Baker persuades fellow MPs to quit the bottle

BOTTLED water used in committee rooms in the House of Commons is to be replaced with a trial run of tap water after a long running, and now successful, campaign by Lewes MP Norman Baker.

He initially authored a number of reports called “How Green is your Parliament” in which he found after extensive research that for 2006/2007 more than 18,000 bottles of water were ordered by the Serjeant at Arms.

This was at a cost of 370 times more than if tap water was used and costing the taxpayer several thousand pounds. He found that if tap water was used, it could save the taxpayer more than £6,000.

Furthermore, the local MP raised significant concerns about the environmental impact of all the discarded bottles and the carbon footprint of transporting the water to the House of Commons.

Last year, Mr Baker wrote to the Chair of the Administration Committee to follow up on his campaign and reiterate that for both environmental and economic reasons tap water should be used to replace bottled water wherever possible.

The Chair, Sir Alan Haselhurst, after consulting with his Committee colleagues, has recently responded to the Lewes MP stating that the Administration Committee has now recommended that tap water and a water cooler should be trialled in committee rooms and the House of Commons Commission has agreed. The change will take place following Easter recess.

Mr Baker said: “It has always surprised me that when you enter a committee room in the House you are greeted with three or four large bottles of water, rather than simply a couple of jugs of tap water.

“After all, bottled water is vastly more expensive and has a greater carbon footprint. To be frank, it is a waste of taxpayers’ money.

“This is a decision I feel should have been followed through anyway, but the time of austerity makes my concerns even more pertinent.

“I am therefore pleased that this positive decision has been made by the Committee and the Commission and nobody has bottled it – literally!”