HC Deb 25 February 1991 vol 186 cc342-3W
Dr. Thomas

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy who in his Department has been appointed to oversee and develop green issues; how many civil servants have been allocated new or additional responsibilities to deal with the management and development of green issues; and what additional allocation of resources has been made to support programmes related to green issues in his Department.

Mr. Wakeham

At ministerial level, I am responsible for considering the environmental implications of my Department's policies and spending programmes, and for following up the relevant parts of the White Paper "This Common Inheritance". As part of this responsibility, I chair the newly-established ministerial committee on energy efficiency which aims to stimulate improvements in all sectors of the economy.

My Department has set up a steering group and an environment task force to co-ordinate and develop policy on energy and the environment. All relevant divisions are represented on the steering group, which is chaired by a deputy secretary. The task force, which is established within the Energy Technology Division, includes nine staff; it also calls on relevant expertise from other parts of the Department.

Many aspects of the Department's work are related, either directly or indirectly, to environmental issues. Environmental considerations therefore play an important role in the work of a very much larger number of my Department's officials, but it is not practicable to identify what proportion of the Department's resources overall are allocated to these issues.

My Department's programmes address environmental questions as appropriate. For example, expenditure on renewable energy R and D is due to increase by about 20 per cent. in 1991–92 over the level for 1990–91. In addition, the budget of the Energy Efficiency Office is being increased to £42 million in 1991–92.