Select Committee on Environmental Audit Minutes of Evidence




 (i)   The Government should adopt a sustainable hierarchy in establishing a framework for UK energy policy (as exists in the waste strategy). This hierarchy should start with the promotion of end-use energy efficiency; energy supply from renewable resources followed by combined heat and power; fossil fuels, in order of efficiency and carbon intensity, and nuclear power. (Paragraph 24)

  1.  The Government's framework for energy policy is intended to provide a coherent approach to sustainable energy in which all aspects of the proposed hierarchy play a part. The approach is set out in the White Paper "Conclusions of The Review of Energy Sources for Power Generation", which was published in October 1998.

  2.  The White Paper sets out the Government's central policy objective to ensure secure, diverse and sustainable energy supplies of energy at competitive prices. The paper encompasses the Government's concern for the environment, health and safety and a fair deal for consumers, as well as its commitment to all aspects of sustainable development (para 2.2). The paper also makes it clear that the Government sees energy efficiency, or conservation, as a key way to meet energy needs in a sustainable way. There is no more efficient use of energy than not needing to use it at all (para 9.51).

  3.  This is an effective approach. It is integrated, comprehensive and recognises that a wide range of issues need to be taken into account before decisions are taken on energy issues. By contrast, the suggested concept of a "sustainable energy hierarchy" covers only some of the issues which need to be considered, for example it does not cover social issues, or the cost of supply.

  4.  The Government's draft waste strategy "A Way With Waste", which was published in June 1999, illustrates the value, but also the limitation of a hierarchical approach. It makes it clear (chapter 2) that the waste hierarchy is just one of a number of principles which are taken account of when making a decision. It provides a useful conceptual framework which acts as a first point of reference and guide to the options which should be considered. However care must be taken in its use to ensure that it remains an indicative guide and does not become overly prescriptive. As in energy policy, the most effective decisions are seen to be reached through an integrated approach. The key principle underlying the Government's vision of sustainable waste management is the Best Practicable Environmental Option. This encapsulates three of the four key elements of sustainable development—and the draft strategy stresses the need to be aware of the social dimensions of waste management.



 (ii)   The Government target is for 10 per cent of UK electricity to come from renewable sources of energy "as soon as possible". We are concerned about the Government's approach. Policy commitments must have both a target level and a defined time period to be meaningful. Without these elements progress may be difficult to inspire and certainly impossible to audit. We look for the draft Climate Change Programme to propose either a date for the 10 per cent goal or an interim target for 2010. In the light of the grave reservations over the likelihood of the target being met, expressed recently by the Lords Select Committee on the European Communities, we also look to the Government to produce a clear strategy demonstrating how its goals are to be achieved. (Paragraph 26)

  5.  The Department of Trade and Industry's consultation paper "New and Renewable Energy: Prospects for the 21st Century" confirmed that the Government is working towards a target of renewables providing 10 per cent of UK electricity supplies as soon as possible; it hopes to achieve this by 2010. The intention is to lay the foundations for further significant growth of renewable energy supply. The paper also underlined the important role of renewable energy in enabling the UK to meet its legally binding target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 12.5 per cent (compared to 1990) by 2008-12, and its goal of reducing emissions of carbon dioxide by 20 per cent by 2010.

  6.  The Committee's views, as well as those of respondents, will be taken into account in the preparation of an Energy Paper, which will set out the Government's detailed policy and strategy on renewable energy in the light of consultation, and also in the work being carried out to develop the UK's draft Climate Change Programme. Both are expected to be published towards the end of the year.

Combined Heat and Power

 (iii)   If the mooted target of 10,000MWe of CHP by 2010 is to be achieved it seems likely that larger installations will be needed with the potential for more substantial sales of electricity to the national grid. In these circumstances any new framework for electricity distribution should incorporate incentives encouraging demand-side solutions such as CHP and other embedded generation with environmental benefits. The Government should also consider what could be done to secure long-term access to fair market prices for CHP using NFFO as an example. (Paragraph 30)

  7.  There is a big potential for increasing the UK's CHP capacity; we estimate an economic potential of between 10,000 and 19,000 MWe. This year the Government plans to set an increased UK target for CHP of at least 10,000 MWe by 2010, and to develop a coherent strategy to achieve it. Government will ensure that the new electricity trading arrangements provide long-term assured access to fair market prices for CHP and renewables.

