Skip to main content

Departmental Carbon Emissions

Volume 504: debated on Wednesday 27 January 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether (a) his Department and (b) its agencies plan to sign up to the 10:10 campaign to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in 2010. (313044)

DEFRA has a long-term commitment to reduce its carbon emissions. Performance in 2008-09 shows that DEFRA’s carbon emissions from offices has reduced by 18 per cent. on the 1999-2000 baseline, exceeding the 2010 Sustainable Operations on the Government Estate (SOGE) target by 6 per cent. Since 2006-07 the Department has delivered a reduction of 4 per cent. carbon emissions (year on year) from its estate through its Carbon Reduction Programme.

DEFRA’s achievements have been recognised through the award of the Carbon Trust Standard in May 2008, where the Department was one of the first 12 pathfinder organisations to receive the award. This built upon the earlier success of the Department achieving Energy Efficiency Accreditation Scheme (EEAS) status in July 2007. Both of these awards clearly demonstrate that DEFRA has an ongoing commitment to long-term, year on year carbon emissions reductions.

The Department is expecting to continue to deliver significant year on year savings, anticipated at as much as 6 per cent. year on year.

A strategic long-term investment plan allows the delivery of projects which provide long-term benefits through reducing energy demand and minimising the need to reinvest in the short to medium term. To disrupt these long-term plans in order to achieve 10:10 would impact negatively on DEFRA’s ability to achieve its long-term goals and would not deliver value for money. However, the combination of DEFRA’s long-term plans, a minimum 6 per cent. reduction in 2010 and a short- term call to action all constitute a credible contribution to tackling climate change.

In light of the above, achieving a 10 per cent. saving across the DEFRA Estate in a single year would require my Department to divert significant funds from its long-term delivery plan; therefore The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and its Executive Agencies have not signed up to the 10:10 campaign.