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Noble Lords: Question!

The Earl of Shannon: Certainly, my Lords; I asked Her Majesty's Government whether they appreciated the situation--

Noble Lords: Oh!

The Earl of Shannon: Indeed, I am sure that they do. However, until there is an absolute guarantee for the people of the Karabakh, it will be very difficult to get any form of Lisbon Summit principles adhered to.

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: My Lords, I understand the issues the noble Lord raises and indeed we aired them at some length in your Lordships' House on 17th March when we discussed this matter in a debate. I think then there was a good deal of discussion on self-determination on the one hand and sovereignty, including territorial integrity, on the other. We know that these are complex questions. The noble Earl draws the analogy with Kosovo. I think at the time other examples were adduced of not identical conflicts but ones where the roots of the conflicts could be said to have some similarities in different parts of the world.

It is important that we examine a number of different ways of trying to get the parties to come together. One way that we might look at is to encourage the parliamentary groups--not only the one of which the noble Earl is the chair but also the British Azerbaijan parliamentary group--to consider supporting our efforts and indeed entering into more discussion on confidence-building measures. There is a job of work to be done there among the all-parliamentary groups. I hope that is a challenge that the noble Earl will take up.

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: My Lords, I must declare an interest as vice-chairman of the British Azeri group in this House. It seems to me that, in this vexed question where there is intense competition with regard to what may be the truth--I hear what my noble friend says clearly--some other members of the European Union may not have been playing the peace-making role that Britain has tried to play through the Minsk Group and the OSCE. Will the Minister make sure that we consult behind the scenes with our 14 partners and with other members of the OSCE so that all the issues are on the table and that we do not see some of the difficulties that we have seen recently; otherwise there will not be a valid discussion and a valid outcome?

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: My Lords, I hope that everything I have said indicates that Her Majesty's Government are absolutely committed to the whole question of ensuring that people discuss this matter as widely as possible, both within Europe, and, if I may say so, within your Lordships' House, because it has been my experience in dealing with this issue in your Lordships' House that there are strongly held views and on occasion some of those who support either side might have some fruitful discussions with each other. There can be no doubt whatever that there can be no military

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solution to this conflict and that the only way in which it can be resolved is by people of good will--whichever side in the conflict they support--getting together.

Energy Efficiency

3.2 p.m.

Lord Ezra asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What measures they are taking to achieve their energy saving objectives by the year 2010.

Lord Whitty: My Lords, we are developing a climate change programme which will enable us to meet our targets for reducing emissions. Energy efficiency will be one of the main components of the programme. Energy efficiency is already actively promoted through a range of government programmes and initiatives. These include the energy efficiency best practice programme and the Energy Saving Trust's government-funded programme to promote energy efficiency.

Lord Ezra: My Lords, although I accept that the Government are doing a great deal to improve energy efficiency, does not the noble Lord agree that there could be some confusion as a result of the variety of targets that have been set for this purpose? There are no fewer than three targets to which we are committed for reducing emissions: the Kyoto target, the EU target and the Government's own target. There is a target for stimulating the use of renewables and combined heat and power. There is a target for stimulating the efficient use of other sources of energy, including the home energy conservation scheme with which my noble friend Lady Maddock was much involved. Does not the noble Lord agree that the time may well have come when there ought to be a single energy efficiency or saving target set to which all those other targets can relate; for example, the objective to increase energy efficiency by, say, 20 per cent between 2000 and 2010?

Lord Whitty: My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Ezra, is correct to say that a number of targets and objectives form part of the programme, but the overall objective is clear; namely, to fulfil our Kyoto commitment in relation to the 12.5 per cent cut and to go further by meeting our own cut of 20 per cent in CO 2 . Other targets have to fit in with that. Were we to have a single energy efficiency target, different sectors could reasonably be expected to make different contributions towards that target. But the overall "big print" target is clear.

Baroness Gardner of Parkes: My Lords, is the Minister aware that some of the large London hospitals, and perhaps others throughout the country, have combined heat and power schemes which not only serve the valuable purpose of destroying dangerous waste on site but also produce power which is then reharnessed and used? That saves a great deal of money and is energy efficient. Is there any liaison between government departments to see that this kind of programme is expanded?

Lord Whitty: My Lords, we certainly would encourage consolidation of and building on the

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combined heat and power process to which the noble Baroness refers. My department, which has responsibility for combined heat and power, works closely with the DTI and with private industry to ensure that there are no barriers in this regard. We shall continue and intensify that work.

Lord Brookman: My Lords, does the Minister agree that many people involved in manufacturing industry are extremely concerned at the prospect of the carbon tax?

Lord Whitty: My Lords, I am unused to such short questions from my noble friend! I agree that there is some anxiety in relation to the climate change levy. We are discussing this matter with all sectors of industry. Nevertheless, I believe that in terms of our overall tax policy and in relation to the objectives on climate change, the proposed levy represents a significant and positive change in the burden of taxation away from "goods"--that is, labour and investment--and on to "bads"--that is, pollution. That is consistent both with our overall intent on environmental taxation and with our social and other policies. Part of that climate change levy will be redirected to exactly the kind of energy efficiency schemes which the noble Lord, Lord Ezra, mentioned.

Baroness Maddock: My Lords, the Minister will be aware that among the worst areas for energy inefficiency are privately owned properties and the private rented sector. However, the majority of those living in those properties are elderly people, often women who are often on low incomes. Can the Minister indicate the kind of targets for which the Government are aiming in their overall programme of reducing the number of energy-inefficient buildings in this country?

Lord Whitty: My Lords, there are a number of schemes, some of which are related to those in fuel poverty who suffer disproportionately from being in energy-inefficient buildings. As noble Lords will recall, we have changed the basis for our new home energy efficiency scheme to target 4 million households with children and 3.7 million pensioner households which will be eligible for that help. Many of those people live in the kind of property to which the noble Baroness refers. In the longer term, both our additional help to local authorities to improve their building stock and our proposed changes in building regulations as regards both new and refurbished buildings will make a major, if long-term, contribution.

Business

3.8 p.m.

Lord Carter: My Lords, at a convenient moment after 4.30 p.m. my noble friend the Leader of the House will, with the leave of the House, repeat a Statement that is being made in another place on Kosovo and the G8 Summit. This will be followed by my noble friend Lord Williams of Mostyn who will, again with the leave of the House, repeat a Statement on the City of London demonstrations on Friday 18th June.

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University College London Bill

Read a third time, and passed.

Imperial College Bill

Read a third time, and passed.

Greater London Authority Bill

3.10 p.m.

Lord Whitty: My Lords, I beg to move that the House do now again resolve itself into Committee on this Bill.

Moved, That the House do now again resolve itself into Committee.--(Lord Whitty.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.

House in Committee accordingly.

[The CHAIRMAN OF COMMITTEES in the Chair.]

Clause 25 [The general power of the Authority]:


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