  8.  The benefits of embedded generation such as CHP and renewables are factors being considered in the Review of Electricity Trading Arrangements. OFGEM published on 31 July its consultation document containing proposals for the new trading arrangements: chapter 11 of that document discusses the implications of the new arrangements for CHP and renewables schemes. In addition, a range of regulatory, fiscal and other policy instruments will be required to help meet the Government's objectives, including the appropriate treatment of CHP under the climate change levy.

The stricter consents policy

 (iv)   We regard the stricter consents policy to be serving no particular purpose and as running counter to the spirit of the Government's commitments on climate change. The Government should conclude the reform of the wholesale electricity market as soon as possible so that it may bring the stricter consents policy to an end. However, we believe that tinkering with power station consents is peripheral to the vital work needed to establish a sound footing for the development of sustainable energy sources for the UK over the longer term. (Paragraph 35)

  9.  The stricter consents policy was introduced following concern that market distortions were affecting the security, diversity and sustainability of energy supply. The policy exists to serve a specific purpose—to stabilise the generation market. It will be relaxed as soon as good progress has been made on the reform of electricity trading arrangements.

  10.  The policy is also contributing to the achievement of the Government's Climate Change objectives. The exception for good quality CHP schemes from the stricter consents policy because of their environmental and other benefits has stimulated an accelerated stream of high quality CHP proposals. Since the Government's announcement of the "Review of Energy Sources" in December 1997, 15 CHP schemes totalling 945 MWe have been approved. These schemes provide very significant environmental and other benefits over alternative electricity-only or heat-only options, including a saving of around 1 MtC annually—an important contribution to the UK's climate change commitments. Applications for more than 1,000 MWe of further CHP capacity are in the process of being considered.


 (v)   The persistent problem of fuel poverty in the UK is a continuing national scandal. Its contribution to 30,000 extra winter deaths (including some caused by cold within the home), and the fact that up to four and a half million people are significantly affected, should be addressed with the sort of urgency and determination usually reserved for more sudden crises here and abroad.

    —  In terms of public expenditure alone we believe it would be most prudent and effective to address the underlying causes of fuel poverty with a substantial and specific programme of capital investment to raise energy efficiency standards.

    —  We are concerned at the way the target for HEES is expressed in the Sustainable Development Strategy in terms of the installation of "energy efficiency measures" in a headline number of buildings—1 million—by 2002. We would prefer a more meaningful measure of the outcomes achieved in terms of a reduction in the incidence of fuel poverty and some assessment of associated emissions reductions.

    —  Until fuel poverty is addressed, taxes on domestic fuel and power are difficult to countenance. However, if the UK is to deliver the necessary reductions in greenhouse gas emissions (by 2010 and beyond) we do not believe that the domestic sector can be permanently exempt from the environmental consequences of its energy consumption. Therefore addressing fuel poverty is both a social and environmental imperative. (Paragraph 46)

  11.  The Government shares the Committee's concerns on fuel poverty and is determined to tackle the problem as a social and environmental imperative. Action has already been taken, including introducing annual £100 Winter Fuel Payments for over 7 million pensioner households and cutting the level of VAT on fuel to 5 per cent, providing an estimated saving to consumers of £450 million, with particular benefit to the fuel poor. VAT on energy saving materials has been reduced to 5 per cent releasing about £7.5 million for HEES to help reach an additional 40,000 households to be paid each year. We are also exploring with the European Commission the possibility of a further reduction.

  12.  The recent inter-departmental review of the Government's fuel poverty policy (Fuel Poverty: The New HEES—a programme for warmer, healthier homes) has shown that fuel poverty is not just about lack of income. It arises mainly from the combination of low incomes and poorly insulated and heated housing. The review concluded that in order to make a permanent difference, poor home energy efficiency needed to be tackled more effectively.

  13.  Whilst the existing Home Energy Efficiency Scheme (HEES) has provided grants to over 3 million households since 1991, the review showed that a radical reform of the scheme is needed to make a significant difference to the lives of those most in need. Hence, the Government recently published for consultation proposals for the New Home Energy Efficiency Scheme ("New HEES") for England. This radical new programme is designed to provide warmer, healthier homes for those most vulnerable to cold-related ill health—the elderly and families on low income, and the disabled. With a budget increase in the Comprehensive Spending Review to £256 million (another £44 million for Scotland and Wales) for the first two years, New HEES will provide grants for comprehensive packages of insulation and, for the first time, central heating systems to around 500,000 homes.

