The government has scrapped the Sustainable Development Commission

The government has scrapped the Sustainable Development Commission (SDC) as part of its on-going spending cuts

The axe fell on the same day as the SDC launches a new report which shows that moves towards greater sustainability made by the previous administration already save government £60-70 million every year, and calls for the coalition government to step up its green ambitions in order to benefit from further efficiency savings.

Environment secretary Caroline Spelman said: “We will continue to liaise closely with the Sustainable Development Commission’s partners and will work with business, civil society, local communities, universities and internationally, to help deliver sustainable development together.

“The House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee will provide powerful democratic scrutiny of Government’s work in this area.”

Spelman added that the decision would make Defra a “leaner, stronger department – with a renewed and clearer focus on its key priorities and a simplified structure for delivering those priorities; underpinned by a robust, credible and efficient science base”.

To read Jonathon Porritt’s (former chair of SDC) views visit the Forum for the Future website.

Friends of the Earth has criticised the move. Executive director Andy Atkins said: “The Sustainable Development Commission has played a crucial role in helping Government departments work
together to tackle the triple threats of climate change, economic downturn and inequality – as well as keeping a critical check on progress.

“The coalition must be held to account on its promise to be the greenest government ever – and explain how it will continue to green Britain, saving money and creating jobs at the same time, without the Sustainable Development Commission’s expert guidance and overview.”