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Whitehall exceeds carbon target
Carbon emissions from Government HQs and offices have been cut by nearly 14% in a year, and the Prime Minister told Whitehall it would have to go further by cutting emissions by 25% by 2015.

It is estimated that energy bills have been cut by £13 million as a result of bearing down on energy wastage in Government departments. The 10% target covered around 300,000 civil servants in 3,000 buildings. Between 14 May 2010 and 13 May 2011 over 100,000 tonnes of CO2 was saved.

The new 25% target for cutting carbon emissions will have an increased scope and include business related transport.

Prime Minister David Cameron said: "A 13.8% cut in emissions in just one year is a great result and the civil service should be very proud of this achievement. But to be the greenest government ever we need to do more to stamp out energy waste in Whitehall, and make it easier for people and business to use energy more efficiently. That’s why I’m committing the Government to go further by reducing emissions by 25 per cent by 2015."

The Government also announced a series of business-led trials aimed at making it easier for people to insulate their homes and reduce fuel bills. The energy efficiency trials, many of which will include joint working with local authorities, will begin in September and will test how best to encourage people to take up the Green Deal.

The Green Deal, which will start in Autumn 2012 and is currently being discussed in Parliament, will mean that households will be able to invest in home improvements at no upfront cost and repay through the expected savings on energy bills.

The trials are outlined in a new report from the Government’s Behavioural Insights Team – known as the ‘nudge unit’ – and will be carried out and evaluated in time for the national roll out of the Green Deal.

Energy and Climate Change Secretary Chris Huhne said: “There are currently too many barriers standing in the way of people upgrading their homes – the cost, the hassle, and the lack of trust in the people who install the kit.

“It’s great that high street names are getting involved at this early stage to road-test these exciting ideas about how to make it easier for people to take up the Green Deal and insulate their homes from rising energy prices.”

In one example, B&Q and Sutton Council will be offering a subsidised loft clearance service to test whether removing the ‘hassle’ factor of insulation motivates people to make efficiency improvements. The unwanted contents of the loft clearance will be donated to local charities. B&Q will also test the impact of offering collective purchasing discounts to households for buying energy efficient products.