§ Mr. Sayeed
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on her Department's plans to improve energy efficiency standards in white goods. 277W
§ Mr. Meacher
The Department will continue to seek to improve the energy efficiency of domestic appliances, including white goods, through a combination of policy measures including product information (energy labels), minimum standards and the promotion of best practice.
These policies will continue to be taken forward by the Market Transformation Programme (MTP), jointly sponsored by the Department and the Department of Trade and Industry, which aims to encourage products that do less harm to the environment, using less energy, water and other resources. The MTP will continue to have a strong focus on improving the delivered energy performance of domestic and non-domestic products, especially energy consuming appliances, equipment and components. This will include all major domestic energy consuming appliances (heating, cold, cooking and wet appliances, consumer electronics and lighting) as well as traded goods in the commercial sector.
The Department will also continue to work closely with stakeholders and other member states to conclude a review of Council Directive 92/75/EEC on the indication by labelling and standard product information of the consumption of energy and other resources by household appliances; to reach agreement on a Framework Directive for Minimum Energy Efficiency Requirements for End-Use Equipment; to develop voluntary measures where appropriate; and to support the work of the Energy Saving Trust in promoting more efficient products.
§ Mr. Sayeed
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what progress the Government have made to date in improving the energy efficiency standards of white goods. 
§ Mr. Meacher
The Government have made some good progress in improving the energy efficiency of household appliances, including white goods, in recent years. This has been achieved through a combination of policy measures including product information (energy labels), minimum standards, industry agreements and the promotion of best practice. The Market Transformation Programme (MTP), jointly sponsored by my Department and the DTI, works closely with business and other stakeholders to produce the analysis supporting these measures and suggesting future strategies for action at UK and EU level.
As an example of progress in the energy efficiency of white goods, the combination of energy labelling since 1995 and minimum standards from 1999 has helped to bring about the situation where new efficient fridge-freezers now use only half the electricity of existing older appliances.
While in general the unit energy consumption of white goods has been decreasing for a number of years, overall energy savings have tended to be offset by increasing numbers of appliances in use as the number of households and demand for new services such as digital electronics, in the UK have increased.