§ Mr. Simon Hughes
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what actions have been taken since the appointment of a Minister in his Department to consider the environmental implications of his Department's policies; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Kenneth Carlisle
My Department has long recognised that its range of activity brings with it particular responsibilities towards the environment. We aim to act in accordance with Government policy set out in the White Paper, "This Common Inheritance". An overview essay on defence and the environment was published in the Statement on the Defence Estimates 1990 (Cm. 1022-I).
I chair a defence environment committee which provides a central focus for the environment and which is charged with the development of an overall environmental policy, the oversight of individual policies with environmental implications and the encouragement of environmental initiatives. We are establishing a structure throughout the Department, with environmental focal points in commands and appropriate lower formations, to ensure that environment issues are considered at all levels and to foster good links with local communities. In support of this we are producing a manual of guidance dealing with a wide range of defence-related environment issues. We are participating in discussions on the environment within NATO. We continue to pursue energy efficiency savings and are committed to the wider Government 15 per cent. target over five years. We have also put into effect many other environmental measures over the past six months, and have planned an active programme to do more.