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Departments: Carbon Emissions

Volume 461: debated on Tuesday 19 June 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what methodology is used by his Department to account for its carbon emissions. (140793)

The Department reports on its carbon emissions, in line with the targets for Sustainable Operations on the Government Estate, via the Sustainable Development in Government Report and its own annual Sustainable Development Report.

The Department measures its carbon emissions based on the amount of energy required to run the buildings that it occupies, and to undertake the main elements of its business travel. DEFRA standard conversion factors are used uniformly throughout.

For energy use (that is electricity and fossil fuels), actual consumption data is submitted on an annual basis to the Buildings Research Establishment (BRE), which is then weather corrected and the appropriate conversion factor applied by BRE.

For DWP fleet vehicles, there are two methods used; fuel type, fuel consumption and engine size information is used where it is available; otherwise the appropriate DEFRA conversion factor is applied to mileage data. For business travel that staff undertake in their own vehicles, information on mileage travelled is collected and the relevant DEFRA standard conversion factor, assuming an equal split between petrol and diesel engined vehicles is applied. Mileage for hire cars will be included within this year’s calculation.

The Department participates in the Government’s carbon offsetting scheme. Data are collected on the number of miles undertaken by staff on official air travel and the DEFRA conversion factor is applied.

Data are currently not available for rail travel and taxi journeys but the Department is now investigating the feasibility of collecting and including this into our carbon emission calculations.