HC Deb 19 March 1998 vol 308 cc691-2W
Mr. Baker

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will make a statement on the work to date of his Department's Sustainable Development Unit. [34990]

Angela Eagle

The Sustainable Development Unit was set up within ETR in July 1997. It provides advice on sustainable development matters to all parts of DETR and to other Departments. It provides support for the network of Green Ministers and is the focal point for Government contact with the Environmental Audit Committee. It has taken the lead in the consultation, launched on 4 February, which will lead to a new sustainable development strategy; in producing, jointly with the Local Government Association and the Local Government Management Board, the guidance "Sustainable Local Communities for the 21st century", published on 14 January; in preparing Policy Guidance on Environmental Appraisal, to be published very shortly; in responding to the third annual report of the Government Panel on Sustainable Development (published on 18 December) and the second annual report of the UK Round Table on Sustainable Development published on 23 February; and in negotiating for the UK on the UNECE Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters.