HC Deb 02 December 2003 vol 415 cc360-1
6. Mr. Peter Atkinson (Hexham) (Con)

If he will make a statement on the change in Scotland's energy mix over the last five years. [140748]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Scotland (Mrs. Anne McGuire)

Comprehensive figures for Scotland are not available. However, trends for individual fuels between 1998 and 2002 show falls in the use of oil and coal. There was a small fall in the industrial use of gas. The use of electricity and domestic gas has increased slightly over the period.

Mr. Atkinson

I thank the Minister for her answer. Is she aware that the drive for green energy in Scotland is threatening jobs in Scotland in the wood panel industry and in my constituency? A plan for a new wood-burning power station at Lockerbie will mean that the company will compete with the wood panel industry for the essential raw material that both need, which is wood chips. As the Lockerbie plant will effectively be subsidised under the green energy initiative, it will be able to outbid the wood panel industry for its essential raw material. Jobs are threatened because the companies involved cannot afford the on-costs. Will the Minister undertake to carry out an investigation? A plan that may be entirely sensible on the face of it could do considerable damage to the rural economy of both Scotland and Northumberland.

Mrs. McGuire

I undertake to speak to the hon. Gentleman after Question Time to obtain the details of the specific issue. I will raise it with colleagues in the Department of Trade and Industry.

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