HC Deb 25 November 1974 vol 882 cc10-3
9. Mr. Lane

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what recent steps he has taken to encourage economy in the use of energy; and if he will make a statement.

15. Mr. Golding

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what steps he intends to take to conserve energy supplies.

33. Mr. Blenkinsop

asked the Secretary of State for Energy whether he will make a statement on energy conservation, especially as it affects the use of imported fuels.

Mr. John Smith

I would refer the hon. Member and my hon. Friends to the answer given to the hon. Member for Northampton, South (Mr. Morris) on 18th November and to the list of measures taken by the Government circulated in the OFFICIAL REPORT. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State hopes to announce further steps in the near future.—[Vol. 881, c. 287–290.]

Mr. Lane

In the national economy campaign which is obviously needed, will the Government fully involve the general public? Will they look particularly at the scope for saving in many overheated homes, shops, offices and schools, which would be beneficial not only to our energy supplies but to our health?

Mr. Smith

I fully endorse what the hon. Member has said about the need to involve the public actively in measures for energy conservation. When my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State makes a policy statement on the subject, the hon. Member will see that the Government have the point he raised very much in mind. The heating of buildings is a material point and one upon which we are taking action.

Mr. Greville Janner

Will my hon. Friend arrange for the reintroduction of the lower speed limit on the roads so as to save lives as well as fuel?

Mr. Smith

That is a matter for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment, who I am sure will take note of what my hon. and learned Friend has said.

Mr. Grylls

The public simply do not understand the Government's tardiness in doing something about the conservation of energy in the present situation. Will the Minister ensure that at least Government Departments lead the way in cutting down the temperature in their buildings and schools and so set an example to the country?

Mr. Smith

We must all set an example, but it is not fair for the hon. Member to accuse the Government of being tardy. The list of measures circulated in HANSARD on 18th November will show the hon. Member what has been done. The Government have set up an Advisory Council on Energy Conservation and there will shortly be a statement from my right hon. Friend to announce even more measures. As if that was not enough, there are measures in the recent Budget of which the hon. Member should take account.

Mr. Mike Thomas

There is one group among whom we do not wish to encourage a reduction of energy consumption. I am referring to the small consumer, in particular old-age pensioners who during the winder die because of their inadequate consumption of energy. What is my hon. Friend doing to bring an end to the arrangement whereby the smallest and poorest consumers pay the highest price for their energy supplies?

Mr. Smith

I take note of what my hon. Friend says about this class of energy consumer. As he knows, the question of the gas price increase will be considered by the Price Commission early next year.

Mr. Charles Morrison

Unless the Minister brings home quickly to the general public the seriousness of the situation, there will not be enough fuel available for the elderly. What is he doing about the situation in terms of discussion with local authorities to encourage them to reduce street lighting and floodlighting?

Mr. Smith

I must ask the hon. Member to await the statement to be made shortly by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State. The matters he has mentioned are among those which are very much in the Government's mind.

Mr. Lee

A great deal of energy which could be re-cycled, particularly from industrial furnaces, literally goes up the flue. It could be used more economically. Is there not considerable scope for saving here?

Mr. Smith

I very much agree with my hon. Friend. I hope that all energy consumers will look carefully at their methods of consumption with a view to effecting a saving. This is a matter for industry, for the domestic consumer and for offices, including Government offices and Departments and other public buildings, and it should be at the forefront of everyone's attention.

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