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Export Credits Guarantee Department

Volume 464: debated on Monday 15 October 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what environmental criteria are taken into account before the Export Credits Guarantee Department offers guarantees for projects to commence. (156355)

ECGD undertakes a review of all projects in accordance with its Case Impact Analysis Process, which is available on its website. The environmental impact analysis of each case will vary depending on the nature, scale and location of the project.

It is ECGD's policy that projects should comply in all material respects with the relevant safeguard policies, directives and environmental guidelines of the World Bank Group.

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how many approved independent and environment consultants the Export Credit Guarantee Department uses when assessing the environmental impact of a project; how these consultants are selected; and what safeguards are in place to ensure their assessments are impartial. (156356)

ECGD has contracts with two environmental consultancy organisations to provide review and advice services on a call-off basis. The contracts were procured through an open competition in line with EU procurement rules. Each contract provides that the consultancy will perform its tasks with all due skill, care and diligence, while informing ECGD of any conflicts of interest.

On projects where ECGD is part of a lender group, an independent environmental consultant may be employed. The usual role is to review on behalf of the lender group the environmental information provided by the project sponsor. Typically, the lender group will agree the terms of reference for the appointment of the independent environmental consultant with the project sponsor, together with a short list of companies to be invited to tender for the appointment. It will review the tender proposals received and will attend tender interviews. The project sponsor will then appoint the independent environmental consultant taking into account the recommendations of the lender group. The appointed independent environmental consultant undertakes the work on the instructions of the lender group, and its terms of engagement will provide an express duty of care to each member of the lender group.