  14.  Local authorities are responsible for maintaining and improving their housing, and the energy efficiency of the stock is, and will continue to be, a significant factor in determining their capital programmes. Following the Comprehensive Spending Review, an additional £3.6 billion will be made available for local authority housing capital from 1999-2002. On the basis of data collected to monitor the impact of the Capital Receipts Initiative, we estimate that around one third of this money is likely to lead directly or indirectly to improvements in energy efficiency. We believe it is therefore appropriate for new HEES to focus more on households in the private rented and owner-occupied sectors, where the need for assistance is greatest and there is little recourse to any other source of assistance.

  15.  To reflect this important change of focus for New HEES, and the significant increase in resources for their capital programmes, we will be asking each local authority to report annually on the policies and measures they have established for tackling fuel poverty in their own housing, and for promoting New HEES more generally within their communities.

  16.  Following the completion of the consultation on New HEES, we have decided to further improve the proposals, in particular increasing the packages of assistance and increasing the grant maximum from £315 up to £1,000 for New HEES and to £2,000 in the case of New HEES Plus.

  17.  Over the course of 1999-2002 the overall target, set before the completion of the review, is to install energy efficiency measures in 1 million buildings. In the remaining two years of the Government's present spending programme, we estimate that New HEES will reach a total of 500,000 households, including some 300,000 over-60s households receiving New HEES Plus packages. The level of assistance provided to each household is designed to be sufficient to move them out of fuel poverty in all but a minority of the most difficult cases. The size of the programme for later years will be considered in the next Comprehensive Spending Review.


 (vi)   Falling energy prices appear to send stronger signals than awareness campaigns and seem likely to overwhelm current efforts to promote energy efficiency. The actual economics of energy efficiency investments will become less attractive but, more importantly, the already low priority afforded to the concept overall will be further weakened. (Paragraph 55)

 (vii)   We regard incentives to consume higher levels of energy as flying in the face of current Government objectives—and the provision of Air Miles in this context as rubbing salt in the wound. We recommend that Ministers, the Director-General of Electricity and Gas Supply and the energy companies together consider what measures are currently feasible and/or desirable to address this issue. An assessment should be made of the balance between the benefits of cost-reflective pricing compared to the poor environmental signals being given. (Paragraph 56)

 (viii)   We regard the development of energy services provision as fundamentally important to the achievement of the UK's environmental objectives and their promotion should be integral to the Government's stewardship of the completion of market liberalisation and not left for bolting on afterwards. (Paragraph 57)

  18.  Prices are driven down by competition and increased efficiency in the market, maintained by effective regulation of the utilities. This is helpful to the fuel poor, helping them to keep warm, whilst living within their budget.

  19.  Cost-reflective pricing is an expected and welcome result of the introduction of competition into the gas and electricity markets, which leads to increased efficiency in the supply of electricity and gas. Whilst falling energy prices and the fact that energy supply companies' marketing has initially focused mainly on the unit cost of gas and electricity, the Government does not regard high prices as an acceptable way to achieve energy efficiency. Alongside cheaper energy, Government is working to create a market structure within which energy efficiency can be encouraged to become a natural part of the energy services provided for the consumer.

  20.  The Government's utility regulation Green Paper "A Fair Deal For Consumers" spelled out the great significance of the utility industries to the Government's objectives for the environment, and the important part that utility regulation had to play. This message has been carried through into the proposals for the new Utility Bill which give clear environmental signals to the gas and electricity companies to strengthen and develop the role of energy efficiency within their services. They also spell out the social context that regulation has to reflect:

    —  there is to be a new duty for Ministers to issue statutory guidance to the regulator on social, environmental and energy efficiency measures; and a duty for the regulator to have regard to that guidance;

    —  the statutory duty of the regulator to promote energy efficiency in carrying out his other responsibilities will continue;

    —  the duty to safeguard the elderly, disabled and rural people will continue, and be extended to low income consumers and the chronically sick;

    —  Ministers also propose to take the power to set future Energy Efficiency Standards of Performance (further details are provided in response to recommendation xv).

  21.  The Government is also tackling the issue by improving communications on the benefits of energy efficiency and ensuring that clear environmental signals are given to the public and to the industry.

