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Wednesday, February 24, 1999 Published at 08:35 GMT


Greens call for anti-pollution agency

The charity wants to encourage use of solar power

An environmental group says the government is not doing enough to meet its own targets for cutting pollution.

The Green Alliance charity has published a report calling for a clear plan of action.

The BBC's Tim Hirsch: "The report recommends a serious dose of joined-up government"
It says the government must set up a special agency with the sole job of finding ways to reduce emissions of the polluting fumes that in part cause global warming.

At the moment responsibility for environmental issues is divided between the Department of Trade and Industry, the Department of Transport, Environment and the Regions, the Treasury which decides on energy taxes and the Ministry of Agriculture.

[ image: The agency would aim to cut emissions]
The agency would aim to cut emissions
The report recommends one united department to ensure that the government fulfils its promises to reduce pollution from traffic, factories and homes.

"The current institutional set-up is a complete mess," said Stuart Boyle, of the Green Alliance. "Nobody knows who's got responsibility. We've got to bang heads together and rationalise and improve efficiency."

The alliance says more needs to be done to encourage householders to stop using coal and oil and move to cleaner power sources such as solar power for heating and hot water.

Its report points to the success of countries like Denmark and Holland where a single agency co-ordinates energy policy and solar power is much further developed.

The Department of Trade and Industry said it welcomed the report and that its review of renewable energy will come out soon.

Foreign Office initiative

Earlier this month, the Foreign Secretary Robin Cook told the Alliance that he intended to make the environment a key issue in future foreign policy.

He told the BBC: "It is vital for our survival that we should actually get on top of environmental threats and make sure we have sustainable development."

He expressed particular concern over global warming and climate change, the extinction of certain species of plants and animals, overfishing and the increasing demand for fresh water.

He suggested a series of secondments with a member of a green group building "a closer dialogue between government and the environmental movement".

He also announced a special global warming challenge fund intended to provide training and breakthroughs to help developing countries have "energy efficient and environmental technologies in use".

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15 Feb 99 | Sci/Tech
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