Yeo backs office energy efficiency

SWITCH off your computers when you leave the office for the night - that's one of the messages being hammered home by MPs who are urging Government action to crack down on carbon emissions from the workplace.

By Graham Dines

SWITCH off your computers when you leave the office for the night - that's one of the messages being hammered home by MPs who are urging Government action to crack down on carbon emissions from the workplace.

A coalition of organisations campaigning for sustainable energy have welcomed the backing given by South Suffolk MP Tim Yeo - chairman of the influential parliamentary environmental audit committee - of a Bill aimed at reducing carbon emissions from offices.

He is one of the main sponsors of a House of Commons motion - signed by nearly 300 backbench MPs from all political parties - supporting the Climate Change (Commercial and Public Services Sector) Bill.


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“The offices sector has the fastest growing energy use apart from aviation,” said Mr Yeo.

“With the proliferation of computers and other electronics, its use of electricity, which has a particularly high carbon footprint, is projected to increase by nearly 45% from 1990 to 2020.

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“The Bill will set legally binding targets for reducing energy usage in the commercial sector and further targets for energy production from renewable sources, combined heat and power, and microgeneration.

“We hear lots about how everyone should use less energy at home but what happens in offices is just as important. This Bill would be a big step in the right direction.

“To back it up the Government should give discounts on the business rates to those offices which minimise their carbon emissions.

“The need for urgent action to cut our carbon emissions is greater than ever. The Government has rightly acknowledged that we need to do a lot more if we are to meet our climate change targets of a 20% reduction in C02 emissions by 2010.”

Mr Yeo added: “I fully support this Bill which will ensure the Government makes our offices more environmentally friendly. I will do all I can to ensure that it becomes law as soon as possible.”

Among the groups supporting the initiative are Campaign for the Protection of Rural England, Friends of the Earth, the Green Party, Greenpeace, Help the Aged, National Federation of Women's Institutes, the trade union Unison, and WWF-UK.

Other sponsors of the motion include two Labour former environment ministers, Michael Meacher and Elliot Morley.

Signatories include Suffolk and Essex MPs Brooks Newmark (Conservative, Braintree), John Gummer (Con, Suffolk Coastal), David Ruffley (Con, Bury St Edmunds), Bob Spink (Con, Castle Point) and Bob Russell (Liberal Democrat, Colchester).

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