Updated: EAC chairman questions decision as bonfire of the quangos spreads to Defra

Joan Walley MP, chair of the Environmental Audit Committee, has written to environment secretary Caroline Spelman questioning the Government's plans to withdraw funding from the Sustainable Development Commission (SDC) and abolish the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution (RCEP).

To download the full text of Walley's letter see "file download" at the foot of this item.

The letter follows Spelman's announcement today of a cull of quangos under Defra's umbrella. Spelman said that government now does the job many were set up to do, and that other bodies were "no longer necessary".

"Times have changed," said Spelman, adding that she was unwilling to delegate responsibility for driving sustainability across government to an external body.

Quangos axed include the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution, the body which in June 2000 set out the need for dramatic reduction carbon emissions in a study which played an influentual role in setting current energy policy.

Also to go is the Inland Waterways Advisory Council and the Commons Commissioners. Defra funding from the Sustainable Development Commission will also be withdrawn, a move that has dismayed the UK Green Building Council.

"While the need to make financial savings is understandable, this decision is concerning," said Paul King, the council's chief executive. "Although the Committee on Climate Change has a critical role as watchdog and advisor on carbon emissions, the SDC had a much broader remit. All government policy needs to be assessed through a sustainable development lens, not just carbon emissions. This will now put more of an onus on the private and third sectors to carry out this role."

Author: Paul Newton,
Channel: Policy & Regulation

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