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Tuesday, 27 November, 2001, 12:19 GMT
Government fails to meet 'green' targets
Whitehall
Whitehall could do better on its energy consumption
The UK Government is falling behind on many of its "green" targets to save energy and help rainforest conservation.

Environment minister Michael Meacher has told the BBC that plans to make Whitehall greener are going too slowly.

Amazon rainforest
Targets for helping rainforest conservation have faltered
Speaking to BBC Radio 4's Today programme, he said: "I think things are changing but I absolutely agree it is changing too slowly."

The government set a 20% target for improvements in energy use by 2000 compared with 1990.

In 1999, the government got to 19%, but because of an excess demand for electricity last year for IT purposes it slipped back to 17%.

The Greening Government report suggests that the increased use of air conditioning was also to blame for this.

Disappointing

According to the Greening Government report, departments are managing to use less water.

Mr Meacher said the government's record on energy use was disappointing but that it had been a "pretty ambitious target and we very nearly did achieve it."

As for the Civil Service faltering on meeting rain forest conservation targets, Mr Meacher suggested government departments were stuck in contracts with suppliers that did not use wood from sustainable forests.

"But I do believe that suppliers who can't supply sustainable and legal sources for their timber will get the message, are getting the message, that their bids will not comply with government requirements and that they risk losing government contracts," he said.

Ambitious targets

Later Mr Meacher told reporters in London: "But government is practising what we preach and doing what we tell other people to do."

He said it had been agreed that by March 2003 at least 5% of the government's electricity would come from renewable sources - rising to 10% five years later.

On waste, Mr Meacher said reaching the 40% recovery target had been hampered by the lack of information available on the amount and types of waste produced, recovered and recycled.

Most departments have introduced paper-recycling schemes for buildings with more than 50 occupants.

See also:

03 Oct 01 | UK
The road to renewal
23 Oct 00 | Sci/Tech
Labour: A green government?
20 Mar 00 | UK Politics
Warning over green costs
28 Mar 00 | UK Politics
Blair should set green agenda - MPs
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