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Energy Policy

Volume 404: debated on Tuesday 15 April 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement, in relation to her Department and each agency and non-departmental public body for which her Department is responsible, on (a) the amount of energy consumed, (b) spending on (i) energy and (ii) energy efficiency measures, (c) the amount saved through energy efficiency measures and (d) energy policy in each of the last five years. [108869]

The table is based on data reported in the "Sustainable Development in Government" annual reports. Data on the Department's agencies and NDPBs are not available.

Energy consumption (GWh/y)

Energy expenditure (£M/y)

Energy/m2 (kWh/m2/y)

Saving over 1997–98 (%)

Energy efficiency spend (£k/y)

Defra/MAFF main estate








Defra/MAFF Laboratories









1 Combination of additional air-conditioned buildings brought into Defra estate, and out of hours working, nationally on swine fever and FMD outbreaks.

2 FMD outbreaks—additional buildings, staff and long hours working.

3 Budget allocations prevented investment in energy saving measures.

4 Defra laboratories are energy aware, but work to commercial constraints. Energy use varies with contracts. Year-on-year comparisons not wholly appropriate.


1. Energy consumption is weather-corrected in the usual manner, using annual degree days relative to the 20-year average for 1990–91. The figures are those reported on for the Central Government Estate campaign, and generally include each Department's main estate plus all agencies, but not NDPBs.

2. Energy Expenditure: this is actual spend and, from April 2001, includes the climate change levy.

3. Energy/m2: this variable allows for changes in both weather and estate size on energy consumption. So annual changes will generally reflect efficiency changes.

4. Savings over 1997–98: These have been expressed as percentage savings relative to the first year quoted here, and are based on the figures in the preceding column.

5. Energy efficiency spend: Note that this is not necessarily a good measure of an effective energy efficiency policy. For example, when a new building is commissioned or an existing one refurbished, good design can actually reduce capital costs, e.g. by avoiding air conditioning. The costs of an effective energy management team may also not be included.

The Energy White Paper, "Our Energy Future—Creating a Low Carbon Economy" made clear the importance the Government attaches to improving energy efficiency in its own estate. This is reflected in several targets. There is currently an interim target of a 1 per cent. per annum on-going reduction in weather-corrected carbon emissions, pending the development of new indicators and targets based on benchmarking the performance of each Department's largest buildings. These new targets are planned to be in place later this year. New targets for Government Departments' use of CHP generated electricity will also be established during 2003.

In addition, the review of Government procurement has identified areas where procurement could reinforce the achievements of these targets, and arrangements are being made centrally for Departments to purchase goods with high energy efficiency standards and which provide good value for money.

On the purchase of renewable electricity, Ministers agreed the following target in May 2001:

"All Departments will ensure that by 31 March 2003, at least 5 per cent. of their electricity comes from renewable sources that are exempt from the climate change levy or from self-generation, provided this does not entail excessive cost. This will rise to at least 10 per cent. supply from such sources by 31 March 2008, but will be reviewed after 31 March 2003 to take account of market conditions following the introduction of the renewables obligation. The review of 2003 will include consideration of increasing or bringing forward the target".