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Water Supply: Government Estate

Volume 684: debated on Tuesday 25 July 2006

asked Her Majesty’s Government:

Which government departments have achieved the specific target set out in the framework for sustainable development on the government estate for departments to reduce water consumption in office buildings to an average of 7.7 cubic metres per person per year by 31 March 2004. [HL7047]

Departmental performance against government sustainable operations targets, including water consumption, has been published in annual sustainable development in government reports (SDiG). The Sustainable Development Commission (SDC), the independent watchdog, published its latest SDiG report in December 2005. It covered the reporting period April 2004 to March 2005 and is available at: www.sd-commission.org.uk/watchdog.

According to the SDC’s report, seven government departments met the 2004 water consumption target. These departments were: the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs; the Department for Constitutional Affairs; the Department of Health; the Inland Revenue; Her Majesty’s Customs and Excise; the Department for International Development; and the Office for National Statistics.

On 12 June 2006, the Prime Minister launched a set of intentionally challenging sustainable operational targets for the government estate. They set an example to the rest of the public sector, businesses and consumers and will catalyse efforts to improve the way the Government manage their land and buildings sustainably. The new targets relevant to water consumption are as follows. Departments are to:

reduce water consumption by 25 per cent on the office and the non-office estate by 2020, relative to 2004-05 levels; and

reduce water consumption to an average of 3m3 per person per year for all new office builds or major office refurbishments.