Government sees dramatic reduction in the size of its estate

The State of the Estate 2018 report shows that the size of the government estate has been reduced by 156,000 square metres over the past year - the equivalent of 13 Trafalgar Squares

• Size of government estate reduced by equivalent of 13 Trafalgar Squares in past year
• Government secures £750 million from the disposal of over four hundred sites
• Emissions from government buildings across the country cut by 39%, with paper & water consumption also reduced

Work to reduce the government estate has seen its size fall by 156,000 square metres over the past year - the equivalent of 13 Trafalgar Squares.

This makes the estate a third smaller than it was in 2010 - creating a saving in real terms of £760 million in running costs.

Today’s State of the Estate report also shows that a further £750 million in capital receipts has been generated this year from the sale of over 400 sites, delivering a total of £2.4bn in capital receipts over the past three years.

At the same time, vacant space across the government estate is just 1.4%, which is significantly lower than in the private sector.

Cabinet Office Minister, Oliver Dowden, said:

"Transforming the government estate to make it operate more efficiently and save taxpayers money is clearly something to be very proud of.

"This work has seen the disposal of a large number of properties that were no longer needed by the government. And in many areas, these have been replaced by new offices across the country, enabling smarter working practices and are accessible to the communities they serve."

The report also shows that since 2010, the environmental performance of government buildings across the country has seen emissions cut by almost 40 per cent, as well as paper consumption and general waste reduced by 55 per cent and 40 per cent respectively.

Further break down of figures show that across the government estate since 2009/10:

• CO2 emissions have been cut by 1,184,243 tonnes
• general waste has been reduced by 134,183 tonnes
• paper use has been cut by 4,498,023 sheets
• water use has been reduced by 3.7 billion litres

Examples of work carried out to improve the environmental performance of government buildings, include solar heating systems being installed at Ministry of Defence sites while wind turbines, biomass boilers and ground source air pumps have been fitted at buildings used by the Ministry of Justice.

The Ministry of Justice has also carried out work to improve biodiversity at some of its larger sites – including prison estates.

Working with the Barn Owl Conservation Network, the ministry has put up more than 2,000 owl nest boxes on prison land over the past 18 months. As well as providing homes for the birds, this work has created rehabilitation opportunities for prisoners in areas such as carpentry and rural land management.


1. The full State of the Estate in 2017 - 2018 report has been published today.

2. Other successes noted in the State of the Estate report include the fact that the amount of space used by each government employee has been consistently reduced over the past five years, falling from 11.3 m² to 9.4 m².

3. The policies that make up the report are part of the government’s broader SmarterGov campaign to drive innovation, savings and public service improvement across government and the wider public-sector.

4. The report fulfils the requirement of the Climate Change Act 2008 to report on annual progress towards increasing the efficiency and sustainability of the civil estate.

5. Further details of the government’s environmental work across its estate will be published in the Greening Government Commitments annual report next year.