New Clause 17 - Reports under section 1 of the Sustainable Energy Act 2003: community energy projects and renewable heat

Climate Change and Sustainable Energy Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:45 pm on 9 February 2006.

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In section 1(1A) of the Sustainable Energy Act 2003 (c. 30) (annual reports on progress towards sustainable energy aims)—

(a)at the end of paragraph (b) insert—

“(ba)things done during that period pursuant to section 9 of the Climate Change and Sustainable Energy Act 2005 for the purpose of promoting community energy projects;

(bb)things done during that period pursuant to section (Renewable heat) of that Act for the purpose of promoting the use of heat produced from renewable sources;”, and

(b)in paragraph (c), after “sections 2 and 3” insert “of this Act”.’.—[Malcolm Wicks.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

Photo of Malcolm Wicks Malcolm Wicks Minister for energy, Department of Trade and Industry

I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time.

That was exciting after all the consensus. The figure of the Leader of the Opposition joined us in the Committee room, at least spiritually—and not for the first time. One day there will be a wonderful doctoral thesis with the title, “New Conservatives: the new localism and climate change”, in which the words of the hon. Member for Bexhill and Battle will be much cited.

New clause 17 is easier, because in our previous sitting we had a good discussion about the promotion of renewable heat and community energy schemes. To supplement the duties being imposed on the Secretary of State in those areas, I agreed to consider associated reporting requirements. The new clause imposes a requirement on the Secretary of State to report on the steps taken to promote renewable heat and community energy. That reporting will be done through the annual reports on energy policy that are already produced under the Sustainable Energy Act 2003. I hope that the   hon. Gentleman will agree that the new clause achieves the aims of the proposal that he withdrew in our previous sitting and that he will support it.

Photo of Gregory Barker Gregory Barker Shadow Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

I thank the Minister, who has been true to his word. We had a lengthy discussion on this matter in our previous sitting, and he has come back with a proposal that exactly fits the purpose, for which I am very grateful.

Reporting back on renewable heat and community energy is important; it will stimulate the debate and allow us to monitor annually the progress that is being made. I realise that it could create a rod for the Government’s own back, but it is a matter of accountability, as people should be able to see what the nation is doing to meet these important objectives and hold politicians of whatever party to account. I am grateful to the Minister for acting on our suggestion. His proposition is very sensible and I am happy to support it.

Photo of Mark Lazarowicz Mark Lazarowicz Labour, Edinburgh North and Leith

Without wishing to claim exclusive ownership of the Bill in anything other than the best sense, I point out that my understanding is that the second sub-paragraph in the new clause relates to my amendment on renewable heat. I, too, am happy to support the Minister’s proposal, which takes on board the points in that earlier amendment.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause read a Second time, and added to the Bill.