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Baroness Maddock: I thank the Minister for the commitment to report on efficiency in offices. I believe we all agree that this is an important area. However, if one is sponsoring a Private Member's Bill, the wider the net is drawn, the harder it is to get a Bill through. I was the sponsor of the original Bill and in its original
It is a fact that in this country we have an appalling record of an increased number of winter deaths due to people living in cold and damp homes. We also have an appalling health record for respiratory diseases suffered by people other than the elderly. The best way to try to tackle fuel poverty is by making homes energy efficient. That is why this issue has formed the main thrust of the Bill. However, that does not mean that the sponsors of the Bill, myself or anyone else who takes part in its proceedings today do not recognise the problems caused by the amount of energy used in the office sector.
Due to attempts by the sponsors of the Bill to ensure that it was in line with government thinking, the Bill as originally drafted sought to give statutory backing to the recommendations contained in the Performance and Innovation Unit's documentits energy review of February 2002. In that document, the unit specifically recommended that the Government should set a target of a 20 per cent improvement in home energy efficiency by 2010. It did not make the same specific recommendation for the office sector. Therefore, I hope that the noble Baroness will feel able to withdraw the amendment.
The noble Baroness said: This is purely a drafting amendment to remove an anomaly from the Bill, an anomaly no doubt caused by the time that it has taken the Bill to find its way through Parliament. Clause 5 requires the Secretary of State to make announcements about the very important combined heat and power targets before the end of 2003. Time flies and perhaps the Government have not noticed that we are almost at the end of 2003. The clocks go back in about a fortnight.
Clause 5 comes into effect on a date to be prescribed by statutory instrument made pursuant to Clause 9(5) and in theory that commencement order could be made after the end of 2003. I do not suggest for one moment that that would be as a result of any bad faith, but it is something that could easily be overlooked. I would like to hope that the Government have their CHP targets sitting on the Secretary of State's desk waiting to be published before the ink on the Royal Assent to this Bill is dry. However, to avoid any possible embarrassing slip up, I beg to move this modest correction.
Lord Whitty: It is jolly decent of the noble Baroness to try to give the Government a little more flexibility, but I can assure her that in this case we do not need it. Irrespective of the passage of this Bill, we shall be making a Statement before the end of the year.
The noble Baroness said: I shall speak to Amendments Nos. 11 and 12 together. They can be described as probing amendments. They are identical, replacing the phrase "renewable sources" with "sustainable sources". This is the Sustainable Energy Bill. The simple question is why is the issue suddenly being confused by this change in terminology? In the Bill as originally presented to the other place there was a Clause 8(1) in which "sustainable energy" was very comprehensively and cogently defined. That definition was dropped when the Government imposed its redraft on the reluctant sponsor. I can see no reason why in the interests of consistency the word "sustainable" should not be substituted for "renewable" in both cases. I beg to move.
Lord Ezra: I ask the Minister for some clarification. In Clause 7(5) there is a reference to "renewable sources", as the noble Baroness has just pointed out and in subsection (6) there is a definition of "fossil fuel". As the noble Lord will recall, I have a certain interest in fossil fuel and if clean coal technology were to be developed, as I hope it will be, and coal were to become a sustainable form of energy, I wonder why it could not be included. As far as I can see from these
The Earl of Erroll: I also wondered about this issue. On the question of farmers growing biomass for producing energy, I do not see why that would be excluded. I suspect that it is not excluded. I ask for clarification because Clause 7(5) states that,
Lord Whitty: The clause is of course about the use of moneys rather than what is considered in the total energy policy. The moneys in the fund are provided to support the renewables section of energy, which does not include fossil-based fuels or nuclear fuel, whatever the arguments about either of those being sustainable in the long run. I do not particularly want to go into that debate now.
Baroness Maddock: I am content with the Minister's explanation. I would prefer the Bill to remain as it is. If we were to agree to these amendments others would be needed. Therefore, I hope that the noble Baroness feels able to withdraw the amendment.
Baroness Wilcox: I have heard the Minister's answer. I still think that this is a "sustainable" energy Bill. As I said when we started the Bill this afternoon, we want the Bill to pass, so I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.
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