Green Agenda — Motion to Take Note

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 4:20 pm on 12th January 2012.

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Photo of Lord Marland Lord Marland The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change 4:20 pm, 12th January 2012

I am grateful. The Whip has just said that it is very rare that I am modest, so it is quite nice of the noble Lord, Lord Teverson, to say that. The fact of the matter is that the solar industry is going on. That is what my story indicates. It is still out there selling and that will go on if people want to do it. Frankly, that is what it should be about.

What have the Government done? The Opposition talk about the green investment bank. We have committed funds to the green investment bank. It is highly technical and difficult to set up a bank. We have committed funds-we set aside £3.1 billion for the investment bank-and that will happen. As I said, we have committed £1 billion of new money for carbon capture and storage. We have the world's first incentive scheme for heat Nowhere else in the world is that happening. We have put £400 million to support low-emission vehicles. We have a mass rollout of smart meters by 2014, which will allow the consumer-merely by putting on their reading glasses-to see what they are spending on electricity. We are reforming the market to encourage investment, which is absolutely critical, as the noble Lords have said. We have had the fourth carbon budget, which requires us to cut emissions by 50 per cent. We fully subscribe to that and we are on target for it. We have cut our own government emissions by 14 per cent despite the 10 per cent target we set ourselves. We even got No. 10 to cut its emissions by 10 per cent-it was a very close-run thing. We cut our own government emission by 14 per cent last year. It will be 25 per cent by 2015-not a small target.

As I said, Durban was, largely, a triumph. As the noble Lord, Lord Prescott, says, it is rebuilding the mess that happened at Copenhagen; it is rebuilding trust among countries. There is also work towards a legally binding agreement-a fantastic achievement. Twelve per cent of our capacity now comes from renewable electricity. It will be 15 per cent by 2020. We are on target for that commitment and making very good strides. Around 40 per cent of households now recycle their own waste. This is good for the green agenda. Some 3.5 million more homes will be insulated by the end of 2012. We have spent £92 million cleaning up our rivers. We have had the big tree plant campaign, which was launched to plant 100,000 trees. The Green Deal, which we talked about earlier, will unlock about £7 billion of private sector investment. That should generate 100,000 jobs. We are, therefore, doing a lot.

Contrary to what the noble Viscount, Lord Hanworth, was saying, we have increased our grants. Seventeen grants were awarded to separate companies last year-a total of £18 million. We spent another £28 million in 2009-2010 across the Government. We continue the commitment made by the previous Government. We have six wave and tidal companies receiving grants of £22 million through our own good offices. The Opposition are, therefore, wrong to criticise us. By criticising us, the Opposition are criticising themselves-they have been fundamental to this development. We have done this together. I go back to the words of the noble Lord, Lord Judd. We all know that we are in this together-up to our eyeballs-and it is our job to make sure that the consumer is at the heart of our decision-making. We must help to educate consumers that the green agenda is part of the important decision-making that supports them. I am grateful to the noble Baroness, Lady Smith, for this excellent opportunity to respond.