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With permission, Mr Speaker, I will take Questions 15 and 19 together.
The Government are taking steps to build on our proud history of energy innovation and are more than doubling our energy innovation budget over the next five years to a total of £500 million. With this budget we can continue to support the development of clean, cheap and reliable technologies and the growth of the green research and development sector across the UK.
We would take this question with Question 19 if Glyn Davies were here, but he is not, so we will not. I do not know what has happened to the chappie, but I hope he is all right.
I thank the Secretary of State for her reply. With the new Rampion offshore wind farm being based in the Newhaven enterprise zone in my constituency, and with the recent opening of the university technical college in Newhaven, does the Secretary of State agree that Newhaven town has the potential to be a hub for green research and development, and could she outline how the Government can support that?
I welcome the activity already under way in my hon. Friend’s constituency and will of course be considering opportunities to support research, development and demonstration across the UK as we develop our energy innovation programme. I encourage her to speak directly with low-carbon energy funding bodies, which stand ready to support innovation in the technologies that we will need in the future. I really welcome the development of the UTC, which is partnered with, among other companies, E.ON UK and EDF Energy. It has a specific focus on green engineering, so I think that there is a great opportunity there for Newhaven.
The Government’s emissions reduction plan has been promised by the end of this year, and the Secretary of State has said that it will address the current 10% shortfall for the fourth carbon budget, which was set back in June 2011. Section 14 of the Climate Change Act 2008 stipulates that the Government must lay before Parliament a report setting out how they will meet each carbon budget
“as soon as is reasonably practicable” after setting it. Five years later, does the Secretary of State consider that she is now in breach of the Act, or does she have an unusually elastic definition of the phrase “as soon as is reasonably practicable”?
It is always a pleasure to receive such detailed questions from the hon. Gentleman. I can reassure him that I am fully aware of section 14 and the sections either side of it. I am clear that we will have an emissions reduction plan by the end of the year, as we have said, and that we have an obligation to come forward with our response to the fifth carbon budget. It is because we take these matters so seriously, and because this is a big, realistic and important challenge for the UK, that we are not rushing it.