§ 5. Mr. Colvin
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will review his regulations for home improvement grants and building regulations to take account of advances in energy efficiency measures.
§ The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Environment (Mr. Tony Baldry)
The regulations for house renovation grants and building regulations are kept under review by my Department.
§ Mr. Colvin
I congratulate my hon. Friend the Minister on what has been done in this sphere, but will he acknowledge that half the energy used in the United Kingdom is used in buildings and that improving energy efficiency in them would therefore have a dramatic effect in reducing carbon dioxide emissions, which is one of his Department's objectives? Will he publicise successful energy efficiency schemes to encourage developers to invest more in energy efficiency, which is financially arid environmentally advantageous?
§ Mr. Baldry
My hon. Friend is right: we need to promote best practice in energy efficiency, as we do through the Energy Efficiency Office. I am glad to say that local authoriity associations recently published an environmental practice guide for local government, in which they set out many good examples of best practice for energy efficiency in local housing stock. We shall shortly organise a series of regional seminars targeted on chief executives and senior councillors to ensure that they appreciate what they can do to promote and encourage energy efficiency in their housing stock.
§ Mr. Squire
Is my hon. Friend aware of an excellent measure that is currently before the House, the Building Conversion and Energy Conservation Bill, which stands in my name and has the support of hon. Members on both sides of the House and people from outside the House? It would ensure proper thermal insulation of all conversions, which is not the current practice. Will my hon. Friend seriously consider that as a practical way of improving energy efficiency?
§ Mr. Baldry
My hon. Friend knows that we always give serious consideration to any idea that he puts forward.