§ 4. Mr. Watson
asked the Secretary of State for Energy whether he is satisfied with his Department's activities to encourage conservation.
§ 20. Mr. Hannam
asked the Secretary of State for Energy whether he is satisfied with progress being made in the United Kingdom on energy conservation.
§ The Under-Secretary of State for Energy (Mr. John Moore)
I am satisfied that our energy conservation policy is effective. As part of this policy, and after completing the statutory consultation procedure, I have today laid an order before the House reducing the maximum heating limit in non-domestic buildings to 19 degs. centigrade. This order will come into effect on 1 October, and I estimate that the energy savings resulting from this reduction could be about 1 million tonnes of oil equivalent a year.
§ Mr. Watson
I am extremely grateful to my hon. Friend for that answer and for the conservation measures that the Government have taken over the past year, but what attempt is the Department of Energy making to assess the cost effectiveness of conservation measures as against investment in additional generating capacity?
§ Mr. Hannam
As one who was in danger of overheating in Government offices last winter, will my hon. Friend accept that I welcome that reduction in the maximum heating limit? The overall objective is to reduce oil consumption. What are the latest figures on the consumption of petroleum and motor spirit, which in previous months showed signs of increase over last year's figures?
§ Mr. Moore
On the latest figures available for the three months from March to May 1980, United Kingdom petroleum usage was down 14-8 per cent. Motor spirit increased in usage by over 6 per cent. for the first quarter. Happily, for the past three months it is up by only 0-3 per cent., which is almost no increase.
§ Mr. Palmer
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that I had a most unsatisfactory answer from the Department of Energy 11 about the energy saving in absolute and percentage terms in each Government Department? Will he accept that the Department refused to give me the figures and that I was given only an overall figure of 3 per cent.? Is that lack of information fair to the House?
§ Mr. Moore
The answer came from me, and I trust that I would not give an unsatisfactory answer to any hon. Member. The figures were based on usage by the Property Services Agency, which controls most energy usage in the Government sector, and the Ministry of Defence. I felt that my answer gave the information that was requested.
§ Mr. Jessel
Does my hon. Friend accept that double glazing to protect people from loss of heat also shuts out aircraft noise and, therefore, brings a double benefit? Can he, therefore, see what can be done, in co-operation with his right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade?
§ Mr. Moore
The House will be aware of my hon. Friend's long and dedicated service to his constituents in regard to aircraft noise. There have been great advances in double glazing, particularly through the promotion of the double glazing industry in the past few years, which will have helped my hon. Friend's constituents in their tribulations.
§ Mr. Hooley
Is the Minister aware that it is universally recognised that investment in fuel efficiency is of far greater economic value than investment in new capacity? Why, therefore, are the Government proceeding with a lunatic programme of £ 25 billion investment in nuclear power stations?