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Baroness Amos: My Lords, the answer to the first question on publicising the report in the United States is, "Yes". Steps will be taken to do that. One of the members of the IMC is nominated by the United States Government.

On the noble Baroness's second point, which I think is asking whether the IMC will be able to investigate the difficulties that individuals have in speaking openly about what has happened to them, one of the

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things that the IMC made clear in this report is that it did not rely on evidence from security sources but went elsewhere to get the kind of evidence used in this report. It has made it clear that this is something that it will want to continue to do. I am sure that it will take on board the debate that we are now having on this issue and I shall come back to the noble Baroness with more detail on this point if I can.

Energy Bill [HL]

4.44 p.m.

Lord Grocott: My Lords, I have it in command from Her Majesty the Queen and His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales to acquaint the House that they, having been informed of the purport of the Energy Bill, have consented to place their prerogative and interest, so far as they are affected by the Bill, at the disposal of Parliament for the purposes of the Bill.

Bill read a third time.

Lord Ezra moved Amendment No. 1:


    After Clause 2, insert the following new clause—

Annual report on energy efficiency


The Secretary of State shall publish in such form as he sees fit an annual report setting out what steps he has taken and proposes to take to secure carbon savings from domestic energy efficiency of 5MtC per annum by 2010 and a further 4MtC per annum by 2020."

The noble Lord said: My Lords, this amendment raises an important aspect of the Government's energy policy, where it is made quite clear that energy efficiency must play a very large part in securing the reduced carbon emissions to which the Government are committed under the Kyoto objectives and in other ways. I realise that the Government are shortly to produce a report on domestic energy efficiency and, no doubt, that will contain a lot of positive proposals, which we shall be interested to read. Unfortunately, this is our last opportunity to introduce a provision on this subject into the Bill. Therefore, in anticipation of that report, and on the assumption that it will stick to the indications given in the Energy White Paper, we feel that this should be an opportunity for stating quite clearly that these are the objectives.

The fact is that these were not clearly stated as objectives in the White Paper but it was subsequently made quite clear in statements by Ministers that the Government considered themselves committed to it. For example, I remind the Minister that, in answer to a Question from my noble friend Lady Maddock in October of last year he said that the Government regarded it as a commitment to save 5 million tonnes of carbon emissions by the year 2010. In his consultative document on ways in which fiscal measures could be introduced to stimulate energy savings, the Chancellor of the Exchequer stated these objectives at the beginning of that report. As this issue was in the Energy White Paper, and as Ministers have repeatedly stated their commitment to these objectives, we feel that this is an opportunity to give this important issue

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statutory backing. It goes no further than the White Paper, no further than has been reiterated by Ministers on a number of occasions and I therefore beg to move.

Baroness Miller of Hendon: My Lords, I owe the noble Lord, Lord Ezra, an apology for not having put my name down to this very important amendment, which we most certainly support. Indeed, it is an apology to the rest of the House, who did not realise that we support this amendment. Why should they have realised that?

During the passage of the Sustainable Energy Bill, which is now an Act, on 12 September last year, I said that:


    "We want . . . to ensure that the annual report is about real progress on real, firm, binding and achievable targets and not about vague and woolly 'policy goals'".—[Official Report, 12/9/03; col. 616]

But the Government would not accept such a clause and, regrettably, in another place they were able to force those who wanted such a clause to back down rather than lose the Bill.

The proposed new clause, to which the noble Lord, Lord Ezra, has just spoken, is very similar. It would require the Government to report on real progress and specific measures taken, and proposed, to achieve the savings from domestic energy efficiency announced in their own White Paper of 5 million tonnes of carbon (MtC) per annum by 2010 and a further 4 million tonnes of carbon per annum by 2020. The case for such a measure, which was strong enough last year, has become even more overwhelming and unanswerable in the light of recent developments, of which I shall mention just a few.

The Government's own sustainable energy policy website now lists the CO2 savings specified in the proposed new clause of 5MtC per annum by 2010 and a further 4MtC per annum by 2020 as "commitments" and "objectives". The proposed new clause requires the Government only to tell the public how they are getting on in achieving their own policy. Do the Government really object to that?

The noble Lord, Lord Whitty, confirmed that that was the commitment in a Written Answer to the noble Baroness, Lady Maddock, on 27 October 2003. Some 335 Members of the House of Commons—more than half the House—signed Early Day Motion No. 96 in support of the target, so we know the views of the elected representatives. By passing the proposed new clause today we in this House would respond to the views freely held, without pressure from their Whips, by Members of Parliament.

In the past year CO2 emissions have increased by nearly 2 per cent, making domestic energy efficiency all the more important. As the energy White Paper calls energy efficiency the cheapest, cleanest and safest way of achieving energy policy objectives, the public are entitled to know what the Government are doing, and propose to do, to reach the savings that are required by 2010 and the further savings that are required by 2020. While no one doubts that sustainable energy may cost money, we are all entitled to know that the cheapest viable option is being given due priority year in and year out.

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The Fuel Poverty Advisory Group has reported that at least 50 per cent more resources are needed if the Government's duty to end fuel poverty, established under the Warm Homes and Energy Conservation Act 2000, which was successfully promoted by my honourable friend David Amess, is to be met. Those organisations involved with combating fuel poverty have all written to the Secretary of State calling for a 20 per cent increase in domestic energy efficiency by 2010. The Government have already agreed that that 20 per cent is equivalent to savings of 5MtC, as specified in the proposed new clause. We need the new clause to ensure that we receive proper reports to show that the Government are on course to comply with the law.

In addition to the letter to the Secretary of State from all those involved in combating fuel poverty, just about every large industry and trade association concerned with producing energy saving materials has written in a similar vein stating that,


    "if we are to secure the necessary funding (i.e. investment by the industry) then absolute and unambiguous quantified carbon saving commitments will be needed from government".

Today I have seen a document containing the highlighted words, "Policy in Confidence". It is a draft of the Government's energy efficiency implementation plan written on 2 March 2004. Paragraph 96 of the document states:


    "However, the most recent update of the United Kingdom's energy projections has highlighted the fact that changes to our baseline projections mean that the existing package of measures may no longer be sufficient to keep us on track to deliver the expected absolute"—

the word "absolute" is underlined—


    "emission levels. The current climate change programme is likely to under deliver by up to 7.5 MtC per annum in 2010".

The proposed new clause is all about commitments. It is about clear annual reporting on what the Government have done and what they propose to do. I refer to public accountability, the environment, combating fuel poverty, enabling British industry to invest and, indeed, public honesty.

I urge the Government to accept the very important new clause proposed by the noble Lord, Lord Ezra. If they do not, my colleagues will raise it in another place. My Front Bench team has also signed Early Day Motion No. 96, which I mentioned earlier. If the Government really do not want the measure and wish to defeat it, they will have to bully more than 200 Labour Members of Parliament who have repeatedly signed up to support these commitments, more than 100 of whom have issued press releases to their local papers committing themselves to supporting the commitments.

A final reason why the Government should accept the proposed new clause is contained in paragraph 3.49 of the energy White Paper. In that paragraph the Government promised that,


    "we will report annually, as part of the follow up to this white paper, on progress towards achieving the savings we have set out".

Now is the time for the Government to show that they really meant those words.

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