Green MP focuses on Parliament

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The UK’s only Green MP has criticised Parliament for leaving radiators on full blast, rejecting recycled paper for Christmas cards and using bottled water in meetings.

Caroline Lucas has tabled an Early Day Motion calling on House of Commons authorities to take urgent action to reduce the environmental footprint of the Parliamentary estate, and highlighting failures to make Parliament greener.

She called for an ethical and environment procurement policy for the House, including phasing out non-Fairtrade products where there were Fairtrade alternatives.

The Green Party leader and MP for Brighton Pavilion said Parliament needed to lead by example, and that the pace of change was too slow.

She said that it was impossible in some buildings to turn down the radiators, which were on full blast even in mild weather, and that the Speaker’s Art Fund had decided not to recommend recycled Christmas cards this year on the grounds that the recycled card would be “significantly inferior”.

And she said bottled water continued to be provided in committee rooms instead of tap water.

Ms Lucas said: “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.”

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