Energy Bill [HL] - Commons Amendments

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 5:45 pm on 12th April 2016.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip), The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales 5:45 pm, 12th April 2016

My Lords, I thank noble Lords for participating in the debate on this amendment. I will try to cover the points raised and do justice to some very important ones. First, there is nothing inconsistent in having a laser-like focus on the development of the North Sea as a principal objective set out by the Government and developing CCS. I reassure noble Lords who raised the issue—the noble Baronesses, Lady Featherstone, Lady Liddell and Lady Worthington—that the Government are very much wedded to the importance of CCS. As the noble Baroness, Lady Worthington, said, we set up an advisory committee chaired by the noble Lord, Lord Oxburgh, who I do not think is in his place. He brings to this task great expertise. It has cross-party representation, with all principal parties here represented and also the Scottish nationalists from another place. We will be responding to the advice that we receive from the committee, which I think will come in a timely way at the end of the summer or the beginning of the autumn. I know that the committee has met at least three times already and is driving this agenda very hard.

I will mention what we are doing on CCS to reassure noble Lords. There is collaboration with key partners who are also developing CCS; we are sharing data and research with them. Officials in the department are working on CCS; this is not an area where there is no activity. Our science and innovation budget has been increased, and we are looking at how we can usefully use it. There are developments on Teesside with industrial CCS, which is important. My noble friend Lord Howell made a valid point about carbon capture usage, which is also a key part of what we are looking at—but these things are best done together.

I thank my noble friend Lord Ridley for mentioning the issue of Canada; we study progress there very closely. I also thank the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Chester for injecting some realism about the importance of having that laser-like focus on the North Sea, but, at the same time, as has rightly been accentuated and stressed by other noble Lords in the debate, developing a CCS strategy. With that, I commend the amendment.

Commons Amendment 3 agreed.