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Office for National Statistics named ‘Best Sustainable Performer across UK Government’ by the Cabinet Office

Released: 23 November 2012 Download PDF

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has been named ‘Best Sustainable Performer across UK Government’ by the Cabinet Office.

A series of initiatives by ONS aimed at reducing the impact on the environment of its offices in Newport, London and Titchfield has helped to make it the leading example of sustainability and energy efficiency among government departments.

Each year, departments are required to record the efficiency, effectiveness and environmental sustainability of their administrative offices, measured against independent and validated private sector benchmarks, and against government targets and standards. Each department’s performance is published by the Cabinet Office, and this year ONS came top, with a noticeable lead on other departments.

In recent years ONS has implemented a range of projects to improve its sustainable performance, with action taken to reduce carbon and promote energy saving throughout its premises. Across the whole organisation, from property and catering services to statistical business areas, there has been a commitment from managers to follow environmental principles, with these now forming a foundation for all staff.

Improvements include:

  • Harvesting rainwater in Newport – instead of just draining away, rainwater is stored and used to flush toilets, saving 5,000 cubic metres of water a year. A full tank provides 6 days of free water, and with Newport’s high level of average rainfall there should always be more than can be flushed.

  • Installation of voltage optimisers – ’PowerPerfectors’ have been installed in Newport and Titchfield, these will save an estimated 450 tonnes of CO2 every year by matching the supply at the mains with the demands of the office.

  • Biomass generator in Newport – powered by pellets or wood chips, this sustainable alternative is used to heat the buildings in Newport.

  • In the canteen – recyclable plates, napkins, coffee cups, and biodegradable soup and salad containers are provided for all customers. Any food waste is collected and sent to be turned into energy.

  • Desk measures – personal bins have been removed from desks, which has increased the recycling rate and reduced the amount of waste by 43 per cent since 2004. Desk fans have also been replaced by energy efficient USB-powered fans, running from a computer’s USB port.

  • Elsewhere in the office – installation of encrypted video conference facilities eliminate the need to travel to off-site meetings and allow confidential material to be securely communicated.

Mike Levy, Head of ONS Property, said, ‘This is a great achievement and provides us with a clear indication that the money we invest in environmental and sustainable projects is money well spent.

ONS intends to build on this success, by continuing to find innovative ways of improving its environmental performance.

Media Contact:

Martin Nicholls
Tel – 01633 456277
Email –

Background notes

  1. ONS employs over 2,800 people and is based in Newport, South Wales, with additional sites in Titchfield and London.
  2. ONS produces of a wide range of statistics covering the UK economy, society and much more.
    Familiar economic statistics are the Retail Sales Index (RSI), Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and the UK Balance of Payments - all are economic statistics produced by ONS. Economic statistics focus on the financial status of UK businesses in areas such as manufacturing, retail and the service sector. As well as being valuable in its own right this information is used to produce the UK National Accounts.

    Crime and migration statistics are often mentioned in the media and are two of a large range of social statistics produced by ONS. Social statistics focus on the UK population, its health and lifestyle choices and environmental issues.

    Statistics about population and demography in England and Wales, including births and deaths, are also produced by ONS. One of the key components of this is the 2011 Census (for England and Wales). With the Beyond 2011 Programme, we are exploring new ways of producing population statistics, including the scope for using administrative data sources i.e. data already collected and held by other government departments and public bodies in the course of delivering services

    Other types of ONS statistics include Tourism, Societal Well-being and Fire & Rescue Services.

  3. Details of the policy governing the release of new data are available by visiting or from the Media Relations Office email:

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