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Sustainable Development

Volume 496: debated on Wednesday 9 September 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of sustainable procurement policies in each region; and what account he expects to be taken of such policies in the setting of annual carbon budgets. (290650)

Regional Development Agencies and local authorities are autonomous bodies responsible for taking their own procurement decisions, subject to the requirements of domestic and European legislation and to the ELV UK regulatory framework. Ministers have no ability to intervene in individual procurement decisions. Existing guidance to local authorities recommends that they take account of sustainability and quality when considering both service delivery options and service suppliers.

Regional Development Agencies are working closely with Government to improve the basis for sustainable procurement, and the RDA Sustainable Procurement Working Group is working to align policies and practices in a consistent fashion across all RDAs.

In November 2007, the Improvement and Development Agency (IDeA) in conjunction with the Local Government Association (LGA) and the North East Centre of Excellence, published a ‘Sustainable Procurement Strategy for Local Government' which included a route map of actions for local authorities to ensure they are compatible with the principles of sustainable procurement and development. The IDeA concluded that many local authorities have already attained significant progress in meeting their target to drive up standards in sustainable procurement.

There is no requirement for regions to have carbon budgets. However, we will expect regions to contribute fully to the delivery of the Low Carbon Transition Plan and the Renewable Energy Strategy, including regional targets for the delivery of renewables. The national performance framework for local authorities includes indicators on reducing carbon emissions in their areas, and from their operations, and a large number of authorities have chosen to include these indicators in their Local Area Agreement. The recent consultation document: Strengthening Local Democracy set out proposals on how local authorities could further contribute to meeting national carbon emission targets perhaps through developing their own local carbon budgets. It will be for regional and local authorities to determine how they might meet regional and/or local targets and the role which sustainable procurement policies could play in doing so.