational performance on the estate, particularly in areas such as energy, water and waste. Therefore, the new targets included a commitment that all Government Departments should have an EMS in place, based, or modelled upon, a recognised system (such as ISO 14001, or the European regulation EMAS).

Departmental performance against EMS estate targets has been published in annual Sustainable Development in Government Reports. The last report published by the Sustainable Development Commission, the independent watchdog, was in December 2005. It covered the reporting period April 2004 to March 2005 and is available at: http://www.sd-commission.org.uk/watchdog