Consideration of Bill, as amended in the Public Bill Committee
Rosie Winterton Portrait Madam Deputy Speaker (Dame Rosie Winterton)
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I will call the Minister in a second to move the new clause, but I take this opportunity to remind colleagues that many Members have put down to speak in this debate, and it will last until 7 o’clock, including Third Reading. There is quite a lot of pressure, and I hope colleagues will bear that in mind when putting together their speeches.

New Clause 52

Revenue certainty scheme for sustainable aviation fuel producers: consultation and report

“(1) The Secretary of State must carry out a public consultation on the options for designing and implementing a sustainable aviation fuel revenue certainty scheme.

(2) A “sustainable aviation fuel revenue certainty scheme” is a scheme whose purpose is to give producers of sustainable aviation fuel greater certainty than they otherwise would have about the revenue that they will earn from sustainable aviation fuel that they produce.

(3) The Secretary of State must open the consultation within the period of 6 months beginning with the day on which this Act is passed.

(4) The Secretary of State must bring the consultation to the attention of, in particular, such of each of the following as the Secretary of State considers appropriate—

(a) producers of sustainable aviation fuel;

(b) suppliers of sustainable aviation fuel;

(c) airlines.

(5) The Secretary of State must, within the period of 18 months beginning with the day on which this Act is passed, lay before Parliament a report on progress made towards the development of a sustainable aviation fuel revenue certainty scheme.

(6) In this section, “sustainable aviation fuel” means aviation turbine fuel whose use (as compared with the use of other aviation turbine fuel) will, in the opinion of the Secretary of State, contribute to a reduction in emissions of greenhouse gases; and for this purpose—

“aviation turbine fuel” has the meaning given by article 3(1B) of the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligations Order 2007 (S.I. 2007/3072);

“greenhouse gas” has the meaning given by section 92(1) of the Climate Change Act 2008.”—(Andrew Bowie.)

This new clause, intended to be inserted after clause 156, requires the government to consult on options for setting up a revenue certainty scheme for sustainable aviation fuel producers, and to publish a report about progress towards developing such a scheme.

Brought up, and read the First time.

15:06
Lindsay Hoyle Portrait Mr Speaker
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With this it will be convenient to discuss the following:

Government new clause 63—Renewable liquid heating fuel obligations.

Government new clause 64—Regulations under section 92(1): procedure with devolved authorities.

Government new clause 65—Regulations made by Secretary of State: consultation with devolved authorities.

Government new clause 66—Regulations under section 292 and 293: procedure with devolved authorities.

New clause 1—Community benefits relating to onshore wind farms—

“(1) Within six months of the date on which this Act is passed, the Secretary of State must prepare and lay before Parliament a report setting out proposals for ensuring that local communities benefit from onshore wind farms.

(2) The report under subsection (1) must set out, but is not limited to, proposals for—

(a) 5% of the gross revenue of new wind farm, solar, hydro and other renewable developments generating over 1MW to be paid into community benefit funds;

(b) widening the distance of communities around new renewable developments which receive shares of community benefit funds, with the aim of limiting the wealth disparity amongst rural communities; and

(c) ensuring that communities surrounding wind farms have a statutory right to benefit from local renewable energy development.”

New clause 2—Prohibition of new coal mines—

“(1) Within six months of the day on which this Act is passed, the Secretary of State must by regulations prohibit the opening of new coal mines and the licensing of new coal mines by the Coal Authority or its successors.

(2) Regulations under this section are subject to the affirmative procedure.”

New clause 3—Prohibition of energy production from coal—

“(1) The Secretary of State must by regulations provide for the UK to cease energy production from coal from 1 January 2025.

(2) Regulations under this section may amend primary legislation (including this Act).”

New clause 4—Flaring and venting—

“(1) The Energy Act 1976 is amended as follows.

(2) In section 12, after subsection (5), insert—

“(6) The Secretary of State may not grant consent under this section after 1 January 2025; and any consent granted under this section ceases to have effect from 1 January 2025.

(7) Paragraph (3)(a) of this section ceases to have effect from 1 January 2025.”

(3) In section 12A, after subsection (5), insert—

“(6) The OGA may not grant consent under this section after 1 January 2025; and any consent granted under this section ceases to have effect from 1 January 2025.””

This new clause is intended to ban flaring and venting of natural gas after 1 January 2025.

New clause 5—Date of cessation of issuing of oil and gas exploration and production licences—

“(1) Within three months of the day on which this Act is passed, the Secretary of State must establish an independent body to advise on the date after which no new licences for oil and gas exploration and production should be issued.

(2) The body must make its recommendation to the Secretary of State not later than three months after the day on which it is established.

(3) Not less than three months after the date on which the Secretary of State receives the body’s recommendation, the Secretary of State must present to Parliament legislative proposals to give effect to the recommendation.”

New clause 6—Net zero power supply—

“(1) It is the duty of the Secretary of State to ensure that the aggregate amount of net emissions of carbon dioxide and net emissions of each of the other targeted greenhouse gases associated with the supply of power in the UK in 2035 is zero.

(2) The Secretary of State must by regulations provide for the means of calculation of net emissions of carbon dioxide and of each of the other targeted greenhouse gases for the purposes of subsection (1).

(3) The means of calculation provided for in regulations under subsection (2) must be consistent with the means of calculation of the net UK carbon account for the purposes of section 1 of the Climate Change Act 2008.

(4) For the purposes of this section a “targeted greenhouse gas” has the same meaning as given in section 24 of the Climate Change Act 2008.”

This new clause is intended to provide for the UK’s power supply to be net zero by 2035.

New clause 7—Energy Charter Treaty—

“Within six months of the day on which this Act is passed, the Secretary of State must initiate procedures for the United Kingdom to withdraw from the Energy Charter Treaty.”

New clause 8—Community and Smaller-scale Electricity Export Guarantee Scheme—

“(1) Within six months of the passing of this Act, the Secretary of State must by regulations require licensed energy suppliers with more than 150,000 customers (“eligible licensed suppliers”) to purchase electricity exports from sites including those operated by community groups, that generate low carbon electricity with a capacity below 5MW.

(2) Fossil fuelled local power plants with a capacity of less than 5MW are not eligible for participation in the Community and Smaller-scale Electricity Export Guarantee Scheme, with the exception of a local combined heat and power plant that generates electricity ancillary to its purpose of providing heat for local heat networks.

(3) “Fossil fuel” has the meaning given in section 104(4).

(4) Licensed energy suppliers with fewer than 150,000 customers may also purchase electricity exports from the sites defined above provided that they do so on the terms set out by the regulations.

(5) The regulations must require that eligible licensed suppliers—

(a) offer to those sites a minimum export price set annually by the Gas and Electricity Markets Authority (“GEMA”),

(b) offer to those sites a minimum contract period of five years, and

(c) allow the exporting site to end the contract after no more than one year.

(6) Within six months of the passing of this Act, GEMA must—

(a) set an annual minimum export price for those sites that has regard to current wholesale energy prices and inflation in energy prices and the wider economy,

(b) introduce a registration system for exporting sites meeting the requirements set out in subsection (1) and wanting to access these export purchases,

(c) define specifications for the smart export meters required by such sites,

(d) define “low carbon electricity” in such a way that it includes renewable generation technology and may include other technology with extremely low carbon dioxide emissions,

(e) define requirements for an exporting site generating low carbon electricity with a capacity of less than 5MW to be registered as a Community or Smaller-scale Energy site, and maintain a register of such sites.

(7) To access the export purchase agreements defined in this section exporters must—

(a) register their site with GEMA,

(b) install a smart export meter that meets specifications defined by GEMA, and

(c) notify GEMA if their ownership structure meets the definition of a Community or Smaller-scale Energy site.

(8) All licensed suppliers providing such purchase agreements must report annually to GEMA—

(a) the number and capacity of Community or Smaller-scale Energy sites that have been offered contracts to purchase electricity and the number of these that agreed those contracts,

(b) the total amount of electricity purchased under these agreements, and

(c) the price paid for that electricity.

(9) OFGEM must make and publish a report annually on the operation of the export purchase agreements, setting out—

(a) the number of Community or Smaller-scale Energy sites contracted with licensed energy suppliers under this section and the total amount of electricity purchased,

(b) the licensed suppliers contracting with Community or Smaller-scale Energy sites and the amount of electricity each has purchased,

(c) an assessment of how the mechanism is performing and the contribution it is making to delivering secure and low carbon electricity supplies, and

(d) recommendations on how the mechanism could be improved.

(10) Regulations under this section are subject to the affirmative procedure.”

New clause 9—Community and Smaller-scale Electricity Supplier Services Scheme—

“(1) Within six months of the passing of this Act, the Secretary of State must by regulations require licensed energy suppliers with more than 150,000 customers (“eligible licensed suppliers”) to offer a Community and Smaller-scale Electricity Supplier Service agreement to any registered Community or Smaller-scale Energy site under section (Community and Smaller-scale Electricity Export Guarantee Scheme) for the purposes of allowing that site to sell electricity to local consumers.

(2) The Community and Smaller-scale Electricity Supplier Service agreement will require licensed suppliers to make a community or smaller-scale energy tariff available to consumers local to the exporting site that has regard to the export price paid or that would be paid to that site under section (Community and Smaller-scale Electricity Export Guarantee Scheme).

(3) The eligible licensed supplier may limit the total number of consumers the community or smaller-scale energy tariff is available to such that the total annual energy sold under the tariff is broadly equivalent to the total annual energy generated by the site.

(4) The eligible licensed supplier will be the registrant for the meters of any local consumer purchasing energy under the community or smaller-scale energy tariff.

(5) The eligible licensed supplier may charge a reasonable fee for the provision of services under this section provided that it has regard to distribution, licensing and regulatory costs and any guidance provided by GEMA.

(6) The eligible licensed supplier must return any money raised through the sale of energy under a tariff set up under this section to the Community or Smaller-scale Energy site, save for the fee allowed under subsection (5).

(7) Eligible licensed suppliers must report annually to GEMA on—

(a) the number and capacity of community energy groups or smaller-scale sites offered Community and Smaller-scale Electricity Supplier Service agreements and the number who have contracted to use them,

(b) the total amount of electricity purchased under these agreements, and

(c) the tariffs for each agreement.

(8) GEMA must—

(a) produce guidance on the level of community or smaller-scale energy tariffs and on the reasonable charges that eligible suppliers may charge for Community and Smaller-scale Electricity Supplier Service Agreements,

(b) make and publish a report annually on the operation of the export purchase agreements, setting out—

(i) the number of community energy projects or smaller-scale sites contracted with licensed energy suppliers under this section and the total amount of electricity purchased,

(ii) the licensed suppliers contracting with community energy groups or smaller-scale sites and the amount of electricity each has purchased,

(iii) an assessment of how the mechanism is performing and the contribution it is making to delivering secure and low carbon electricity supplies, and

(iv) recommendations for how Community and Smaller-scale Electricity Supplier Service agreements could be improved.

(9) Regulations under this section are subject to the affirmative procedure.”

New clause 11—Enhancing rewards for solar panels—

“Within six months of the day on which this Act is passed, the Secretary of State must prepare and lay before Parliament a report on enhancing the reward under the Smart Export Guarantee for customers who install solar panels.”

This new clause seeks to enhance the reward under the Smart Export Guarantee for energy customers who install solar panels.

New clause 12—Prohibition on flaring and venting and enhanced measures to reduce fugitive methane emissions—

“(1) The Secretary of State must by regulations—

(a) prohibit the practice of flaring and venting by oil and gas installations other than in an emergency within the jurisdiction of the United Kingdom,

(b) require monthly leak detection and repair inspections to reduce fugitive methane emissions,

(c) require a measurement, reporting and verification process to quantify methane emissions, and

(d) require the upgrade of all equipment to alternative zero- or low-emission and low-maintenance equipment, such as electric, mechanical, or compressed air equipment.

(2) In this section—

“flaring” means the burning of methane gas and other hydrocarbons produced during oil and gas extraction;

“venting” means the release of methane gas and other hydrocarbons directly into the atmosphere, without combustion.

(3) Regulations under this section must be made so as to come into force by 31 December 2025.”

This new clause would prohibit “flaring” and “venting”.

New clause 13—Introduction of a social tariff for vulnerable energy customers—

“(1) Within six months of the day on which this Act is passed, the Secretary of State must prepare and lay before Parliament a plan to bring forward a social tariff for vulnerable energy customers.

(2) The plan under subsection (1) must set out ways in which the social tariff for energy would satisfy the following conditions—

(a) it is additional to the Warm Home Discount and Default tariff price Cap,

(b) it is mandatory for all licensed electricity and gas suppliers,

(c) it is targeted at households that are in or at risk of fuel poverty,

(d) it is set at a level that is below the market price, and

(e) it automatically enrols eligible households onto the tariff.”

This new clause will require the Secretary of State to bring forward a plan to introduce a social tariff for energy.

New clause 14—Smart meter roll-out for prepayment customers—

“(1) The Secretary of State must ensure that all legacy prepayment meters are replaced with smart meters before the end of 2025.

(2) Within three months of the day on which this Act is passed, the Secretary of State must prepare a plan to end self-disconnections by the end of 2026.

(3) Such a plan may include but is not limited to—

(a) the introduction of a social tariff for prepayment customers,

(b) the introduction of mechanisms to apply credit automatically if a prepayment customer runs out of credit,

(c) the introduction of a mechanism to transfer a prepayment customer to credit mode automatically if they run out of credit.”

This new clause places duties on the Secretary of State to ensure prepayment metered customers are prioritised in the smart meter rollout, and to create a plan to stop self-disconnections before the end of 2026.

New clause 15—Restriction of the use of prepayment meters—

“(1) Within 90 days of the day on which this Act is passed the Secretary of State must make regulations prohibiting energy suppliers from authorising or undertaking the installation of new prepayment meters for domestic energy use unless the condition in subsection (2) is met.

(2) The condition is that the energy supplier has received an explicit request from the consumer for the installation of a prepayment meter.

(3) In this section “installation of new prepayment meters” includes switching existing energy meters to a prepayment mode.

(4) The Secretary of State may make subsequent regulations that amend or repeal regulations made under this section.

(5) Regulations under this section are subject to the affirmative procedure.”

This new clause would require the Secretary of State to prohibit the installation of new prepayment meters unless consumers explicitly request them.

New clause 16—National Warmer Homes and Businesses Action Plan—

“(1) The Secretary of State must, before the end of the period of 6 months beginning with the day on which this Act is passed, publish an action plan entitled the Warmer Homes and Businesses Action Plan, to set out proposals for delivery of—

(a) a low-carbon heat target, of 100% of installations of relevant heating appliances and connections to relevant heat networks by 2035,

(b) an Energy Performance Certificate at band C by 2035 in all UK homes where practical, cost effective and affordable, and

(c) an Energy Performance Certificate at band B by 2028 in all non-domestic properties, and

(d) the Future Homes Standard for all new builds in England by 2025.

(2) The Secretary of State must, in developing the Warmer Homes and Businesses Action Plan, consult the Climate Change Committee and its sub-committee on adaptation.”

This new clause imposes a duty on the Secretary of State to bring forward a plan with time-bound proposals for low carbon heat, energy efficient homes and non-domestic properties and higher standards on new homes.

New clause 17—Plan for vulnerable consumers—

“(1) Within three months of the day on which this Act is passed, the Secretary of State must prepare and lay before Parliament a plan addressing the needs of vulnerable consumers and consumers from low-income households in relation to the cost of energy.

(2) The plan under subsection (1) may include, but is not limited to—

(a) the extension of the energy price cap on heating oil,

(b) the extension of the warm homes discount,

(c) the increase of winter fuel payments,

(d) preventing electricity suppliers from recovering the costs of paying a revenue collection counterparty under the Nuclear Energy (Financing) Act 2022 from customers claiming Universal Credit or other legacy benefits,

(e) requirements for energy suppliers to offer social energy tariffs to households experiencing fuel poverty, and

(f) any other measures the Secretary of State believes are appropriate.”

This new clause would require the Secretary of State to develop a plan to protect vulnerable customers from the rising cost of energy.

New clause 18—Energy performance regulations relating to existing premises—

“(1) Within six months of the day on which this Act is passed, the Secretary of State must make regulations—

(a) to amend the Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015 (S.I. 2015/962) to require that, subject to subsection (2), all tenancies have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) of at least Band C by 31 December 2028; and

(b) to amend the Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2019 (S.I. 2019/595) to raise the cost cap to £10,000.

(2) Regulations under subsection (1) must provide for exemptions to apply where—

(a) the occupier of any premises whose permission is needed to carry out works refuses to give such permission;

(b) it is not technically feasible to improve the energy performance of the premises to the level of EPC Band C; or

(c) another exemption specified in the Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015 has been registered in the Private Rented Sector (PRS) Exemptions Register.

(3) Within six months of the passage of this Act the Secretary of State must make regulations—

(a) to amend the Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015 to enable local authorities to give notice to landlords that they wish to inspect a property in relation to those Regulations, requesting permissions from landlords and any tenants in situ at the time to carry out an inspection at an agreed time;

(b) to expand the scope of the current PRS Exemptions Register and redesign it as a database covering properties’ compliance with or exemptions from EPCs;

(c) to require a post-improvement EPC to be undertaken to demonstrate compliance;

(d) to require a valid EPC be in place at all times while a property is let; and

(e) to raise the maximum total of financial penalties to be imposed by a local authority on a landlord of a domestic private rented sector property in relation to the same breach and for the same property to £30,000 per property and per breach of the Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015.

(4) The Secretary of State may make regulations—

(a) to enable tenants in the private rented sector to request that energy performance improvements are carried out where a property is in breach of the Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015; and

(b) to make provision for a compensation mechanism where a tenant is paying higher energy bills as a result of a property not meeting the required standard.

(5) Regulations under this section are subject to the affirmative procedure.”

This new clause seeks to improve the energy efficiency of private rental properties for tenants and gives powers to local authorities to conduct assessments of the energy efficiency of private rental properties and increase financial penalties for breaches of energy efficiency standards.

New clause 19—Decarbonisation of capacity market—

“Within six months of the day on which this Act is passed the Secretary of State must introduce measures to reduce the carbon intensity of power supplied by the capacity market by prioritising—

(a) demand side management,

(b) the supply of renewable energy, and

(c) electricity storage and other non-carbon-based energy storage systems.”

This new clause is a probing amendment to explore the potential of decarbonising the capacity market.

New clause 20—Onshore wind and solar power—

“(1) Within six months of the day on which this Act is passed, the Secretary of State must prepare and lay before Parliament a plan to significantly increase the proportion of the energy supply generated by onshore wind power in the United Kingdom.

(2) The plan under subsection (1) must set out measures which may include but are not limited to—

(a) revising national planning guidance on onshore wind and solar to increase the number of onshore wind and solar installations,

(b) improving infrastructure to ensure access to grid connections for existing onshore wind and solar installations, and

(c) increasing access to grants or subsidies to encourage new onshore wind and solar installations.

(3) The Secretary of State must report annually to Parliament to provide an update on the progress in increasing onshore wind and solar power.”

This new clause would require the Secretary of State to prepare a plan to significantly increase the proportion of the UK energy supply generated by onshore wind and solar power.

New clause 21—Value added tax on energy-saving materials

“In Schedule 8, Part II, Group 23, note 1 of the Value Added Tax Act 1994 (meaning of “energy-saving materials”), at the end insert—

“(1) batteries used solely for the purpose of storing electricity generated by solar panels.””

This new clause includes batteries used solely to store energy generated by solar panels in the list of energy saving materials subject to a zero VAT rate.

New clause 22—Increasing grid capacity—

“Within three months of the day on which this Act is passed, the Secretary of State must prepare and lay before Parliament a plan to—

(a) reduce access costs and time frames for grid connections,

(b) reform the energy network to permit local energy grids, and

(c) accelerate the development of an offshore wind energy grid in the North Sea.”

This new clause seeks to require the Secretary of State to produce a plan to increase grid capacity.

New clause 23—Impact of insulation in homes on energy bills

“The Secretary of State must, within six months of the day on which this Act is passed, prepare and lay before Parliament a report setting out—

(a) an assessment of the average cost of energy bills if homes were properly insulated, and

(b) the impact of improving all homes to the highest possible Energy Performance Contract rating on energy bills and greenhouse gas emissions.”

This new clause requires the Secretary of State to carry out an assessment of the average cost of energy bills if homes were insulated (a) properly and (b) to the highest possible Energy Performance Contract rating.

New clause 24—Government support for community energy

“(1) Within three months of the passage of this Act, the Secretary of State must publish and lay before Parliament a report setting out the financial, policy and other support that the Secretary of State plans to make available to widen the ownership of low carbon and renewable energy schemes and increase the number of such schemes owned, or part owned, by community organisations.

(2) The report must set out—

(a) all policies, programmes or other initiatives with which the Secretary of State plans to support the development and construction of new low carbon community energy schemes;

(b) the level of financial support which will be made available for—

(i) the Rural Community Energy Fund,

(ii) the Urban Renewable Energy Fund, and

(iii) any other fund or support package designed to support the development of new low carbon community energy schemes;

(c) all policies, programmes or other initiatives the Secretary of State intends will increase community ownership of local low carbon energy schemes through shared ownership schemes;

(d) the steps the Secretary of State is taking to develop new market rules to make it easier for low carbon community energy schemes to sell the energy they generate;

(e) the number and the capacity of the new community energy schemes the Secretary of State expects to be constructed as a result of the measures set out in the report.

(3) Not less than twelve months after the publication of the report, and not later than the end of each subsequent period of twelve months, ending five years after the publication of the report, the Secretary of State must lay before Parliament and publish an assessment of the progress made by the policies, programmes and other initiatives set out in the report.

(4) The assessment must set out—

(a) the total amount of financial support provided by the policies in the report;

(b) the number and capacity of low carbon community energy schemes —

(i) completed, and

(ii) in development;

(c) the number and capacity of new shared ownership schemes;

(d) any changes the Secretary of State proposes to make to the policies, programmes and other initiatives included in the original report.”

This new clause would require the Government to report annually for 5 years on the support it is providing to Community Energy schemes and the number and capacity of such schemes that are delivered.

New clause 25—Investment protection agreements and climate change targets—

“Within six months of the day on which this Act is passed, the Secretary of State must—

(a) initiate procedures for the United Kingdom to withdraw from the Energy Charter Treaty;

(b) lay before Parliament a report setting out—

(i) the list of investment protection agreements to which the UK is a party which offer protections to the energy sector, and

(ii) an assessment of the risks they pose to the Secretary of State fulfilling duties in this Act with regard to the achievement of targets set by the Climate Change Act 2008.”

New clause 26—Prohibition on setting domestic energy prices according to region—

“Within six months of the day on which this Act is passed, the Secretary of State must by regulations prohibit energy companies from setting prices for domestic energy supply according to geographical region.”

This new clause would require the Government to bring forward legislation to end the regional pricing of domestic energy bills.

New clause 27—Report on extending price cap for off grid fuels

“Within three months of the day on which this Act is passed, the Secretary of State must publish and lay before Parliament a report setting out the consequences of extending the price cap for off grid fuels.”

This new clause would require the Secretary of State to publish a report on extending the price cap for off grid fuels.

New clause 28—Prohibition on hydraulic fracturing

“(1) Associated hydraulic fracturing is prohibited.

(2) “Associated hydraulic fracturing” has the meaning given by section 4B of the Petroleum Act 1998.

(3) The Secretary of State may by regulations make consequential provision in connection with this section.”

This new clause would introduce a permanent ban on fracking.

New clause 29—Prohibition of new oil and gas field developments and issuing of exploration and production licences—

“Within six months of the day on which this Act is passed, the Secretary of State must by regulations prohibit—

(a) the approval of new oil and gas field developments, and

(b) the release of new oil and gas exploration and production licences.”

This new clause would prohibit the approval of new oil and gas field developments and the issuing of new oil and gas exploration and production licenses.

New clause 30—Duty to phase down UK petroleum—

“(1) Within six months of the day on which this Act is passed, the Secretary of State must make regulations to amend section 9A of the Petroleum Act 1998.

(2) Regulations under subsection (1) must—

(a) remove the “principal objective” of maximising the economic recovery of UK petroleum;

(b) define a new “principal objective”.

(3) The new “principal objective” referred to in paragraph (2)(b) must provide for—

(a) delivery of a managed and orderly phase down of UK petroleum;

(b) advancement of the UK’s climate change commitments, including—

(i) the target for 2050 set out in section 1 of the Climate Change Act 2008, and

(ii) the commitment given by the Government of the United Kingdom in the Glasgow Climate Pact to pursue policies to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius;

(c) facilitation of a just transition for oil and gas workers and communities.

(4) Before making regulations under subsection (1) the Secretary of State must hold a public consultation which must include consultation with—

(a) the devolved administrations,

(b) relevant trade union and worker representatives,

(c) oil and gas workers and communities,

(d) relevant representatives from academia,

(e) relevant climate and environmental organisations and representatives,

(f) relevant industry representatives of petroleum and renewable energy businesses supporting the transition away from fossil fuels, and

(g) offshore energy training bodies.

(5) Relevant climate and environmental organisations and representatives under subsection (4(e)) must include the Climate Change Committee.”

This new clause would amend the Petroleum Act 1998 to remove the principal objective of maximising the economic recovery of UK petroleum and replace it with a new principal objective to deliver a managed and orderly phase down of UK petroleum, advance the UK’s climate targets, and support a just transition for oil and gas workers.

New clause 31—Requiring installation of solar panels on all new homes

“(1) Within six months of the day on which this Act is passed, the Secretary of State must by regulations require—

(a) the installation of solar panels on the roofs of all new homes; and

(b) that new housing developments are planned in order to maximise solar gain.

(2) Regulations under subsection (1) may provide for exemptions in cases where the installation of solar panels on the roof of a new home is not appropriate.”

This new clause would mandate the installation of solar panels on the roofs of all new homes and require new housing developments to be planned in order to maximise solar gain.

New clause 32—Capacity market—

“(1) The Secretary of State must exercise the power in section 27 of the Energy Act 2013 to ensure that the capacity adequacy procured through the capacity market has a rising share of zero carbon flexible and dispatchable power that is consistent with achieving a zero carbon power system by 2035.

(2) The Secretary of State must ensure that all new multi-year capacity market contracts awarded to unabated fossil fuel capacity market units should have a contract end date no later than 31 December 2034.

(3) In exercising functions under this section, the Secretary of State must have regard to the desirability of maintaining security of supply.

(4) Draft regulations under subsection (1) must be laid before Parliament within six months of the day on which this Act is passed.”

This new clause probes the potential of decarbonising the capacity market.

New clause 33—Energy Demand Reduction Delivery Plan—

“(1) The Secretary of State must, within 12 months of the day on which this Act is passed, prepare and publish an Energy Demand Reduction Delivery Plan.

