Headlines: July 22nd, 2010

A report today shows that moves towards greater sustainability introduced by the previous Government are already saving the public purse more than 60 million pounds a year. The report from the Sustainable Development Commission calls on the Coalition to step up its green ambitions to create further savings – but it coincides with speculation that the Government will today announce the scrapping of the Commission.

Today’s document, ‘Becoming the Greenest Government Ever: achieving sustainability in operations and procurement’, is the fifth annual report from the SDC scrutinising Government progress towards more sustainable operations. It says savings made so far are ‘only the tip of the iceberg’ and claims that by extending its commitment to becoming greener beyond carbon, the new Government could save hundreds of millions of pounds during the life of this Parliament.

Analysis in the report suggests that, despite the slow pace of change, improvements in energy and water consumption, waste, recycling and road transport performance could add another 300 to 350 million pounds over the next five years to savings made so far, even if no further progress is made. The SDC estimates that, if the Government meets its commitment to cut carbon emissions from Government offices by 10 per cent a year the benefits would be the equivalent to 13 million pounds.

The SDC Chair Will Day said the Coalition Government’s commitment to become the ‘greenest Government ever’ was a vitally important move. “Beyond the general environmental, social and economic benefits of greening government, there is an immediate financial imperative to do so,” he said.

It is widely believed that the Government will announce today that the SDC is to be abolished as part of the measures to cut public spending.