Press Releases

HISTORIC PRESS RELEASE : Sustainable Development at the heart of Government policy development [November 2001]

The press release issued by HM Treasury on 14 November 2001.

Government Departments have been asked by the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Andrew Smith, to ensure that sustainable development issues are considered and reflected in their bids for the 2001 Spending Review (SR). This is the first time that specific sustainable development guidance has been provided.

Mr Smith said:

“All Departments have a contribution to make to sustainable development and this should be reflected in their Spending Review proposals, targets and investment strategies.  Spending Review 2002 will make a significant contribution to our economic, social and environmental objectives. This Guidance demonstrates the importance the Government attaches to its Quality of Life objectives.”

As part of its Spending Review submission each Department participating in the Spending Review has been asked to produce:

  • A sustainable development report (SDR), in which Departments will have an opportunity to explain the sustainable development dimension to their work.
  • A summary of how sustainable development has influenced the Department’s priorities.
  • An explanation of how its PSA targets relate to sustainable development.

This SDR will be the main sustainable development product of SR2002, giving departments an opportunity to explain in more detail the sustainable development implications of their bids and expanding on information provided elsewhere in the SR2002 bid.  The SDR should set out any anticipated significant social, economic and environmental implications for Departments’ top priorities.

Mr Smith has laid out fifteen headline indicators as a starting point for Departments to consider.


1. The Government’s fifteen headline indicators set out in 1999 are attached at Annex A. The 15 headline indicators are updated regularly and can be found at the following web address below.

Annex A – the 15 headline indicators


Economic output (GDP)

Investment (% of GDP)



Poverty and social exclusion

Education (qualifications at 19)

Health (exp. years of healthy life)

Housing  (unfit / non-decent homes)

Crime violent crime vehicle, burglary


Climate change (greenhouse gases)

Air quality (days of air pollution)

Road traffic

River water quality

Wildlife (farmland birds)

Land use (% of new homes on brownfield sites)

Waste  (more waste reduction, reuse, recycling and recovery)