(2) In preparing the Energy Demand Reduction Delivery Plan under subsection (1), the Secretary of State must consult the Climate Change Committee.

(3) The Energy Demand Reduction Delivery Plan under subsection (1) must include but is not limited to—

(a) a quantitative assessment on the role of energy demand reduction in meeting the United Kingdom's carbon budgets and the 2050 net zero target;

(b) energy demand reduction targets for—

(i) aviation

(ii) surface transport,

(iii) shipping,

(iv) manufacturing and construction,

(v) buildings, and

(vi) agriculture,

in line with the UK’s carbon budgets and the 2050 net zero target; and

(4) an assessment of the role in achieving those targets of—

(a) energy efficiency improvements and technologies, and

(b) avoiding unnecessary energy use through infrastructure and behaviour change

(5) The Climate Change Committee must evaluate, monitor and report annually on the implementation of the Energy Demand Reduction Delivery Plan.”

This new clause would introduce a requirement to produce an Energy Demand Reduction Delivery Plan quantifying sectoral energy demand reduction targets and assessing how these can be achieved, and to review progress towards achieving them.

New clause 34—Production of sustainable aviation fuel—

“(1) The Secretary of State may by regulations introduce a price stability mechanism to incentivise the production of sustainable aviation fuel in the United Kingdom.

(2) A draft of regulations made under subsection (1) must be laid before Parliament within twelve months of the passage of this Act.

(3) A Minister must make a motion in each House of Parliament to approve the regulations laid before Parliament under subsection (2) within fifteen sitting days of the date on which they were laid.

(4) If both Houses of Parliament approve the regulations, they must be made in the form in which they were laid before Parliament.

(5) If either House of Parliament does not approve the regulations, the Secretary of State must lay a revised draft of the regulations before Parliament, and subsections (3) to (5) of this section apply to those regulations as they do to regulations laid under subsection (2).

(6) For the purposes of this section—

“price stability mechanism” is a mechanism under which a producer may enter into a private law contract with a Government-backed counterparty for the purposes of receiving a guaranteed price for a product or service;

“sitting day” is—

(a) in the case of the House of Commons, a day on which the House of Commons sits;

(b) in the case of the House of Lords, a day on which the House of Lords sits.”

New clause 35—Energy decarbonisation for homes: local authority funding—

“(1) The Secretary of State must, within six months of the date on which this Act is passed, carry out and publish an assessment of the benefits of providing long-term predictable funding to local authorities for the purpose of energy decarbonisation for homes in their local authority area.

(2) The assessment under subsection (1) must include an assessment of the likely impact of decarbonisation funding on—

(a) energy demand,

(b) fuel poverty, and

(c) installations of low-carbon heating systems.”

New clause 36—Introduction of a National Energy Guarantee—

“(1) Within six months of the date on which this Act is passed, the Secretary of State must prepare and lay before Parliament a plan to replace the existing energy price guarantee with a National Energy Guarantee in the form of a rising block tariff including a free or low-cost energy allowance to cover essential needs.

(2) When preparing the plan under subsection (1) the Secretary of State must consult independent bodies working on fuel poverty before determining the pricing of the allowance and the threshold above which the higher tariff should apply.

(3) Once the plan under subsection (1) has been laid before Parliament, the Secretary of State may by notice in writing require the regulator to introduce a rising block tariff, provided it satisfies the following conditions—

(a) that an allocation of energy set at no less than 50% of a defined minimum essential level is provided free of charge to all households;

(b) that the tariff incentivises energy-saving measures, particularly among higher income households;

(c) that households not connected to a mains gas supply will be given an increased electricity allowance, such that they are not disadvantaged;

(d) that the tariff is accompanied by additional allowances for disabled people and others who require high levels of energy usage to fulfil their essential needs; and

(e) that the tariff does not undermine the ability of energy suppliers to offer innovative tariffs through higher energy bands.”

This new clause would introduce a National Energy Guarantee in the form of a rising block tariff: an allowance for low-cost energy to cover essential needs, with a premium tariff to incentivise energy saving measures in households with high energy use, and additional allowances for those with unavoidably high energy needs.

New clause 37—Industrial lithium-ion battery storage facilities—

“(1) Within 12 months of the date on which this Act is passed, the Secretary of State must make regulations about the building of industrial lithium-ion battery storage facilities.

(2) Regulations under subsection (1) must include—

(a) a requirement for a relevant environmental permit to be issued by the Environment Agency, and

(b) a requirement for the relevant fire authority to be a statutory consultee in all planning applications for such facilities.”

This new clause would require the Secretary of State to make regulations for the building of industrial lithium-ion storage facilities which must include requiring an Environmental Permit from the Environment Agency and for the Fire Authority to be a statutory consultee in planning applications.

New clause 39—Duties of the Gas and Electricity Markets Authority in respect of off-grid fuels—

“(1) Within three months of the passage of this Act, the Secretary of State must by regulation extend the duties of the Gas and Electricity Markets Authority to the distribution and supply of fuels utilised for off-grid home heating.

(2) Regulations under subsection (1) must provide for GEMA to apply a cap on the price of fuel supplied for off-grid home heating proportionate to the cap applied in respect of on-grid homes.”

This new clause seeks to extend the duty of Ofgem to regulate off-grid fuels utilised for off-grid home heating and to ensure that a cap is applied for off-grid home fuels that is proportionate to the cap applied for on-grid homes.

New clause 40—Renewable liquid fuels for low-carbon heating

“Within six months of the passage of this Act, the Secretary of State must by regulation introduce a Renewable Liquid Heating Fuel Obligation, setting annual obligations on fuel suppliers to ensure the supply of recognised low-carbon renewable liquid fuels for domestic and commercial heating.”

This new clause would require the Government to introduce a Renewable Liquid Heating Fuel Obligation for home and commercial building heating purposes, which would create a scheme that mirrors the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligations Order 2007. This would offer the option to off-gas-grid properties to switch to renewable liquid fuels.

New clause 41—Duty to ensure the lowest possible cost of energy to businesses and households—

“In exercising any function under or in connection with this Act, it is the duty of the Secretary of State to ensure the lowest possible cost of energy to businesses and households.”

This new clause is designed to be placed as Clause 1 of the Bill and would give the Secretary of State the duty to exercise functions under the Act which will result from the Bill in a way which would ensure the lowest possible costs of energy to businesses and households.

New clause 42—Restriction on energy company obligations—

“(1) In section 33BC of the Gas Act 1986 (promotion of reductions in carbon emissions: gas transporters and gas suppliers), after subsection (1) insert—

“(1ZA)) An order under subsection (1) may not impose an obligation on a gas transporter or gas supplier with fewer than 1,000 employees.”

(2) In section 33BD of the Gas Act 1986 (promotion of reductions in home-heating costs: gas transporters and gas suppliers), after subsection (1) insert—

“(1A)) An order under subsection (1) may not impose an obligation on a gas transporter or gas supplier with fewer than 1,000 employees.”

(3) In section 41A of the Electricity Act 1989 (promotion of reductions in carbon emissions: electricity distributors and electricity suppliers), after subsection (1) insert—

“(1ZA)) An order under subsection (1) may not impose an obligation on an electricity distributor or electricity supplier with fewer than 1,000 employees.”

(4) In section 41B of the Electricity Act 1989 (promotion of reductions in home-heating costs: electricity distributors and electricity suppliers), after subsection (1) insert—

“(1A)) An order under subsection (1) may not impose an obligation on an electricity distributor or electricity supplier with fewer than 1,000 employees.””

This new clause would restrict the Energy Company Obligation, which places an obligation on energy suppliers to install energy efficiency and heating measures, to large companies (those with over 1000 employees).

New clause 43—Planning applications for onshore wind energy developments—

“(1) Within three months of the date on which the Act is passed, the Secretary of State must—

(a) remove from the National Planning Policy Framework the restrictions placed by footnote 54 on the circumstances in which proposed wind energy developments involving one or more turbines should be considered acceptable, and

(b) publish guidance for wind developers on how they can engage communities, demonstrate local consent to local planning authorities, and provide financial benefits to local residents.

(2) Section 78 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 is amended by the insertion, after subsection (3), of the following new subsection—

“(3A) An appeal under this section may not be brought or continued against the refusal of an application for planning permission if the development is for the purposes of installing new onshore wind sites not previously used for generating wind energy.””

This new clause aims to remove the current planning restriction that a single objection to an onshore wind development is sufficient to block the development, to ensure that local communities willing to take onshore wind developments will receive some community benefit, and to provide that local decisions made on onshore wind cannot be overturned on appeal.

New clause 44—Independent review of the generation of bioenergy with carbon capture and storage—

“(1) The Secretary of State must commission an independent review of the generation of bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS).

(2) The review must report on the potential impact of BECCS on—

(a) household energy bills,

(b) lifecycle carbon emissions in the generation of energy,

(c) biodiversity,

(d) land use, and

(e) any other matter the Secretary of State considers appropriate.

(3) The Secretary of State must lay before Parliament—

(a) the report of the review, and

(b) the Government’s response to the review.

(4) No subsidy may be given for BECCS until the report of the review and the Government’s response have been laid before Parliament in accordance with subsection (3).

(5) Subsection (4) does not apply if an agreement for the giving of subsidy was concluded before the passage of this Act.

(6) For the purposes of this section—

“bioenergy” means energy from biomass;

“biomass” has the meaning given by paragraph 3 of the Renewables Obligation Order 2015 (SI 2015/1947);

“subsidy” has the meaning given by section 2 of the Subsidy Control Act 2022.”

This new clause would prohibit new government subsidies for generating bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) until the Secretary of State commissions and publishes an independent review of BECCS to establish its impact on household energy bills, lifecycle carbon emissions, biodiversity and land use, and the Government’s response.

New clause 45—Modelling of the UK’s energy needs—

“(1) The Secretary of State must commission—

(a) a report on the most energy efficient, most economic and least carbon-intensive means to fulfil the UK’s current energy needs, and

(b) a report on comprehensive future energy modelling for the UK on the most energy efficient, most economic and least carbon-intensive means to meet the UK’s future energy needs.

(2) The Secretary of State must lay before Parliament the reports required under subsection (1) within six months of the day on which this section comes into force.”

This new clause would require the Secretary of State to commission and publish reports on the most energy efficient, most economic and least carbon-intensive means of satisfying the UK’s energy needs.

New clause 46—Review of Contract for Difference strike prices

“(1) Within three months of the passage of this Act, the Secretary of State must undertake a review of Contract for Difference strike prices, and make a report to Parliament on the review.

(2) The review must—

(a) include an assessment of the viability of existing projects that have already been allocated,

(b) include an assessment of the UK-based supply chain for each project awarded Contracts for Difference, and

(c) re-evaluate the parameters for—

(i) the allocation for round five of Contracts for Difference funding, and

(ii) future allocation rounds.”

This new clause requires the Secretary of State to assess the viability of projects that have been awarded Contracts for Difference, and to undertake a review of the existing parameters for Contracts for Difference allocation.

New clause 47—Nationally significant infrastructure projects and forced labour—

“(1) Within six months of the day on which this Act is passed, the Secretary of State must by regulations provide that existing and new applicants for nationally significant infrastructure projects (within the meaning given by sections 14 and 15 of the Planning Act 2008) of over 50mw must demonstrate that their goods were not manufactured in, or produced with materials using forced labour.

(2) Regulations under subsection (1) must require all existing and new NSIP energy applicants to submit a report to the Planning Inspectorate to demonstrate clear and convincing evidence that the goods, or materials in the goods, were not mined, produced, or manufactured wholly or in part by forced labour.

(3) Within six months of the day on which this Act is passed the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office must create and publish a guide on interpreting reports for the Planning Inspectorate to consult when determining whether goods, or materials in the goods, were mined, produced, or manufactured wholly or in part by forced labour.

(4) Regulations under subsection (1) must provide that any nationally significant infrastructure project of over 50mw unable to demonstrate beyond reasonable doubt that its goods, or materials in the goods, were not mined, produced, or manufactured wholly or in part by forced labour must be recommended for rejection by the Planning Inspectorate upon the submission of the Inspection to the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero.

(5) Regulations under subsection (1) must provide for any company found to be circumnavigating the requirements of the regulations through third parties, subcontractors or third countries to be permanently barred from operating in the United Kingdom.”

This new clause will require the developers of new NSIP energy projects to demonstrate that their projects do not use, benefit from, or contribute to the forced labour.

New clause 48—Development of solar energy plants on agricultural land—

“(1) The Secretary of State must by regulations prevent the development of solar energy projects on sites of over 500 acres where over 20% of the land is Best and Most Versatile agricultural land.

(2) For the purposes of this section “Best and Most Versatile agricultural land” means land classed as grade 1, grade 2 or subgrade 3a under the agricultural land classification published by Natural England.

(3) Regulations under subsection (1) must—

(a) include provision for the prevention of the development of solar energy projects for which permission has already been sought, but not granted, and

(b) apply both to applications determined by local planning authorities and to those determined by the Planning Inspectorate.

(4) Regulations under subsection (1) may amend primary legislation.

(5) Within six months of the day on which this Act is passed, the Secretary of State must publish plans and incentives for the development of solar energy on rooftops, commercial and residential sites, and brownfield sites composed of ungraded land.”

This new clause would end the development of large-scale solar plants on BMV land and require the Secretary of State to publish plans to incentivise the building of solar on rooftops and brownfield sites.

New clause 49—Electricity Storage Capacity—

“(1) Within six months of the day on which this Act is passed the Secretary of State must lay before Parliament a strategy for an increase in the provision of electricity storage facilities to enhance the resilience and flexibility of electricity supply and ensure fair pricing for electricity users.

(2) The strategy referred to in subsection (1) must cover all forms of electricity storage, including—

(a) battery,

(b) hydrogen,

(c) ammonia,

(d) adiabatic compressed air energy storage systems, and

(e) hydroelectric storage.

(3) The strategy referred to in subsection (1) must address considerations relating to—

(a) licensing,

(b) planning,

(c) regulation,

(d) subsidy, and

(e) taxation.

(4) The strategy referred to in subsection (1) must set out—

(a) proposed pricing mechanisms for stored electricity, and

(b) provisions ensuring consumers pay a fair price for electricity.”

This new clause seeks to ensure the UK Government sets out a report to Parliament that demonstrates how it plans to meet the increased storage capacity that will be required with a future electricity network that is heavily reliant on renewable sources.

New clause 50—Renewable Liquid Heating Fuel Obligation—

“(1) Within twelve months of the date of Royal Assent to this Act, the Secretary of State must carry out a consultation on a renewable liquid heating fuel obligation.

(2) For the purposes of subsection (1) a renewable liquid heating fuel obligation means requiring fuel suppliers to meet annual targets to ensure the supply of recognised low-carbon renewable liquid fuels for domestic and commercial heating.

(3) For the purposes of the consultation under subsection (1) the Secretary of State must consult such persons as the Secretary of State considers appropriate.

(4) Within three months of the conclusion of the consultation under subsection (1) the Secretary of State must lay before Parliament a report of the consultation.

(5) Following publication of the report under subsection (4) the Secretary of State may by regulations set out a scheme requiring fuel suppliers to meet annual targets to ensure the supply of recognised low-carbon renewable liquid fuels for domestic and commercial heating.

(6) Regulations under subsection (5) may provide for—

(a) a scheme for the imposition of low-carbon renewable liquid fuel obligations on fuel suppliers;

(b) the appointment of an Administrator to run the scheme;

(c) matters in relation to the functions of the Administrator;

(d) the method by which amounts of low-carbon renewable liquid fuel are to be counted or determined for the purposes of provision made by or under the regulations;

(e) the Administrator to issue certificates to suppliers setting out the amounts of low-carbon renewable liquid fuel supplied, the time period in which they were supplied and other relevant facts;

(f) a supplier which does not wholly discharge its low-carbon renewable liquid fuel obligation for a given period to pay the Administrator a specified sum within a specified period, and further provision for connected purposes;

(g) the imposition of civil penalties, and objections to and appeals against civil penalties;

(h) the disclosure of relevant information by relevant persons; and

(i) such other provision as the Secretary of State considers appropriate.”

This new clause would require the Secretary of State to consult on a scheme for renewable liquid heating fuel obligations for home and commercial building heating purposes, and to publish a report on the consultation. The new clause would further allow the Secretary of State make regulations to set up a scheme for renewable liquid heating fuel obligations for home and commercial building heating purposes.

New clause 51—Tidal Range power

(1) Within three months of the day on which this Act is passed, the Secretary of State must establish a Tidal Range Assessment Grant for the purposes of funding an independent evidence-led review of the potential contribution to be made by tidal range energy generation to the future energy generating capacity of the United Kingdom.

(2) The review under subsection (1) must include—

(a) pre-feasibility assessments of proposed tidal range projects and their potential both individually and together to contribute to the future energy generating capacity of the United Kingdom;

(b) whole life-cycle analysis and financial modelling to identify the optimum framework for the financing of tidal range projects as ultra-long lifecycle infrastructure assets, including an assessment of the potential merits of a Regulated Asset Base funding model for tidal range projects;

(c) a whole energy market analysis to establish and quantify the potential contribution of tidal range power to the decarbonisation of the United Kingdom’s energy system with particular reference to the value of predictable, flexible energy generation near centres of increasing demand and the potential of operational tidal range projects to bypass major grid barrier issues and enable a stable, operable, and secure decarbonised energy grid;

(d) an assessment of the current and planned innovations in sectors related to the development of operational tidal range projects, including in the broader supply chain, digital twins, power handling and distribution, and energy storage, and how these can be used to drive a reduction in cost and maximise the contribution of materials and components produced in the United Kingdom to tidal range projects;

(e) environmental baseline research and monitoring programmes of the proposed locations of selected tidal range projects for the purposes of establishing an enhanced understanding of the possible impacts on biodiversity and local ecosystems of operational tidal range projects; and

(f) whole-system analysis to evaluate other potential benefits of operational tidal range projects, such as coastal and flooding protection, the stimulation of related industries, and contributions to local economies.”

New clause 53—Community and Smaller-scale Electricity Supplier Services Scheme—

“(1) Within six months of the passage of this Act, the Secretary of State must by regulations require licensed energy suppliers with more than 150,000 customers (“eligible licensed suppliers”) to offer a Community and Smaller-scale Electricity Supplier Service agreement to any Community or Smaller-scale Energy site registered under section [Community and Smaller-scale Electricity Export Guarantee Scheme (No. 2)] for the purposes of allowing that site to sell electricity to local consumers.

(2) A Community and Smaller-scale Electricity Supplier Service agreement is an agreement which requires licensed suppliers to make a community or smaller-scale energy tariff available to consumers local to the exporting site that has regard to the export price paid or that would be paid to that site under section [Community and Smaller-scale Electricity Export Guarantee Scheme (No. 2)].

(3) The eligible licensed supplier may limit the total number of consumers the community or smaller-scale energy tariff is available to such that the total annual energy under the tariff is broadly equivalent to the total annual energy generated by the site.

(4) The eligible licensed supplier is the registrant for the meters of any local consumer purchasing energy under the community or smaller-scale energy tariff.

(5) The eligible licensed supplier may charge a reasonable fee for the provision of services under this section provided that it has regard to distribution, licensing and regulatory costs and any guidance provided by GEMA.

(6) The eligible licensed supplier must return any money raised through the sale of energy under a tariff set up under this section to the Community or Smaller-scale Energy site, save for the fee allowed under subsection (5).

(7) Eligible licensed suppliers must report annually to GEMA on—

(a) the number and capacity of community energy groups or smaller-scale sites offered Community and Smaller-scale Electricity Supplier Service agreements and the number who have contracted to use them,

(b) the total amount of electricity purchased under these agreements, and

(c) the tariffs for each agreement.

(8) GEMA must—

(a) produce guidance on the level of community or smaller-scale energy tariffs and on the reasonable charges that eligible suppliers may charge for Community and Smaller-scale Electricity Supplier Service agreements,

(b) make and publish a report annually on the operation of the export purchase agreements, setting out—

(i) the number of community energy projects or smaller-scale sites contracted with licensed energy suppliers under this section and the total amount of electricity purchased,

(ii) the licensed suppliers contracting with community energy groups or smaller-scale sites and the amount of electricity each has purchased,

(iii) an assessment of how the mechanism is performing and the contribution it is making to delivering secure and low carbon electricity supplies, and

(iv) recommendations for how Community and Smaller-scale Electricity Supplier Service agreements could be improved.

(9) Regulations under this section are subject to the affirmative procedure.”

New clause 56—Delinking of renewable and gas prices in the retail market—

“(1) Within six months of the passage of this Act the Secretary of State must publish a plan to ensure the delinking of gas and renewable and low carbon energy prices as they appear in the retail market.

(2) The plan may take into account—

(a) the establishment of a “green pool” for the direct sale of renewable and low carbon power into the retail market;

(b) the incorporation of low carbon and renewable power plants not possessing a Contract for Difference into Contract for Difference arrangements suitable for inclusion in a green power pool after it is established.”

This new clause requires the Secretary of State to produce a plan to end the linkage between renewable and low carbon energy and gas prices at retail level which results in most renewable power being priced in the retail market as if it were gas.

New clause 57—Onshore wind—

“(1) The Secretary of State must by regulations ensure that onshore wind installations are treated for the purpose of planning and development as local infrastructure and will be permitted or otherwise as if they were.

(2) Regulations under subsection (1) may amend any primary legislation passed before the passage of this Act.”

This new clause ensures that onshore wind development proposals in England and Wales are permitted to proceed on the same basis as other local infrastructure projects.

New clause 58—Community and Smaller-scale Electricity Export Guarantee Scheme (No. 2)—

“(1) Within six months of the passage of this Act, the Secretary of State must by regulations require licensed energy suppliers with more than 150,000 customers (“eligible licensed suppliers”) to purchase electricity exports from sites, including those operated by community groups, which generate low carbon electricity with a capacity below 5MW.

(2) The requirement imposed by regulations under subsection (1) is to be known as the Community and Smaller-scale Electricity Export Guarantee Scheme.

(3) Fossil fuelled local power plants with a capacity of less than 5MW are not eligible for participation in the Community and Smaller-scale Electricity Export Guarantee Scheme, with the exception of a local combined heat and power plant that generates electricity ancillary to its purpose of providing heat for local heat networks.

(4) “Fossil fuel” has the meaning given in section 104(4).

(5) Licensed energy suppliers with fewer than 150,000 customers may also purchase electricity exports from the sites specified in subsection (1) provided that they do so on the terms set out by the regulations.

(6) The regulations must require that eligible licensed suppliers—

(a) offer to the sites specified in subsection (1) a minimum export price set annually by the Gas and Electricity Markets Authority (“GEMA”),

(b) offer to those sites a minimum contract period of five years, and

(c) allow the exporting site to end the contract after no more than one year.

(7) Within six months of the passage of this Act, GEMA must—

(a) set an annual minimum export price for those sites that has regard to current wholesale energy prices and inflation in energy prices and the wider economy,

(b) introduce a registration system for exporting sites meeting the requirements set out in subsection (1) and wanting to access these export purchases,

(c) define specifications for the smart export meters required by such sites,

(d) define “low carbon electricity” in such a way that it includes renewable generation technology and may include other technology with extremely low carbon dioxide emissions,

(e) define requirements for an exporting site generating low carbon electricity with a capacity of less than 5MW to be registered as a Community or Smaller-scale Energy site, and maintain a register of such sites.

(8) Regulations under subsection (1) must provide that to access export purchase agreements exporters must—

(a) register their site with GEMA,

(b) install a smart export meter that meets specifications defined by GEMA, and

(c) notify GEMA if they are a community group.

(9) All licensed suppliers providing purchase agreements for sites specified in subsection (1) must report annually to GEMA—

(a) the number and capacity of Community or Smaller-scale Energy sites that have been offered contracts to purchase electricity and the number of such sites which agreed those contracts,

(b) the total amount of electricity purchased under those agreements, and

(c) the price paid for that electricity.

(10) OFGEM must make and publish a report annually on the operation of the export purchase agreements, setting out—

(a) the number of Community or Smaller scale Energy sites contracted with licensed energy suppliers under this section and the total amount of electricity purchased,

(b) the licensed suppliers contracting with Community or Smaller-scale Energy sites and the amount of electricity each has purchased,

(c) an assessment of how the mechanism is performing and the contribution it is making to delivering secure and low carbon electricity supplies, and

(d) recommendations on how the mechanism could be improved.

(11) Regulations under this section are subject to the affirmative procedure.”

New clause 59—Decarbonised electricity supply by 2030—

“(1) It is the duty of the Secretary of State to ensure that the supply of electricity in the UK is decarbonised by 2030.

(2) The Secretary of State must, within six months of the passage of this Act, produce and publish a plan which will set out how the duty in subsection (1) is to be achieved.”

This new clause is intended to provide for the UK’s electricity supply to be decarbonised by 2030.

New clause 60—Planning consent for new electricity pylons—

“(1) Within six months of the passage of this Act, the Secretary of State must by regulations provide for a fast-track planning process for electricity pylons along motorways and rail lines.

(2) Regulations under this section may amend primary legislation.”

New clause 61—National Warmer Homes and Businesses Action Plan (No. 2)—

“(1) The Secretary of State must, before the end of the period of 6 months beginning with the day on which this Act is passed, publish an action plan entitled the Warmer Homes and Businesses Action Plan, to set out proposals for delivery of—

(a) an Energy Performance Certificate at band C by 2035 in all UK homes where practical, cost effective and affordable, and

(b) an Energy Performance Certificate at band B by 2030 in all privately rented non-domestic properties, and

(c) the Future Homes Standard for all new builds in England by 2025.

(2) The Secretary of State must, in developing the Warmer Homes and Businesses Action Plan, consult the Climate Change Committee and its sub-committee on adaptation.”

New clause 62—Energy performance regulations relating to existing premises (No. 2)—

“(1) Within six months of the day on which this Act is passed, the Secretary of State must make regulations—

(a) amending the Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015 (S.I. 2015/962) to require that, subject to subsection (2), all tenancies have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) of at least Band C by 31 December 2028; and

(b) amending the Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2019 (S.I. 2019/595) to raise the cost cap to £10,000.

(2) Regulations under subsection (1) must provide for exemptions to apply where—

(a) the occupier of any premises whose permission is needed to carry out works refuses to give such permission;

(b) it is not technically feasible to improve the energy performance of the premises to the level of EPC Band C; or

(c) another exemption specified in the Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015 has been registered in the Private Rented Sector (PRS) Exemptions Register.

