HC Deb 15 November 2001 vol 374 c978
13. Ian Lucas (Wrexham)

What steps the Government are taking to encourage a reduction in the use of energy. [13077]

The Minister for the Environment (Mr. Michael Meacher)

The Government are committed to improving energy efficiency as a highly cost-effective way of achieving our climate change goals. The energy efficiency commitment will, from next April, provide a substantial boost to domestic energy efficiency activity. The Energy Saving Trust and the Carbon Trust receive more than £66 million from the Department to promote domestic, business and public sector energy efficiency and the take-up of low-carbon technology. The climate change levy, and its associated voluntary agreements, are also an important spur to business energy efficiency.

Ian Lucas

I am grateful to my right hon. Friend for that reply. Is there not still a danger that the Government are focusing too much attention on the production of energy rather than its reduction? Is it not appropriate that the Government support measures such as the Home Energy Conservation Bill—promoted by my hon. Friend the Member for Brighton, Kemptown (Dr. Turner) and due to receive its Second Reading on 30 November—through which the public would be made aware that they, too, have a responsibility to reduce energy consumption?

Mr. Meacher

We are very concerned that efforts to promote energy efficiency are directed not only at business but at domestic households. There are basically three ways to do so.

First, there is the Home Energy Conservation Act 1995, which we are strengthening, and we shall look very carefully at the Bill that my hon. Friend mentioned. Secondly, there is the home energy efficiency scheme, of £150 million a year, which is on track to meet the public service agreement target of reaching 600,000 households over the next three years. Thirdly, there is the energy efficiency component, which gives suppliers of gas and electricity a major incentive to improve the efficiency by which energy is conveyed to households. Those three together will mean that domestic households make a full contribution to meeting the climate change targets.