THE Environmental Protection Department (EPD) has set up a section to advise government departments and businesses on green audits, but there are worries it may duplicate services available elsewhere. All government departments have to appoint green managers and carry out environmental audits, as announced in Governor Chris Patten's policy address in October. The EPD's corporate environmental audit section is intended to help identify where they are having an impact on the environment and how this can be minimised. But it also plans to extend assistance to the private sector, and the co-ordinator of the Private Sector Committee on the Environment, Libby Ancrum, is worried it might be duplicating work done by other groups. Her committee, of which the South China Morning Post is a member, has been encouraging environmental audits for four years and the Centre for Environmental Technology, set up by the committee, assists small and medium-sized businesses with audits and anti-pollution work. Environmental consultancy firms also are able to do audits for a fee, while The Body Shop has produced a free beginner's do-it-yourself audit manual. Ms Ancrum said it was fine for the EPD to encourage environmental audits, but the resources might be better used elsewhere. ''I would like to see them dealing with issues only the Government can deal with, such as declaring the Victoria Harbour a water control zone, which will really make people think about their polluting activities,'' she said. Polluters can face prosecution in water control zones but are safe outside them. ''Until it's properly in place and properly enforced, you're banging your head against the wall trying to get businesses to do environmental audits. Until they are going to incur penalties for not complying with environmental legislation, what incentive is there for them to do the audits?'' she said.