(3) Within six months of the passage of this Act the Secretary of State must make regulations—

(a) amending the Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015 to enable local authorities to give notice to landlords that they wish to inspect a property in relation to those Regulations, requesting permissions from landlords and any tenants in situ at the time to carry out an inspection at an agreed time;

(b) expanding the scope of the current PRS Exemptions Register and redesigning it as a database covering properties’ compliance with or exemptions from EPCs;

(c) requiring a post-improvement EPC to be undertaken to demonstrate compliance;

(d) requiring a valid EPC to be in place at all times while a property is let; and

(e) raising the maximum total of financial penalties to be imposed by a local authority on a landlord of a domestic private rented sector property in relation to the same breach and for the same property to £30,000 per property and per breach of the Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015.

(4) Regulations under this section are subject to the affirmative procedure.”

New clause 67—Local supply rights—

“(1) Within six months of the day on which this Act is passed, the Secretary of State must publish a report on and consult on the introduction of local supply rights for community energy schemes, which would enable these schemes to sell their power to local customers.

(2) The report must set out—

(a) the potential benefits of community energy,

(b) the estimated additional costs to consumer bills that would be incurred in order for community energy schemes to account for 10% of energy generation by 2033, and

(c) an estimate of typical cost/benefit ratios for local communities and consumers.”

This new clause seeks to require the Government to publish a consultation on the introduction of local supply rights for community energy schemes within 6 months of the Act being passed.

New clause 68—Reports on the functioning of the energy price support framework—

“Within six months of the day on which this Act is passed, the Secretary of State must prepare and lay before Parliament reports assessing—

(a) the potential benefits of a social tariff would have on levels of fuel poverty across the UK,

(b) the adequacy of the current system for individuals who have higher energy needs due to a medical condition, and

(c) the potential benefits of a strategy that rewards households who use less energy by guaranteeing them a lower price through a tiered electricity plan.”

This new clause will require the Secretary of State to report on the functioning of the current framework as it relates to certain groups.

Government amendment 180.

Amendment 3, in clause 2, page 3, line 30, at end insert

“issued by the economic regulator or other competent authority”.

This amendment allows persons with a CO2 storage licence from the North Sea Transition Authority to operate a geological storage site for CO2 disposal, as per current legislation in the Energy Act 2010.

Amendment 4, page 3, line 34, leave out “a service” and insert

“a monopoly service to multiple users”.

This amendment would exclude from the requirement to have an economic licence, all forms of transportation where competitive markets are more likely to develop than monopolies e.g. shipping, rail or road. It would also enable investment in private spur connections to the regulated CO2 network.

Government amendments 131, 198, 181, 132, 199 to 209, 144 to 147, 139 and 140.

Amendment 175, in clause 65, page 58, line 13, leave out

“in the opinion of the Secretary of State”.

This amendment would remove the role of the Secretary of State in determining who qualifies as a “low carbon hydrogen producer.”

Government amendments 141 and 142.

Amendment 9, page 60, line 22, leave out clause 69.

This amendment, together with Amendments 10 to 12, would leave out the clauses of the Bill which provide for a hydrogen levy.

Amendment 10, page 61, line 1, leave out clause 70.

See explanatory statement to Amendment 9.

Amendment 170, in clause 70, page 61, line 2, leave out

“relevant market participants (see subsection (8))” and insert “the Secretary of State”.

This amendment, together with Amendments 171 to174, is intended to provide that the Secretary of State, rather than relevant market participants, should fund the hydrogen levy administrator.

Amendment 171, page 61, line 19, leave out “relevant market participants” and insert “the Secretary of State”.

See explanatory statement to Amendment 170.

Amendment 172, page 61, line 34, leave out “relevant market participants” and insert “the Secretary of State”.

See explanatory statement to Amendment 170.

Amendment 173, page 61, line 37, leave out subsection (5).

See explanatory statement to Amendment 170.

Government amendment 148.

Amendment 174, page 62, line 9, leave out subsection (9).

See explanatory statement to Amendment 170.

Amendment 11, page 62, line 12, leave out clause 71.

See explanatory statement to Amendment 9.

Amendment 12, page 63, line 11, leave out clause 72.

See explanatory statement to Amendment 9.

Amendment 13, in clause 73, page 64, line 22, leave out paragraph (a).

This amendment is consequential on Amendments 9 to 12.

Amendment 14, page 64, line 26, leave out “each paragraph of”.

This amendment is consequential on Amendments 9 to 12.

Amendment 15, page 64, line 27, leave out “under that paragraph”.

This amendment is consequential on Amendments 9 to 12.

Government amendment 121.

Amendment 16, page 65, line 6, leave out paragraph (a).

This amendment is consequential on Amendments 9 to 12.

Amendment 17, page 65, line 10, leave out

“a hydrogen production revenue support contract or”.

This amendment is consequential on Amendments 9 to 12.

Amendment 18, page 65, line 15, leave out

“a hydrogen production allocation body or”.

This amendment is consequential on Amendments 9 to 12.

Amendment 19, in clause 74, page 65, line 22, leave out paragraph (a).

This amendment is consequential on Amendments 9 to 12.

Amendment 20, page 65, line 31, leave out

“hydrogen production revenue support contract or”.

This amendment is consequential on Amendments 9 to 12.

Amendment 21, in clause 75, page 65, line 35, leave out subsection (1).

This amendment is consequential on Amendments 9 to 12.

Amendment 6, page 66, line 2, after “that” insert “eligible”.

This amendment clarifies that the low carbon hydrogen producer must be eligible to receive support, which other amendments ensure means that they are compliant with the Low Carbon Hydrogen Standard.

Amendment 22, page 66, line 10, leave out “(1) or”.

This amendment is consequential on Amendments 9 to 12.

Amendment 23, in clause 76, page 66, line 23, leave out paragraph (a).

This amendment is consequential on Amendments 9 to 12.

Amendment 24, page 66, line 30, leave out

“hydrogen production revenue support contracts or”.

This amendment is consequential on Amendments 9 to 12.

Amendment 25, page 66, line 33, leave out

“hydrogen production revenue support contracts or”.

This amendment is consequential on Amendments 9 to 12.

Amendment 26, page 67, line 10, leave out

“hydrogen production revenue support contracts or”.

This amendment is consequential on Amendments 9 to 12.

Amendment 27, page 67, line 15, leave out “for producing hydrogen or”.

This amendment is consequential on Amendments 9 to 12.

Amendment 28, page 67, line 17, leave out

“(whether in respect of hydrogen production or capture of carbon dioxide)”.

This amendment is consequential on Amendments 9 to 12.

Government amendment 143.

Amendment 29, in clause 77, page 67, line 40, leave out subsection (1).

This amendment is consequential on Amendments 9 to 12.

Amendment 30, page 68, line 19, leave out “hydrogen production counterparty or”.

This amendment is consequential on Amendments 9 to 12.

Amendment 31, page 68, line 24, leave out paragraph (c) and insert—

“(c) how the eligible carbon capture entity to whom the offer is made may enter into a carbon capture revenue support contract as a result of the offer;”.

This amendment is consequential on Amendments 9 to 12.

Amendment 32, page 68, line 28, leave out

“eligible low carbon hydrogen producer or”.

This amendment is consequential on Amendments 9 to 12.

Amendment 33, in clause 78, page 68, line 36, leave out

“an eligible low carbon hydrogen producer, or”.

This amendment is consequential on Amendments 9 to 12.

Amendment 34, page 68, line 39, leave out

“hydrogen production counterparty or (as the case requires)”.

This amendment is consequential on Amendments 9 to 12.

Amendment 35, page 69, line 1, leave out “hydrogen production counterparty or”.

This amendment is consequential on Amendments 9 to 12.

Amendment 36, page 69, line 16, leave out “hydrogen production counterparty or”.

This amendment is consequential on Amendments 9 to 12.

Amendment 37, page 69, line 35, leave out clause 80.

This amendment is consequential on Amendments 9 to 12.

Amendment 38, in clause 81, page 70, line 33, leave out

“hydrogen transport counterparty, hydrogen storage counterparty, hydrogen production counterparty”.

This amendment is consequential on Amendments 9 to 12.

Amendment 39, in clause 82, page 71, line 1, leave out paragraph (a).

This amendment is consequential on Amendments 9 to 12.

Amendment 40, in clause 83, page 71, line 32, leave out sub-paragraph (i).

This amendment is consequential on Amendments 9 to 12.

Amendment 41, page 71, line 40, leave out paragraph (e).

This amendment is consequential on Amendments 9 to 12.

Government amendment 149.

Amendment 42, page 72, line 9, leave out

“hydrogen production revenue support contract or”.

This amendment is consequential on Amendments 9 to 12.

Government amendments 150 to 152.

Amendment 43, in clause 84, page 73, line 7, leave out subsections (3) and (4).

This amendment is consequential on Amendments 9 to 12.

Government amendments 210 to 213.

Amendment 44, in clause 86, page 74, line 9, leave out paragraphs (b) and (c).

This amendment is consequential on Amendments 9 to 12.

Amendment 45, page 74, line 22, leave out paragraphs (b) and (c).

This amendment is consequential on Amendments 9 to 12.

Amendment 46, age 74, line 28, leave out “a hydrogen levy administrator”.

This amendment is consequential on Amendments 9 to 12.

Amendment 47, in clause 88, page 77, line 2, leave out paragraph (b).

This amendment is consequential on Amendments 9 to 12.

Government amendments 153 to 162.

Amendment 48, page 78, line 37, leave out clause 90.

This amendment is consequential on Amendments 9 to 12.

Government amendment 163.

Amendment 49, in clause 91, page 79, line 36, leave out paragraph (b).

This amendment is consequential on Amendments 9 to 12.

Government amendments 164, 70, 165, 122 to 124 and 214 to 216.

Amendment 7, in clause 128, page 115, line 6, after “transportation” insert

“by pipeline, ship or other means,”.

Carbon dioxide transport by ship is almost certain to be a part of the Scottish Cluster and subsequent phases of other CCUS clusters and this amendment makes explicit that transportation by ship or other means would be included in the financial assistance available under clause 103.

Government amendments 125 to 129, 71, 72, 133 and 134.

Amendment 8, in clause 142, page 127, line 2, leave out from “heat” to the end of line 18 and insert “from a renewable source.”

This amendment would enable the Secretary of State to make provision for the establishment of a low-carbon heat scheme which encouraged the use of heating appliances that generate heat from a renewable source but which might previously have burnt a fossil fuel.

Government amendments 217 and 218.

Amendment 50, in clause 152, page 133, line 30, at end insert

“, except that that power is not exercisable without a warrant issued by a justice of the peace.”

This amendment would require a warrant for the exercise of the power to enter premises in a hydrogen grid conversion trial.

Amendment 130, page 136, line 3, leave out clause 155.

This amendment would remove clause 155 and therefore ensure that fusion energy facilities are still required to secure a nuclear site licence.

Amendment 1, in clause 159, page 137, line 31, at end insert—

“(1A) The person designated under subsection (1) must be a public body with no other roles or interests in the energy sector.”

This amendment ensures that the ISOP is a public body, not an individual or a private company, and has no conflicting interests.

Amendment 51, in clause 160, page 138, line 9, at beginning insert—

“(A1) The ISOP must carry out its functions in the way that it considers is best calculated to ensure the lowest possible cost of energy to businesses and households.”

This amendment, together with Amendment 52, would introduce a new primary objective for the Independent System Operator and Planner (ISOP), to which the existing objectives for the ISOP in the Bill would become secondary.

Amendment 52, page 138, line 9, at beginning insert “Subject to subsection (A1),”.

See explanatory statement to Amendment 51.

Government amendments 73 to 76.

Amendment 2, in clause 162, page 140, line 5, leave out subsection (1) and insert—

“(1) The ISOP must have regard to the strategic priorities set out in the current strategy and policy statement but will otherwise carry out its functions independently of the Secretary of the State.”

This amendment ensures that the Independent System Operator and Planner (ISOP) is independent.

Government amendments 166 and 77 to 79.

Amendment 53, page 178, line 25, leave out clause 212.

This amendment would remove the clause granting the Secretary of State an extension of time for the extension of powers relating to smart meters.

Government amendments 103 and 219 to 224.

Amendment 54, in clause 227, page 188, line 31, leave out paragraph (c).

This amendment would ensure that it was not possible to impose a penalty on a person for not complying with a request for information relating to a heat network zone.

Amendment 55, in clause 228, page 189, line 9, leave out subsections (2) to (10) and insert—

“(2) Regulations made by virtue of subsection (1) may not impose a requirement on any person.”

This amendment would prevent regulations about heat networks within heat network zones from imposing mandatory requirements.

Amendment 56, page 192, line 30, leave out clause 230.

This amendment would leave out the clause which provides for the enforcement of heat network zone requirements.

Amendment 57, page 193, line 12, leave out clause 231.

This amendment would leave out the clause which provides for penalties to be imposed by regulations about heat network zones.

Amendment 58, page 196, line 3, leave out clause 235.

This amendment, together with Amendments 59 to 63, would remove Chapter 2 of Part 9 of the Bill, on energy smart appliances.

Amendment 59, page 197, line 13, leave out clause 236.

See explanatory statement to Amendment 58.

Amendment 60, page 198, line 4, leave out clause 237.

See explanatory statement to Amendment 58.

Amendment 61, page 199, line 39, leave out clause 238.

See explanatory statement to Amendment 58.

Amendment 62, page 200, line 22, leave out clause 239.

See explanatory statement to Amendment 58.

Amendment 63, page 201, line 14, leave out clause 240.

See explanatory statement to Amendment 58.

Amendment 64, page 205, line 14, leave out clause 246.

This amendment, together with Amendments 65 to 67, would leave out Part 10 of the Bill, on the energy performance of premises.

Government amendments 182 to 184.

Amendment 65, page 206, line 29, leave out clause 247.

See explanatory statement to Amendment 64.

Amendment 66, page 207, line 1, leave out clause 248.

See explanatory statement to Amendment 64. This amendment would remove a clause which would enable the creation of criminal offences by regulations.

Government amendment 185.

Amendment 67, page 208, line 6, leave out clause 249.

See explanatory statement to Amendment 64. This amendment would remove a clause which would enable the amendment, repeal or revocation of primary legislation by regulations.

Government amendments 186 to 193.

Amendment 68, page 214, line 1, leave out clause 255.

This amendment would leave out the clause which provides for requirements to be imposed by energy savings opportunity scheme regulations.

Amendment 69, page 216, line 16, leave out clause 257.

This amendment would leave out the clause which provides for the enforcement of energy savings opportunity scheme regulations and the creation of connected penalties and offences.

Government amendments 225 to 229, 80, 81, 230 to 238, 82, 194, 239, 195, 240, 241, 83, 242, 84 to 94, 243, 176, 177, 196, 178, 244, 104 to 110, 169, 179, 111 to 120, 95 to 100, 197, 101, 135 to 138, 167, 168 and 102.

Andrew Bowie Portrait Andrew Bowie
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I am delighted to rise today to bring before the House our landmark Energy Bill for its consideration. This world-leading, historic Bill—a Conservative Bill—will deliver for this country cleaner, cheaper and more secure energy. It will level up this country, while contributing to levelling down bills for the British people. It will unleash new technology, liberate private investment in clean technologies, modernise and future-proof our energy network, and deliver for this country and for future generations.

The United Kingdom already has a great story to tell on reducing our carbon emissions. We have reduced our emissions faster than any other G7 nation. We were the first European nation to legislate for net zero. We have the first oil and gas basin dedicated to going net zero and the first, second, third and fourth-largest offshore wind farms in the world operating and generating power off the coast of Great Britain right now. We have eliminated our reliance on coal. We have grown to more than 40% of energy being generated by renewables. We have announced further investment in carbon capture, usage and storage, and we are pressing ahead with Great British Nuclear, which I launched two months ago with an exciting programme for small modular reactors. We are on track to deliver 24 GW of nuclear power on the grid by 2025.

Ian Paisley Portrait Ian Paisley (North Antrim) (DUP)
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Can the Minister confirm that at the weekend, agreements were made that have removed Northern Ireland from benefiting from the renewable liquid fuel agreements? Is that the case, and if so, why?

Andrew Bowie Portrait Andrew Bowie
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If the hon. Gentleman will have patience, I will come to the renewable liquid heating fuel amendments later in my speech, where I am happy to direct any questions to which he is seeking answers.

We have done all the things I have mentioned while growing our economy. We have cut our emissions by 40% while growing our economy by 60%. It is an inherently Conservative value—a value close to the hearts of all on the Government Benches—to pass on what we inherit in a better state to the next generation. That includes the state of our environment and our climate. There is also no more Conservative value than to ensure the security of our nation and its people, and that includes our energy supply.

John Redwood Portrait John Redwood (Wokingham) (Con)
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On that very point—security—what provision is being made for days when there is no wind, given that we will see the closure of most of our nuclear power stations this decade and will have little else to rely on, other than fossil fuel? How are we going to get through?

Andrew Bowie Portrait Andrew Bowie
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My right hon. Friend knows that I am a great champion of supporting our oil and gas industry, which continues to supply a large amount of our energy baseload and will do for a significant amount of time to come. As he also knows, we are investing a lot of time and money into ensuring that we deliver the next generation of nuclear power plants, including small modular reactors, so that we have the energy baseload that this country needs so that, as he rightly suggests, when the wind does not blow and the sun does not shine, people can still be assured that the lights will come on. The Conservative principles that I have spoken about are at the very heart of the Bill, which I am pleased to bring before the House today.

It is true that some time has passed since the Bill was introduced in July last year. The Opposition spokesperson, the hon. Member for Southampton, Test (Dr Whitehead), was but a boy when this Bill was introduced last year. A huge amount of constructive dialogue and dedicated work has taken place during that time. I thank all the Secretaries of State at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero, the Ministers and the Prime Ministers who have been involved since the Bill was introduced.

Since the Bill came to this House from the other place, I have met and engaged with colleagues from all sides of House. We debated the Bill in a lively Second Reading and spent 72 long hours in Committee, so I start by thanking everyone across the House, especially the shadow ministerial team, the former Scottish National party energy spokesman, the hon. Member for Kilmarnock and Loudoun (Alan Brown), and all on the Government side, for their constructive engagement in ensuring that we got the Bill to these final stages in a state that, I hope, will be broadly welcomed by most, if not all, Members.

Richard Graham Portrait Richard Graham (Gloucester) (Con)
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Will the Minister give way?

Andrew Bowie Portrait Andrew Bowie
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I would be delighted.

Richard Graham Portrait Richard Graham
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The Minister referred to base energy load, which is crucial in respect of nuclear energy, but is also relevant to marine energy, which, as he knows, we have huge potential for around our coast, particularly in Scotland. Will he confirm that that will play an important part in the next contracts for difference round and in his thinking?

Andrew Bowie Portrait Andrew Bowie
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I am delighted to confirm that that will play an important part. Indeed, we have ringfenced £10 million to support marine energy in the country. We believe it has a huge role to play in delivering our energy baseload. Indeed, the innovations being made in that technology are incredibly exciting and will play a huge part in our energy baseload moving forward.

Andrew Bowie Portrait Andrew Bowie
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

It is always a delight to give way to the hon. Gentleman.

Jamie Stone Portrait Jamie Stone
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The Minister is incredibly well-mannered. The irony is that we generate an enormous amount of power from onshore wind in the highlands, yet we face the highest levels of fuel poverty. New clause 1, tabled in my name, talks about increasing the community benefit in some way and widening the number of communities who could benefit. I am aware that the hon. Member for Rutland and Melton (Alicia Kearns) has tabled a similar amendment, and I would like to voice my support and that of the Liberal Democrats for it.

Andrew Bowie Portrait Andrew Bowie
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I thank the hon. Gentleman for his constructive intervention. The Government recently launched a consultation on community benefits, because we do understand that those communities being asked to host pieces of critical national infrastructure should be recompensed for that, and that the community benefits that the individuals, communities and groups in those areas receive should be enough to recompense them for what they are doing in the national interest.

Matt Hancock Portrait Matt Hancock (West Suffolk) (Ind)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

On infrastructure of national scale, in order to keep people on side, is it not also vital that such projects are in the right place—unlike the Sunnica development near my constituency—so that those of us who care about the agenda can support it wholeheartedly and ensure that the Conservative values that the Minister talks about are rightly behind the green energy revolution?

Andrew Bowie Portrait Andrew Bowie
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

Absolutely. It is incumbent on all involved, from the transmission operators to the developers, National Grid, the electricity system operator and indeed the Department and those across Government, to ensure that where such pieces of critical national infrastructure are being built, developed and planned, plans are proceeded with and laid in a way that is conducive to local sentiment and local support and will provide for that local community for many years to come.

Andrew Bowie Portrait Andrew Bowie
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

Yes. I would be delighted to give way.

Angus Brendan MacNeil Portrait Angus Brendan MacNeil
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I am grateful to the very polite Minister, as was said by the hon. Member for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross (Jamie Stone). I am sure the Minister is aware that heat pumps will produce about 2.5 times the energy of the electricity put into them, or four times for ground source heat pumps—they are multipliers of the power put into them. The Government have a plan for 600,000 to be installed by 2028. Will we see those? How many will we see next year? Does he have intervening targets for that? At the moment, they are at only a 10th of where the target would have them.

Secondly, a point asked in my constituency is about the new £10 million community energy fund, which relates only to England, despite energy being reserved. Will he enlighten Euan Scott, my constituent, please?

Rosie Winterton Portrait Madam Deputy Speaker (Dame Rosie Winterton)
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Order. There is so much pressure on time, so it is really important that interventions are short.

Andrew Bowie Portrait Andrew Bowie
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

On the hon. Member’s first point, absolutely, we remain committed to delivering, developing and rolling out heat pumps across the country, and we remain committed to the targets we have set out. On the community energy fund, there is already an equivalent Scottish community energy fund up and running and delivering for communities across Scotland. That is a competency of the Scottish Government at Holyrood. I would be delighted to direct any questions that he or his constituent have on that to the Scottish Government in Edinburgh. [Interruption.] He makes the case from a sedentary position that energy is reserved. Yes, but the Scottish Government have their own community energy fund. We will base a lot of what we are doing on that fund as it is rolled out in Scotland.

With your leave, Madam Deputy Speaker, I will take some time to explain the not insubstantial number of Government amendments to the House. I turn first to Government amendment 148 and the subsequent consequential amendments. I think it is fair to say that considerable concern was raised about the initial proposals for a hydrogen levy. The Government have carefully considered those concerns. I particularly thank my hon. Friend the Member for South Thanet (Craig Mackinlay) for his amendments on the issue, and indeed the right hon. Member for Doncaster North (Edward Miliband) for his amendments relating to those clauses. It is right that we take these considerations seriously and, where appropriate, seek to make changes.

Andrew Bowie Portrait Andrew Bowie
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I would be delighted.

Alec Shelbrooke Portrait Alec Shelbrooke
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May I take the opportunity to thank my hon. Friend for reflecting on what I said in Committee and for the commitments given to me by the Government to bring about an amendment to the Bill? I thank him for listening to Back Benchers’ concerns in Committee.

15:15
Andrew Bowie Portrait Andrew Bowie
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I was very pleased to take that intervention. I thank my right hon. Friend for it. If he is patient, I will explain to the rest of the House—I think Committee members are aware—what we seek to do with the hydrogen levy as it stands.

The Government’s amendments will remove provisions that enabled the levy to be imposed on energy suppliers in Great Britain, ensuring that within Great Britain the levy can be placed only on gas shippers. In the case of Northern Ireland, the amendments seek to ensure that only gas supply licence holders who engage with gas shipping can be subject to that levy. That reflects the different approach to the licensing of gas shipping across Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

The revised provisions will provide a fairer approach to funding hydrogen, placing the charge higher up the supply chain, with the potential for costs to be spread to the sectors expected to benefit most from early hydrogen development, not the wider British public. I remind the House that the Bill will also enable the option of funding hydrogen through the Exchequer. By providing two robust and reliable options for hydrogen funding, we will help bolster industry confidence in the viability of the UK hydrogen economy and boost private investment, with the potential to unlock significant energy security and economic benefits. The hydrogen sector could support over 12,000 jobs and generate up to £11 billion in private investment by 2030.

I must be clear, and the House should understand, that the Bill will not actually introduce a levy on gas shippers. Instead, it will enable the Government to introduce the levy through secondary legislation.

Craig Mackinlay Portrait Craig Mackinlay (South Thanet) (Con)
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It is very welcome that the levy will not be applied on households as a direct cost they will see in their bills, but it is something of a sleight of hand just to push it further up the supply chain, because it will be an energy-related cost somewhere in the supply chain that will feed down to every business and household in another way through an additional charge they will face, much like VAT. I welcome it as far as I can, but I would rather see it removed in its entirety.

Andrew Bowie Portrait Andrew Bowie
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I thank my hon. Friend for his contribution. As we have spoken about before, I understand his position on the levy. It is our belief that in ensuring that the levy is placed higher up the chain, the sectors that will benefit most from the early development of hydrogen will bear the brunt of the cost, not the wider British public. That is the aim and intention of what we seek to achieve.

As I was saying, the Bill will not introduce the levy on to shippers; instead, it will enable the Government to introduce the levy through secondary legislation. I am sure we will continue to have this debate in the months and years ahead.

I turn to Government new clause 63, amendment 8 and new clauses 40 and 50 on renewable liquid heating fuel. I thank my right hon. Friend the Member for Camborne and Redruth (George Eustice) for his work and amendments relating to renewable liquid fuels for low-carbon heating. His constructive work with the Government has been incredibly helpful and positive. I also pay tribute to my hon. Friend the Member for Bury St Edmunds (Jo Churchill), who has been championing the use of renewable liquid fuels for low-carbon heating for many years.

As the recent biomass strategy made clear, such fuels will have a critical role to play in decarbonising our economy. We recognise that they have the potential to play an important role in decarbonising heat, especially as not all off-grid properties will be suitable for electrification. We will explore the potential of these fuels for heat by issuing a consultation within 12 months. We want to take the powers now to support the use of these fuels in heat in the future, should they be needed. That is why we tabled Government new clause 63, taking powers to impose obligations on heating fuel suppliers to increase the supply of renewable liquid heating fuels.

Nickie Aiken Portrait Nickie Aiken (Cities of London and Westminster) (Con)
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In my constituency we have a particular issue with commercial and domestic use, because residents are often in the same building as commercial properties. It would be helpful for the Minister to look at the definition of heat network systems, so that Ofgem can understand what systems qualify as heat networks in domestic properties, which are a real issue in my constituency.

Andrew Bowie Portrait Andrew Bowie
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The measures in the Bill will provide the Government with powers to implement heat network zoning in England. Those include powers to develop a nationwide methodology for identifying and designating areas as heat network zones, and to establish a new zoning co-ordinator role—which we generally expect will be filled by local government, though my hon. Friend is free to apply—with responsibility for designating areas as heat network zones and enforcing requirements in them. They also include powers requiring heat networks developed in zones to meet a low-carbon requirement, and to ensure that certain buildings and heat sources connect to a heat network in a zone within a specific timeframe. The relevant Minister in the Department and I will be happy to meet my hon. Friend to discuss how that will be relevant to her urban constituency as we move forward and seek to implement these proposals.

