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Environment Directorate

Volume 474: debated on Wednesday 2 April 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the objectives of her Department's Environment Directorate are; what the directorate's performance against those objectives has been in the last six months; and what projects the directorate has undertaken over that period. (197535)

The Department for Transport's (DFT) Environment and International (ENI) Directorate was set up in April 2007.

The Directorate's objectives, as set out in the DFT's business plan for 2007-08, include:

working with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), with the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) and internationally to deliver the joint PSA target for climate change and take forward the Department's strategy for tackling the environmental impact of transport in line with the Stern Review. Sub-objectives include:

improving strategy, planning and the evidence base for climate change policy in DFT

tackling the climate change impacts of transport through putting a price on carbon (tax, trading or regulation);

removing barriers to behaviour change and promoting more environmentally-friendly transport;

promoting technological development and innovation to reduce carbon emissions from transport

working with DEFRA and other stakeholders to deliver the joint Public Service Agreement target for air quality;

influencing international transport negotiations to achieve UK objectives for market liberalisation, improved environmental protection, consumer rights and better regulation. Sub-objectives include ensuring timely and proper implementation of all new EU obligations.

ensuring that the DFT adopts Better Regulation principles and reduces the administrative burdens imposed by transport regulations.

DFT's full business plan is available at

Environment-related projects undertaken by ENI in the past six months have included:

programme management of overall DFT carbon reduction activity (liaising with other parts of DFT including aviation and shipping sections, as well as relevant executive agencies);

contributing to cross-Government development of the Climate Change Bill and analysis of climate change strategy;

developing policy within the EU on mandatory targets for new car CO2 emissions;

developing policy on the use of renewables in transport, in particular in respect of the EU Renewable Energy Directive and the Fuel Quality Directive, and implementing the Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation;

supporting the work of H M Treasury in Budget 2008 on cleaner cars and incentives for people to buy them;

progressing the Low Carbon Transport Innovation Strategy, supporting research and development and procurement of low carbon vehicles;

policy development and stakeholder engagement relating to the climate change goal set out in the "Towards a Sustainable Transport System" discussion paper;

contributing to policy development in Europe on air quality, notably through negotiations on EURO VI standards for heavy duty vehicles.

In the past six months, as part of its responsibilities for cross-cutting international matters and for DFT's better regulation work, ENI's work has also included updating the DFT simplification plan, the preparations for European Transport Councils, and wider EU coordination work.