Hilary Benn announces Third Sector task force membership

15/05/2009 Return to news archive

Environment Secretary Hilary Benn today announced the 16 members of the new Third Sector Task Force on climate change, the environment and sustainable development.

The aim for the task force is to develop a vision and action plan for wider third sector involvement in these issues and to identify how Government and the third sector can best work together and contribute their expertise, experience and the ability to reach people. The action plan will help identify and recommend long lasting and relevant actions on environmental issues for organisations that work across the third sector all levels of communities.

Hilary Benn said:

“I am confident that the task force will show how we can best work with third sector groups and learn from innovation, knowledge and networking. I am looking forward to seeing the action plan that will help us take the initiative on the environment with communities.”

The task force is made up of 16 individuals from across the third sector and will have both Ministerial and third sector chairs. Green Alliance and the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) are acting as the secretariat.

The task force will meet regularly between now and October. Two of the meetings will be jointly chaired by Huw Irranca-Davies MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State in the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and Defra’s Third Sector Minister, along with Joan Ruddock MP – Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Climate Change and Energy and Kevin Brennan MP – Cabinet Office Minister for the Third Sector. The remaining four meetings of the group will be chaired by a third sector representative. Iain Wright MP – Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Communities and Local Government will also attend the Ministerial task force meetings.

Energy and Climate Change Minister Joan Ruddock said:

“We want to use the power of charities and voluntary groups in the fight against dangerous climate change. The need to act is urgent. I look forward to working with the members of the new task force. Government has set an example to the world with a commitment to reduce emissions by 80 percent by 2050. We are working very hard to secure a global deal in Copenhagen in December.”

Minister for the Third Sector Kevin Brennan said:

"Many charities, voluntary groups, social enterprises and cooperatives are already leading the way in tackling climate change and working in an environmentally sustainable manner.

"I look forward to working with the taskforce to strengthen the Government's work on environmental sustainability. I'm particularly pleased with the diversity of the members; not just coming from environmental backgrounds but a broad coalition of organisations from across the sector."

Communities and Local Government Minister Iain Wright said:

“Environmental sustainability needs to be at the heart of everything we do, and by working closely with the Third Sector we can make a real difference in tackling climate change.

“From making sure our housing developments have access to parks and green spaces, to tackling worklessness by creating training opportunities and jobs in the green sector, the opportunities for a more sustainable future are out there and I look forward to the challenge of embedding the green agenda into all of CLG’s work with the third sector.”

This innovative third sector task force fulfils part of Defra’s commitments in the Third Sector Strategy which was launched in November 2008.