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Lord McIntosh of Haringey: My Lords, the appreciation is mutual. I am delighted to have the noble Lord continuing to ask Questions which I have the privilege of answering. Of course both the Exchequer and the beneficiaries of the various National Lottery distribution boards are all glad that the lottery is a success.
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: My Lords, we have no plans to extend Camelot's licence. Camelot can come to us at any stage and ask for extensions to its licence, and we shall consider any application that it makes.
Road transport is the fastest growing source of greenhouse gas emissions in the United Kingdom and, along with other sectors of the economy, must make a fair contribution to meeting our target. The decision by the Chancellor to increase from 5 per cent. to at least 6 per cent. in real terms the commitment to annual fuel duty rises will, if continued to the end of the Parliament, save an additional 2.5 million tonnes of carbon in 2010, making a significant contribution to the 33 million tonnes which needs to be saved to meet our 20 per cent. target.
Baroness Miller of Hendon: My Lords, I thank the Minister for that comprehensive reply. Will she confirm that, however good the objectives are, there will be considerable inflationary increases in costs to industry and to domestic consumers of fuel and that there may possibly be damage to our own car manufacturing and export industries? Do the Government agree that all the Prime Minister's proposals must be fully implemented by all the other major world economies and not simply be imposed unilaterally to the competitive detriment of the United Kingdom?
Baroness Hayman: My Lords, I agree that it is essential that we tackle the problem internationally. In setting the UK's domestic target, the clear intention was to provide leadership in the international scene. At Kyoto we expect to see other nations contributing towards a target. I repeat that the problem must be tackled internationally. Our competitiveness will be helped if other countries take similar measures. However, I must advise the noble Baroness that we are absolutely determined that those measures will not jeopardise the economy. Indeed, there are benefits for the United Kingdom in achieving significant emission reductions. If we achieve our target, we shall have a better transport system, more competitive industry with
Lord Stoddart of Swindon: My Lords, does my noble friend agree that one of the best ways of reducing the amount of pollution, including CO 2 , in the atmosphere is to make those who drive their cars the most pay the most? Therefore, will the Government reconsider their attitude towards ending vehicle excise duty and transferring the taxation to VAT on petrol?
Baroness Hayman: My Lords, we have seen that increasing the duty on petrol is a very effective measure in terms of reducing CO 2 emissions. It also provides people with an opportunity to reduce the number of car journeys that they make and provides incentives to industry to produce more fuel-efficient vehicles. On the issue of the other changes that could take place to encourage CO 2 emission reductions, the Budget placed the environment at the core of the Government's objectives for the tax system with a statement of intent that environmental pollution should be discouraged through the tax system. It included the increase in the level of fuel duty escalator and recognised that we would have to consider the possibilities of a whole range of other measures.
Lord Ezra: My Lords, does the Minister agree that one of the biggest contributors to emissions from road vehicles is congestion at peak periods? Have the Government any plans to deal with that problem?
Baroness Hayman: My Lords, congestion does, indeed, contribute to pollution and it is important that we tackle it. The White Paper on an integrated transport policy seeks to consider in the most open and wide-ranging way all the possibilities with regard to how congestion can be tackled.
Lord Renton: My Lords, bearing in mind the great possibilities of having vehicles propelled by sources other than petrol and diesel oil, will the Government give every encouragement, including financial encouragement, to the development of those alternative sources of power?
Baroness Hayman: My Lords, there are great opportunities for developing other sources of clean transportation which could yield huge benefits for both public and private transport. In certain areas such encouragement is being given. I shall write to the noble Lord with the details. However, there are a whole range of measures--not just relating to transport--by which, by exploiting technological advance in, for example, combined heat and power and energy efficiency, we could make a huge contribution to cutting CO 2 emissions.
Baroness Hayman: My Lords, I understand very well the point that my noble friend is making. It would be wrong of me to anticipate the measures which the Chancellor might choose to impose, but I am sure that the taxation of company cars will be considered.
Baroness Williams of Crosby: My Lords, is the Minister aware that we welcome the Government's leadership on this issue? Will the noble Baroness give us two assurances, first, that submissions will be made, particularly to the Government of the United States, to follow up the initiative taken by Britain and Germany, as the United States has done almost nothing to reduce energy use in that great country? Secondly, will the Minister assure us that steps will be taken to try to introduce the use of information technology in the control of industrial processes, given that we could massively reduce the energy misuse of many industrial processes, particularly older ones?
Baroness Hayman: My Lords, on the second point, the noble Baroness clearly highlights the areas in which there are opportunities for cutting CO 2 emissions, such as exploiting IT and technological advances, without taking some of the more painful measures. As far as putting pressure on the United States and other developed countries is concerned, we hope that at Kyoto the EU's negotiating position will be used to advantage with other developed nations to ensure that the burden in this area is spread fairly between the developed countries.
Lord Glenamara: My Lords, do the Government take into account in this matter the physiology of trees, which make the major contribution to reducing the amount of CO 2 in the atmosphere? If they do, what additional plans do they have for planting broad-leaf forests as part of the effort towards achieving the target?
Baroness Hayman: My Lords, I shall have to write to my noble friend on the issue of broad-leaf forests. However, on the issue with which I am perhaps more familiar, the mitigating effects of tree-planting on road development, the Highways Agency has a major tree-planting programme alongside its road development programme in order to do exactly what my noble friend suggested.
The Earl of Lauderdale: My Lords, does the Minister accept that one of the chief pollutants in the world is the generation of electricity by the burning of coal and that two of the biggest offenders are China and India? Can the Minister say, first, what it is hoped to achieve at Kyoto with regard to encouraging China and India to reduce their burning of coal and the consequent pollution? Secondly, and for the same reason, what are the Government doing to encourage combined heat and power in this country?
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