13 Nov 2011

Pailiament's failure to lead on green issues

Caroline in Brighton after winning first Westminster seat for the Greens in the UK

Caroline Lucas has called on the House of Commons authorities to step up efforts to reduce the environmental footprint of the Parliamentary Estate and make a far stronger commitment to sustainable procurement. It was disturbing to read last month Caroline Lucas talk about the working practices of Parliament - well now in an Early Day Motion tabled this week she highlights failures to lead on green commitments - take for example:

- the reality that in many buildings on the Estate, it is impossible to turn down the radiators - which are often on at full blast even in mild weather.
-  the House of Commons refusal to offer MPs the option of recycled Christmas cards, on the spurious grounds that recycled card would be of a 'significantly inferior' quality
- a failure to replace bottled water with tap in meeting rooms.

Caroline Lucas, MP for Brighton Pavilion, commented: "While I welcome Parliament's Environmental Improvement Plan and appreciate the efforts being made by the Environment Team, I am concerned that the pace of change towards making the Estate truly green is far too slow. It is incredibly inefficient, for example, that radiators in buildings across the Estate are on full blast, and cannot be turned down manually even in the mild weather - making the offices of many MPs and staff unbearably hot and stuffy. Furthermore, I find it ridiculous that bottled water continues to be provided in committee rooms instead of tap water, despite the obvious environmental benefits that this change would bring.

"And the idea that MPs should be refused the option of sending Christmas cards printed on recycled card to their constituents and colleagues on the grounds that the recycled material would be, according to the Speaker's Art Fund, 'significantly inferior', is shocking. It's clear that the House authorities need to prioritise environmental improvements to ensure that Parliament is leading by example in its green performance - as well as adopting a more ethical procurement policy which phases out non-Fairtrade products where Fairtrade alternatives exist."


Caroline Lucas is the primary sponsor of EDM 2398, Environmental Footprint of the Parliamentary Estate: http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2010-12/2398. It is also sponsored by Mark Durkan MP and Bob Russell MP.

No comments: