Prime Minister issues energy challenge

Prime Minister David Cameron has called on Whitehall departments to compete with each other over cutting energy use in their headquarters during the month of October. Energy use at departmental headquarters will be fed into an online league table that is to be updated daily, enabling the public to monitor the energy savings of each department.

The move comes as part of a pledge made by Cameron in May to reduce carbon emissions made by central government departments by 10 per cent in a year.

The Department for Communities and Local Government has already unveiled plans to turn down the office's heating, as part of an austerity drive which also includes plans to close lifts in quiet periods, encourage staff to travel by public transport and limit the use of printers and photocopiers.

Cameron said: "In May I called for real action to make us the greenest government ever. I made a commitment that over the next 12 months central government departments would reduce their carbon emissions by 10 per cent. We have made a start but clearly we can all do much more to show leadership on this vital issue. So today is a clear challenge to Cabinet ministers and an opportunity for the public to hold us to account."

Participating departments have had real time energy displays fitted in order to record energy usage. The usage of each department will then be compared to figures from September.

Chris Huhne, Energy and Climate Change Secretary said: "Whitehall must lead the way if we are to inspire the public to reduce their energy use. This challenge underlines the urgency of tackling emissions and introduces some healthy competition to bring out innovative ideas.

"Making a 10 per cent reduction in emissions in just one year needs all departments to make a contribution and in particular staff need to play their part in building a greener government."

The Government estate released 749,550 tonnes of carbon dioxide in the year up to the election in May and needs to save almost 75,000 tonnes of CO2 to meet its 10 per cent target.

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