  22.  DETR's Memorandum to the Committee explained that DETR has a programme designed to break down barriers to energy efficiency which are perceived by householders and businesses. The programme budget of £109 million in 1998-99 will double by 2001-02. The two promotional programmes, the Energy Saving Trust's Energy Efficiency marketing programme and the DETR's Are You Doing Your Bit campaign should demonstrate the advantages of energy efficiency. Progress with both programmes is carefully monitored—and adjustments will be made where necessary.

  23.  The Government's work to encourage the development of energy services is another way in which the messages on energy efficiency are being taken forward. If people buy energy services, they will focus on the cost of the things they do with the energy they buy—like heating their home or business, rather than the unit cost of gas and electricity. The efficiency with which energy is used will become as important to consumers as its unit cost.

  24.  The Government has been working closely with the Energy Services Association, the industry and the Energy Saving Trust to tackle barriers to the emergence of energy services in the domestic and public sectors. For example:

    —  the Energy Efficiency Best Practice programme has produced a guide to the introduction of energy services in the public sector;

    —  the Government has provided financial assistance for the Energy Saving Trust's work to encourage the development of Energy Services and through significant additional funding to improve the housing stock;

    —  the Government is seeking to improve the opportunities for the development of energy services:

      —  a seminar has identified the barriers to energy services, and possibilities for overcoming them;

      —  efforts are being made to clarify the regulatory position on issues which concern those with an interest in providing energy services;

      —  the Government is revitalising the local government legislative framework. This will confirm and clarify local authorities' capabilities to promote energy efficiency in the interests of their local communities;

      —  the Government is building partnerships to promote energy services to specific parts of the domestic sector. Events such as the seminar held in 1998, which brought together those with an interest in taking forward the concept of energy services in the context of social housing transfers, show what can be achieved.


 (ix)   We recommend that the Government review its arrangements for developing and implementing sustainable energy policy and the potential for synergy between efforts to promote energy efficiency and efforts to promote the development of renewables. In particular it should consider carefully the concerns that have led to calls for innovation, for example, the establishment of an independent sustainable energy agency. It seems clear that while Government believes its arrangements can be made to work, this view is not shared by significant partners outside Whitehall. (Paragraph 64)

  25.  Energy efficiency is a wide ranging subject which inevitably involves a wide range of officials within Government—for example, those involved in energy efficiency, energy policy, the protection of the environment, sustainable development, regeneration, housing, planning, local government, transport, health, social services and taxation. It would be impossible for a single agency to be able to successfully cover all of these areas. Moreover it is important to recognise the cost and disruption resulting from organisational change. Government Departments would remain responsible for policy on energy efficiency and departments would need to continue to work together to develop policy and to monitor its operation. Effective liaison has developed as officials work together very closely, enabling the Government to develop and carry forward its energy efficiency policy. In particular, Ministers in DETR and DTI meet regularly to consider energy efficiency issues of common interest and to report on the progress of current initiatives. The Energy Efficiency, Environment and Waste Directorate of DETR is in close touch with others across Government with an interest in energy efficiency. It ensures that others are involved whenever it is appropriate. These arrangements work well.

  26.  The Government always keeps under review the distribution of functions for developing and implementing its policy. For example, the role of the Energy Saving Trust has been redirected to ensure its position on the cutting edge of energy efficiency and a review of the Trust is planned to start later this year. The Government is also contemplating a prospective Carbon Trust for industry.

 (x)   We recommend that a new unit with a dedicated staff be given specific responsibility for driving and coordinating policy on energy efficiency; its integration into other policy areas; and for identifying barriers to effective action. The unit should report to the relevant Ministers in both the DETR and DTI and have a remit to advise Ministers on: particular barriers and opportunities in the promotion of energy efficiency throughout all Government policies and programmes; and on what actions are needed when logjams have been identified. (Paragraph 65)

  27.  The Energy Environment and Waste Directorate of the DETR has responsibility for energy efficiency policy. Its officials work closely with those in other policy areas in the Department (eg on climate change) and with officials in other departments. For example, it is currently working with the DTI (on renewables, policy on energy supply, development of the forthcoming legislation on utility regulation, the Climate Change Levy and Negotiated Agreements), the Departments of Health and Social Security (on the development of policies to assist the fuel poor) and Customs and Excise (on taxation issues). This Directorate is responsible for both the Energy Efficiency Best Practice Programme and the Energy Saving Trust and thus brings together the capabilities proposed.

