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Departmental Buildings

Volume 479: debated on Monday 1 September 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what her Department’s policy is on improving the energy efficiency of the buildings which it (a) rents and (b) owns; what changes there have been in the energy efficiency of such buildings in the last (i) five and (ii) 10 years; and whether her Department has adopted targets on energy efficiency improvements in the buildings it occupies over the next (A) five and (B) 10 years. (221091)

The Department for Transport is committed to achieving the published Sustainable Operations on the Government Estate (SOGE) targets, which include improving the energy efficiency of its estate by 15 per cent. by 2010 and by 30 per cent. by 2020. The target does not differentiate between rented and owned buildings.

The Department for Transport can confirm that by 2006-07 its energy efficiency performance had not improved in comparison to our baseline year of 2002-03. However, we fully expect the 2007-08 figures to show an improvement of at least 10 per cent. against the baseline, in the next Sustainable Development Commission annual report. The Department for Transport was formed in its current format under Machinery of Government changes in 2002. We therefore do not have figures prior to financial year 2002-03.

An initial step towards achieving the SOGE targets was the commissioning of a Carbon Management Energy Efficiency report by the Carbon Trust. This report centred on the five major areas of the Department which will give the highest reduction in Carbon emissions and subsequent improvement in energy efficiency. The Department is currently developing detailed implementation plans from the recommendations of this report.

Some of the specific steps being taken include:

The introduction of Smart metering at a number of the departmental sites;

The aim of achieving Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) “Excellent” rating on all new builds and “Excellent” or “Very Good” ratings for all major refurbishments;

The adoption of Office of Government Commerce (OGC) “Quick Win” standards as a minimum requirement as part of our sustainable procurement action plan;

Extending Environmental Management Systems;

Improving Building Management System controls; and

Exploring the opportunities for self generated energy.

In addition the Department for Transport is actively participating in the Display Energy Certificate initiative being implemented by the Department for Communities and Local Government.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what account her Department takes of the level of energy efficiency of buildings before entering into agreements to (a) rent and (b) purchase those buildings. (221107)

The Department is committed to purchasing new freehold offices with an Energy Performance Certificate rating of A or B and aims to do the same for leased offices wherever practicable.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport which organisations have received (a) free and (b) discounted room hire from (i) her Department and (ii) its agencies in each of the last five years; and what the commercial value of the discount was in each case. (221589)

The information is not held in the format requested and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. However, during the last five years the following organisations have received free accommodation at Department for Transport buildings:

Benenden Healthcare

Charities Trust

Civil Service Benevolent Fund

Civil Service Healthcare

Civil Service Motoring Association

Institute of Civil Engineers

Medifit Healthcare

National Blood Service

PCS Trade Union

Prospect Trade Union.

The Driving Standards Agency provided the Friends of Cardington free use of the cinema at the Cardington training facility (Bedford) on 4 July 2008. The commercial value of hiring the cinema for an evening would be £275.

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency’s Richard Ley Development Centre (Swansea) offers a Government/public sector 25 per cent. discount rate for use of its facilities. During the last five years the discounted rate has been offered to the following external organisations:

Arts Council of Wales

Environment Agency Wales

Mid and West Wales Fire Service

National Assembly

South Wales Police Authority

Swansea City Council

Swansea Council for Voluntary Services

Swansea Local Health Board

Swansea Local Education Authority.