Richard Fuller Portrait Richard Fuller (North East Bedfordshire) (Con)
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I join the Minister in thanking my right hon. Friend the Member for Camborne and Redruth (George Eustice) for leading on the measures included in new clause 63. On the renewable liquid heating fuel obligation, the Minister said that he would do a consultation within the next 12 months. Many of my constituents who are off-grid also want secondary legislation to come through in the next 12 months. Can he assure the House that that is his intention?

Andrew Bowie Portrait Andrew Bowie
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I can confirm that we will move to a consultation in the next few months. Indeed, we will use the powers to support the use of those fuels in heat in future, should they be needed. Again, as we move through the consultation period, other Ministers in the Department and I would be delighted to meet my hon. Friend and all Members concerned. I understand that this issue affects many constituencies across the country and, rightly, interests many right hon. and hon. Members. As we move forward with the consultation and towards implementing the powers, we will be delighted to meet Members.

David Duguid Portrait David Duguid (Banff and Buchan) (Con)
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I welcome Government new clauses 52 and 63, which are of particular value to those living in certain parts of the country, such as north-east Scotland, as the Minister is very much aware. Will he join me in reinforcing and emphasising the benefit of developments in sustainable aviation fuel and renewable liquid heating fuel respectively, particularly in Aberdeenshire?

Andrew Bowie Portrait Andrew Bowie
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Yes, I am very pleased to welcome developments in renewable liquid heating fuel. The consultation, which will be UK-wide, will benefit those living in rural constituencies such as Banff and Buchan, and those across north-east Scotland and rural Britain. I welcome the support for the sustainable aviation fuel amendment, to which I will refer shortly.

Angus Brendan MacNeil Portrait Angus Brendan MacNeil
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To back up the point made by the hon. Member for Banff and Buchan (David Duguid), standard consultation and the legislation being in place in 12 months do not show the necessary urgency. That is the point that unites many people. The Minister, with his Thompson gun approach to spitting things out, got that one out very quickly, but we need it done an awful lot more quickly than starting within 12 months. This Government will probably be gone in 12 months.

Andrew Bowie Portrait Andrew Bowie
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I am determined to work very hard to ensure that this Government will not be gone in 12 months. However, we are taking the powers now to ensure support for the use of these fuels in heat in future, if needed. I should make clear that we are starting the consultation within the next 12 months, not in 12 months. It will be within the next year.

Ian Paisley Portrait Ian Paisley
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

There is a vast rural housing network in Northern Ireland of so many households, and there is overreliance on heating oil. What is the arrangement for using renewable liquid fuels in Northern Ireland?

Andrew Bowie Portrait Andrew Bowie
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

Once again, I thank the hon. Gentleman for his question. I was just about to answer his original question: I can confirm that officials from the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero in London have been in discussion with Northern Ireland officials, who are broadly content with the Government’s approach on this issue. However, conversations will continue with Northern Ireland officials on what we can do to support renewable liquid heating fuels in Northern Ireland. Once again, as on the other issues I have specified, I would be delighted to meet the hon. Gentleman and colleagues from across Northern Ireland to discuss how this Government can ensure that the support delivered in Great Britain can be replicated in Northern Ireland.

I turn back to my comments on renewable liquid heating fuels. With regard to amendment 8, the powers in clause 142 relate only to the planned clean heat market mechanism, for which the Government’s focus is on supporting the development of the market for electric heat pumps. We do not believe that expanding the power set out here is necessary to allow for boilers burning renewable liquid fuels to be installed or used. In the light of those steps, I hope my right hon. Friend the Member for Camborne and Redruth is reassured by the Government’s action and will feel able not to press the amendment.

I turn to Government new clauses 52 and 169 and new clause 35 on sustainable aviation fuel. I thank my right hon. Friend the Member for Epsom and Ewell (Chris Grayling) for his constructive engagement with me and colleagues at the Department for Transport. This Government are committed to ensuring that the UK sustainable aviation fuel programme is one of the most comprehensive in the world. That is why in the Bill we are committing to publish a consultation on the options for designing and implementing a revenue certainty scheme within six months of it being passed.

We will also update Parliament within 18 months on the development of a sustainable aviation fuel revenue certainty scheme. As the Secretary of State for Transport, my right hon. Friend the Member for Forest of Dean (Mr Harper), set out in a written ministerial statement yesterday, that builds on our commitment to deliver a revenue certainty scheme for domestic sustainable aviation fuel production by the end of 2026. The intention is that the scheme will be industry-funded. Alongside that, we have published a plan for delivering the scheme, which contains a timeline of key milestones such as a public consultation on options, an associated Government response, design phases, and delivery and legislative steps.

Chris Grayling Portrait Chris Grayling (Epsom and Ewell) (Con)
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I thank my hon. Friend for his constructive approach on this issue. Could I seek one more assurance? When the consultation is finished, will the Government review the likelihood of securing the investment we want? If there is still doubt, will he ensure that discussion takes place about whether the Government should play a part in that, potentially at a future fiscal event?

Andrew Bowie Portrait Andrew Bowie
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I can give my right hon. Friend that assurance and go further. That commitment, alongside our £165 million advanced fuels fund and the world-leading SAF mandate, will help to provide strong market signals and incentives to drive the demand and supply of SAF from sustainable sources. Future funding decisions on SAF will be considered as part of the next spending review.

I would like to turn briefly to community energy. I thank my hon. Friend the Member for Wantage (David Johnston) for his continued engagement on the Bill, particularly his championing of community energy, alongside many others in this House. The Government recognise that community energy projects can have real benefits for the communities in which they are based, and are keen to ensure that they deliver value for money for consumers. That is why we have launched a new £10 million community energy fund, which expands on the success of the previous rural community energy fund, to enable both rural and urban communities across England to access grant funding to develop local renewable energy projects for investment.

Sally-Ann Hart Portrait Sally-Ann Hart (Hastings and Rye) (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

It is fantastic that the Government have announced the new fund to help community energy schemes get off the ground. That is a very welcome step. Could my hon. Friend outline what steps he will take to remove the barriers that prevent community energy schemes from accessing local markets?

Andrew Bowie Portrait Andrew Bowie
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I can indeed. I am delighted to tell my hon. Friend that alongside our proposed fund, we are committing to publishing an annual report to Parliament and to consulting on the barriers the sector faces when developing projects.

I am also very pleased to announce that His Majesty’s Government have reached an agreement with the Scottish Government to amend the Bill to secure their support for a legislative consent motion in the Scottish Parliament. The comprehensive set of amendments agreed with the Administration in Edinburgh will strengthen the Bill’s consultation provisions and require the Secretary of State to seek the consent of devolved Ministers before exercising powers under clauses 2, 3 and 293.

I would also like to take this opportunity to confirm to the House and to the Scottish Government that by virtue of clause 218(2)(a)(ii), the regulatory cost the GEMA can recover from gas and electricity licence holders from across Great Britain includes any costs it occurs performing the Scottish licensing function. The Government are disappointed that the Welsh Government have decided not to support the legislative consent motion for the Bill in the Senedd. However, as a sign of good faith the Government will extend the amendments agreed with the Scottish Government to apply in Wales and Northern Ireland where appropriate.

A number of Government amendments for consideration on Report relate to commencement. They ensure that clauses, such as those relating to the smart meter roll-out and low carbon heat schemes, will come into force as soon as the Bill gains Royal Assent. The remaining Government amendments are technical in nature and, as such, I do not propose to discuss any of them in great detail—I am sure Madam Deputy Speaker is delighted.

Christine Jardine Portrait Christine Jardine (Edinburgh West) (LD)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I thank the Minister for giving way, but I notice that I cannot see any mention in the amendments of standing charges. I know that is a very difficult thing, but in my constituency there is a great deal of concern about the fact that there is no uniformity in the United Kingdom on standing charges. My constituents can pay around £100 a year more than people elsewhere in the country. Do the Government have any intention to address that issue, along with issues such as domestic insulation?

Andrew Bowie Portrait Andrew Bowie
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I thank the hon. Lady very much for her intervention and her question. I am engaging with Ofgem on that very issue and am looking to convene a meeting in Edinburgh with all the significant players involved in energy transmission and production in Scotland at the earliest available opportunity, so we can discuss the issues regarding standing charges and other issues that affect Scottish bill payers. I would be very delighted to engage with her as we move towards that meeting taking place.

15:30
Angus Brendan MacNeil Portrait Angus Brendan MacNeil
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

The Minister may have heard on “The World at One” on Radio 4 last week the head of OVO Energy talking about the movement for the cost of transmission from the unit price to the standing charge price, which has ramped up standing charges and is very concerning to many people because that disproportionately impacts poorer bill payers. Will he look at that issue and discuss it with Ofgem at his meeting?

Andrew Bowie Portrait Andrew Bowie
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

Yes, I can confirm that I will raise that issue with Ofgem at my next meeting, and at the next available opportunity I have to meet the Chairman of the Energy Security and Net Zero Committee, I will certainly have an answer for him on that question.

Anna McMorrin Portrait Anna McMorrin (Cardiff North) (Lab)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

In 2013, the then coalition Government cut all the energy efficiency programmes, plunging millions of people into debt. What plans does he have to ensure there is an insulation programme to provide desperately needed energy efficiency right across homes and households?

Andrew Bowie Portrait Andrew Bowie
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

This is the biggest piece of energy legislation ever passed by the British Parliament. We are driving forward with schemes to help insulate houses, drive down bills, and deliver cleaner and more secure energy, and all we can get from the Opposition is criticism. We have ramped up our renewable energy production to over 40%. We have eliminated coal. We are developing new nuclear, which the Opposition failed to do over 13 years in government. Rather than carping from the sidelines, it would be useful if Opposition Back Benchers got on board, supported the Bill and supported our great British companies developing the technology to take this country forward, creating the new jobs, ensuring security of supply and driving towards net zero, which means we will leave this country and the planet in a better place for the next generation, instead of trying to score political points at the expense of this Government who are seeking to deliver for the British people. As such, I am immensely proud of the Bill. It was strong before and it is even stronger now. It is, as I have just said, the single biggest piece of energy legislation ever to be brought before the House.

Andrew Bowie Portrait Andrew Bowie
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I am afraid I will not give way.

The Bill is a revolution in community energy: restarting our nuclear sector; regulating for fusion; developing carbon capture, usage and storage; supporting the technology of the future; liberating private finance; developing our own oil and gas reserves; building an energy network of the future to secure our energy supply; securing our energy base so we are powering Britain from Britain; growing our economy; investing to ensure lower bills; and driving towards a cleaner future. That is what the Bill achieves. It was brought here and delivered today by the Conservative Government, moving the country forward into a brighter, more secure and cleaner future. Therefore, Mr Deputy Speaker, with great pleasure, I commend the new clauses and amendments to the House.

None Portrait Several hon. Members rose—
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Nigel Evans Portrait Mr Deputy Speaker (Mr Nigel Evans)
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Order. As Members can see, there is great interest in this debate. I am therefore pondering exactly what the time limit will be. Members will be informed just before Dave Doogan speaks, I believe. [Interruption.] It will not apply to the Labour Front Bencher; the hon. Gentleman can be relieved.

Alan Whitehead Portrait Dr Alan Whitehead (Southampton, Test) (Lab)
- View Speech - Hansard - - - Excerpts

The Minister is quite right: the Bill has been with us for rather a long time. I am personally delighted that it is before us this afternoon, but we need to remember that Second Reading was over a year ago, in July 2022, in another place. The Bill has survived four Secretaries of State and two Departments in its passage through the House, so it certainly should be an improved Bill by now. I am concerned, however, that the long passage of the Bill to the statute book has had a real effect on investors and various other people seeking to invest in the low-carbon economy. We should not forget that.

What is this Bill about? As the Minister has said, it is essentially about the decarbonisation of the energy system and making that system fit for net zero. It is, overwhelmingly, a Bill that enables that decarbonisation to take place, and it has been described in a number of instances as a “green plumbing” Bill, which I think is not a bad description. It provides the necessary mechanisms and the details of how we will reach our targets in a variety of areas, as the Minister said: on hydrogen, on carbon capture and storage, on licensing, on the introduction of an independent system operator—which is very important to good construction—on low-carbon heat schemes, on district heating, on energy-saving appliances, and on fusion power. It also makes a number of regulation changes in relation to civil nuclear decommissioning and oil and gas management. It is, moreover, a Bill that the Opposition have welcomed, both for its extent and for its “green plumbing” activities. We were supportive of its measures in Committee, while also tabling amendments that we thought would strengthen its approach. Indeed, the Government have inserted some of them in the Bill, with very slight changes, and we welcome that as well.

However, in my view the Bill is incomplete and unsatisfactory, given its ambition as a green decarbonisation Bill, in that it fails to complete the three tests, or tasks, that are necessary to provide the clarity and consistency that would ensure that the policy will deliver what is claimed. Those tests are these. First, what are the targets for a policy, and how firm are they? Secondly, what are the technical means whereby the proposed targets can be actioned? Thirdly, what is the plan, both financially and procedurally, to make the targets real and not just hot-air aspirations? It is essential to the process of energy decarbonisation for all three of those tests to be in the Bill as we proceed against very tight timescales and immense challenges of implementation.

In some instances, the Bill has succeeded in that regard. The Government’s targets were set out in a number of documents on clean energy, such as the energy security strategy and the 2020 Energy White Paper. Indeed, in a number of instances, the targets contained in those documents have been substantially added to in the Bill. For example, the target of 10 GW of low-carbon hydrogen production by 2030 has been underpinned by the clauses relating to such matters as hydrogen levy management procedures. I applaud the Government’s change of heart on the hydrogen levy. Although a number of Committee members knowingly voted the wrong way, with the honourable exception of the right hon. Member for Elmet and Rothwell (Alec Shelbrooke), the Government have put that right now. We would have liked to see them go a little further with a clear statement that the money would come from the Consolidated Fund, but we will live with the change that they have undertaken to make. I think we can count that as both a win for our pressure on the Bill and a win for the Bill itself.

Caroline Lucas Portrait Caroline Lucas
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I agree that those three tests for decarbonisation make a lot of sense, but does the hon. Gentleman agree that as well as targets for some of the good stuff, we need to see the Government stop doing the bad stuff? In this case, the bad stuff is more and more new licences for oil and gas in the North sea. Would Labour support my amendment, which would see an end to the MER rule on maximising the economic recovery of petroleum and replace it with a just transition to a greener economy? As long as we have a statutory duty to maximise the economic recovery of oil and gas, it does not matter how many targets we have on renewables, because we will not meet the targets that we need to meet.

Alan Whitehead Portrait Dr Whitehead
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I do not think it would be appropriate for me to indicate exactly which amendments from various Members we might or might not support, and it would take a great deal of time for me to do so, but the hon. Member will recall that we tabled an amendment on maximum economic recovery in Committee. I think she can take from that that, broadly speaking, we support the principle of “stop doing the bad things and start doing the good things”. Whether the detail of her new clause fits exactly with that picture is another matter, but I hope she can take some encouragement from that.

Sammy Wilson Portrait Sammy Wilson (East Antrim) (DUP)
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Does the hon. Gentleman accept that, while the Government may have set out the high-level ambitions and targets, they have failed to highlight the cost of this Bill to ordinary constituents? I think, for example, of the cost of bringing properties up to certain energy efficiency levels, the size of the hydrogen levy and who will pay it when it is introduced, the cost of sustainable aviation fuel to the aviation industry and the cost of flying—I could go on. That has not been spelled out, because there is a dishonesty here, and the burden will fall on ordinary people.

Alan Whitehead Portrait Dr Whitehead
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

It is not for me to defend how the Government have managed their arrangements as far as the costs of these measures are concerned, but I would say more generally that we have to cast this Bill in terms of how much it would cost us as consumers and others if we did not do these things over the next period. We need to consider the cost to people’s bills, people’s lives and people’s welfare if we simply stood aside and ignored doing the things that are necessary for decarbonisation. I can honestly say that in the longer term the overall cost of doing these things would be far more on the saving side for customers and the general public than the issues that are before us at the moment.

The Government have done a number of things in this Bill. I mentioned the measures on hydrogen, which I welcome in terms of meeting hon. Members’ concerns. We are also pleased to see that the Government have tabled amendments on other issues of concern to Members such as sustainable aviation fuel, and new clause 34 on liquid fuel.

Chris Grayling Portrait Chris Grayling
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I am keen to see a process start now that leads to our securing the investment we need to ensure that sustainable aviation fuel is available for our industry, and given the timeframe I am keen to see both parties making a commitment to that in their manifestos. Can the hon. Gentleman give me an assurance that the Opposition also support this move towards developing a sustainable aviation fuel industry in this country?

Alan Whitehead Portrait Dr Whitehead
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I understand the right hon. Gentleman’s concerns about what the shortly-to-appear Labour Government will be doing on these matters, although I hope that he will not go about spreading defeatism on his own side. As a future Labour Government, we are very concerned about the need to develop sustainable aviation fuel in a cost-effective and timely manner. We understand that this is a substantial element of the transition that will be undertaken in aviation, but we have to be careful that we do not procure all the resources that might go to other things for use in making sustainable aviation fuel, because there are many other things that can be done with those fuels. We need a balance between the various possible candidates for what would go into sustainable aviation fuel for the future.

I am pleased that the Government have also made a concession on liquid fuel heating obligations. In other areas, despite having ample opportunity and time to put additional material in the Bill—indeed, the Government have put substantial amounts of additional material in the Bill with our support—they have not taken the opportunity to place in legislation the three tests that I mentioned, which is why our amendments concentrate on those emissions.

15:45
Members have been very enthusiastic in tabling amendments to strengthen the Bill on Report, and many of the issues raised are similar or identical to the issues we raised in Committee. I am particularly impressed by the amendments tabled by the right hon. Member for Kingswood (Chris Skidmore), as well as new clause 43, on onshore wind, tabled by the right hon. Member for Reading West (Sir Alok Sharma). There are amendments on coal, fracking, flaring and venting. Amendments on a number of issues would strengthen the Bill, including new clause 47, tabled by the hon. Member for Rutland and Melton (Alicia Kearns), which would address China, solar panels and the Uyghur population.
Angus Brendan MacNeil Portrait Angus Brendan MacNeil
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The hon. Gentleman mentions boilers, and a number of organisations, including Green Alliance, Action for Warm Homes, Power for People and Energy UK, have produced briefs that point to how infrequently such Bills come around. There are great changes in energy technology and in world events, but they are not mirrored in Parliament. Both sides of the House should commit to not cramming everything into one energy Bill every decade. Given how things are changing in this sphere, Parliament should address it far more frequently than every decade.

Alan Whitehead Portrait Dr Whitehead
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

If the hon. Gentleman contains himself, he will see that we have tabled an amendment on low-carbon energy in homes. I agree that we cannot put everything in a Bill but, because of the urgency of the commitment we are making with this Bill, it is important that we get as much clarity as possible on what we are doing in the Bill now, so we know where we are going and the ways we are doing so.

Having discussed those other amendments, I will now draw attention to Labour’s amendments. I hope the House will understand why we have drafted them in this way and how that relates to the tests I mentioned. On our new clause 53, the Government say they support community and local energy. Indeed, as the Minister said, the Government have put a modest amount of funding into supporting community energy but, as the hon. Member for Hastings and Rye (Sally-Ann Hart), who is not in her place now, said, we still do not have an understanding of how community energy can actually work. We think community energy will be an important part of the decarbonisation process. It is not one of the large, shiny things upon which money will be lavished in large amounts but, in aggregate, it will have a huge impact on decarbonising energy in this country.

The Government still have not introduced arrangements that will enable local power producers to trade locally and get the proper value of their trade, which is vital to the success and certainty of these projects. Labour wants to support local energy projects practically, particularly through the “valley of death” period where the pockets of community energy are usually shallower than needed for all the planning permissions to run their course. With support from Great British Energy and local authorities, we propose that £400 million a year will eventually support the important role of community and local energy in decarbonising power.

John Redwood Portrait John Redwood
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

If this electrical revolution is to take off, many more people will need to buy electric cars and heat pumps. Does the hon. Gentleman have any advice for the Government on how those items can be made more popular and more affordable?

Alan Whitehead Portrait Dr Whitehead
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

The Government and I have been in considerable discussion about precisely that point. We need to make sure we change the model of ownership of those devices. We perhaps need to have a longer debate about that on another occasion.

Lloyd Russell-Moyle Portrait Lloyd Russell-Moyle (Brighton, Kemptown) (Lab/Co-op)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My hon. Friend is making an important point about new clause 53, which stands in his name and those of his Front-Bench colleagues. Is not it the case at the moment that the grids—the national grid and the local distribution networks—do not have a duty to positively engage with small-scale and community electricity suppliers to encourage them on to the grid and instead just put them at the bottom of a list that is first come, first served? The new clause will start to change that approach, which is supportive and nurturing in its essence.

Alan Whitehead Portrait Dr Whitehead
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My hon. Friend is absolutely right. The campaign that he may be referring to was signed up to by the Minister when he was not a Minister; he may have some other views on that these days, but the new clause is not too far from the original document that he signed a while ago. I am going to have to make some rapid progress, so I am sorry to say that I will not be able to take any further interventions. However, I will try to get through the measures we are proposing as quickly as possible, in order to allow other Members who are bursting to get into the debate the time to do that.

Our new clause 56 deals with delinking renewables and gas prices. A mechanism should be in place to ensure that the dividend from renewable power costs and prices can come through to customers. However, as we have seen in the recent power crisis, that is not the case at the moment. Gas prices surged to nine times the price of renewable power at some stages during the energy crisis and are still substantially more expensive than those of renewables, but they rule the roost as far as energy prices for the retail market are concerned, through marginal cost pricing. We think that needs to change through delinking the process and we wish to put an amendment in that would ensure that that happened, so that the benefit of renewable power can come to customers in the way that the whole House would intend to happen.

New clause 57 deals with onshore wind. Three minutes before the Bill came to the Floor of the House, a written statement on onshore wind was made by the Minister. I have had a chance to read it quickly and it seems to me as though it still treats onshore wind as a special case and not as an ordinary case of a local infrastructure project, which should receive no better and no worse consideration than any other such project. Onshore wind is essential to the decarbonisation of our energy system, but we have just let it collapse over a considerable period by, in effect, banning it. The Government are taking grandmother’s footsteps back from the ban, but this is still not good enough.

John Hayes Portrait Sir John Hayes (South Holland and The Deepings) (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I was one of the architects of what the hon. Gentleman described as a ban. He will understand that, when onshore wind was no longer permitted across the UK, this catalysed the offshore industry and we became a world leader in offshore wind precisely because developers then chose to go offshore. Offshore wind has many advantages, not least its scale, the size of the turbines and the single point of connection to the grid. Onshore wind has none of those virtues.

Alan Whitehead Portrait Dr Whitehead
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

That is remarkably like saying I am encouraging you to use your second car because I shot the tyres out of your first car. The right hon. Member makes a quite ridiculous statement.

First, onshore wind is the cheapest form of power available. Secondly, it can be available for community and local energy, in the way described earlier. Thirdly, through CfDs, it can systemically provide a cheaper power environment for the population as a whole. It is a disgrace that only two turbines have been commissioned in this country since February 2022. It is a golden opportunity for decarbonisation that we are missing completely.

Anna McMorrin Portrait Anna McMorrin
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On that point, will my hon. Friend give way?

Alan Whitehead Portrait Dr Whitehead
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I said I would not, but I will.

Anna McMorrin Portrait Anna McMorrin
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My hon. Friend is being very generous. Does he agree that the failure to roll out onshore wind is costing families £182 a year because of lack of investment?

Alan Whitehead Portrait Dr Whitehead
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

Lack of investment does indeed have a direct impact. If we go back and look at what could have been the case and look at what is the case now, there is a direct link between energy prices now and the lack of development of onshore wind. Our amendment, which we hope to push to a vote, would make the way that onshore wind was treated simple and straightforward: it should be treated no differently from any other local infrastructure project. There should be the same protections, safeguards and concerns for people who have that local infrastructure coming their way. It should not be a special case, over and above other projects, which I think will produce an explosion of investment in onshore wind in future.

John Hayes Portrait Sir John Hayes
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

On that point, will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Alan Whitehead Portrait Dr Whitehead
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

No. I have to make progress.

New clause 61—

“National Warmer Homes and Businesses Action Plan (No. 2)”—

addresses another area in which the Government have set out their aspirations. The Minister has said that the Government are making progress on their aspirations to retrofit homes, as set out in their national energy plans and the White Paper, “Powering our net zero future”. Those aspirations include having all homes at an EPC band C standard by 2035 and all private rented properties at band B by 2030. However, nowhere are there any plans about how we are actually going to do that or how homes that are among the worst insulated in Europe can be lifted to the levels needed by 2035. The Government are stuck with aspirations but no plan.

Our new clause puts a plan in place. It puts those aspirations into legislation and requires a Government plan to bring them about, which would be another enormous win for decarbonisation. People’s energy bills will fall, fuel poverty will be tackled and gas supply in retrofitted properties will reduce by perhaps 25%. It would be a win all round.

The Government have no plan. Labour has a substantial plan, which has already been put forward, including a 10-year programme to uprate and retrofit 19 million homes, costing £6 billion per annum by the second part of the next Labour Government, with a local authority and community base getting it done. That will transform the present, pretty paltry progress that has been made. Admittedly, there has been good progress in some areas, including the energy company obligation, the local authority delivery scheme, the home upgrade grant and other schemes, but who can forget the spectacular failure of the Government’s green homes grant a little while ago? Our new clause will transform the way that works and we want it to be added to the Bill.

New clause 62 is closely associated with new clause 61, but addresses the private rented sector.

New clause 59 is very important. We want to see the decarbonisation of our energy, power and electricity systems by 2030. The Government’s ambition at the moment is mostly to decarbonise the power system by 2035, but, again, they have no plan as to how that will actually happen. They have given no indication as to what steps they will take to achieve this, and they are certainly beginning to fail in the implementation of carbon budgets. Bringing forward the decarbonisation of the power system would greatly enhance that and allow us to meet our targets. Labour wants to see the complete decarbonisation of the system by 2030. That does involve massive uplifts in the rate of progress—for example, in offshore wind by five, in solar by three, and in onshore by two—and, indeed, the development of other renewables. In that regard, I recommend that hon. Members have a look at new clause 51.

16:00
Alec Shelbrooke Portrait Alec Shelbrooke
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Alan Whitehead Portrait Dr Whitehead
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

No, I will not give way again.

My hon. Friend the Member for Birkenhead (Mick Whitley) has a particularly interesting new clause on tidal range. With the right effort and the right investment, a huge acceleration of build-out can be achieved. Indeed, we have set out our plans on how to do that over the next period. What we need is for that ambition and those plans to be in legislation and in the Bill now.

