HC Deb 20 November 1979 vol 974 cc207-8
Q5. Mr. Gwilym Roberts

asked the Prime Minister if she will initiate discussions with Heads of Governments in other major countries with the aim of cooperating in developing alternative energy sources.

The Prime Minister

This issue was discussed at the Tokyo summit in June, on which I have already reported to the House. It was agreed there that an International Energy Technology Group linked to the OECD and the IEA should be created. That group will review the action already being taken and the potential for commercial development of alternative energy sources.

Mr. Roberts

Will not the right hon. Lady accept that progress is still lamentably slow and that the main obstacles to the development of some alternative sources, particularly solar energy, are political? Will she use some of the courage to which she modestly referred earlier to tackle other Heads of Government on this matter?

The Prime Minister

I do not think that there is any political difficulty about the development of solar energy. One of the problems is that in this country we should not get much out of expenditure on solar energy. We shall need far more than that. The political difficulties—and they are not party political difficulties—arise on the further development of nuclear energy. As the hon. Gentleman knows, I have made my own views on that matter very clear.