HC Deb 29 January 1990 vol 166 cc11-2
10. Mr. Key

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what current action the Government are taking to promote the use of combined heat and power.

Mr. Peter Morrison

My Department is actively promoting combined heat and power through the best practice programme. We are also discussing some joint promotional activities with the Combined Heat and Power Association.

Mr. Key

To what extent is the private sector involved in combined heat and power schemes? Can my hon. Friend tell me—if he cannot do so today, perhaps he will write to me—whether the energy technology support unit is involved in work with straw burning, in support of farmers who face a ban on straw burning from 1992?

Mr. Morrison

The private sector is quite substantially involved in combined heat and power schemes. There are 120 such schemes in industry and 300 in buildings. I hope that such involvement will continue to expand. I shall write to my hon. Friend giving him precise details about the energy technology support unit. It is the sort of area in which it is becoming involved, and in which it has an important role to play.

Mr. Allen

Is the Minister aware that one of the most coal-efficient, energy-efficient proposed plants is the Bilsthorpe plant in central Nottinghamshire? Is he further aware that, despite the efforts of the Member of the European Parliament, the county council and its chairman of finance, Mr. Paddy Tipping, to obtain planning permission for the plant, The Independent on Sunday yesterday said that Mr. Edwards, the commercial director of British Coal, intends to shelve that plant? Will the Minister reassure the miners in central Nottinghamshire, many of whom travel from my constituency, that that plant will go ahead?

Mr. Morrison

My hon. Friend the Member for Sherwood (Mr. Stewart), whose constituency includes the site of the proposed plant, will no doubt bring these matters to my attention, and my right hon. Friend and I shall consider them.