Headlines: July 30th, 1999

Government departments have been given a target of recovering a minimum of 40 per cent of total office waste within two years.

Launching the first Annual Report of ‘Green Ministers’, Environment Minister and chair of the group, Michael Meacher outlined the way in which he and his colleagues are working across Government, and in their own departments. A ‘Green Minister’ has been appointed in each of the main central Government departments.

The report covers progress across Government, both by the Green Ministers Committee collectively and individually in their own departments. Among the improvements, are a cut in central Government energy consumption by just over 18% since 1990, a combined heat and power scheme, now serving 23 Whitehall departments and Downing Street and support for departments in introducing environmental management systems, including a helpdesk, and consultancy advice. It also sets targets for the Committee of Green Ministers to make further cuts in waste in the future.

Among the initiatives – MAFF will pilot a set of indicators for sustainable agriculture;
overall car use by officials in DfEE is set to be cut from 3.2 million miles to 2.8 million; the Treasury plans to increase recycling of paper by 50% above 1997/98 levels; by 2002, the entire fleet of Government cars should use alternative fuels and a quarter of all communication with schools will be electronic.

Also, the new MPs’ building in Westminster will use grey (used) water for its toilets, to cut water consumption.