The Minister did not give any indication in his contribution of whether the Government will move towards any of these amendments, but we hope to press some of them to a vote this afternoon. However, I have to say that we do so within the general setting that we are supportive of the Bill. We want it to succeed, but we want it to succeed with our bits added on, not least because this is the Bill that we will inherit when we are in government shortly. We will then have to do all the work that the Government have set out in the Bill.

Finally, let me say to those hon. Members who are thinking of voting against our amendments that they contain the Government’s own ambitions. What we are trying to do is to put the Government’s own ambition into legislation and provide ways by which it can be achieved. If hon. Members decide to vote against these changes this afternoon, they will, at least in some measure, be voting against their own Government. I hope that they will have sufficient sense to make sure that they do not do so as far as this Bill is concerned.

Nigel Evans Portrait Mr Deputy Speaker (Mr Nigel Evans)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

Order. As Members can see, there are many people who wish to take part in this debate. I know that Alok Sharma will show self-restraint, but we will be imposing a time limit to ensure that we get in as many people as we can. The debate is very time limited. The multiple votes will come at 6 o’clock, so I ask people to show restraint even on the time limit that I impose.

Alok Sharma Portrait Sir Alok Sharma (Reading West) (Con)
- View Speech - Hansard - - - Excerpts

Thank you, Mr Deputy Speaker.

I do support the overall aim of the Bill, but, in the interests of brevity, I will limit my comments to new clause 43 on onshore wind. I thank all colleagues who have co-signed this new clause, which of course builds on the excellent work that my right hon. Friend the Member for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland (Sir Simon Clarke) led last year when trying to put in place a more permissive planning regime for onshore wind.

Onshore wind is one of the cheapest sources of energy available. It is also one of the quickest to deploy. Getting more home-grown clean energy deployed is about enhancing our energy security, our climate security and our national security, all of which are totally interlinked. It is also ultimately about bringing down bills. That is why onshore wind needs to be a meaningful part of a diversified energy mix.

We currently have 14 GW of installed onshore wind capacity across the UK with the ability to power around 12 million homes. However, as we all know, due to planning rule changes, since 2015 we have had a de facto ban on onshore wind. Just one objection is able to defeat a planning application. Frankly, that is not a sensible way for a planning process to operate. As a result, in England planning permissions have been granted for just 15 wind turbines over the past five years. It is also worth pointing out that, had onshore wind annual build-out rates stayed at the average pre-ban level, an extra 1.7 GW would have been added by last winter. That is the equivalent of powering 1.5 million homes for the entire winter, and it would have avoided between 2% and 3% of the UK’s annual net gas imports being burned in our power stations.

John Redwood Portrait John Redwood
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

Does my right hon. Friend accept, on the cost argument, that we also need to build a new gas turbine station as back-up for when the wind does not blow?

Alok Sharma Portrait Sir Alok Sharma
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

We do need a diversified energy system, and I think the Minister set out all the work that is going on on nuclear, for example. However, as we drive forward for greater energy security, we need to change the planning rules to allow more onshore wind. The objectives of new clause 43 are to ensure a more permissive planning regime. The new clause seeks to lift the current planning restriction that in effect means that a single objection can block a development. It also seeks to ensure that local communities willing to take onshore wind developments will receive direct community benefits.

The Government have today responded to new clause 43 by bringing forward a written ministerial statement on onshore wind. I thank the Government for the constructive dialogue we have had over the past days on this issue. I acknowledge that that written ministerial statement, and indeed the accompanying changes to the national planning policy framework, move things forward and will help to deliver a more permissive planning regime for onshore wind.

The de facto ban is lifted. The statement clarifies that the policy intent is not to allow very limited objections or even a single objection to ban a planning application, and it is explicit that local communities willing to host onshore wind farms should directly benefit, including potentially through energy discounts. That is positive, but we do need to see the Government’s formal response to their consultation on this issue to understand the detail of the precise mechanism by which the benefits regime will work.

I also welcome the fact that local plans will not be the only route to delivering more onshore wind, with more agile and targeted routes available. Of course it is now a requirement for local planning authorities to support community-led initiatives for renewable and low-carbon energy. Vitally, those policy changes are effective today.

Angus Brendan MacNeil Portrait Angus Brendan MacNeil
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

The right hon. Gentleman talks about bill payers, but for the previous wind that was built under renewables obligation certificates, there were big profits because the prices were denominated in gas. Under the CfDs, money is not going to the bill payers, but to the Government—it was creamed off the top. The mechanism has to change; I applaud what he is trying to say and do, but there is a missing link on how the bill payer will see a benefit, as they should.

Alok Sharma Portrait Sir Alok Sharma
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

The hon. Gentleman will know that onshore wind has been back as part of the CfD process in the last couple of years. I am very happy at a future date to have a detailed discussion on that but, in the interest of time, I will move on.

I understand that some people would like the planning regime for onshore wind to be even more permissive and for onshore wind to be treated like any other infrastructure. I get that, but we also have to recognise that it has been a contentious issue in the past, and it is important that we take communities with us on this journey. That is why the community benefits mechanism will be so vital. Frankly, people respond better to a carrot than to a stick.

Maria Miller Portrait Dame Maria Miller (Basingstoke) (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My right hon. Friend talks about the importance of taking people with us. More wind power will need more energy storage so that we can smooth out for the times when the wind is not blowing. Does he agree that the sort of lithium ion battery storage plants that are proliferating in our country are in need of proper permitting? My new clause 37, which I have been discussing with my hon. Friend the Minister, will help to bring in that sort of permitting and ensure that lithium ion battery storage facilities are sited in the right places.

Alok Sharma Portrait Sir Alok Sharma
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I certainly agree with my right hon. Friend that we need more battery storage. That is being rolled out and I am pleased that she has had a discussion with the Minister.

In conclusion, I welcome the written ministerial statement because it moves us forward. It is for that reason that we will not seek to press new clause 43 to a Division.

Dave Doogan Portrait Dave Doogan (Angus) (SNP)
- View Speech - Hansard - - - Excerpts

I start by paying tribute to my predecessor in this role, my hon. Friend the Member for Kilmarnock and Loudoun (Alan Brown), whose work on energy, particularly on access to clean and affordable energy, was exceptional. I base my ambitions in this role on his record. I also note the Minister’s kind remarks about my hon. Friend and thank him for them.

I want to highlight the abject abandonment of community-owned energy projects in this Bill. It is patently obvious that any just transition to net zero is simply not possible if local communities cannot sell the energy they produce to local customers. Local energy trading provides manifold improvements, including lower prices, protections against price shocks, enhanced energy security, network redundancy and a return on investment back to communities.

The UK Government kicking this can down the road is a hammer blow to efforts to achieve a just transition, and they are doing so without even trying to disguise the fact. Worse still, they have instead provided a paltry £10 million over two years—the Minister left out the “over two years” bit—to fund feasibility studies in England. That is not seedcorn funding; it is chicken feed served up with extra disdain for Scotland and Wales, as the UK Government have steadfastly refused to apply Barnett consequential to this admittedly pitiful sum.

Fundamentally, this sop to Tory Back Benchers does not—as one of the Minister’s Back Benchers said—remove the barriers preventing community energy schemes from selling their power locally. The Local Electricity Bill would have done that, as would amendments made to the Energy Bill had they not been removed by Ministers in Committee in July. Why is this Tory Government so loth to put power in the hands of the people?

Turning to nuclear, English MPs maintain an enduring obsession with nuclear. Their total failure to concede or even rationally acknowledge the catastrophic decommissioning and clean-up costs of that energy source is, by any measure, incredible. As they drag Scotland and Wales along with them for the ride, it is almost as if those English MPs, and indeed the Government, can foresee a time in the not-too-distant future when they will need to buy Scotland’s energy rather than just taking it, as they have got used to doing over recent decades. Nuclear is their insurance policy against Scotland’s independent future.

New nuclear is a millstone around the neck of our net zero future, consuming disproportionate costs per megawatt-hour. If we contrast nuclear with offshore wind, we see that although construction costs for nuclear continue to spiral out of control, and SMR nuclear continues not to get off the ground, the cost of offshore wind has fallen by 80% in a decade. New offshore wind projects coming online within the next two years will be paid about £45 per MWh, which is half the wholesale power price of £90 per MWh forecast until at least the end of the decade, and 60% less than the £115 per MWh of electricity from Hinkley C nuclear power plant.

Tories and Labour Members alike will cry, “This is all about baseload for when the wind does not blow”—I am surprised they have not done so already. Of course, that is correct; we do need baseload, but it does not have to be nuclear. If successive Westminster Governments had invested nearly as much rhetoric and taxpayers’ money creating a renewable energy mix as they have done for nuclear, we would be in a very different place. It would be a place where tidal flow and barrage schemes complement widespread impoundment, pump storage and run-of-river hydro schemes, together with green hydrogen production, battery storage, solar on every appropriate elevation of a domestic or commercial property, and timely delivery of carbon capture, usage and storage.

Angus Brendan MacNeil Portrait Angus Brendan MacNeil
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The hon. Gentleman makes a point that must be recognised and understood for the future. Before Hinkley Point was commissioned, the question was of providing 6 GW of nuclear baseload rather than just 6 GW of baseload, and of seeing whether there could be a mix of green energy, as he argues, or if it would have to be nuclear energy. By prescribing the way the Government have in the past while sticking to 2012 index-linked CfD prices, nuclear is a way to make and print money very quickly.

Dave Doogan Portrait Dave Doogan
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My hon. Friend is correct. Over and above the self-evident environmental consequences of nuclear, the way in which this and successive Westminster Governments have fiscally mismanaged the pursuit of nuclear leaves nothing to the imagination.

To continue my remarks, we do not live in that place. We live here in broke, broken Britain. The Bill fails the people on energy once again because it is bereft of strategy and completely loses control of costs. If we want to evidence such calamitous incompetence, we need look no further than auction round 5, or, more specifically, the strike price therein. That price threatens to kill off construction-ready projects from that auction round. At the very best, it will mean even less of the additional supply chain value landing in domestic companies and local workers’ bank accounts, further deepening the cost of living crisis. Penny wise, pound foolish.

Contrast that with the strategic ambition of the Scottish Government, who are investing in communities by maximising the economic, supply chain and employment opportunities of onshore and offshore wind, with up to £1.4 billion of developer supply chain commitments on average across Scotland. I have seen the extraordinary investment and opportunity at Montrose port in my Angus constituency with Seagreen, but we need sustained investment to win those crucial multiplier effects and make the just transition a systemic reality for our communities.

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David Duguid Portrait David Duguid
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I welcome the hon. Member to his new role and pay tribute to his predecessor, the hon. Member for Kilmarnock and Loudoun (Alan Brown).

The hon. Member gave a whole list of reasons why there would be an absence of baseload in Scotland, but I think I may have missed the point where he suggested how that baseload would be supplemented in the absence of nuclear. Could he clarify that? Does it include a new gas-fired power station in Peterhead with carbon capture, usage and storage?

Dave Doogan Portrait Dave Doogan
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

The hon. Gentleman is entirely correct: he did miss me highlighting what would replace that baseload, and I refer him to Hansard after today’s debate.

The challenges of inflation and interest rates have altered the parameters to such an extent that this Government’s pretence that it is business as usual is breathtaking. Have they not seen what happened in the recent auction round in Spain or, conversely, what happened in Ireland when the Irish Government intervened to protect investment in renewables and reaped the benefit and reward for their economy?

If projects do slip from allocation round 5 as a result of an unrealistic strike price, where do Ministers think the supply chain capacity, the skilled workers and the specialist vessels will go? They will not wait around here, waiting for the Department to get its sums right—they will be off to the US and the EU to access commercially cogent incentive packages such as those found in the Inflation Reduction Act or the EU’s Net-Zero Industry Act. The stakes could not be higher for both net zero commitments and UK energy prices.

I am proud that the SNP has worked to protect people from the worst effects of the Westminster cost of living crisis with our amendments to the Bill, with steps that would protect the next phase of contracts for difference projects within AR5, properly provide for a comprehensive and complementary mix of energy storage solutions, advance local supply rights and work towards supporting our most vulnerable with the development of a social tariff, especially for those with higher energy use caused by medical conditions. I am pleased that the SNP’s new clause 39 will be put to a vote this evening, and I urge all Members to support that provision, which, while modest in scope, would have profoundly positive effects on many in our rural constituencies who live off the grid and have to heat their homes through liquid fuel.

Nigel Evans Portrait Mr Deputy Speaker (Mr Nigel Evans)
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Order. Before the hon. Gentleman makes his intervention, I inform the House that there will be a four-minute time limit on Back Benchers introduced from the start.

Angus Brendan MacNeil Portrait Angus Brendan MacNeil
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The hon. Gentleman mentioned a small issue that makes a big difference. The energy bills support scheme, which was very harsh, ended far too soon and has caused an awful lot of problems. This has been covered by Radio 4, and people have written letters about it—I have a letter here from Stourport, in the constituency of the hon. Member for Wyre Forest (Mark Garnier), who is a member of my Energy Security and Net Zero Committee. People the length and breadth of the UK are feeling the harshness of the Government’s penny-pinching and tight deadlines, and those who live in caravan parks or on boats are being especially hammered by this. This Government should listen and make a difference. One of the big things affecting people watching this debate today is that they are not getting that £400 for the last year.

Dave Doogan Portrait Dave Doogan
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I agree entirely, and I echo the calls from my Scottish National party Westminster leader, my hon. Friend the Member for Aberdeen South (Stephen Flynn), who wants to see the £400 support package reintroduced. The idea that the pressure on household budgets from energy prices has somehow gone away is for the birds.

Energy security is not some abstract area of Government policy, nor is the purchase of energy a discretionary one for homes and businesses in our constituencies. Failing to legislate and plan strategically in this area, as Westminster has done in perpetuity, is the very reason people are facing the choice between heating and eating. It is the same reason that businesses across these islands have closed their doors due to energy costs. The exorbitant cost of energy in the UK is a function of supply-side constraint, and this Government have compounded that through incompetence, inaction, lack of ambition, penny-wise, pound-foolish misadventure and their obsession with nuclear.

Just imagine how much more perilous the situation for energy consumers in England would be if they never had Scotland’s energy powerhouse to shore up this Government’s incompetence and spaffing money on nuclear left, right and centre. This Bill was an opportunity to make up lost ground and catch up with functioning unions—the United States and the European Union—but as usual, the dysfunctional United Kingdom gets it wrong again, and it is ordinary taxpayers and bill payers who will pick up the pieces and pay the cost. There is one reason why households in energy-rich Scotland are facing fuel poverty and haemorrhaging household budgets on energy costs, and it is sitting in this Chamber: the UK Government.

Nigel Evans Portrait Mr Deputy Speaker (Mr Nigel Evans)
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I remind Members of the four-minute limit.

Alicia Kearns Portrait Alicia Kearns (Rutland and Melton) (Con)
- View Speech - Hansard - - - Excerpts

A core pillar of this Bill is the delivery of a safe, secure and resilient UK energy system, but no energy system can be safe and secure when it risks undermining our food security and contravenes our values by using forced labour throughout its supply chains. We live in a contested world, and there is no doubt that energy security is one of the greatest challenges of our time, but we can have no security when our energy system is riddled with forced labour from a hostile state. The use of forced labour—specifically, Uyghur forced labour—in supply chains not only contradicts our ethical and moral values, but undermines our fight for human rights across the globe. We cannot go green on Uyghur blood-red labour.

Beyond the morals, there are serious commercial and security risks. British and international manufacturers that do not use slave labour—that abide by our modern slavery laws—are being priced out and undercut by Chinese suppliers that do not care. That contravenes all notions of fair market competition and punishes those who play by the rules, supporting only the communist People’s Republic of China state-backed enterprises. We are unnecessarily undermining our security when we do not tackle this problem.

Turning to the two new clauses that I tabled, I will not move new clause 48, but I will make the point that it is about moving to a rooftop-first strategy. We must make sure that we stop targeting the best and most versatile land. At my last count, 77 solar plants are currently proposed in Lincolnshire and bordering counties, totalling 38,000 acres of good arable land. That is wrong, but as I say, I will not move the new clause.

David Davis Portrait Mr David Davis (Haltemprice and Howden) (Con)
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My hon. Friend is entirely right in her argument, but this is not just about the overall number of sites. Individual projects take up over 3,500 acres in my constituency, industrialising a piece of beautiful English countryside and destroying the lives of five villages. In fact, if anything, my hon. Friend’s clause does not go far enough.

Alicia Kearns Portrait Alicia Kearns
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I thank my right hon. Friend, who as always makes very valid points. In my own constituency, one village will be 95% encircled by solar that will be 13 feet high, in one of the areas that produces the greatest food in our country.

Siobhan Baillie Portrait Siobhan Baillie (Stroud) (Con)
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These solar farms make absolutely no sense to people when we are in a food security crisis, but also, tenant farmers are being ousted. The landowners often live miles and miles away and could not give two hoots about the land they are selling off, and it does not work. We need a really strong steer from Government, which we were promised in our prime ministerial leadership campaigns last year.

Alicia Kearns Portrait Alicia Kearns
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My hon. Friend is absolutely right: farmers want to conserve and to grow the food of this nation. They do not want to turn to solar, which landowners are often doing.

John Hayes Portrait Sir John Hayes
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Further to the intervention made by my hon. Friend the Member for Stroud (Siobhan Baillie), meanwhile, solar on buildings is absent. One drives around the country and sees huge warehouses, commercial buildings and office blocks with not a solar panel to be seen. Those panels are going on to land that should be growing food to produce the food security that this country needs. Food security and energy security combined means national resilience.

Alicia Kearns Portrait Alicia Kearns
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I absolutely agree. That is why I still urge the Government to bring forward a strategy on rooftop solar—they can do so.

Turning to new clause 47, the UK has tough modern slavery laws. It is evident that we want to do something about that issue, but we cannot outsource the protection of human rights. There are developers who utilise forced labour in their supply chains—who not only violate our ethical and moral values but, as I say, pose a commercial risk. We cannot be reliant on Uyghur slave labour. Alan Crawford and Laura Murphy recently released landmark reports into the use of Uyghur forced labour in solar supply chains. They have made very clear that across the UK, there is just too much. Some 40% of all solar that is built in the UK is affected, and 45% of all polysilicon and solar panels around the world come from Xinjiang—they are made with slave labour. It is shocking to see that five pages of the recent report from Sheffield Hallam were dedicated to just one supplier, Canadian Solar, which is planning to build in this country and is a serial applicant. These same companies are tariff dodging repeatedly and trying to hide the reality of what they are doing.

My new clause 47 is very straightforward: it seeks to increase transparency. When a Minister makes a decision on a proposal of this magnitude, they should have full sight of whether there is forced slave labour within the application. Currently, a Minister making a decision on a nationally significant infrastructure project has no idea if the vast majority of the product to be put on British soil will be made with slave labour. I hope this will deter these companies and force them to finally choose to produce polysilicon without slave labour. There is no onus on the Government, there is no cost implication for them and I am not forcing their; I am asking for transparency, not least given that the US and the EU have both brought forward enormous Bills that deal with forced Uyghur labour in their countries or their areas of influence.

We have done nothing, and the reality is that we never walk the walk, but just talk the talk when it comes to the Uyghur. I cannot think of one piece of legislation that this Government have brought forward since my election that deals with Uyghur slave labour, yet we go to Beijing and then claim that we have raised it, based on no reality. Unfortunately, I have heard absolutely nothing today to reassure me that we genuinely want to deal with this, and that we recognise that it is not just in solar but across the energy footprint and is not just in China but in other places where components are made with slave labour. Therefore, at the moment I am minded to press the new clause to make sure that we finally deal with the reality of what we are facing and get some transparency within the system for our Ministers.

Sammy Wilson Portrait Sammy Wilson
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

The hon. Member will have our full support if she does press the new clause. We should add another argument, which is that the countries that use forced labour, especially China, have a commercial advantage, and we are going to find ourselves dependent upon them for energy sources in the future.

Alicia Kearns Portrait Alicia Kearns
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I could not agree more with the right hon. Gentleman. That is the exactly the point I would make.

The new clause speaks for itself: this is about transparency and finally dealing with the forced labour being imposed on our countryside. The path we choose today will define not just define our values but the legacy that we leave for future generations and for our children. I hope the House will make the right choice.

Mick Whitley Portrait Mick Whitley (Birkenhead) (Lab)
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I rise to speak in support of new clause 51, tabled in my name, concerning tidal range power. In 1966, the world’s first ever tidal power station became operational on the Rance river in Brittany. More than 50 years later, the station is less than halfway through its predicted lifespan of 120 years, and is continuing to generate an annual output of approximately 600 GWh of clean energy. Since then, the station has been surpassed in scale and generating capacity by the Sihwa Lake tidal power station in South Korea. The proven success of these schemes over many decades demonstrates the enormous potential of tidal range generation as a renewable, indigenous source of net zero energy. When confronted by the existential challenge of climate collapse and the necessity of decarbonising our energy system, as well as the need to guarantee our energy security in an increasingly volatile global energy market, I believe we now need to be looking with new urgency at the role that tidal range generation has to play in the United Kingdom’s future energy mix.

The UK, more than any other country in the world, is uniquely positioned to harness the power of our tides. We have the second highest tidal range in the world, and half of all of Europe’s tidal energy capacity is found in Britain. Already well developed plans for tidal range projects across the west coast promise to mobilise and deliver 10 GW of net zero energy, with the potential for 10 GW of additional capacity. In Merseyside alone, the much anticipated Mersey tidal power project could generate enough energy to power 1 million homes, yet we have consistently failed to harness the awesome power of our tides.

While there has been some welcome progress in the development of smaller tidal stream technologies in recent years, leading to tidal stream’s inclusion in the fourth allocation of the contracts for difference scheme, the possibilities of large-scale tidal range generation have been largely ignored by the Government since the decision in 2018 by the then Business Secretary to deny funding for the Swansea tidal lagoon. There was only passing mention of tidal in last year’s energy security strategy, and tidal range is not covered by this Bill. It has been excluded entirely from the national policy statements on energy infrastructure projects. I am assured that this situation will be rectified when the revised NPS for energy, EN-1, is published later this year.

The aim of my amendment is simple: it seeks to establish funding for an independent and evidence-led study into the opportunities and risks of tidal range generation as the vital first step towards establishing investor and Government confidence in this technology. This study is a central task of the British Hydropower Association, which represents the interests of the UK hydropower community. The study would consider the role of tidal range generation in the UK’s future energy mix and the role that tidal range, as a predictable and reliable energy source, has to play in meeting our energy needs at times when seasonal factors and weather systems interrupt supply from solar and wind.

16:30
The study would also consider how tidal range projects in close proximity to major population centres including Merseyside and Bristol can help us overcome the transmission and supply issues that continue to plague our energy grid, which constitute in the view of many experts the biggest stumbling block to the decarbonisation of our energy system. It would also take a whole-system approach to considering how we should best fund new tidal range projects. The most often cited barrier to the development of tidal range installations is the cost of their construction, but with operation lifespans of a century or more, their cost is more comparable to that of new nuclear and even offshore wind. It is vital that we look seriously at how other forms of financing, including the regulated asset base model recently applied to new nuclear, can help us in kick-starting tidal range generation.
George Eustice Portrait George Eustice (Camborne and Redruth) (Con)
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I support Government new clause 63 and welcome their bringing it forward. I had tabled amendment 8 and new clauses 40 and 50, each of which in different ways sought to give the Government the powers they needed to extend the existing renewable transport fuel obligation so that it might cover domestic heating fuels for off-grid properties. Government new clause 63 achieves that, creating the same power by replicating section 124 of the Energy Act 2004, and therefore I will not press my amendment or new clauses to a Division. I thank the Minister for the work he has put in on this; we have discussed it many times and I know he has worked hard to get a cross-Government consensus.

I also welcome the Minister’s commitment to a consultation. Some Members have questioned the timing of it, but we all have to be realistic about how long these things can take and the fact that a consultation needs to be done properly, and we should therefore accept in good faith the undertaking he has given at the Dispatch Box today. So I support that.

I want to address a point raised earlier by the hon. Member for North Antrim (Ian Paisley) and reassure him that I did not hang him out to dry. I am very conscious of the fact that Northern Ireland has 400,000 homes that are off the gas grid, and when discussing the Government new clause proposal last week, I highlighted the fact that Northern Ireland was a special case. The Minister has given an undertaking that conversations are continuing with officials in Northern Ireland, and I hope we can find a resolution to that issue.

My final point is not really a matter for today’s Bill: the associated issue of the proposed ban on replacement boilers for off-grid homes currently proposed for 2026. I know that the Government will be looking at that—it is a consequential consideration following an amendment they have put forward today—and I look forward to hearing what Ministers will have to say about it in due course.

Nadia Whittome Portrait Nadia Whittome (Nottingham East) (Lab)
- View Speech - Hansard - - - Excerpts

I rise to speak in support of new clause 35. My amendment is about funding for decarbonising homes and I hope Members across the House will agree that it is badly needed. Our homes are among the least energy-efficient in Europe and heating them accounts for 14% of all UK carbon emissions. If we do not retrofit around 29 million existing homes in the UK we will not be able to reach net zero by 2050. This is a mammoth task, so we must act now.

However, decarbonising housing is not just about tackling the climate crisis: millions of people are living in freezing homes that are expensive to heat, left at the mercy of the volatile gas market. Poor-quality housing is costing people their health and even their lives. Retrofitting homes would reduce bills, make homes safer and improve people’s quality of life. It would also create new jobs in every part of the country, helping build the green economy we so desperately need.

The Climate Change Committee has found that people accept the need to make changes to their homes, but they need well-designed policies to help them to act. The biggest barrier for many will be the up-front cost. The Government have funding to retrofit the homes of people on low incomes, and that is available through the social housing decarbonisation fund and the sustainable warmth fund, but the amount on offer just is not enough, particularly given the rising labour and material costs. In fact, last year, the number of Government-funded energy efficiency measures installed in UK homes dropped by half, year on year. It is now a shocking 97% below 2012 levels.

If the Government had not cut energy efficiency support in 2013, just imagine how many more people might have spent last winter in a comfortable home and how many fewer families would have had to choose between heating and eating. Short-sighted Tory cuts have cost us a decade in a fight we cannot afford to lose. We need long-term consistent funding and a clear road map of how the decarbonisation of housing will be achieved. Local authorities are uniquely placed to understand the needs of their area and to target schemes where they can provide the most benefits. In Nottingham, against the odds, more than 4,000 homes have been retrofitted by the city council in the past decade. Just imagine what more could be achieved by councils across the country with long-term predictable funding for decarbonising homes. The amendment is calling for the Government to undertake an assessment of the benefits of providing this funding to local authorities. I hope the House will invest in our future by supporting new clause 35.

