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Disability Discrimination

Volume 404: debated on Tuesday 6 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what representations he has received about the Disability Discrimination (Blind and Partially Sighted Persons) Regulations. [109956]

Copies of the draft Regulations were circulated to a number of organisations for comment prior to being laid. Responses were received from the Disability Rights Commission, the Royal National

Energy consumption (Gwh/y)Energy expenditure (£M/y)Energy/m2 (Kwh/m2/y)Savings over 1997–8 (Per cent.)Energy efficiency spend (£k/y)
1997–98739 407.94314.94
1998–99667 567.39300.4410
1999–2000705 417.18310.965
2000–01665 866.29277.5310
2001–02694.316.82289.146

Notes:

Energy Consumption: this 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.

Energy Expenditure: this is actual spend, and from April 2001, includes the Climate Change Levy.

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

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.

Energy efficiency spend: Investment in energy efficiency measures is made by the Departments Estates Partners; as such we are unable to include details of expenditure for commercial reasons. A number of investment scheme projects were initiated during 2002, which are currently being rolled out across the whole estate.

The Energy White Paper, Our Energy Future-Creating a Low Carbon Economy made clear the importance the Government attach to improving energy efficiency in their own estate. This is reflected in several targets. There is currently an interim target of a 1 per cent. pa ongoing reduction in weather-corrected carbon emissions, pending the development of new indicators and targets based on benchmaking 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 achievement 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".

Institute for the Blind, and the Royal College of Ophthalmologists, all of whom welcomed the Regulations.