HC Deb 23 January 2002 vol 378 cc927-8W
Mr. Carmichael

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what percentage of local authorities(a) in the United Kingdom and (b) in Scotland are on course to achieve a 30 per cent, improvement in home energy conservation by 2010. [25893]

Mr. Meacher

[holding answer 15 January 2002]: As domestic energy efficiency is a devolved matter, it is the responsibility of the respective Parliament and Assemblies to comment on the situation in their countries.

Statutory guidance issued on the Home Energy Conservation Act 1995 (HECA) in England makes it clear that local authorities are expected to identify measures that will lead to "substantial progress" towards 30 per cent, improvement in energy efficiency in all residential accommodation within 10 years of April 1996, but that some authorities may feel it more appropriate to develop a strategy which covers a different time scale.

In the four years to 31 March 2000, authorities have reported that overall their HECA strategies have achieved energy efficiency improvements of 6 per cent. Of the 354 local authorities in England with HECA responsibilities, almost 50 per cent, are reporting 6 per cent, or more improvement. Details of percentage improvement to March 2001 are not yet available but we expect to publish these shortly.

If we assume a similar rate of progress over the next six years, ECAs might on average be expected to achieve a 15 per cent, improvement in domestic energy efficiency. However, we would expect that schemes such as Warm Front and the Energy Efficiency Commitment 2002–05 (EEC) would lead to greater improvements.

In order to help local authorities achieve greater energy savings in the future, we are looking at the working of HECA as part of our current review of local authority energy efficiency activity.

The Home Energy Conservation Bill 2001 would require local authorities to implement their energy conservation reports, something missing from the current legislation.