Craig Mackinlay Portrait Craig Mackinlay
- View Speech - Hansard - - - Excerpts

I suppose that the volume of my amendments probably speaks for itself, but I have a great interest in this Bill. I am aware of the limitation of time this afternoon, so I will keep my observations to the two areas that I think are fundamentally important.

I absolutely despise this Bill. I have been in this House for eight years, and I have rarely seen a Bill of such nature. It is 426 pages, and it has attracted 146 pages of amendments. That means it has a lot of interest, but I want to discuss two of the amendments that I have tabled.

First, amendment 50 relates to clause 152(4) and the hydrogen grid conversion trials. The clause seeks to amend the Gas Act 1986, and I am particularly concerned by subsection (4), which increases the rights and powers available to unknown new inspectors. It includes the

“power to enter premises in the trial location for the purpose of inspecting anything on the premises, or carrying out any tests on the premises, in preparation for or otherwise in connection with the trial.”

My amendment, which I tabled with others, would interpose at least a magistrate—a justice of the peace—in that proposal before we start entering people’s premises. We accept that in other energy matters. For example, to have a meter changed, it has to go through a magistrates court. I know that well, as I used to sit as one.

Clause 248 causes me the most gross concern. It is the reason that I hope an amendment can be accepted, although I know it was not selected by Mr Speaker. The clause is titled “Sanctions”, and I suppose it does what it says on the tin. Subsection (4) states: “Energy performance regulations”—which are unknown and may be put into place in this House in the future by statutory instrument—

“may provide for the imposition of civil penalties by enforcement authorities”

for a penalty of up to £15,000 for not complying with those regulations. Were that not bad enough, all in this House should sit up and take notice of subsection (3) —I know it is a big Bill. It states that energy performance regulations, which are as yet unknown, but are available to be put on the statute book in the future by statutory instrument,

“may provide for the creation of criminal offences”

in relation to various cases, with imprisonment for a term of up to 12 months.

I do not know about other Members in the House, but I rather like “The Shawshank Redemption”. It is a great film. I can imagine the old lags in the future having a chat about why they are in prison. One might say, “I’ve done benefit fraud—£50,000-worth—and I got six months.” Another might say, “I had dangerous driving causing an injury—8 months.” The businessman talking to them will say, “I had a very good business with 20 people working for me in a factory. They have all been put out of work. My business has closed and my family are on the street.” The others will say, “What on earth did you do, sir?” and he will say, “I infringed an energy performance certificate, and I got 12 months.”

Sammy Wilson Portrait Sammy Wilson
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

Does the hon. Member agree that that could be for something as simple as renting out premises without having shown the EPC for them? It is a ridiculous situation.

Craig Mackinlay Portrait Craig Mackinlay
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My right hon. Friend has it exactly right. Hence I feel that when we in this place are creating criminal penalties that could put our fellow citizens in prison for 12 months for an unknown offence of the future relating to net zero, we have a duty to discuss them properly. This must be the first time we are potentially criminalising people in this country for not adhering to the new code of net zero. We should not be doing it lightly. We should be doing it carefully and with consideration. It should not be done by statutory instrument.

John Redwood Portrait John Redwood
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I thank my hon. Friend for highlighting this issue to all in the House. I hope that the Government will take urgent action to get rid of it, because it is completely unacceptable. It also shows how little time we have to discuss fundamental issues.

Craig Mackinlay Portrait Craig Mackinlay
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My right hon. Friend has put his finger exactly on the pulse. This is a substantial Bill. I say to the Minister that I hope the Government will strip out criminal penalties for not adhering to unknown net zero certification, EPCs and all the rest of it in the future for something as simple as not complying with some of these net zero regulations. This is really serious. I hope that when the Bill returns to the other end of the Palace, consideration can be given to strip out such proposals.

I could have gone on at huge length this afternoon. I tabled many amendments because these are overweening powers trying to push and nudge us and to ban things. All I can imagine is that the Chinese embassy will be looking at the Bill with great enthusiasm, as it will drive even more of our high-energy businesses offshore. China will be pleased that it will be able to sell us more solar panels and wind turbines based on its steel, produced on the back of very cheap coal power. That is what we are doing here: driving our high-energy businesses offshore. This is not a recipe for energy security; this is a recipe for energy disaster.

I could talk at length about what is wrong with the net zero proposals banning cars, banning oil boilers, banning this and banning that. That is not what we do as Conservatives. We actually allow freedoms. We allow the market to decide. The Bill goes in the wrong direction.

Caroline Lucas Portrait Caroline Lucas
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There are some elements of the Bill to commend, not least the net zero duty on Ofgem, but overall it fails to deliver the scale of ambition we need or to set out a vision of an energy system free not just from Putin’s influence but from expensive and polluting oil and gas in their entirety. My amendments would address that failing.

New clause 29 would prohibit the approval of new oil and gas field developments and the issuing of new oil and gas exploration and production licences. I am sure that the Minister will seek to paint the new clause as somehow incredibly radical and the policy of Just Stop Oil, pretending that it would recklessly turn off the taps tomorrow. He will no doubt trot out the same tired lines about a quarter of the UK’s energy continuing to come from oil and gas in 2050. In reality, the new clause is far from radical. It would simply do what the science tells us is necessary if we are to secure a liveable future for ourselves and our children and rule out any new oil and gas licences. In doing so, it would follow the advice of experts including the Climate Change Committee, which in its latest report was clear:

“Expansion of fossil fuel production is not in line with Net Zero.”

It acknowledges that while the UK will continue to need some oil and gas until the target is met,

“this does not in itself justify the development of…North Sea fields.”

Yet rather than heeding that warning, just one month later we had the former Secretary of State vowing to max out the North sea’s remaining oil and gas reserves. The Government re-announced 100 new licences and it was not ruling out the prospect of Rosebank.

However hard they try to obfuscate and evade, Ministers cannot deny the fact that, without additional abatement, the projected CO2 emissions from existing fossil fuel infrastructure would already exceed the remaining carbon budget for a safe climate. Any oil and gas extracted from the North sea belongs not to us but to multinational companies, which will sell it to the highest bidder on the global market. The majority of fossil fuel projects in the pipeline are for oil, not gas, and will do nothing to boost energy security, given we currently export 80% of the oil that we extract.

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New clause 30, which tackles head-on the frankly obscene duty to maximise the economic recovery of petroleum from the North sea, is an amendment that I would like to press to a vote. It is a legal requirement for companies to pump every last drop of oil and gas while the world around them burns. In the time of climate emergency, that duty has no place on our statute books. The clause would define a new principal objective under the Petroleum Act 1998 that responds to the escalating climate crisis, but which also supports a new positive vision for the North sea. Although it would require the phasing down of petroleum in line with the UK’s climate targets, it would also facilitate a just transition for oil and gas workers and communities and, crucially, would require them to be consulted in the process.
I turn to renewables. New clause 31 would require the installation of solar panels on the roofs of all new homes and, crucially, require all new housing developments to be planned to maximise solar gain, thereby unleashing a rooftop revolution to put power into the hands of households.
In the remaining time, let me quickly underline new clause 33, which would require the Secretary of State to publish an energy demand reduction delivery plan. The Bill before us focuses almost exclusively on supply, yet demand reduction is essential for our energy security and the transition beyond fossil fuels. The more energy we use, the harder and more expensive it becomes to decarbonise our supply. That is why I am very happy to support the amendments tabled by the hon. Member for Nottingham East (Nadia Whittome), who made a strong and impassioned speech in favour of energy efficiency and making sure that we can keep people warm in their homes. I also support the Scottish National party’s statements on nuclear power, with which I wholeheartedly agree.
Chris Skidmore Portrait Chris Skidmore (Kingswood) (Con)
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I draw the House’s attention to my entry in the Register of Members’ Financial Interests.

The rest of the world has woken up to the reality that the energy transition is here to stay. Investment in fossil fuels is reducing at such a rate that, while 10 years ago capital investment in oil was six times that of solar power, this year for the first time solar received more investment than oil. Last year, UK renewable power generated more electricity than fossil fuels. The cost of those technologies fell faster than ever predicted, with electricity production from renewables nine times cheaper than from gas.

Markets and investors across the world recognise that net zero is the future. Today we can only help or hinder that future, but we cannot stop it. The energy transition is an economic reality that, as legislators, we can either speed up, ensuring that the UK benefits from the economic opportunities and investments that can be ours if we so choose, or we can slow it down. To do so—to delay and hinder the transition—would merely cause the UK catastrophic economic self-harm. Investments will go elsewhere. Companies will locate elsewhere. Jobs will be created not here, but elsewhere.

As legislators, this is the choice we face: net zero and our economic future, or not zero with increasing costs and a loss of growth that will never come this way again. For that reason, I support the Bill, which seeks to maintain progress in the energy transition. However, we can and should go further. Yes, we must expand our use of renewable and clean energy, but the reality is that the UK should commit to phasing out fossil fuels. We do not need new oil and gas fields, which will only become stranded assets far sooner than we think. We do not need new oil and gas exploration licences for fossil fuels that are not ours to keep—as the hon. Member for Brighton, Pavilion (Caroline Lucas) made clear—but are sold on international markets and are rapidly losing market share and demand.

The truth is that, if we are truly serious about tackling climate change and delivering a green industrial revolution in the UK, focusing our finite investments, workforce and time on the energy transition, there is no place for new oil and gas fields or new coalmines. None of my amendments can be considered radical. Legislating to prevent the opening of new companies simply maintains a commitment that the UK sought to make to the rest of the world at COP26. Legislation to remove coal-fired electricity production from the grid simply puts into law a commitment that the Government have made to the ending of coal-fired generation by the end of 2024. Legislating to leave the energy charter treaty, which penalises nations for not maintaining investments in fossil fuels, simply ensures the UK follows the rest of Europe in doing so. Legislating to ban gas flaring and venting by 2025, which is responsible for methane emissions that are 54 times more powerful than carbon dioxide, simply brings forward a commitment from 2030, and is something that Norway has had in place since 1971. And legislating to establish an independent body to advise on when to end new oil and gas licensing in the UK seeks to depoliticise an issue on which we need to find a responsible consensus that can be supported cross-party, for it is too important to seek to divide and play politics with.

Tonight, in that spirit of cross-party collaboration and knowing that this is too important to get wrong or to fall short, I too am willing to back any amendments that I believe will deliver the energy transition more effectively. I hope all Members across this House will consider doing the same.

Clive Lewis Portrait Clive Lewis (Norwich South) (Lab)
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I would like to speak briefly to new clause 36, tabled in my name. New clause 36 asks—no, implores—this House to consider a national energy guarantee, which is also known as a rising block tariff combined with a social tariff. It is a system of energy pricing that shows that social and environmental goals can be advanced together. It really does embody a green new deal in action.

There are some in this House who claim that tackling the cost of living crisis and the climate crisis is a zero-sum game; that we can only do one or the other. The amendment blows a hole right through that falsehood. The reality of the current system in use by the Government is that too many people—millions of them and growing—are falling into fuel poverty. It is a system that simply is not fit for purpose. Let us be clear. Higher energy prices are not a blip. They are here to stay. Research from Cornwall Insight shows that energy prices will remain

“significantly above the five year pre-2021 historic average”

until at least the end of the decade. Even though Ofgem’s price cap will come down in October, the average bill will still be nearly double what it was in 2021, before prices soared. Millions of households will pay more this winter, given the Government’s energy assistance schemes have ended for most.

Up and down the UK, energy debt is soaring. Citizens Advice reports that nearly 8 million people borrowed to pay their bills in the first six months of this year. A quarter of people say that their energy bill is the cost they are most worried about. In my own city of Norwich, the rate of reporting fuel debts has increased by a staggering 300%. Yet by subsidising the unit price, the Government’s energy price guarantee disproportionately benefited well-off households and did nothing to incentivise energy demand reduction and decarbonisation.

The national energy guarantee will ensure that everyone can afford the essential energy they need, while cutting carbon. Here is how it works. Everyone gets a free energy allowance that covers 50% of essential needs. Households with higher needs, such as those with children or disabled residents, would get a larger allowance. The next 50% of energy used is charged at a reduced rate, matched to 2021 prices. Beyond that, a carbon-busting premium tariff kicks in. The result is that around 80% of us will have lower bills, while wealthier high-energy users will pay more but can reduce their bills by installing energy-saving measures such as insulation.

In one fell swoop, we will have protected essential energy needs, reduced bills and incentivised a ramping up of decarbonisation of our housing sector—crucial if we are to meet our net zero commitments. I urge and implore the House to support new clause 36.

David Duguid Portrait David Duguid
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In the interests of time, I will limit my remarks to carbon capture and storage, and the impact of offshore wind on other commercial activities at sea, specifically fishing. If I have time at the end, I will talk about hydrogen and maybe even the future of oil and gas.

I welcome the announcement on 31 July by the Prime Minister in my constituency confirming the Acorn CCS and hydrogen project; that will mean that four CCUS clusters will be operational by the end of the decade. The Scottish cluster is particularly crucial for my constituency of Banff and Buchan, as well as the whole of Scotland, not just for the estimated 21,000 jobs the project is predicted to support but to enable the construction of a new CCS power station at Peterhead. That power station will replace the existing one, which is currently the only dispatchable thermal power station north of Leeds. It will be critical is providing stable baseload in support of intermittent renewable sources of energy, and will do so in a way that is 95% emission-free.

Again in the interests of time, I am not going to speak about every single amendment that I tabled, but I hope the Minister will bear with me and perhaps respond to the following questions. In respect of clause 2, which deals with licensable activities and their prohibition, can he clarify whether, or why, an economic licence would be required specifically over and above the geological storage licence that would be granted under the existing regulatory regime, namely the Storage of Carbon Dioxide (Licensing etc.) Regulations 2010? Will private operators be able to develop merchant models in competitive transport and/or storage markets in the longer term?

As the Minister will know, the UK has about a third of Europe’s entire offshore carbon dioxide storage potential undersea, roughly equal to that of all the other EU states combined. Only Norway has slightly more than the UK in the North sea. This enormous potential to offer CO2 storage services to European and other countries presents an opportunity for the UK to become a global leader in CCUS, and accelerate the global efforts to prevent CO2 emissions. How will cross-border transport and geological storage of carbon dioxide be enabled to develop in time, without having to rely on the granting of exemptions to allow private networks to develop? Can the Minister also confirm that it will be possible to facilitate transportation by ship, and any other means of transport other than pipeline, through regulation, and that that is covered adequately by clause 128(1)(a)? I see him nodding.

Finally, may I raise the subject of offshore wind? The fishing industry understands that energy security matters, and that offshore wind has an important part to play in the overall energy mix, but food security matters too. The Minister will be aware of studies which have shown that up to half our seas could be lost to fishing owing to other activities, including offshore wind. Academic studies carried out by Heriot-Watt University, among others, have shown the impact that electromagnetic fields from subsea cables have had on the migration, growth and development—including abnormalities—of crabs and lobsters. The Energy Bill already makes provision for the principle of a levy to address the environmental impact of these new wind farms, which is absolutely right and proper, so what consideration—including engagement with devolved Administrations, as required—has been given, or could be given, to the businesses, industries and coastal communities that will inevitably be impacted by offshore wind operations?

Last month, the think-tank Onward published a compelling paper arguing for statutory payments, from developers, to be made to communities where—if and when—onshore wind was developed. If that principle is fair, payments for actual loss of earnings to other marine business from offshore developments are even more compelling as a principle. I am aware of the various voluntary codes and guidance that are available, but they have so far proved to be insufficient. If the Minister is unable to respond to that last question today, will he agree to meet me, and representatives from the fishing industry, to discuss how best to embed a fair and equitable principle in Government action, that would come at no cost to His Majesty’s Treasury?

Wera Hobhouse Portrait Wera Hobhouse (Bath) (LD)
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The UK has a responsibility to deliver an effective net zero strategy. This Energy Bill provided a chance to ensure that the Government’s own climate commitments could be met. Some parts of the Bill are welcome, but as it stands, it presents us with many missed opportunities. The Liberal Democrats fully support the establishment of the independent systems operator, and I am pleased that the Government have finally listened and given Ofgem a net zero duty. However, I am disappointed that the Government removed sensible amendments in Committee, such as the amendment to ban new coalmines, and I strongly support new clause 2.

Let me now focus on the Liberal Democrats’ new clauses 11, 12, 15, 24 and 28. The aim of new clause 28 is to ban fracking permanently. Fracked fuel is a fossil fuel; it hardens our reliance on expensive gas, and it flies in the face of our net zero commitments. The Government’s own experts have said that the seismic activity caused by hydraulic fracking is not safe. It is incomprehensible that the Government ever considered lifting the ban, and it caused huge anxiety among communities across the country. That must never happen again.

Last year, Shell forcibly installed prepayment meters in more than 4,000 homes, while making £32 billion in profits. Those on prepayment meters typically spent about £130 a year more than direct debit customers. Why are so many vulnerable people forced into this? The Government must support my new clause 15 to prohibit the installation of new prepayment meters unless consumers explicitly request them.



Solar is one of the cheapest forms of energy, and again it is incomprehensible that this Government do not give it the support that it deserves. The Climate Change Committee says that UK solar power deployment is significantly behind the Government’s target of 70 GW by 2035. The smart export guarantee should incentivise households to invest in solar panels by allowing them to sell the excess electricity produced back to the grid. However, under the current system it will take householders decades to break even and this will not incentivise solar investment. Our Liberal Democrat new clause 11 aims to enhance the reward under the smart export guarantee.

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Renewable energy production must benefit the communities where it is based. Community energy projects have the potential to power 2.2 million homes and save 2.5 million tonnes of CO2 every year. However, the barriers to becoming a licensed supplier mean that community energy projects currently cannot sell directly to local customers. The amendment to establish local energy supply agreed in the other place would have rectified this. Why did the Government remove that important amendment?
On my last amendment, we need to reduce more than just carbon emissions to fight global warming. Methane has 80 times the warming effect of CO2 and accounts for 13% of global greenhouse gas emissions. The UK signed the global pledge to cut methane levels by 30% but the Government have shown little interest in meeting this. Flaring happens during oil and gas extraction when methane and other hydrocarbons are burned. Venting is the release of uncombusted methane and other hydrocarbons. The International Energy Agency says that UK oil and gas operators could reduce methane emissions by 72% through tackling flaring, venting and leaking.
New clause 12 would prohibit the flaring and venting of methane by oil and gas installations. It would require monthly leak detection and repair inspections to reduce fugitive methane emissions; a measurement, reporting and verification process to quantify methane emissions; and all equipment to be updated to alternative zero or low-emission and low-maintenance versions. My new clause has cross-party support. I thank all Members who have supported it and the Clean Air Task Force for helping to develop it, and I urge all Members of the House to support it.
Richard Drax Portrait Richard Drax (South Dorset) (Con)
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In the short time I have, may I introduce a slight note of caution? I was impressed by the almost Tiggerish performance by the Minister—he is very persuasive on this Bill—but what concerns me is what is guiding Government policy and, dare I say it, the policy of many in this House. The Climate Change Act 2008, and the further legislation in 2019 when our Government increased the cut in carbon emissions to 100% by 2050, introduced targets that in my humble opinion were not really thought through. The practical consequences have not been thought through, and they are becoming more and more evident today as we discuss these difficult issues.

Do not let me mislead people in the House. I, like everyone here, want to break away from fossil fuel and have cleaner air. The green revolution is coming, as my right hon. Friend the Member for Kingswood (Chris Skidmore) said, but we have to be careful not to bring it in so quickly that it is not available, it is not affordable and, when the sun does not shine and the wind does not blow, it does not work. Strategically, we are an island nation and we have to keep the lights on. Our duty as MPs is to say to our constituents, “I can guarantee that when you go to your light switch or to make a cup of tea or cook a meal, the power will be there to do all that, and to drive your car from A to B.”

At the moment there is a great drive for electric cars, but they are expensive and the plug-in points and investment are nowhere near ready for that revolution. There are also many questions about where the batteries and the resources for them will come from. We have already heard from my hon. Friend the Member for Rutland and Melton (Alicia Kearns) about the slave labour that applies to many parts of the battery industry.

We are now on our fourth carbon budget—I do not know whether people know that—running from 2023 to 2027, and the Government are being guided by that. The Climate Change Committee advises on the carbon budget, and the Government can be legally challenged once it is in place. The budget is set for five years, so the question now is: what about our democracy? In my humble opinion, we are debating these crucial issues for probably the first time. It was pushed through in 2008 and 2018, and we are now facing the consequences of those decisions. If we have to fall back on the courts to decide on the policies we make in this place, we can recall the anxiety and grief that that caused on the Brexit issue. In my view, that is completely unacceptable.

There are three consequences: in 18 months’ time, no new house will be fitted with a gas boiler; in seven years’ time, petrol cars will be illegal; and in 12 years’ time, people will not be able to replace their boiler like for like.

Ian Paisley Portrait Ian Paisley
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Is it not the case that, after car batteries expire, most of them end up in landfill? This is another significant problem we need to take stock of when these issues are considered.

Richard Drax Portrait Richard Drax
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It is. I have read many articles, not least by Mr Bean who, as we know, is a car expert. He wrote a very good article in The Guardian about why we are not quite ready for battery cars. If my wife or daughter is travelling from A to B, I want her to get there safely, as she can in a petrol or diesel car, without having to wait in a petrol section for some minutes to recharge her car, which then takes half an hour or so.

Our actions have consequences, and I urge the Government to think this through very carefully. We cannot impoverish our country to meet what I would call, in some cases, an almost cultish policy to turn this country into something we cannot afford. When we can afford it, and when it works, that is when we should adopt all these policies. I urge caution as the Government go forward.

Olivia Blake Portrait Olivia Blake (Sheffield, Hallam) (Lab)
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I declare an interest, as my husband is the company secretary of Sheffield Renewables, a community benefit society that funds, develops, owns and operates renewable energy systems in Sheffield.

I rise to speak in support of a number of amendments that would be vital additions to the Bill. It was a pleasure to sit on the Public Bill Committee to debate, at great length, many of the issues that have been raised today. I still feel the Bill is missing its intended purpose, as the Government put it, to

“deliver a cleaner, more affordable and more secure energy system for the long term.”

We are in a climate and nature emergency, and we are now seeing its effects. We are also facing the worst cost of living crisis in decades. Although I am pleased the Minister has listened to Members on both sides of the House on the hydrogen levy, there is still a lot more to do.

The Bill could have been our opportunity to tackle these issues head on, transitioning away from climate-wrecking fossil fuels while making energy affordable for everyone. Sadly, in its current form, it fails on those fronts. First and foremost, the Bill will fail to make energy more affordable for my constituents. National Energy Action has warned that 6.3 million households could be trapped in fuel poverty this winter, and by 2024 some households will face spending up to a quarter of their income on energy bills.

We need to overhaul our broken energy pricing system, not have more tinkering around the edges. I am proud to support new clause 36, tabled by my hon. Friend the Member for Norwich South (Clive Lewis), which would introduce a national energy guarantee. This idea needs to be considered, as we need to make sure that the burden of the transition does not fall on those who are least able to meet it.

Secondly and shockingly, the Bill fails to deliver any energy efficiency measures. There is nothing about how we will achieve the targets that have been set. The latest CCC report is clear that the Government need to rapidly scale up and accelerate energy efficiency to stand any hope of meeting legally binding decarbonisation targets. Obviously, the greenest energy is energy that is not used, and the more we can do to reduce the need for energy in poor-quality housing the better.

New clauses 33 and 35 aim to correct the current position by making it a legal requirement for the Government to produce an energy demand reduction plan and providing local authorities with funding for the decarbonisation of homes. I thank the hon. Member for Brighton, Pavilion (Caroline Lucas) and my hon. Friend the Member for Nottingham East (Nadia Whittome) for tabling those new clauses, and I urge the Government to support them.

Finally, the Bill fails to decarbonise at speed and scale. Again, the latest CCC report could not be clearer:

“Expansion of fossil fuel production is not in line with Net Zero”.

New clauses 2 and 29 would prohibit coalmines and new oil and gas respectively. New clause 30 would phase down UK petroleum, and new clause 59 would decarbonise electricity supply by 2030. They could and should have been central pillars of the Bill. They are about how we can transform our energy system and meet Labour’s ambitious plans to be a green energy superpower by 2030. However, the Government have removed many new clauses that were won in the Lords—for example, the one on banning new coalmines—and Ministers are refusing to support any such measures today. Instead, they waited until MPs went home over the summer to give the green light to hundreds of new North sea oil and gas licences, without proper scrutiny, in a damning indictment of this Government’s record on climate action. Those are not the only amendments that would help to raise the ambition in this Bill that the Government have removed.

Finally, I wish to mention the importance of new clause 7. The treaty that has been outlined is holding us back and we need to be on the front foot with this. I hope that Ministers will reconsider whether or not we should be part of this treaty in the future.

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Dame Andrea Leadsom (South Northamptonshire) (Con)
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This is a great Bill and I congratulate the Government as it takes us a huge step forward. Back in 2015, when I believe the hon. Member for Southampton, Test (Dr Whitehead) was the shadow Energy Minister, I was Energy Minister and we announced we were taking coal off the system by 2025. I recall that at that time the whole world was up in arms, saying, “Oh no, the lights will go out. This will never happen.” Yet by 2020 coal was almost off the system and today there is hardly ever any use of coal. That demonstrates what can happen when a Government set a direction of travel, put the funding behind it and let businesses and investors get on with it. It is a huge accolade for a Conservative Government, who then stand aside and let private investment come in. It is time that we committed ourselves to building new nuclear baseload, as that is vital. We can be proud of our achievements on offshore wind and the commitment now to carbon capture, usage and storage—that has been too long in coming but I am pleased to see it.

Time is tight, but I wish to refer to my new clause 60, which calls for a specific problem to be tackled in a specific way. We all have major concerns in our constituencies, where communities do not wish to see huge electricity pylons, great big wind turbines and great big industrial sites related to energy in their area. Yet we know that we need new onshore wind, lots of solar and lots of electricity pylons. My new clause proposes to make it much easier to build the 600 km of new electricity cabling and pylons that we need by 2030 to meet our power decarbonisation targets alongside major road and rail routes. As things stand, communities understandably object to these huge pieces of kit going through their areas, and then these things get delayed and delayed. In the past eight or so years, we have built only about 30 km of new pylons but we need about 600 km by 2030. We need to get our skates on. The Government can help by making it much easier for planning—

Jonathan Edwards Portrait Jonathan Edwards (Carmarthen East and Dinefwr) (Ind)
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I completely agree with the point the right hon. Lady is making. Does she agree that Governments across the UK—transmission infrastructure is a matter where the Welsh Government have competence—should be looking at cable ploughing technology as a way forward? It enables “undergrounding” at a far cheaper cost and in a far more environmental way than traditional undergrounding.

