HC Deb 19 April 2004 vol 420 c375W
Norman Lamb

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what work his Department's Green Minister has undertaken in that capacity; [165527]

(2) what meetings his Department's Green Minister has attended in that capacity in the last 12 months; [165528]

(3) if he will list the meetings attended by a representative of his Department on the delivery of sustainable development across Government as coordinated by the Ministerial Sub-committee of Green Ministers; [165529]

(4) what steps he is taking to assist in the delivery of sustainable development within Government; [165530]

(5) what progress has been made on his Department's Sustainable Development Strategy. [165531]

John Healey

I refer the hon. Gentleman to the answer I gave him on 26 January 2004,Official Report, column 110W. Since then, the development of the next steps of environmental measures contributing to the Government's sustainable development strategy announced in Budget 2004 has been my responsibility. These included: new eligibility criteria for climate change agreements;a package of measures to promote household energy efficiency including a reduced rate of VAT for ground source heat pumps, and possibly for micro-combined heat and power units from 2005, and incentives for the private rented sector to invest in energy efficiency;duty rates for sulphur-free fuels raised in line with inflation from September 2004 and, to encourage the use of this clearer fuel, the duty for ultra-low-sulphur fuels set at 0.5 pence per litre above this level from the same date;an increase in rebated fuel rates, and three-year certainty for duty differentials on biofuels and road fuel gases;reforms to the tax treatment of company vans and emergency vehicles:publication of the third progress report on the lorry road-user scheme;reform of the aggregrates levy relief scheme in Northern Ireland to ensure that the levy achieves its environmental aims there.

In addition to this work on economic instruments to tackle environmental threats, consideration of sustainable development is incorporated directly into policy areas across the Treasury. For example, work on international poverty reduction and public spending, including this year's spending review, contribute directly to the Government's sustainable development goals.