§ Mr. Martyn Jones
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the ways in which his Department has(a) demonstrated by example and (b) promoted externally, the ability to improve efficiency and competitiveness through environmental auditing; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Mr. Clappison
My Department is the lead Department for ensuring that Government policies and programmes, including its own, take proper account of environmental concerns, in accordance with the 1990 environment White Paper, "This Common Inheritance", and "Sustainable Development: the UK Strategy", published in 1994.
To this end, the Government have made a repeated commitment in successive White Paper annual reports to subject their policies to environmental appraisal. In 1991, the Department published "Policy Appraisal and the Environment", which gives extensive guidance on how to 550W integrate environmental considerations into Government policy assessments. Green Ministers recently reaffirmed the need for all Departments to have adequate systems to ensure that the environmental implications of their policies were properly considered. Consultants are evaluating Government Departments' experiences with the guide and will report early next year. Green Ministers intend to publish a booklet of case studies in the new year, showing good examples of environmental appraisal in Departments.
My Department aims continually to reduce the impact of its own activities on the environment and to improve the management of its own resources. Its management audit services division has been trained to undertake environmental audits and has, for example, recently examined management and waste issues as part of the Department's strategy to reduce waste by 15 per cent. over two years.
Another of the Department's published objectives is to reduce the environmental impact of its buildings, where practicable, by undertaking objective assessments using BREEAM—the Building Research Establishment's environmental assessment method. Preliminary assessments of the Department's two new headquarters buildings—Eland house and Ashdown house in central London—have been carried out. As a result, the designs incorporate features such as the use of energy-efficient double-glazed panels, specially treated to reflect heat back into the building; displacement ventilation with static cooling and heating; combined heat and power systems, which use less gas and use waste heat to supply hot water, space heating and power for the cooling system; efficient boilers, with low nitrogen dioxide burners for supplementary heating; heat exchangers and heat exhaust recovery to avoid the loss of energy to the atmosphere in cooling towers.
My Department supports the use of BREEAM across the wider Government estate and green Ministers agreed recently that all Departments should use the BREEAM system when commissioning new or substantial refurbishment of existing ones. My Department has also commissioned the Environment Agency to produce do it yourself environmental performance checklist for premises managers on the Government estate, which will help to promote further improvement in the use of energy, water and other resources, in reducing waste and saving money.
My Department has been active in promoting environmental management and auditing more widely. As the United Kingdom competent body for administering the EC eco-management and audit scheme—EMAS—the Department has for the last two years promoted the scheme widely to industry—through national advertising campaigns and regional events; by publishing guides about the scheme and how it operates; by producing information videos and regular newsletters; through direct mailing to business; and by the introduction of a grant—Small company environmental energy management scheme—to help smaller businesses participate in the scheme. The UK has also led the way in promoting EMAS by introducing the first national extension of the scheme, now a fully operational version in the local government sector. My Department is conducting an exercise to test the feasibility of applying EMAS in a pilot area of housing policy and programme expenditure.551W
The Government strongly encourage the take-up of EMAS by business because the scheme provides a rigorous but voluntary framework for managing, improving and reporting publicly on environmental performance. The scheme is also proving to be an effective tool for improving efficiency and competitiveness. Case studies, based on the first industrial sites registered under EMAS, and which demonstrate the environmental and business benefits of the scheme, will be published shortly.
In partnership with the Department of Trade and Industry, my Department sponsors the environmental technology best practice programme to promote better environmental practices that help to reduce business costs for UK industry and commerce. The programme disseminates information and advice on environmental technologies and techniques, including the benefits of implementing environmental management systems and audits. Examples of best practice are promoted throughout industry by means of environmental performance guides, best practice case studies and guides, workshops, seminars and other events.
In promoting EMAS, my Department has also encouraged take-up of the complementary British industry standard for environmental management systems, BS 7750. This was the first standard of its kind in the world, coinciding with the development of EMAS, and it has contributed greatly to the agreement of a new international standard, ISO 14001, which will be replacing national standards and will provide industry with a convenient route towards EMAS registration. I am delighted that my Department's own office services division has recently been awarded a certificate of compliance with both BS 7750 and ISO 14001 for its environmental management system—the first award to a central Government Department.