The Care Quality Commission has been accused of ducking its responsibilities on sustainable development.

A review of public service regulators, published this week by the Sustainable Development Commission, accuses the CQC and the Department of Health of failing to “turn statements of interest and intent into meaningful action” on issues such as carbon emissions.

Its harshest criticism is reserved for the CQC, which it said has shown a “disappointing lack of engagement”.

“In spite of precedents set by other public service regulators such as Ofsted and the Audit Commission, the CQC does not see this as relevant to its own remit,” the review said.

It called on the CQC to carry out a special review in 2010 assessing to what extent trusts are promoting sustainable development. It also wants the regulator to allocate a board level champion for sustainable development, develop an action plan and sign up to the NHS carbon reduction action plan.

But CQC chair Baroness Young said the regulator must not be diverted from its “crucial mission” around safety and dignity. “We are sorry to have to disappoint the Sustainable Development Commission, but we feel this is the right thing to do on behalf of service users,” she said.

The report also criticises the DH for failing to “incorporate meaningful reference” to sustainable development in the world class commissioning framework.