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Government estate’s net zero credentials to face parliament inquiry

Environmental Audit Committee Mary Creagh has said government must lead by example in how carbon emissions can be eliminated from its buildings by 2050

Parliament’s Environmental Audit Committee is to examine how the UK government’s estate is capable of meeting recent national commitments to be net zero by 2050.

Outgoing prime minister Theresa May has now passed legislation that commits the UK to realise net zero carbon emissions on a national scale by 2050. The move will require stricter targets to decarbonise infrastructure and buildings that will require a major rethink of HVACR functions.

The audit committee, which reviews and determines the effectiveness of Whitehall environmental policy, will consider how effective the government’s existing buildings and procurement processes are to realising net zero carbon emissions.

Among the key focuses of the committee’s net zero inquiry will be how the government’s targets are enforced and monitored, as well as if current strategy employed across its departments can sufficiently reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

MP Mary Creagh, chair of the audit committee, said it was vital for government ministers pushing for a drastic transformation of buildings, industry and transport in the UK to lead by example through introducing fresh policy. She called for immediate clarity on how different departments will seek to target carbon emissions in their own operations.

She said, “It’s not enough for the government to talk the talk on net zero emissions by 2050, it must walk the walk and lower its own emissions to tackle the climate emergency.

“We’ll be examining how the government sets and performs against its own targets, such as ensuring its fleet of vehicles are ultra-low emissions, reducing waste and water use.”

Interested parties are invited to submit evidence as part of the inquiry until August 15.

The audit committee will also look at potential, amendments for how government reports on its carbon footprint and can in turn reduce emissions. It will additionally look at possible partnerships with devolved authorities in the UK to meet shared goals.

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