asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the present fuel bill for the Palace of Westminster; and what is the percentage of the total allocated to the use of natural gas and petroleum products.
The total energy bill, including lighting, for the Palace of Westminster was £465,000 in 1980–81. Gas represented 45 per cent. and petroleum products under 2 per cent. of the total expenditure.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he has examined the economics of converting the Palace of Westminster to coal-burning facilities for central heating; what is his estimate of the cost for so doing; and what is the period over which the expenditure could be recouped.
The present boilers are expected to be beyond economic repair in five to 10 years, and their conversion from gas and oil to coal-burning now would not be worth while. The use of solid fuel will be considered when the boilers are replaced, but the effect on air pollution and the stonework of the Palace would need to be taken into account as well as the economics.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment how much money has been spent so far on modernising the central heating system of the Palace of Westminster.
Expenditure up to the end of October 1981 was £1,950,000.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the cost of fuel for heating the buildings outside the Palace of Westminster where hon. Members have offices.
Oil for heating 6–7 Old Palace Yard cost approximately £2,500 in 1980–81. Separate heating costs cannot be provided for Norman Shaw North which is heated from the Whitehall distribution system. Figures for Norman Shaw South are not available at present. I shall write to the hon. Member when they are to hand.