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Lord Evans of Temple Guiting: My Lords, I cannot do the calculation in my head to see whether it is possible to come to that percentage. I realise that the noble Lord, Lord Ezra, asked that question and I will ensure that he gets a proper answer. As it is obviously a rather fundamental issue, I will arrange for all noble Lords who have taken part in this debate to receive a copy of that letter.
A fundamental point was made that I should answerthat the government amendments in the other place seriously weakened the Bill. We take the contrary view. The Government have supported the Bill since it was first introduced in the other place. We have worked closely and consistently with the Bill's sponsors to get the detail right and reach a deal that canand so far hassecured cross-party support.
The energy White Paper sets out a framework for a sustainable energy policy for the next 50 yearsa strategy for the short, medium, and long-term. We intend to deliver on our White Paper commitments, as I have said a number of times already, and this Bill is a worthwhile piece of legislation that will help us to do so. It made an important contribution to delivering the vision that we have set out and we will report fully and transparently on its progress.
The noble Lord, Lord Ezra, said that he was concerned that we would not deliver the CHP targets. We recognise the difficult market conditions faced by the CHP industry. The White Paper set out several additional measures to assist that will be incorporated into the final CHP strategy, due to be published later this year. We remain committed to the target of 10 gigawatts good quality CHP installed capacity by 2010. Through the target for use of CHP electricity in the central government estate, addressed in Clause 5, we feel that we are leading by example.
I hope that I have got the message across that the Government totally support the Bill. We will not, in any way, draw back. We give it our support, and we hope that the cross-party support that it has enjoyed to date will continue.
The Earl of Liverpool: My Lords, I know that the noble Lord said that he would write to all noble Lords who took part in the debate on issues to which he had not referred, but I spent quite a long time discussing tidal power and the new technologies that are available. Are the Government aware of the progress
Lord Evans of Temple Guiting: My Lords, I shall, if necessary, write to the noble Earl, but, as it is not a government Bill, I shall be interested to hear what the noble Baroness, Lady Maddock, says on the issue.
The noble Earl, Lord Liverpool, talked, in particular, about tidal power, and the Minister threw the issue back to me. It would be nice to be in the position of a Minister, able to do something about it. My understanding, from what the Minister and the Government have said, is that they will consider the matter. However, history shows that, when it comes to putting money into such things, governments think that something is a good idea one minute and not the next. I have been on the end of that.
I cannot really say what the Government will do about the matter. As far as we are concerned, people who care about sustainability will include tidal power as an issue. I know that the issue has moved on. The noble Earl also pointed out the golden opportunity that the Government have, with all the building programmes that are going onhospitals, schools and housingto put their money where their mouth is in that respect.
As always, the noble Lord, Lord Palmer, demonstrated his wide knowledge of the issue of biofuels with his usual enthusiasm. The noble Lord posed a question, at which point the Minister nodded at me, although, actually, he partly answered it himself. The noble Lord asked about the areas covered by the Bill. That question has been answered by the points that have been raised about how one gets a Private Member's Bill through the House. The wider the area covered by the Bill, the more difficult it is to deal with departments. Dealing with Defra and the DTI is difficult, with the Treasury hovering in the background. Trying to deal with transport as well would have been a bit of a nightmare. Nevertheless, the Minister showed that the Government do care about that issue. It is certainly something that the proposers of the Bill care about, and Brian White talked about it in another place.
I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Hunt of Chesterton, for finding time to join in our debate. He made a valuable point about housing and what happens when houses change hands. It is my understanding that the Government intend to address this issue in the housing Bill; it is in the draft housing Bill. We shall see. I hope that in the Queen's Speech there will be a housing Bill. I totally agree with the noble Lord.
I am grateful to those who raised the problems in relation to getting Private Members' Bills through. The noble Baroness, Lady Miller of Hendon, again explained how we all feel so cross aboutto use her very good phrasethe filleting of the Bill and said that the Government have a lot of good intentions. But where are the actions to follow up those intentions?
I was slightly worried by some of her comments. I certainly hope that we do not risk losing the Bill through lack of time. One comment I should like to make is perhaps not quite so friendly. The noble Baroness spoke about the Government not wanting to put targets in the Bill. When I was trying to get my Bill through, her own government resisted to the end putting targets in the Bill. So that is something that happens.
The Minister gave quite a full answer to the issues raised. He reassured us that the Government are committed to the Bill, which would enable them to build on "some of their commitments". I thought that was a rather telling phrase. That is the problem; it is building on "some of their commitments". We wanted them to build on rather more. However, the Minister promised major legislation. He did not say when. If pressed, I suspect we would receive the time-honoured phrase, "when parliamentary time permits". We shall see.
However, he also said that the Government are about to produce an implementation programme. We look forward to that. It is eight years since the Home Energy Conservation Act. Virtually all legislation in this area has been driven by people outside this House, driving some of us within the House to bring forward legislation on these matters. The Minister asked why we question or doubt the Government's commitment. From the speeches that have been made today, if he cannot see why we doubt the Government's commitment, well, I am very sorry. It is blindingly obvious. When a Bill comes forward based on matters on which the Government have given promises but have not backed up what they said they would do, is it any wonder that we doubt their commitment?
However, it was good to obtain the reassurances that we did today, particularly on combined heat and power. I fail to understand why the Government seem to be going forward and then going back. There is a great deal of plant out there. It is a wonderful opportunity to use our energy much more efficiently.
Lord Evans of Temple Guiting: My Lords, I am sorry to intervene. Before the noble Baroness sits down, I should like to say for the record that I do not think I said that we are intent on implementing "some" of our policies. What I actually said was that implementing fully our sustainable energy policy is a task that will take years, not months.
Baroness Maddock: The phrase I wrote down was: the Bill would "enable us to build on some of the commitments" we have made. I may be wrong, but we shall see what is on the record. That was my point. However, I am grateful to the Minister for intervening on that point.
We have made very slow progress on fuel poverty. It is unheard of in other parts of western Europe. We get many good words and intentions from the Government, but not much money and not much legislation with teeth. This is a small step forward, but we need to do better for those who still die of cold in their homes, for those living in cold and damp homes, for the stewardship of our planet, for our children and for future generations.