Govt chided over sustainability

The government's attitude towards sustainability in new building projects is "cavalier", an influential committee of MPs has said.

A report says that less than one in ten projects is meeting the required environmental standards.

The public accounts committee (PAC) also claims environmental assessments were only carried out in 35 per cent of builds in 2005-06.

MPs are critical of the lack of "whole-life costings" taking place, despite £3 billion being spent every year on new government buildings and major refurbishments.

PAC chairman Edward Leigh said the government was a "long way off" meeting its own targets and standards for the sustainability of its buildings.

"Environmental assessments of new government buildings are supposed to be mandatory but are actually being conducted in only a third of cases," he explained.

"And fewer than one in ten of such projects can be shown to meet the required environmental standards."

But the committee highlighted the cross-departmental common contracts, including "green tariffs" and the Property Benchmarking Programme, as possible methods of improving future performance monitoring.

Responding to the report, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said the government was "fully committed" to delivering its own sustainability agenda.

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