§ Mr. Don Foster
To ask the Deputy Prime Minister pursuant to his answer of 10 April 2003,Official Report, column 355W, on heating systems, what the nature is of the research referred to; what stage the research is at; whether there is a mechanism for people to submit comments or evidence to that research; and when the results will be known 
§ Mr. Leslie
The research underlying SEDBUK, the UK's database of domestic boiler seasonal efficiency indices, which was developed to facilitate SAP energy ratings, was carried out as a collaborative venture by industry and Government in 1997 to 1999. Collaboration has continued since then and this has focused on improvements and rectifying anomalies.
Research into the evaluation of the energy performance of micro-combined heated and power (micro-CHP) units is at an early stage. A laboratory test procedure is being developed through consultations that have been commissioned by a group set up by the Energy Saving Trust. The procedure is close to completion and it is anticipated that the next stage will be to turn it into a "Publicly Available Specification' (PAS) through the offices of BSI. It is akin to the standards in the Boiler Efficiency Directive, used to evaluate full and part load performance for boilers, and aims to establish similar performance parameters for microCHP systems. The results obtained could be used to determine a seasonal performance index for microCHP systems. However, while this index would be similar to the SEDBUK for boilers it would be inappropriate to make direct comparisons between these products on an efficiency basis. Consideration is therefore being given to the development of a comparison system based on total carbon emissions, total energy or total energy costs.281W
As the rating development will be reliant upon microCHP field trials, it is not possible to say precisely when the further research results will be known, but the aim is to have the SEDBUK equivalent in place in time for inclusion in the next major revision of the Building Regulations Part L in 2005. There will, of course, be consultation with the interested parties on these initiatives during the intervening period.