I thank the minister for advance sight of his statement. He started by saying that he is certain that 2040 is the right target date, but then said that he wants to consult again just to be on the safe side. Will he confirm that that further consultation will consider only bringing forward the target and not pushing it further back?
The minister also proposes to put local heat and energy efficiency strategies on a statutory footing, but did not really say anything about how those strategies would be supported. I welcome his commitment to talk to councils, but when will he be able to tell Parliament and councils what support and resources there will be for those strategies?
I welcome the minister’s proposal to regulate district heating. Will that enable district heating to be placed in local development plans? The case for permitted development rights and wayleaves for district heating has been strongly made. Will the minister undertake to conclude his investigation into that matter as rapidly as possible, so that the provisions are in place before regulation and licensing of the sector begin?