HC Deb 18 January 1995 vol 252 cc706-7
21. Mr. Bennett

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what contributions he now expects to the reduction of carbon dioxide required by Rio targets to be contributed by value added tax on domestic fuel, rises in transport fuel duties, action by the Energy Saving Trust, energy conservation measures in building regulations and other schemes.

Mr. Atkins

We are currently reviewing the contributions expected from the measures in our climate change programme in the light of recent developments, and will also be taking account of the revised energy projections on which the Department of Trade and Industry is working. The climate change convention requires us to take measures aimed at returning emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases to 1990 levels by 2000 and we are committed to fulfilling these requirements.

Mr. Bennett

When will the review be completed? Can the Minister confirm that unless the Energy Saving Trust has some money, it will be unable to carry out any of the work that the Government intend it to do?

Mr. Atkins

As soon as possible, and yes, Madam Speaker.

Mr. David Shaw

Will my hon. Friend confirm that the home energy efficiency savings scheme has been remarkably successful? Many hon. Members have seen equipment installed in constituents' homes. Will he confirm that people are eligible for some £300 of Government assistance if they install energy conservation equipment in their homes? Will he also confirm that the Government will continue the scheme and that it will save a considerable amount of energy?

Mr. Atkins

My hon. Friend is entirely right. I have been involved in a scheme at a house in my constituency which I found interesting, and those who have received the grant have certainly been pleased. The scheme was increased substantially last year by an energy-conscious Government and Department, and it will be increased this year by a further £30 million by the energy-conscious Chancellor, Secretary of State and Ministers. We intend to keep our objective because we know—perhaps more than anyone— how important energy efficiency is.

Mr. Dafis

Does the Minister accept that energy in all of its aspects is the central environmental consideration, and that it therefore ought to be the central matter in relation to the environment agency legislation? What proposals do the Government have to ensure that the new agency will be able to offer guidance to other Departments, such as the Department of Trade and Industry and the Department of Transport, on energy policies?

Mr. Atkins

I suggest that the hon. Gentleman either awaits the passage of the Bill or goes to another place to hear the discussions which are going on about the matter. When the Bill is brought to this place, the hon. Gentleman will find much to excite him.