Ministry of Defence gets lukewarm environmental evaluation

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has made ‘some headway’ in meeting its environmental sustainability objectives, but it can do more to support the government’s environmental agenda, a report from the National Audit Office (NAO) has said.

According to the report, the MoD is critical to the government’s sustainability goals due to its size, supply chain, and the amount of land it controls – which is around 1% of the UK’s total land mass.

It will also play a fundamental role in meeting the Greening Government Commitments (GGCs) since it is responsible for 50% of government greenhouse gas emissions reported against this target.

The NAO found that in 2019, the MoD reported 830,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions, a 42% reduction since 2009-10, which means it has achieved its GGC target for reducing carbon emissions.

The report also said that the department is in a good position to achieve other GGC targets for waste reduction and waste to landfill. However, it will struggle to meet those on waste recycling, the use of paper and reducing domestic flights.

The report showed that 1.8 million tonnes of emissions from military activity such as operating defence equipment fall outside the scope of the GGC targets, and these emissions are reducing at a slower rate.

The MoD was criticised for not changing its energy mix over the last 10 years, and the department has made little progress in increasing the proportion of its energy drawn from renewable sources.

The energy efficiency of its buildings was also rated as disappointing in the report. The NAO said however there is ‘considerable scope’ for the department to do more to improve the environmental performance of construction and refurbishment.

Since 2016-17 only 38% of the Department’s new-builds and major refurbishment projects have had low- or zero-carbon technologies included in the design.

Read the full report here.


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