Andrea Leadsom Portrait Dame Andrea Leadsom
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I have a lot of sympathy with what the hon. Gentleman says, but he will know that over their lifetime it costs over five times as much to put cables underground as overground. While I agree that burying them is better in sensitive areas, that will not offer the faster and cheaper solution that overground cables, alongside major roads and rail tracks, would offer.

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Finally, we have an opportunity now to lean in to providing the decarbonisation that people want and need to see, and to keeping the lights on while keeping bills down. If we think smartly, go with the grain of what communities want—including what is set out in the excellent new clause 48, tabled by my hon. Friend the Member for Rutland and Melton (Alicia Kearns), which proposes that we stop building huge solar farms on agricultural land and put them on brownfield and less sensitive sites instead—put power infrastructure in less environmentally sensitive areas and help communities to earn some money from onshore wind farms that they support in their areas, then we will be truly keeping the lights on, keeping bills down and, vitally, decarbonising, as we have committed to do.
Tonia Antoniazzi Portrait Tonia Antoniazzi (Gower) (Lab)
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We all want to cut emissions and tackle climate change, but people continue to suffer from the cost of living crisis. It is important that the cost of transitioning to lower carbon alternatives is not left to individuals to shoulder on their own.

The Government propose phasing out the use of high-carbon fossil fuel heating from the gas grid by banning the installation of new gas-fuelled boilers from 2026, and they advocate the alternative of heat pumps. While heat pumps have an important role to play in the decarbonisation of home heating, a heat pump only approach risks unfairly burdening off-grid rural homeowners with expensive installation costs. My constituents are rightly concerned at the prospect of being made to install very costly alternative heating systems that are not fit for purpose.

Some 11 million people live in rural areas across the UK, with 15% in off-grid homes. The cost of installing a low-carbon heat pump is around four times more expensive than a replacement boiler. What is more, while a heat pump can technically be installed in all homes across the UK, and it should be in new build housing, in certain property types, such as those in rural and coastal communities like Gower, they will not run efficiently and risk increasing energy bills to unnecessarily high levels for homeowners, above those they currently pay. In some cases, that could increase the overall cost of installation to £25,000, according to the Government’s own calculator.

I welcome the fact that the Government are consulting on increasing the grants available for heat pumps in certain homes, as announced last week. However, for some, those increased grants will not go far enough in making the cost of heat pump installation workable. My constituents in Gower, many of whom are off-grid homeowners, want to play their part in reducing emissions. In fact, the majority of people who came to my summer surgeries, while concerned about the cost, wanted to do their bit to reduce carbon emissions.

As has been said in the Chamber today, renewable liquid fuels, such as renewable diesel made from hydrotreated vegetable oil, offer a cheaper alternative. They can reduce net carbon dioxide greenhouse gas emissions from source to end user by up to 90%. At a small cost, existing off-grid boilers can be modified to run renewable liquid fuels, such as HVO, saving the homeowner the extortionate cost of a heat pump replacement.

However, renewable liquid fuels are more expensive than their high-carbon competitor, kerosene. In order to aid swift uptake, the Energy Bill must enable the use of renewable liquid fuels, as well as introducing measures to explore reducing their cost and making them more accessible, such as a renewable liquid heating fuel obligation, mirroring what already exists in transport and aviation. That would help my constituents transition to lower-carbon alternatives and incentivise faster and wider transition, more broadly, among off-grid households. There is some consensus across the House on those measures. An effective transition to cleaner energy must ensure that rural off-grid communities, such as mine in Gower, are not left with an expensive cost burden as we transition to net zero.

To conclude, in light of the consultation on renewable liquid fuels, the Government must review their oil boiler ban. The Minister must ensure that the consultation is expedited so that all our off-grid constituents can benefit before he leaves Government.

John Redwood Portrait John Redwood
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The wish to carry through a great electrical revolution will require a lot of good will from the British people. My worry about this legislation is that it may antagonise them by being unduly restrictive, particularly with the threat of civil and even criminal penalties on some of their conduct. We need to persuade people that the green products will be cheaper, better, more acceptable and make a more general contribution, and not try to bamboozle them. I hope that there will be an opportunity to vote on the amendments tabled by my hon. Friend the Member for South Thanet (Craig Mackinlay) to get rid of the threat of criminal and civil penalties over the issue of a proper transition.

For things to take off, the products—the heat pumps and the electric cars—will have to be much more popular. More people will have to believe in their specifications and adequacy, and they will have to be more affordable. I, for example, would be very happy to have a heat pump to heat my rather small London flat, but I am told that there is not one available because I am not allowed to adorn the outside of the block of flats with any of the things that a person would need to make a heat pump system work. There must be practical solutions to these problems. We cannot force the pace by legislation; the markets and the investment have to catch up.

My second worry about this legislation is that energy policy has to achieve three things at the same time. Yes, we have to take considerable environmental issues into account, but we also need affordable energy and we need available energy. In recent years, all main parties have put so much emphasis in their policy making on the environmental that we are missing the obvious, which is that we are no longer guaranteeing security of supply. We cannot guarantee security of supply if we are mainly relying on wind farms. We cannot rely on solar on a dark winter evening when people want to cook their meal and turn the heating up, because there is no solar. We have to look at the relative costs. The unit cost of energy generated by a wind farm that is already built is very cheap on one costing system, but if we have a gas turbine system that is non-operational for most of the time, only kicking in occasionally when the wind does not blow, that is part of the cost of the delivery of the wind power and it is a far more expensive way of running gas turbines than if we use them all the time.

Craig Mackinlay Portrait Craig Mackinlay
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My right hon. Friend is making an excellent point about the extra energy provision that we need to make renewables work. Has he considered the true environmental cost of the batteries, the digging up of cobalt by children in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the smelting and all the rest of it? That is the real cost of relying on renewables, and we hear very little about the real cost of the batteries.

John Redwood Portrait John Redwood
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I am greatly in favour of doing proper, whole-life carbon accounting, taking into account all the CO2 generated by making the green product—its lifetime use, on which it may be better, and its disposal, on which it may be worse. It is certainly the case that if we acquire an electric vehicle that has generated a lot of CO2 in its production and then we do not drive it very much, we will have not a CO2 gain but a CO2 loss, so there must be realistic carbon accounting. We also should not fall nationally for the fallacy that is built into the international system. For example, we could say that we have brought our CO2 down because we are importing things, but that actually generates a lot more CO2 than had we done it for ourselves.

This is the essence of the argument about our own gas. If we get more of our own gas down a pipe, it produces a fraction of the CO2 for the total process than if we import liquefied natural gas having had to use a lot of energy compressing and liquefying the gas, a lot of energy switching it back, and a lot of energy on long-distance sea transport. Therefore, we must be realistic in the CO2 accounting.

Finally, I do not think that the Bill is giving us much guidance. For example, if the electrical revolution does take off, because the really popular products arrive and people find them affordable, how will they get the power delivered to their homes? We are already told that many wind farms cannot be started or cannot be connected to the grid any time soon. There needs to be a massive expansion of green capacity and a big digging-up of roads and re-cabling of Britain. If my constituents are all to adopt an electric car and a heat pump, we need a massive expansion both of electricity generation and of grid capacity. I do not see that happening at the moment. There need to be market reactions and proper investment plans, and this legislation is not helping.

I fear that this Bill adds to the costs. It adds targets that could turn out to be unrealistic and that could be self-defeating, because quite often the actions taken to abate CO2 end up generating more CO2 at the world level and mean that we have exported an awful lot of crucial business that we would be better off doing here.

Nigel Evans Portrait Mr Deputy Speaker (Mr Nigel Evans)
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We are going to a three-minute limit immediately. The wind-ups will start at 5.50 pm and then there will be multiple votes from 6 pm onwards. I am afraid some people may not get in.

Ian Paisley Portrait Ian Paisley
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Thank you for calling me in this debate, Mr Deputy Speaker. It has not been all jolly hockey sticks, despite the fact that this Bill has taken up quite a considerable amount of the House’s time over the last number of years and Sessions.

Northern Ireland has more than 60%, maybe approaching 70%, of its houses heated by solid fuel. As a representative of a constituency with a vast rural section that relies on coal and heating oil, I cannot put my name to something that will say to my constituents, “I don’t know what this is going to cost you, but this decision will actually inflict a higher cost on you when there is a suitable and available product there that you can use to heat your home or to drive your car.” That presses heavily on me, and it has pressed heavily, I notice, on some other Members across the House, because there are significant cost implications in going down the proposed route.

Northern Ireland is not behind in making change. It is actually front and centre in the hydrogen revolution. It has been making hydrogen products and will be part of the hydrogen hub and the most significant hydrogen manufacturer in the entire island of Ireland. I listened carefully to the points made from the Government Front Bench about the hydro levy, and it will be interesting to see how that follows through.

I was delighted by the comments made by the right hon. Member for Camborne and Redruth (George Eustice). I know he was not trying to hang anyone out to dry today, but it was important that we got from the Minister a clear indication of what is happening, not just in Northern Ireland, with regard to liquid renewables. It is important that the Government must support a variety of heating technologies to give the UK the best chance of hitting the 2050 carbon reduction target, if that is what they wish to do. They must reflect the diverse types of houses that people live in across the entirety of the United Kingdom and do something that is fundamentally fair to people. We cannot inflict this massive cost on people when we have an overreliance on solid fuels, especially in a country such as mine.

We heard some comments from the right hon. Member for Wokingham (John Redwood) on the issue of battery disposal. It concerns me considerably that whenever a battery car has finished its life cycle, the battery largely ends up in landfill. What benefit is that, when there are other technologies out there being explored, utilised and developed that could give us a much better and more user-friendly experience?

A ban on new replacement fossil fuel appliances in homes from 2026 will put a substantial cost on people. I also agree thoroughly with the points made about the disruption to many people and about heat pumps. This Bill needs to have even more thought given to it.

Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg (North East Somerset) (Con)
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In my point of order earlier I said that this was a 328-page Bill. That was what it was when it came from the House of Lords; it is now a 427-page Bill, which we are expected to debate in detail in three hours, on a day when we had two relatively lightweight statements. That really seems to me not the proper way to have scrutiny in this House. It does not allow this House to do its proper job of looking at the detail of legislation—it is as if we had abdicated it entirely to their lordships.

I have supported my hon. Friend the Member for South Thanet (Craig Mackinlay) in a number of amendments, every single one of which has basically the same aim: to ameliorate the burden this Bill will place on all our constituents. Throughout the Bill, we are creating cost, regulation, penalties and obligations. New clause 42 is there to say that the lowest possible cost should be at the forefront of the mind of the Government in everything that they do, irrespective of how the energy is generated. If that means fossil fuels, let it be fossil fuels. As my right hon. Friend the Member for Wokingham (John Redwood) said, we need to keep people with us, and we risk losing them if we put undue burdens on them.

17:30
What other burdens did we seek to take away? Well, the hydrogen levy, of course. I am all in favour of hydrogen; I think it could be the fuel of the future—I remember that when I was a child, coal was advertised as the fuel of the future. Hydrogen may have a better opportunity, but that cannot be done by levies and imposts, and I hope that what the Government have done will not be a power that they use to create a levy and an impost.
On entering people’s homes without a warrant, a warrant is not the protection that one would like it to be—we saw the scandal of warrants just being agreed by the courts willy-nilly to insist on the installation of prepayment meters—but at least a warrant is some protection. Let us protect our voters. Smart appliance regulations are the EU’s approach to regulating rather than the market approach. Surely we on the Conservative Benches believe in market forces determining how things should happen.
Our amendment 67 deals with a Henry VIII clause to try to stop legislation being changed by fiat. Most importantly, on amendment 66, can it possibly be right to criminalise people, and potentially put them in jail for a year, for muddling their energy efficiency certificate? No, it cannot, and we should not do it.
Alex Cunningham Portrait Alex Cunningham (Stockton North) (Lab)
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The issue of flaring and venting emissions highlighted in new clause 12 is an extremely important one. Any unplanned hydrocarbon releases must be done safely. I know the tremendous concerns of the trade unions, including the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers, and of the 49,000 offshore workers, about the Bill’s failure to address safety-critical maintenance work on oil and gas installations. I very much agree with the sentiments in the new clause and welcome the fact that flaring and venting emissions have been reduced, but according to industry body Offshore Energies UK, the average safety-critical maintenance backlog on UK offshore oil and gas installations increased by 50% during the pandemic. I hope that the Minister will reflect on that and perhaps meet the unions.

Turning to new clause 22, I see tremendous merit in and need for timely and cost-effective connections to the grid, and for an acceleration of the development of an offshore wind energy grid, both of which are critical for Teesside and the Teesworks site. Given the promise of many more jobs in the industry, connectivity to the electricity grid for the Teesworks site could not be more important. I would be obliged if the Minister updated me on power supplies, which I understand do not currently exist for the site, and on how he will use the new legislation to ensure that Teesside gets the power it needs.

The Government say that the purpose of new clause 52 is to give greater certainty to producers of sustainable aviation fuel. That is undoubtedly necessary, but I take issue with the long lead time. The new clause specifies that

“The Secretary of State must open the consultation within the period of 6 months”

and report to Parliament on progress

“within the period of 18 months”.

The industry needs certainty now. I know from talks that I have had with industrialists that the Government’s dilly-dallying is already impacting on investment decisions, and not in a positive way.

New clause 34 calls for a price stability mechanism to support the development of a UK sustainable aviation fuel industry. That is what those in the industry want, and they want it now. Alfanar is developing a £1.5 billion waste-to-sustainable aviation fuel facility on Teesside—the largest in the world and the most advanced in Europe. It also plans two more SAF plants in the UK, but—and this is a big but—it needs certainty from the UK Government that they are serious about the industry and will take the brakes off and get on with creating a business environment that will instil confidence.

I very much welcome new clause 56. It beggars belief that the existing linking of renewable and gas prices in the retail market has delivered billions’ worth of extra cash to energy companies while our hard-pressed constituents pick up the bill. I hope that Ministers will accept that that is unfair on consumers, and that the new clause will help them to correct that. I would have loved to have talked at length about carbon capture and storage, but suffice it to say that the Government should take on board the amendments tabled by others.

Chris Grayling Portrait Chris Grayling
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I have pushed my new clause 34 to a point where the Government have responded in a sensible way and started what I hope and believe will be a process. It was not for no reason that around 70 Members of Parliament signed that new clause; it was because of a recognition that this transition is going to happen in one of our most important industries, and it is going to happen around the world.

The migration to sustainable aviation fuel is vital as the world decarbonises, not only because it is an essential first step towards decarbonisation, but in the long term—not for short-haul flights, which I think will be powered by hydrogen; by the 2030s, we will start to see short-haul hydrogen planes in operation. However, there is no technological approach yet that will take us to Australia or North America using anything other than sustainable aviation fuel, so it is a vital industry for the future of this country.

There are investors out there waiting to invest in developing plants here, but they need the confidence to know that there is a Government committed to creating a framework that will enable that investment to take place and be sustained. One of the reasons I intervened on the Opposition spokesman, the hon. Member for Southampton, Test (Dr Whitehead), is that over the next 12 months, as we prepare for a general election, investors are looking for confidence on both sides of the House. It is not about a lack of confidence in our ability to win the next general election; it is about delivering confidence to investors right now.

That is why it is important that both the Government and the Labour party are committed to the development of sustainable aviation fuel in the United Kingdom. We want investors to be taking decisions about the deployment of their capital in this country now, preparing to invest and preparing for the end of the process that the Government have started through their new clauses, so that by 2026 they are ready to build plants, develop sustainable aviation fuel and provide an important part of the future of the aviation industry in this country.

I am grateful to the Minister for what he has done and the assurances he has given today, but I say to him and his colleagues in Government that I and others will be holding their feet to the fire in the next 12 months, to ensure that the consultation starts as quickly as possible and that the response to it comes as quickly as possible. By the time we get to the general election, I want there to be a clear route map forward for the development of SAF in this country that has given investors confidence, so that they know as we go into the election campaign that both sides will take this forward and that we have an industry that will be vital to the future of aviation in Britain, which is a crucial industry for all of us.

Alec Shelbrooke Portrait Alec Shelbrooke
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It has been a pleasure to speak on the Bill on Second Reading and in Committee, but I agree with my right hon. Friend the Member for North East Somerset (Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg) that it is a great pity we cannot have a long debate on Report or Third Reading, to expand on issues further.

One of the issues that I wanted to expand on is about some of the alternatives. We keep talking about electric vehicles moving down, but hydrogen combustion vehicles offer a real opportunity to move forward. We also talk about net zero, but this has now moved to zero-emission vehicles. That rules out hydrogen combustion, so again, we are going down a rabbit hole of just having electric vehicles, but an electric vehicle is not a zero-emission vehicle. If it was, the underground would have the cleanest air in London, and it does not, because there are a lot of particulates around it.

My hon. Friend the Member for Rutland and Melton (Alicia Kearns) makes it clear through new clause 47 that we have to look at the sources, and new clause 37 relates to where batteries go. We keep talking about the rare earth metals that are needed. Indeed, the hon. Member for Angus (Dave Doogan) talked about being able to maintain baseload by using various aspects of energy storage. We keep coming back to the need for rare earth metals and materials to enable that, and they come from areas of the world that we do not have an influence over. In the past 18 months, there has been a huge debate about the fact that we cannot be reliant on Russian energy, and yet few Members in today’s debate have recognised the fact that we are wholeheartedly moving towards becoming reliant on China to supply our energy needs.

This is a huge Bill. It is a fundamental Bill that we have brought forward as we look to the future, but it is far too big, with far too many aspects to it. It has become a bit of a hodgepodge, saying, “We want electric vehicles. We want electric heating in homes. We want to have arc blast furnaces rather than coal furnaces, so we will ban new coalmines.” I promise this House that if we move to just arc furnaces, we will destroy steel manufacturing in this country, because we do not have the ability now to produce the electricity that is needed. We are not going to switch off the lights in people’s homes before we switch off an arc furnace, and once it has been switched off, we cannot switch it back on.

That is the big mismatch in the Bill, which is why I regret that we will not have a Third Reading debate to discuss these issues on a slightly wider basis. The rush to renewables is happening quicker than the timeline for making sure we have enough turbines, as my right hon. Friend the Member for Wokingham (John Redwood) pointed out. My hon. Friend the Member for South Dorset (Richard Drax) made very important points as well. Although the aims are there, and I think we all want to follow those aims—not being reliant on foreign energy is highly important—at the moment there does not appear to be a connection between these things as they come online. As such, although the aims of the Bill are good, we have to make sure that we implement them over a consistent timeframe so that we take the public with us.

Caroline Johnson Portrait Dr Caroline Johnson (Sleaford and North Hykeham) (Con)
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The beautiful food-producing farmland in my constituency is a particular target for industrial-scale solar farms, often backed by prospectors who have no personal connection to our area. This raises huge concerns among my constituents about the scale of the projects and the lack of thorough consultation. With the imperative of food security on our minds, we must explore alternatives to covering vast expanses of our productive land with solar panels.

Many people do not appreciate the scale of the issue, so to illustrate the magnitude of this challenge, I will highlight one proposal for a solar farm in my constituency. It aims to engulf a staggering 587 hectares of land, just under half of which is grade 1 to grade 3A farmland—the very best and most versatile agricultural land, the best land for food production. In fact, almost 10,000 acres of my constituency are currently open to planning for solar farms. Those farms will dwarf villages such as Witham St Hughs, Thorpe on the Hill, Bassingham and Holdingham, and will almost encircle villages such as Scopwick, Digby and Ashby de la Launde.

I do not stand against solar panels in principle; I have previously spoken about the unexplored potential of utilising industrial roof spaces for them. However, I do not believe that covering our farmland in solar panels is the right thing to do, and I vehemently object to the lack of food security it could produce. I therefore support new clause 48, tabled by my hon. Friend the Member for Rutland and Melton (Alicia Kearns), which seeks to solve this injustice and put an end to these large-scale projects. Furthermore, I appreciate that that clause also encourages future developments on brownfield sites, which are far better suited to such endeavours. Let us work together to protect our precious farmland, maintain our food security, heed the concerns of our constituents, and chart a more sustainable path for our energy future.

I was also shocked to hear that more than 90% of solar panels may be made by, or have elements that come from, slave labour. As we discuss the slavery of the past, let us do all we can to prevent the slavery of the here and now. I therefore also support new clause 47, which should be pushed to a Division later.

Lincolnshire as a whole produces a vast amount of this country’s food, yet 22,500 acres—1.3% of its land area—are currently open to applications for solar panels. As such, I ask the Minister to answer two questions in his summing up. First, what will we eat when our best and most versatile farmland is covered by solar panels? Secondly, what is his assessment of the impact on the environment of growing energy from solar panels instead of food, then importing food from elsewhere?

Peter Aldous Portrait Peter Aldous (Waveney) (Con)
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The Bill has an important role to play in ensuring that we meet our 2050 net zero targets, enhancing our energy security and creating new jobs, particularly in coastal communities such as the constituency I represent. In driving forward the measures in the Bill, I urge the Government to have in mind the following parameters.

First, we need to pursue a strategic approach to the provision of infrastructure while maximising the leveraging-in of the enormous amount of much-needed private sector investment that will be required. Secondly, the Bill’s framework needs to be sufficiently flexible to allow all regions of the UK to play their full role in the transition. It has been estimated that by 2035, East Anglia’s renewable and low-carbon energy supply portfolio could power the equivalent of 90% of the UK’s homes. In our area, we need a recognition of the role we will play.

Finally, the Government need to rural-proof their policies, as articulated by my right hon. Friend the Member for Camborne and Redruth (George Eustice) and the hon. Member for Gower (Tonia Antoniazzi).

Community energy has an important contribution to make in boosting clean energy generation and in offering people the opportunity to benefit from agreeing to host new energy infrastructure. Therefore, the announcement of the new £10 million community energy fund is to be welcomed. However, it is important that the Government monitor very closely the fund’s impact and whether it is successful in unblocking more community-owned projects. If it is not, they need to bring forward further measures, such as the amendments that were proposed in the other place.

17:45
I also take note of the amendments that have been tabled highlighting the need to support vulnerable households and promoting a social tariff. Although this Bill may not be the right place for promoting these policies, that does not mean that the concerns raised are not valid and very real. The cost of living crisis is still with us. We are not out of the woods and I urge Ministers to liaise with their counterparts in the Treasury and the Department for Work and Pensions to ensure that appropriate support measures are in place.
It is not before time that we are considering this Bill. We need to get on with it, get it on the statute book as quickly as possible and then get on with the task of delivery.
Duncan Baker Portrait Duncan Baker (North Norfolk) (Con)
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I rise to support the principle of the Government lifting the ban on new onshore wind farms. I have every sympathy with new clause 43, but I want to bring some context as to why and mention the fact that public support on this topic has completely and utterly changed 180° in the last 10 or 15 years.

In 2009, which feels like a long time ago now, I was first elected as a local councillor and, in the very village I grew up in, one of the most controversial and contentious planning applications I have ever seen was put in front of us. It was for a 66-metre—you’ve guessed it—wind turbine; it was not a very big one, but it was to be built on the Cromer glacial ridge in North Norfolk. The backlash against that proposal was enormous, with 1,500—1,500—objections, genuine protests and councillors elected on the back of the stop the turbine campaign. The applicant went through three planning appeals, two High Court hearings and an application to the Court of Appeal. Finally, the planning inspector granted permission in February 2020, after over a decade of fighting. That turbine went up just a few months ago.

I am telling hon. Members this because the Mack family that went through that process for over a decade must have spent tens and tens of thousands of pounds, but now it has been built, public perception has changed and the complaints against it have been absolutely negligible. What that says, above all, is that people have now changed the general consensus on onshore wind. It has totally changed and, as parliamentarians, we should reflect public opinion. When the mood changes, we should change with it sometimes. People get it now: people get that that one turbine will power 700 homes in the local area. Of course, new applications must be designed to be sympathetic to the surrounding landscape, but people recognise that we need our own energy security, sustainable, clean and green forms of energy to decarbonise and an energy mix that will give us security as well.

Things have clearly changed, and I think this is a very sensible, pragmatic and low-cost way of the Government moving to give us more clean and green energy. That one single application I mentioned shows how public sentiment has changed, which is why I support the Bill today.

None Portrait Several hon. Members rose—
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Roger Gale Portrait Mr Deputy Speaker (Sir Roger Gale)
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Order. This will have to be the final two minutes from the Back Benches. I call Jerome Mayhew.

Jerome Mayhew Portrait Jerome Mayhew (Broadland) (Con)
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Thank you, Mr Deputy Speaker. I am just going to talk about one new clause, new clause 29, which I oppose. It seeks to prevent further licences of North sea oil and gas. The reason I oppose it is that we have a plan for the decarbonisation of our economy and it is policed, if I can put it that way, by the Committee on Climate Change. In the path to net zero by 2050, we recognise that we have a continuing need for oil and gas at least until 2035, when more than 50% of our energy needs will still come from fossil fuels, and actually up to 2050 included, because it is net zero, not absolute zero. We have to have oil and gas, so let’s get it from the most efficient and environmentally friendly source. The most environmentally friendly source is Norway, but that is not an unlimited resource; the CO2 equivalent per barrel of oil there is about 7 kg. The additional oil and gas we use comes not from Norway but from Qatar; it is liquid natural gas and the CO2 equivalent per barrel there is 79 kg, whereas the figure for the North sea is 21 kg—a quarter the level of environmental damage per kilogram of CO2 equivalent. The consequence of closing down the North sea prematurely would be to increase emissions and make our carbon footprint worse. It would be the triumph of virtue signalling over the practicalities of decarbonisation.

Caroline Lucas Portrait Caroline Lucas
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Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Jerome Mayhew Portrait Jerome Mayhew
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I will not; I am sorry, but I only have one and a half minutes.

It is logical on environmental grounds, therefore, to support new licences in oil and gas. But there are other arguments. There is the balance of payments—we used to talk about the balance of payments. In 2022, our trade in goods deficit was £63.9 billion. I would rather have our imports of oil and gas coming from the UK and not being imports at all, supporting our balance of payments.

There is the tax income. The Office for Budget Responsibility says that in 2023-24 we are going to get £10.4 billion of tax revenue from North sea oil. That pays for a lot of public goods. We should be supporting that, and we should be supporting business profitability and jobs, because that supports our communities. It also gives time for the phasing of what is described as the just transition to renewable jobs. There is an irony in that the proponents of new clause 30, led by the hon. Member for Brighton, Pavilion (Caroline Lucas), talk about just transitions, but it is this longer process away from North sea oil and gas, managing decline, that provides the space for a truly just transition to new renewables employment in this country. I do not support new clause 29 as a result.

None Portrait Several hon. Members rose—
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Roger Gale Portrait Mr Deputy Speaker (Sir Roger Gale)
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I apologise to those Members who have not been called; a note will be made and a count taken. I call the Minister, Andrew Bowie.

