HC Deb 21 November 1990 vol 181 cc152-3W
Mr. Spearing

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy if he will list the achievements of his Department since June 1987.

Mr. Wakeham

Legislation has been passed providing for the reorganisation and privatisation of the electricity supply industry in England and Wales. Flotation of the 12 regional electricity companies is going ahead according to plan and preparations are well advanced for the flotation of the two generating companies in February 1991.

Government policies on taxation and licensing have ensured continued successful exploitation of the United Kingdom continental shelf. My Department has fully accepted the conclusions and recommendations of Lord Cullen's inquiry into the Piper Alpha accident. The Offshore Supplies Office has continued to support the United Kingdom offshore supplies industry on the United Kingdom continental shelf and in international markets.

The Energy Efficiency Office has continued to promote energy efficiency. Its programmes have secured recurrent annual savings now worth over £500 million per year. It has introduced the best practice programme to advance and spread good practice in energy efficiency, and developed the home energy efficiency scheme to provide grants for insulation measures and advice for low-income households.

My Department has facilitated British Coal's continued restructuring of their business in response to changing market circumstances. In particular the Coal Industry Act 1990 introduced deficiency grant, eliminating British Coal's accumulated group deficit of £6 billion at 31 March 1990 and enabling outstanding borrowings to be reduced by over £4 billion.

In the nuclear field, following the decision to retain nuclear power in public ownership, a new company, Nuclear Electric plc, has been set up to own those reactors previously owned by the CEGB. The restructuring of the Atomic Energy Authority has continued in light of current and future business prospects.

On renewable sources of energy, my Department has published a 10-year forward development strategy as Energy Paper 55, doubled Government expenditure on Research and Development and introduced the first renewables order under the non-fossil fuel obligation of the Electricity Act 1989.

As part of the United Kingdom's contribution to the international discussions on climate change my Department prepared a report which evaluated energy-related greenhouse gas emissions and measures to ameliorate them—Energy Paper 58.

Forward to