Planning and Compulsory Purchase Bill
Baroness Maddock (Shadow Minister, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister Local Government & the Regions; Liberal Democrat)
My Lords, I thank all noble Lords who intervened for some of their comments and I thank the Minister for his reply. Various criticisms were made. The wording of the amendment is that "planning authorities may", so no one is forcing them to act.
Several noble Lords failed to recognised that if one is trying to carry out a community heating scheme of whatever type, it cannot be done through building regulations on individual buildings. In my view, in order to achieve the efficient use of energy, we need to go down that road when buildings are built close together. Criticism was made of combined heat and power not being renewable energy, but the point I made on the Woking scheme was that the advantage of having a community heating scheme based on CHP is that as new technologies are introduced the fuel can be changed. The other important point is that under such a scheme the electricity continues to be available.
The complaint people make about renewable energy, particularly wind farms, is that the power is there only when there is wind. Allan Jones told me that, interestingly, in Woking their scheme is so efficient that during a power cut when an out-of-town shopping centre lost its power, the shops in the centre of Woking retained theirs because they were on the circuit of the CHP scheme.
It is an important issue and I understand what the Minister says. I am pleased that the Government are looking at the matter seriously and I hope that PPS22 will enable local authorities, when they put it into their plans, to ensure that it happens. That was the point of raising the issue. People wanting to introduce such a scheme have come up against problems in making it stick and in getting people to carry it out. With those comments, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.