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Carbon Emissions: Government Assistance

Volume 498: debated on Thursday 29 October 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what applications have been received from (a) Wales, (b) England and (c) Scotland for support from the Low Carbon Communities Challenge Fund; when he expects decisions to be taken on the distribution of resources from the fund; and what evaluation mechanisms are in place to ensure optimisation of sustainability in successful bids. (296999)

The Low Carbon Communities Challenge is a two-year programme to provide financial and advisory support to 20 ‘test-bed’ communities in England, Wales and Northern Ireland that are seeking to cut carbon emissions. It does not cover communities in Scotland.

Applications for the Challenge will be received by 27 November for phase 1 applicants (applying for funding in 2009-10), and 30 December for phase 2 applicants (applying for funding in 2010-11). The final decision on the selection of communities will be made in January 2010. Phase 1 applicants will be notified at this point on the allocation of funding. Phase 2 applicants will be allocated funding during the financial year as they work up their spending plans.

We anticipate that Government will put in place a number of evaluation mechanisms. In doing so, we will engage closely with the selected communities so that the data are openly shared and so that the communities have the tools and opportunities to be active participants in the learning. The programme is likely to include:

Gathering hard data on energy use

Real time monitoring of energy use in selected households in the communities

Household surveys for gathering data on broader socio-economic and environmental behaviours

Facilitated events in each of the 20 communities.