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Carbon Emissions: Government Departments

Volume 470: debated on Tuesday 15 January 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what steps he has taken to meet the target of ensuring the Central Government Office Estate is carbon neutral by 2012; (175960)

(2) what steps were taken in (a) 2005-06 and (b) 2006-07 against the objective of making the Central Government Office Estate carbon neutral.

Reducing carbon emissions is the most important element of delivering carbon neutrality. Departments are currently working towards meeting the sustainable operations targets for the Government estate, which include a requirement to reduce carbon emissions from office energy use by 12.5 per cent. by 2010-11, relative to 1999-2000 levels and by 30 per cent. by 2020. Options for the offsetting scheme that will be required to meet the 2012 carbon neutrality target will be considered during 2008.

Between 2005 and 2007, the Carbon Trust has used some of the funding it receives from DEFRA to help numerous Government Departments reduce their carbon emissions, and financial support is available through Salix Finance, a revolving loan scheme that can be used to invest in cost-effective energy efficiency projects in the public sector.

DEFRA is working towards minimising carbon emissions and energy consumption in its buildings through retrofitting energy efficiency technologies and behavioural change initiatives. DEFRA’s new Alnwick office has been designed to be the first carbon neutrally operated office building on the DEFRA estate and a true benchmark for the future.