Procedures are already in place across the Government and the wider public estate to ensure that alternative technologies are fully considered when undertaking major refurbishments of properties and for new builds. These technologies include locally generated renewable energy systems such as biomass-fuelled heating. For the remainder (and majority) of the Government Estate, which is neither the subject of new build or refurbishment, steps are being taken to ensure that alternative technologies are also considered and, where appropriate, adopted on these sites.
In the Government's ‘Response to the Biomass Task Force Report’ in April 2006, we committed to mapping the suitability of the DEFRA estate for conversion to biomass heating. My Department has recently completed the initial tranche of the mapping of its estate and feasibility studies are currently being undertaken at the sites where biomass heat opportunities were identified. A lessons learned exercise has also been undertaken and the improvements identified from this process have been implemented within the second, and final, tranche of the DEFRA mapping exercise (which is due for completion by the end of February). Having developed, tested and refined the mapping protocols, DEFRA is currently in the process of rolling-out the mapping exercise to other Government Departments, and it will be providing technical support and guidance to Departments on biomass and other low carbon technologies.