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Volume 889: debated on Monday 7 April 1975

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asked the Secretary of State for Energy whether he will make a further statement on the progress of energy conservation.

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given to the hon. Member for Derbyshire, South-East (Mr. Peter Rost) on 24th March.—[Vol. 889, c. 25–6.].

I do not know how to phrase my question to the Minister. Would he care to say what has been the result of the negotiations, which I am sure he will have had with the Secretary of State for the Environment and the Secretary of State for Scotland, about fuel conservation measures in house-building? What steps is he taking to ensure the use of methods that will assist in conservation in this vital respect?

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Is it in order for a Minister to refer to an hon. Member by name?

No, it is not in order. Mr. Eadie: I apologise.

There is contact between the Department of Energy and my right hon. Friends, but not of the kind the hon. Gentleman suggested. There is a Scottish aspect to energy saving. For example, the National Engineering Laboratory at East Kilbride has undertaken an assessment of the economics of wave power and the final report is currently being studied by the Department. The assessment was carried out for the Department and was funded by the Department of Industry at a cost of £13,000. The Department of Industry is sponsoring research into design and testing of wave power generation at Edinburgh University with my Department's active encouragement, and this research will cost £65,000 over three years.

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that many householders are dis- couraged from making conservation improvements by the ensuing increases in rates? Perhaps the Secretary of State for the Environment will take steps as soon as possible to relieve householders from rate increases due to such improvements.

I am sure that my right hon. Friend will note the hon. Gentlemen's comments. In any event, I shall draw them to his attention.