 (xi)   We conclude that the Government needs to reassess its many different programmes for promoting energy efficiency to achieve a simpler, more stream-lined and efficient approach. (Paragraph 72)

  28.  The Government accepts this recommendation and is undertaking a review as part of the development of the UK Climate Change Programme. The Government expects to consult on a draft programme towards the end of the year.


 (xii)   With regard to the Climate Change Levy, we recommend that:

    —  the Levy be identified clearly on consumers' bills;

    —  the Government should address the impact that the Levy will have on the competitiveness of heavy users of energy in a proportionate way;

    —  electricity bought under verified green tariffs be exempted from the Levy;

    —  the amount of direct funding for energy efficiency under the Climate Change Levy be doubled and reviewed over time as to cost-effectiveness in securing emissions reductions; and

    —  the Government should assess the effects of using a proportion of Levy revenue to provide continuing incentives and assistance for investments in energy efficiency in the form of tax breaks or rebates.

  In addition we conclude that for the Government and interested parties not to consider options for emissions trading schemes alongside the development of the details of the Levy may prove a lost opportunity. (Paragraph 74)

  29.  The climate change levy will make a significant contribution towards the UK's climate change targets. The price effect of the levy is expected to lead to carbon savings of 1.5 million tonnes per annum by 2010. Significant further carbon savings are expected from those sectors which enter into negotiated agreements to improve their energy efficiency. The Government is working hard to ensure that the levy is implemented effectively and in a way which complements other instruments such as regulation, negotiated agreements and emissions trading.

  30.  The UK is not alone in introducing a tax. Seven other EU states have already announced or implemented energy or carbon dioxide taxes as a means of encouraging energy users to reduce emissions, and two others are believed to be considering the possibility.

  31.  The Government recognises that many people feel that the environmental objective of the levy will be enhanced if the amount of levy is shown on invoices. However, there may be contrary views and so the point has been included in the consultation exercise being carried out by Customs and Excise.

  32.  The Government recognises the need for special consideration to be given to the position of energy intensive industries given their energy usage, the separate Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control regulation, and their exposure to international competition. The Chancellor has therefore offered the prospect of significantly lower rates of levy for energy intensive sectors of industry which enter into agreements meeting the Government's criteria.

  33.  The treatment of renewable energy was covered in the consultation document on the levy published by HM Customs & Excise on 9 March. The consultation document noted the Government's view that excluding electricity generated from nuclear power or large scale hydro-electric schemes from the levy, even when supplied direct to the final consumer, could not be justified as a means of developing renewables generation capacity. However, many respondents expressed the view that renewable energy should be exempt. The Government is currently considering the responses to the Customs and Excise consultation, inter alia in the light of the need to ensure that if any exemption scheme were put in place, it would need to be legally robust, and take account of the need to provide for equal treatment of imported electricity.

  34.  It is proposed that an additional £50 million in the first year of the Levy should be used to promote energy efficiency and renewable energy. This will provide a step change from current levels of funding. It is proposed that this funding will be used to provide information and advice for companies on cost-effective energy efficiency measures; to support the development of low-carbon technologies through a "carbon trust"; and to support renewable sources of energy such as solar and wind power. Proposals are currently being developed for these schemes. These will be assessed for their relative effectiveness and costs. The efficacy of the selected schemes will be monitored once they take effect. The Treasury is considering representations from industry in support of additional incentives for energy efficiency investment.

  35.The Government is committed to supporting the development of emissions trading schemes. The CBI and the Advisory Committee on Business and the Environment are currently developing proposals for a business-led scheme, with support from Government Departments. The negotiated agreements for energy intensive sectors of industry will also provide scope for trading between individual participants. Trading with other approved schemes will be allowed once these are established. The link between emissions trading and other economic instruments will be kept under review.


 (xiii)   We recommend that the UK supports the European Commission proposal for a Directive allowing temporary VAT reductions to be applied to local labour-intensive services and that the Government applies the reduction, once available, to all installations of energy saving materials as a priority. (Paragraph 76)

  36.  The European Commission has made a proposal which provides for the possibility of a reduced rate of VAT for certain labour intensive services. Member States have been asked to draw up a list of the services to which the measure might apply. This is still under discussion and is being considered by the Government.


