asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will make a statement concerning the progress of schemes for combined heat and power.
The present stage of the feasibility programme is nearing completion. Although some inputs to the consultants' work have been delayed, we n3w expect their report to be completed within about six weeks.
I am grateful for that information. Can the Minister assure the House that between now and the time when those reports are published the Central Electricity Generating Board will take no steps either to dismantle or decommission power stations which, as a result of these studies, might conceivably be used for these schemes? Has the hon. Gentleman asked this question and received such assurances?
The CEGB has a programme of closing power stations that are thought to be no longer economic. I do not believe that that is in any way connected with the report. I know the point that the hon. Gentleman makes. One of the issues that the consultants have to consider is whether existing power stations can be used in the districts under consideration. I do not believe that the point about which the hon. Gentleman expressed anxiety will affect the outcome.