Steve Brine has welcomed the coalition's "landmark" Energy Bill which received its 2nd Reading in the House of Commons on 10 May 2011.
The Winchester & Chandler's Ford MP spoke in the debate and, while giving support to the legislation, set out a series of areas where he thinks it can be strengthened and improved.
In a ten-minute speech which focused on the 'Green Deal' brought in by the Bill, Steve covered issues around the new green jobs it will create, the impact it will have in reducing carbon footprint and the opportunity it presents for small businesses locally.
The 'Green Deal' will give every home up to £10,000 worth of energy improvement measures ... paid for out of savings in future energy bills. It is an ambitious programme that promises to retrofit with energy saving insultation some 14m homes by 2020 and 25m homes by 2030.
Steve said; "The UK has some of the oldest and least efficient buildings in Europe. Every day, throughout the country, our homes and businesses leak heat and waste energy. This Bill, and the 'Green Deal' it ushers in, is creating through legislation a whole new market that can change that. But I am clear this is about growth as much as it is about saving energy and reducing carbon emissions."
Chandler's Ford firm New Career Skills, got a mention for the important role they play in training people in the green industries which will be very important in delivering the 'Green Deal' as did local organisation WinAcc.
The MP also praised the Government for including Park Homes within its remit; "On the eligibility criteria for 'Green Deal' homes I want to place on record my thanks to Ministers for clarifying to me - at DECC questions on 24 March 2011 – that the 'Green Deal' will apply to park homes if they have an appropriate energy meter and qualify under the normal rules", he told the House of Commons.
But Steve put Ministers on the spot over the 'Warm Homes Amendment' put forward by the Stop Climate Chaos coalition. The Amendment introduces to the Energy Bill provisions to ensure the Government's programme on energy efficiency, including the 'Green Deal', fit within an overarching strategy for energy saving that is sufficient to meet the ambition of the Climate Change Act. "Does the Government have any sympathy with this amendment, which seems perfectly reasonable to me in the interests of open Government and accountability if nothing else, and if not – why not?" Steve asked.
Finally, Steve Brine raised the local Government "offer" on climate change, signed by over 40 council leaders which supports an amendment to the Bill to make action on climate change a core responsibility of every local authority.
He said; "I appreciate Ministers may feel this is at odds with the localism credentials we rightly set-out as a coalition Government but, given we must meet the ambitious targets set by existing legislation on the statute book – in the form of the Climate Change Act – is this Bill not an opportunity to bring local councils to the table?"
The Energy Bill received a 2nd Reading unopposed in the House of Commons and now moves into Committee Stage.
More information ...
You can see every stage of the Bill's progress through Parliament via Parliament's dedicated pages.
Visit Steve's special Green Winchester pages here.
New Career Skills - www.newcareerskills.co.uk