 (xiv)   We recommend that all necessary steps be taken to extend the existing Standards of Performance scheme for electricity supply until the advent of the new utilities legislation including, if necessary, securing the voluntary participation of suppliers outside the ambit of the existing legislation. We urge the Director-General of Electricity and Gas Supply to establish a Standards of Performance scheme for gas suppliers as soon as possible using the successful electricity scheme as a model (and we recommend that his statutory powers to do so are not allowed to lapse by the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry). (Paragraph 82)

  38.  The Government has encouraged the Regulator to extend the existing electricity EESOPs scheme beyond 2000, and to put into place similar provisions for gas. It is recognised that an extension of the regulator's statutory powers may be necessary to allow him to do this. The Government is pleased that the Regulator has recently published a consultation document on his proposals for such an extension and will comment on the details of the proposals.

 (xv)   We support the establishment of an enhanced Standards of Performance scheme for energy efficiency and we strongly recommend that obligations, for both electricity and gas, be imposed on the supply function rather than the distribution function in order to encourage the development of energy services provision. (Paragraph 84)

  39.  As mentioned in response to an earlier recommendation on the barriers to the implementation of energy efficiency, the Government has announced that the Utility Reform Bill would include powers for Ministers to set Energy Efficiency Standards of Performance (EESOPs). It is proposed that the legislation should provide for EESOPs to be placed on either supply or distribution companies, or both. But the Government has indicated that it would expect to place any EESOPs on supply companies. This would build on the companies' direct relationship with consumers, and build on their business interest in developing and marketing new energy products. It would align well with the wider objective of creating a strongly consumer focused utility market.


 (xvi)   We believe that the Government should adopt the proposal for there to be mandatory energy surveys of houses at the point of sale or introduce a requirement for energy suppliers to offer one to new customers (in which case the Utilities Reform Bill offers a timely opportunity to secure introduction). (Paragraph 92)

  40.  The Government supported the Energy Efficiency Bill to make further provision for energy efficiency in the last session, which would have required mortgage lenders' reports to include information on the energy efficiency of properties, and on possible measures for improvement. The Bill had the support of the Council of Mortgage Lenders. The Government regrets that the Bill fell due to objections in the House of Commons. Ministers have encouraged mortgage lenders voluntarily to introduce schemes for providing borrowers with energy efficiency information and welcomes the action taken by a number of lenders.

  41.  The Government is continuing to look for ways in which the objectives which lie behind the Bill can be achieved by other means. The DETR is considering the possibility that those selling a dwelling might be required to provide a basic pack of information—possibly including information on energy efficiency, to prospective buyers.


 (xvii)   We welcome the Government's plans to assess formally the lessons to be learned from the experience of the Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Local Authorities' Energy Partnership in order to disseminate best practice . . . We recommend that as well as extracting lessons for best practice, the Government's review process also focuses upon the barriers encountered by the Partnership and that Ministers take steps to address these. (Paragraph 98)

  42.  The Government welcomes and encourages the establishment of partnerships, such as the Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Local Authorities' Energy Partnership (LAEP), to take forward energy efficiency activity and to facilitate implementation of the Home Energy Conservation Act 1995 (HECA). It is aware of, and in contact with, 20 or more similar HECA forum partnerships developed by energy conservation authorities in England, with a collective membership of over 200 authorities (almost two thirds of all authorities). Issues drawn to the Government's attention are considered, and wherever possible, addressed. These partnerships are demonstrating that benefits arise for all members through economies of scale, reduction of duplicated effort, pooling of expertise, and co-ordination of activity.

  43.  The specific study which is being carried out, and to which the Minister referred in his evidence to the Committee, relates to the Nottingham Energy Partnership (NEP). This is a partnership set up by Nottingham City Council and Enviro Energy Ltd to stimulate energy efficiency improvements throughout the city of Nottingham, exploit its energy resources and offer a holistic approach to the use and supply of energy across residential, industrial and commercial sectors. The Government is taking an active interest in the management and activities of the NEP. It has accepted the NEP's invitation to sit on the Partnership board, and has set up a consultancy study to learn from the Partnership experience, with a view to disseminating the lessons more widely, as a case study of interest to other authorities. The Government is also looking to see how effectively the Government's own energy efficiency programmes and policies, developed nationally, can be put into effect by action at a community level, through initiatives such as the NEP.

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