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Energy Conservation

Mr. Alan Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will publish a report on the improvements resulting from work carried out under the Home Energy Conservation Act 1995, showing for each energy conservation authority (a) expenditure on energy efficiency improvement, (b) percentage improvement in residential energy efficiency, (c) estimated reduction in carbon dioxide emissions and (d) estimated reduction in levels of fuel poverty. [145763]

Mr. Meacher: The Secretary of State presented a report to Parliament on 13 April 1999 covering activity by energy conservation authorities over the period from 28 June 1995 to 31 March 1998, and other developments up to the end of 1998. Copies of the report were placed in the Libraries of the House. Alternatively, a copy is available on DETR's website index.htm

Details of reported percentage energy efficiency improvements in England in the period 1 April 1996 to 31 March 2000 were given in my reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Plymouth, Sutton (Mrs. Gilroy) on 30 November 2000, Official Report, columns 757-58W. That information and details of expenditure by authority, overall expenditure and carbon dioxide reductions in each energy conservation authority area is included in four summary reports, copies of which have been placed in the Libraries of the House.

The information sought on the estimated reduction in levels of fuel poverty is not available centrally and, to my knowledge, is not collected by any other organisation. Information on the incidence of fuel poverty by Government Office region is contained in the 1996 English House Condition Survey Energy Report and some energy conservation authorities may have more specific fuel poverty data for their own purposes. Although authorities in England have been asked to report on their policies voluntarily, strategies and achievements in tackling fuel poverty alongside their Home Energy Conservation Act 1995 progress reports, they have not been required to identify fuel poor households or to report changes in the number of such households.

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Powershift Programme

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how many (a) buses and (b) taxis were retrofitted to use LPG through the Powershift programme (i) before 1 January 2000 and (ii) during 2000; and if he will make a statement regarding targets for 2001 and beyond. [146627]

Mr. Hill: Before 1 January 2000, the Powershift programme supported the conversion of 55 buses and five minicabs to operate on LPG. During 2000 Powershift supported the conversion of 37 buses and 57 minicabs.

The Clean Up Programme, which is administered on my Department's behalf by the Energy Saving Trust, has part funded the conversion of 10 black taxis to run on LPG and will be supporting the conversion of approximately 130 black cabs in the current financial year.

My Department and the Energy Saving Trust will issue a consultation document in the spring seeking views on the future scope and direction of the Powershift programme. It will discuss a range of options for targeting the programme's resources over the next three years to secure environmental benefits and to support the development of the wider market for alternative fuel vehicles. The outcome of the consultation will inform the setting of future targets for the conversion of specific vehicle types.

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what representations he has received requesting the broadening of the eligibility criteria for the Powershift programme in respect of older vehicles. [146633]

Mr. Hill: My Department has received a number of representations from MPs and individuals about why the Powershift programme only provides grants towards the conversion to gas of vehicles less than one year old.

The rationale for restricting grants to relatively new vehicles is that the ultimate aim of Powershift is to encourage vehicle manufacturers to manufacture production line gas vehicles rather than the after-market conversions that currently dominate the market. Not only will the objective of cleaning up vehicles be achieved more cheaply with production-line vehicles than after- market conversions, but their emissions performance should also be better.

My Department also sponsors the Energy Saving Trust's Clean Up programme that aims to reduce emissions from existing vehicles operating in urban areas. The programme includes targeted projects to fit emission reduction technologies and to convert older vehicles to run on alternative fuels, including LPG, where it proves cost effective and environmentally beneficial to do so. An example of Clean Up support for conversions of older vehicles is the conversion of a pilot fleet of 10 London black cabs to run on LPG.

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what the Government's contribution to funding for the Powershift programme was in each of the last three financial years and in the current year. [146629]

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Mr. Hill: In 1997-98 the Government contributed £0.6 million towards the Powershift programme. This figures rose in the next two years to £2.2 million and £3.3 million respectively. Funding for the current financial year stands at £9.9 million for expenditure in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. In addition the Scottish Executive are providing a total of £0.5 million for Powershift activities in Scotland in the current year.

Alternative Fuels

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what his estimate is of the number of passenger cars in the UK; and how many of these were powered by road fuel gases or were bi-fuel (a) in the first quarter of 1998, (b) in the first quarter of 1999 and (c) in the first quarter of 2000, and (d) at the latest date for which figures are available. [146632]

Mr. Hill: Figures from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency show that the number of passenger cars in Great Britain registered as being powered by either road fuel gases or bi-fuel, and the total number of cars registered, are as set out in the table. The figures do not include vehicles in Northern Ireland, for which quarterly data are not available.

Total cars registeredTotal road fuel gas and bi-fuels
Q1 199822,984,3367,326
Q1 199923,458,47611,232
Q1 200024,167,00015,096
Q3 200024,383,34418,298

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what research he has (a) evaluated and (b) commissioned into the amount of energy required through the refining process to produce a standard measure of distance travelled in vehicles propelled by (i) LPG, (ii) ULSD and (iii) ULSP. [146630]

Mr. Hill: The Government have not commissioned any specific research regarding the amount of energy required to refine ULSD and ULSP. We do, however, regularly commission and evaluate research on the overall CO 2 emissions and energy consumption from the downstream oil refining sector. A joint DTI and DOT study, "Alternative Road Transport Fuels: a preliminary lifecycle study for the UK", published in 1996 provides estimates of the amount of energy used during the refining of petrol, diesel and LPG. A more recent research by DTI published last year, "Emission effects and cost of sulphur free petrol and diesel", considered the relative impact of the production of 10 ppm sulphur fuels could have on overall energy consumption and CO 2 emissions from refineries. It should be noted, though, that the attribution of energy consumption during refining to particular petroleum products is often difficult, as oil refining is an integrated process and there are large variations in energy consumption from individual refineries.

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what research he has (a) evaluated and (b) commissioned regarding the comparative environmental qualities of LPG, ULSD and

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ULSP in respect of (i) prevalence of particulates, (ii) noise, (iii) carbon dioxide emissions, (iv) oxides of nitrogen, (v) benzene and (vi) 1.3 butadiene. [146628]

Mr. Hill: Information from a wide range of sources is used by my Department to evaluate the environmental impacts of different road fuels, including LPG, ULSD and ULSP. DETR itself has a large vehicle emission testing research programme; for instance we funded this year a major project with the SMMT and CONWARE which considered ultra fine particulate emissions from road vehicles using different fuel specifications. The final report from this project is due to be published shortly. Valuable emission data are also received often on a confidential basis from stakeholders, including vehicle operators, fuel companies and motor manufacturers, while Powershift--funded by DETR--regularly monitors the emissions performance of gas powered vehicles supported by Powershift grants.

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