Andrew Bowie Portrait Andrew Bowie
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I am delighted to rise. I must apologise in advance of my closing remarks: given the time available, I will not be able to address every single point, question, statement and amendment raised today. [Interruption.] That is the first time I have ever been told to speed up my speaking style. However, I will commit to write to every Member who has raised a question, and certainly questions that are pertinent to how we implement some of the regulations that we are presenting here today and which will be subject to discussion in the Lords next week.

On new clause 47, presented by my hon. Friend the Member for Rutland and Melton (Alicia Kearns), we keep all sanctions under review and she knows that we cannot comment on any potential future designations. We have a global rights sanctions regime, which allows us to take action when the necessary legislative criteria are met and we assess sanctions are appropriate. I can confirm to her that we take an interest in the concerns she set out and will continue to act. We have introduced new guidance on the risks of doing business in Xinjiang, enhanced export controls and announced the introduction of financial penalties under the Modern Slavery Act 2015.

Alicia Kearns Portrait Alicia Kearns
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I know the Minister has historically been very strong on this point. I am interested in the fact that the Government have raised that point about sanctions and the possibility of sanctions, because we have not heard that before. Both the US and EU have sanctioned those who use slave labour within their supply chains. If the Government—I hope they are saying this today; I know they cannot comment on sanctions designations—are saying that they will bring forward sanctions against companies that are completely complicit in slave labour—we have the evidence both from the US and our own work—that will be incredibly positive because it would send a strong deterrent message across the industry that we will not accept slave labour in our supply chains.

Andrew Bowie Portrait Andrew Bowie
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I thank my hon. Friend for her comments and constructive engagement over the past couple of days and months. As I said, I commit to working with her and other interested parties on this matter as we continue to do what we can to combat the existence of slave labour in that market.

The energy efficiency amendments were raised a number of times. I want to be absolutely clear: we are simply seeking to replace the power to amend the energy performance of premises regime, which was lost as we departed the EU. Brexit gives us the power to do that. I can categorically guarantee before the House that we are not creating new offences. In any case, any new offences on anything—as is always the case—would have to be subject to debate, scrutiny and vote in this place, which Brexit has allowed us to do.

My hon. Friend the Member for South Thanet (Craig Mackinlay) raised the issue of a warrant for exercising power of entry with his amendment 50. I assure him that clause 152 modifies the Gas Act 1986 by building on existing provisions concerning the powers of entry. As such, the existing rules on powers of entry will continue to apply, whereby gas transporters must obtain a warrant from the magistrates court before use. I hope that satisfies my hon. Friend.

I thank my right hon. Friend the Member for South Northamptonshire (Dame Andrea Leadsom) for her amendment today. I pay tribute to her for her outstanding work, her support for this Bill during her time as Secretary of State in the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and her continued work when she was chair of the departmental Back-Bench committee. I am delighted to be able to confirm that we will continue to work towards what her amendment seeks to do, and I am happy to continue to work with her in pursuance of that, alongside the industry and the Department.

It would be remiss of me not to mention and thank my right hon. Friends the Members for Reading West (Sir Alok Sharma) and for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland (Sir Simon Clarke) for their close work with the Government over recent weeks. Onshore wind is an important part of our energy mix, and the Government have always maintained that it should be built where there is local support, ensuring that the voices of local communities are heard. In December last year, the Government consulted on changes to national planning policy for onshore wind in England. Through that consultation, the Government have heard the strength of feeling and the range of views on this topic. We continue to believe that decisions on onshore wind are best made by local representatives who know their areas. Nevertheless, the feedback was clear that we need to strike the right balance, and that is why the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities published a written ministerial statement, as was described earlier, and we look forward to working with colleagues to implement that as we move forward.

I would also be remiss not to mention my right hon. Friend the Member for Basingstoke (Dame Maria Miller) and her comments today and constructive engagement over the past few months. Lithium-ion battery storage systems are a concern for many in this House. The Government acknowledge the concerns surrounding the potential safety and environmental impact of battery energy storage at grid scale. It is a priority for this Government to ensure the existence of an appropriate, robust and future-proofed regulatory framework that protects people and the environment. That is why I am pleased to confirm today that we have sought to provide further clarity through both the planning system and environmental permitting regulations.

The Government have recently updated planning practice guidance, which encourages battery storage developers to engage with local fire and rescue and local planning authorities to refer to the guidance published by the National Fire Chiefs Council. The Government intend to consult on including battery storage systems in the environmental permitting regulations at the earliest opportunity.

The main mechanisms for controlling emissions to air, land and water from industrial installations is through complying with an industrial installations permit. These permits set out mandatory conditions that operators must comply with to protect the health of local communities and the local environment. Installations are then inspected at a frequency according to their level of risk, and regulators have enforcement powers available to them if operators are not complying with their permit conditions. I hope that my right hon. Friend and other hon. and right hon. Members for whom this is an issue of great concern are reassured by those commitments today.

I thank all hon. and right hon. Members for their engagement in this debate, especially my hon. Friend the Member for Banff and Buchan (David Duguid), who is a real champion of the UK’s thriving CCUS industry. I thank him for his comments today. The licences issued by different authorities are designed to serve different purposes. The new requirement for an economic licence recognises the monopolistic nature of carbon dioxide pipelines and storage and is designed to protect users of the networks from anti-competitive behaviours, including monopolistic pricing. This is complementary, rather than duplicative of the existing carbon storage licensing framework. I can reassure my hon. Friend that the provision in clause 128(1)(a) is sufficiently broad to cover all methods of CO2 transportation.

Finally, my hon. Friend spoke about offshore wind. As part of the development consent process, applicants are required to consult with stakeholders, including devolved Administrations where relevant, and consider the impacts of their development on other sea users. However, I am also happy to confirm that I will meet him at any time, as well as representatives of the fishing industry, for whom this is a big issue.

I thank Members across the House for their considered contributions. For the reasons that I have set out, I respectfully ask them not to press their amendments to any votes.

Question put and agreed to.

New clause 52 accordingly read a Second time, and added to the Bill.

18:00
Proceedings interrupted (Programme Order, 9 May).
The Deputy Speaker put forthwith the Questions necessary for the disposal of the business to be concluded at that time (Standing Order No. 83E).
New Clause 63
Renewable liquid heating fuel obligations
“(1) The Secretary of State may by regulations subject off-grid heating fuel suppliers (or off-grid heating fuel suppliers of a particular description) to an obligation in respect of renewable liquid heating fuel that corresponds to or is similar to the obligation mentioned in section 124(2) of the Energy Act 2004 (renewable transport fuel obligation).
(2) The regulations may, for any purpose connected with that obligation, make provision corresponding to or similar to any provision made by, or that may be made under, Chapter 5 of Part 2 of the Energy Act 2004 (powers etc relating to renewable transport fuel obligation).
(3) Before making regulations under this section, the Secretary of State must consult such persons as the Secretary of State considers appropriate.
(4) Regulations under this section are subject to the affirmative procedure.
(5) In this section—
“off-grid heating fuel supplier” means a person who, in the course of business, supplies any—
(a) renewable liquid heating fuel,
(b) fossil fuel, or
(c) other fuel, apart from solid fuel,
at or for delivery to places in Great Britain with a view to its being used wholly or mainly for the purpose of heating buildings to which there is no mains gas supply;
“renewable liquid heating fuel” means fuel that is typically supplied or stored in a liquid state and that is—
(a) biofuel or blended biofuel, or
(b) fuel (other than fossil fuel or nuclear fuel) produced—
(i) wholly by energy from a renewable source, or
(ii) wholly by a process powered wholly by such energy;
and “biofuel”, “blended biofuel”, “fossil fuel” and “renewable source” have the meanings given in section 132 of the Energy Act 2004.”—(Andrew Bowie.)
This new clause, intended to be inserted after clause 156, allows for the imposition of an obligation on off-gas-grid heating fuel suppliers that corresponds to the “renewable transport fuel obligation” provided for in Chapter 5 of Part 2 of the Energy Act 2004.
Brought up, and added to the Bill.
New Clause 64
Regulations under section 92(1): procedure with devolved authorities
“(1) Before making regulations under section 92(1) that contain provision within devolved competence, the Secretary of State must give notice to each relevant devolved authority—
(a) stating that the Secretary of State proposes to make regulations under section 92(1), and
(b) specifying the period (of not less than 28 days from the date on which the notice is given) within which representations may be made with respect to the provision within the relevant devolved competence,
and must consider any representations duly made and not withdrawn.
(2) In this section, “relevant devolved authority”, in relation to regulations, means—
(a) the Scottish Ministers, if the regulations contain provision within Scottish devolved competence;
(b) the Welsh Ministers, if the regulations contain provision within Welsh devolved competence;
(c) the Department for the Economy in Northern Ireland, if the regulations contain provision within Northern Ireland devolved competence;
and “the relevant devolved competence”, in relation to a relevant devolved authority, is to be construed accordingly.
(3) For the purposes of this section, provision—
(a) is within Scottish devolved competence if it would be within the legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament if it were contained in an Act of that Parliament;
(b) is within Welsh devolved competence if it would be within the legislative competence of Senedd Cymru if it were contained in an Act of the Senedd (ignoring any requirement for the consent of a Minister of the Crown imposed under Schedule 7B to the Government of Wales Act 2006);
(c) is within Northern Ireland devolved competence if it—
(i) would be within the legislative competence of the Northern Ireland Assembly if it were contained in an Act of that Assembly, and
(ii) would not, if it were contained in a Bill in the Northern Ireland Assembly, result in the Bill requiring the consent of the Secretary of State under section 8 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998,
and references to provision being within devolved competence are to provision that is within Scottish, Welsh or Northern Ireland devolved competence.”—(Andrew Bowie.)
This new clause, intended for insertion after clause 93, requires the relevant devolved authorities to be consulted where regulations under clause 92(1) contain provision that is within devolved competence.
Brought up, and added to the Bill.
New Clause 65
Regulations made by Secretary of State: consultation with devolved authorities
“(1) This section applies where—
(a) the Secretary of State proposes to make regulations under section 216 by virtue of any of Parts 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 10,11 and 12 of Schedule 18, and
(b) the regulations contain—
(i) in the case of regulations made by virtue of Part 3, 4, 7, 8, 10, 11 or 12 of Schedule 18, provision within Scottish devolved competence;
(ii) in the case of regulations made by virtue of Part 5 of Schedule 18, provision within Welsh devolved competence.
(2) Before making the regulations, the Secretary of State must give notice—
(a) stating that the Secretary of State proposes to make the regulations,
(b) setting out or describing—
(i) so far as the regulations are made as mentioned in subsection (1)(b)(i), the provision within Scottish devolved competence,
(ii) so far as the regulations are made as mentioned in subsection (1)(b)(ii), the provision within Welsh devolved competence, and
(c) specifying the period (of not less than 28 days from the date on which the notice is given) within which representations may be made with respect to those provisions,
and must consider any representations duly made and not withdrawn.
(3) A notice under subsection (2) must be given to each relevant devolved authority, that is to say—
(a) the Scottish Ministers, if the regulations are made as mentioned in subsection (1)(b)(i) and contain provision within Scottish devolved competence;
(b) the Welsh Ministers, if the regulations are made as mentioned in subsection (1)(b)(ii) and contain provision within Welsh devolved competence.
(4) The Secretary of State need not wait until the end of the period specified under subsection (2)(c) before making regulations if, before the end of that period, each relevant devolved authority to which the notice was given has confirmed that it has made any representations it intends to make with respect to the provision referred to in subsection (2)(b)(i) or (ii) (as the case may be).
(5) The Secretary of State must, if requested to do so by a relevant devolved authority, give the authority a statement setting out whether and how representations made by the authority with respect to the provision referred to in subsection (2)(b)(i) or (ii) (as the case may be) have been taken into account in the regulations.
(6) For the purposes of this section, provision—
(a) is within Scottish devolved competence if it would be within the legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament if it were contained in an Act of that Parliament;
(b) is within Welsh devolved competence if it would be within the legislative competence of Senedd Cymru if it were contained in an Act of the Senedd (ignoring any requirement for the consent of a Minister of the Crown imposed under Schedule 7B to the Government of Wales Act 2006).”—(Andrew Bowie.)
This new clause, to be inserted after clause 216, requires the Secretary of State to carry out a consultation process with the Scottish Ministers and the Welsh Ministers so far as regulations under clause 216 make provision within Scottish or Welsh legislative competence.
Brought up, and added to the Bill.
New Clause 66
Regulations under section 292 and 293: procedure with devolved authorities
“Regulations under section 292
(1) Before making regulations under section 292 that contain provision within devolved competence, the Secretary of State must give notice to each relevant devolved authority—
(a) stating that the Secretary of State proposes to make regulations under that section,
(b) setting out or describing the provision that is within the relevant devolved competence, and
(c) specifying the period (of not less than 28 days from the date on which the notice is given) within which representations may be made with respect to that provision,
and must consider any representations duly made and not withdrawn.
(2) The Secretary of State need not wait until the end of the period specified under subsection (2)(c) before making regulations if, before the end of that period, each relevant devolved authority to which the notice was given has confirmed that it has made any representations it intends to make with respect to the provision referred to in subsection (2)(b).
(3) The Secretary of State must, if requested to do so by a relevant devolved authority, give the authority a statement setting out whether and how representations made by the authority with respect to the provision referred to in subsection (2)(b) have been taken into account in the regulations.
(4) In subsections (1) to (3), “relevant devolved authority”, in relation to regulations, means—
(a) the Scottish Ministers, if the regulations contain provision within Scottish devolved competence;
(b) the Welsh Ministers, if the regulations contain provision within Welsh devolved competence;
(c) the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs in Northern Ireland, if the regulations contain provision within Northern Ireland devolved competence;
and “the relevant devolved competence”, in relation to a relevant devolved authority, is to be construed accordingly.
Regulations under section 293
(5) The Secretary of State may not make regulations under section 293 containing provision within Scottish devolved competence unless the Scottish Ministers have consented to that provision.
(6) The Secretary of State may not make regulations under section 293 containing provision within Welsh devolved competence unless the Welsh Ministers have consented to that provision.
Devolved competence
(7) For the purposes of this section, provision—
(a) is within Scottish devolved competence if it would be within the legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament if it were contained in an Act of that Parliament;
(b) is within Welsh devolved competence if it would be within the legislative competence of Senedd Cymru if it were contained in an Act of the Senedd (ignoring any requirement for the consent of a Minister of the Crown imposed under Schedule 7B to the Government of Wales Act 2006);
(c) is within Northern Ireland devolved competence if it—
(i) would be within the legislative competence of the Northern Ireland Assembly if it were contained in an Act of that Assembly, and
(ii) would not, if it were contained in a Bill in the Northern Ireland Assembly, result in the Bill requiring the consent of the Secretary of State under section 8 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998;
and references to provision being within devolved competence are to provision that is within Scottish, Welsh or Northern Ireland devolved competence.”—(Andrew Bowie.)
This new clause, intended for insertion after clause 293, is about cases where regulations under clause 292 or 293 contain provision within devolved competence. For clause 292 regulations, it requires the relevant devolved authorities to be consulted. For clause 293 regulations, it requires the Scottish or Welsh Ministers’ consent.
Brought up, and added to the Bill.
New Clause 12
Prohibition on flaring and venting and enhanced measures to reduce fugitive methane emissions
“(1) The Secretary of State must by regulations—
(a) prohibit the practice of flaring and venting by oil and gas installations other than in an emergency within the jurisdiction of the United Kingdom,
(b) require monthly leak detection and repair inspections to reduce fugitive methane emissions,
(c) require a measurement, reporting and verification process to quantify methane emissions, and
(d) require the upgrade of all equipment to alternative zero- or low-emission and low-maintenance equipment, such as electric, mechanical, or compressed air equipment.
(2) In this section—
“flaring” means the burning of methane gas and other hydrocarbons produced during oil and gas extraction;
“venting” means the release of methane gas and other hydrocarbons directly into the atmosphere, without combustion.
(3) Regulations under this section must be made so as to come into force by 31 December 2025.”—(Wera Hobhouse.)
This new clause would prohibit “flaring” and “venting”.
Brought up.
Question put, That the clause be added to the Bill.
18:00

Division 315

Ayes: 192

Noes: 316

New Clause 39
Duties of the Gas and Electricity Markets Authority in respect of off-grid fuels
“(1) Within three months of the passage of this Act, the Secretary of State must by regulation extend the duties of the Gas and Electricity Markets Authority to the distribution and supply of fuels utilised for off-grid home heating.
(2) Regulations under subsection (1) must provide for GEMA to apply a cap on the price of fuel supplied for off-grid home heating proportionate to the cap applied in respect of on-grid homes.”—(Alan Brown.)
This new clause seeks to extend the duty of Ofgem to regulate off-grid fuels utilised for off-grid home heating and to ensure that a cap is applied for off-grid home fuels that is proportionate to the cap applied for on-grid homes.
Brought up.
Question put, That the clause be added to the Bill.
The House proceeded to a Division.
Roger Gale Portrait Mr Deputy Speaker (Sir Roger Gale)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

Order. I am advised that the bells at No. 1 Parliament Street are not working. I shall extend the Division time by two minutes.

18:14

Division 316

Ayes: 235

Noes: 306

New Clause 57
Onshore wind
“(1) The Secretary of State must by regulations ensure that onshore wind installations are treated for the purpose of planning and development as local infrastructure and will be permitted or otherwise as if they were.
(2) Regulations under subsection (1) may amend any primary legislation passed before the passage of this Act.”—(Dr Whitehead.)
This new clause ensures that onshore wind development proposals in England and Wales are permitted to proceed on the same basis as other local infrastructure projects.
Brought up.
Question put, That the clause be added to the Bill.
18:28

Division 317

Ayes: 188

Noes: 310

New Clause 59
Decarbonised electricity supply by 2030
“(1) It is the duty of the Secretary of State to ensure that the supply of electricity in the UK is decarbonised by 2030.
(2) The Secretary of State must, within six months of the passage of this Act, produce and publish a plan which will set out how the duty in subsection (1) is to be achieved.”—(Dr Whitehead.)
This new clause is intended to provide for the UK’s electricity supply to be decarbonised by 2030.
Brought up.
Question put, That the clause be added to the Bill.
18:41

Division 318

Ayes: 223

Noes: 310

New Clause 61
National Warmer Homes and Businesses Action Plan (No. 2)
“(1) The Secretary of State must, before the end of the period of 6 months beginning with the day on which this Act is passed, publish an action plan entitled the Warmer Homes and Businesses Action Plan, to set out proposals for delivery of—
(a) an Energy Performance Certificate at band C by 2035 in all UK homes where practical, cost effective and affordable, and
(b) an Energy Performance Certificate at band B by 2030 in all privately rented non-domestic properties, and
(c) the Future Homes Standard for all new builds in England by 2025.
(2) The Secretary of State must, in developing the Warmer Homes and Businesses Action Plan, consult the Climate Change Committee and its sub-committee on adaptation.”—(Dr Whitehead.)
Brought up.
Question put, That the clause be added to the Bill.
18:54

Division 319

Ayes: 189

Noes: 305

Clause 1
Principal objectives and general duties of Secretary of State and economic regulator
Amendment made: 180, page 3, line 2, at end insert—
“(aa) the interim targets, as defined in section 2 of that Act;”.—(Claire Coutinho.)
This amendment requires the Gas and Electricity Markets Authority to have regard to the interim targets set out in section 2 of the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009 in carrying out functions under Part 1 of the Bill.
Clause 2
Prohibition on unlicensed activities
Amendments made: 131, page 4, line 14, after “repeals” insert “or revocations”.
This amendment makes it clear that the amendments referred to in subsection (7)(a) include revocations as well as repeals.
Amendment 198, page 4, line 19, at end insert—
“(7A) But regulations made by virtue of subsection (7)(a) may not make provision amending (or repealing or revoking) any provision of—
(a) an Act of the Scottish Parliament, or an instrument made under such an Act, unless the Scottish Ministers have consented to the making of that provision;
(b) a Measure or Act of Senedd Cymru, or an instrument made under such a Measure or Act, unless the Welsh Ministers have consented to the making of that provision;
(c) Northern Ireland legislation, or an instrument made under Northern Ireland legislation, unless the Department for the Economy in Northern Ireland has consented to the making of that provision.”—(Claire Coutinho.)
This amendment provides that the Secretary of State may not by virtue of subsection (7)(a) amend the specified devolved legislation without the consent of the relevant devolved authorities.
Clause 6
Revocation or withdrawal of exemption
Amendment made: 181, page 7, line 39, at end insert “, and
(b) consider any representations which are duly made and not withdrawn.”—(Claire Coutinho.)
This amendment imposes an express duty on the Secretary of State to consider any representations made in accordance with subsection (4).
Clause 8
Power to create licence types
Amendments made: 132, page 9, line 10, after “repeals” insert “or revocations”.
This amendment makes it clear that the amendments referred to in subsection (2)(a) include revocations as well as repeals.
Amendment 199, page 9, line 14, at end insert—
“(2A) Before making regulations under this section containing provision within devolved competence, the Secretary of State must give notice to each relevant devolved authority—
(a) stating that the Secretary of State proposes to make regulations under this section, and
(b) specifying the period (of not less than 28 days from the date on which the notice is given) within which representations may be made with respect to the provision within the relevant devolved competence,
and must consider any representations duly made and not withdrawn.
(2B) For the purposes of this section “relevant devolved authority” means—
(a) the Scottish Ministers, if the regulations contain provision within Scottish devolved competence;
(b) the Welsh Ministers, if the regulations contain provision within Welsh devolved competence;
(c) the Department for the Economy in Northern Ireland, if the regulations contain provision within Northern Ireland devolved competence;
and “the relevant devolved competence”, in relation to a relevant devolved authority, is to be construed accordingly.
(2C) For the purposes of this section, provision—
(a) is within Scottish devolved competence if it would be within the legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament if it were contained in an Act of that Parliament;
(b) is within Welsh devolved competence if it would be within the legislative competence of Senedd Cymru if it were contained in an Act of the Senedd (ignoring any requirement for the consent of a Minister of the Crown imposed under Schedule 7B to the Government of Wales Act 2006);
(c) is within Northern Ireland devolved competence if it—
(i) would be within the legislative competence of the Northern Ireland Assembly if it were contained in an Act of that Assembly, and
(ii) would not, if it were contained in a Bill in the Northern Ireland Assembly, result in the Bill requiring the consent of the Secretary of State under section 8 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998;
and references to provision being within devolved competence are to provision that is within Scottish, Welsh or Northern Ireland devolved competence.”—(Claire Coutinho.)
This amendment requires the Secretary of State to consult the relevant devolved authorities before making regulations under this clause that would deal with devolved matters.
Clause 9
Procedure for licence applications
Amendments made: 200, page 9, line 32, at end insert “and
(b) specify a period of not less than 28 days within which representations or objections with respect to the proposed regulations may be made,
and the Secretary of State must consider any representations or objections which are duly made and not withdrawn.”
Amendment 201, Clause 9, page 10, line 5, at end insert “, and
(b) sending a copy of the notice to—
(i) the Scottish Ministers, if an activity that would be authorised by the proposed licence is within Scottish devolved competence;
(ii) the Welsh Ministers, if an activity that would be authorised by the licence is within Welsh devolved competence;
(iii) the Department for the Economy in Northern Ireland, if an activity that would be authorised by the licence is within Northern Ireland devolved competence.
(5A) Section 17(4) (activities authorised by a licence: devolved competence) applies for the purposes of subsection (5)(b) of this section as it applies for the purposes of section 17.”
This amendment requires the Gas and Electricity Markets Authority to notify the relevant devolved authorities where it proposes to grant a licence authorising activities that are within devolved competence.
Amendment 202, page 10, line 15, leave out subsection (10) and insert—
“(10) For the purposes of this section “appropriate devolved authority”, in relation to regulations, means—
(a) the Scottish Ministers, if the regulations contain provision within Scottish devolved competence;
(b) the Welsh Ministers, if the regulations contain provision within Welsh devolved competence;
(c) the Department for the Economy in Northern Ireland, if the regulations contain provision within Northern Ireland devolved competence.
(10A) For the purposes of this section, provision—
(a) is within Scottish devolved competence if it would be within the legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament if it were contained in an Act of that Parliament;
(b) is within Welsh devolved competence if it would be within the legislative competence of Senedd Cymru if it were contained in an Act of the Senedd (ignoring any requirement for the consent of a Minister of the Crown imposed under Schedule 7B to the Government of Wales Act 2006);
(c) is within Northern Ireland devolved competence if it—
(i) would be within the legislative competence of the Northern Ireland Assembly if it were contained in an Act of that Assembly, and
(ii) would not, if it were contained in a Bill in the Northern Ireland Assembly, result in the Bill requiring the consent of the Secretary of State under section 8 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998.”—(Claire Coutinho.)
This amendment restates the definition of “appropriate devolved authority”.
Clause 10
Competitive tenders for licences
Amendments made: 203, page 11, line 4, leave out “consult” and insert “give notice to”.
This amendment and Amendment 204 impose additional requirements on consultation under subsection (3), including that at least 28 days are to be allowed for representations to be made.
Amendment 204, Clause 10, page 11, line 4, at end insert—
“(a) stating that the Secretary of State proposes to make regulations under this section, and
(b) specifying the period (of not less than 28 days from the date on which the notice is given) within which representations must be made with respect to the proposed provisions,
and must consider any representations duly made and not withdrawn.”—(Claire Coutinho.)
This amendment requires the Secretary of State to allow a period of 28 days for representations to be made and to consider any representations that are properly made.
Clause 13
Modification of conditions of licences
Amendments made: 205, page 15, line 34, at end insert “and
(iii) the appropriate devolved authorities (if any).”
This amendment and Amendment 206 require consultation with the devolved authorities in cases where the proposed licence modifications are within devolved competence.
Amendment 206, page 16, line 28, at end insert—
“(12) For the purposes of this section the “appropriate devolved authorities” are—
(a) the Welsh Ministers, if provision making the modifications proposed in the notice under subsection (2) would be within the legislative competence of Senedd Cymru if it were contained in an Act of the Senedd (ignoring any requirement for the consent of a Minister of the Crown imposed under Schedule 7B to the Government of Wales Act 2006);
(b) the Scottish Ministers, if provision making the modifications proposed in that notice would be within the legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament if it were contained in an Act of that Parliament;
(c) the Department for the Economy in Northern Ireland, if provision making the modifications proposed in that notice—
(i) would be within the legislative competence of the Northern Ireland Assembly if it were contained in an Act of that Assembly, and
(ii) would not, if it were contained in a Bill in the Northern Ireland Assembly, result in the Bill requiring the consent of the Secretary of State under section 8 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998.”—(Claire Coutinho.)
See the explanatory statement for Amendment 205.
Clause 19
Consenting to transfer
Amendments made: 207, page 20, line 26, leave out paragraph (b) and insert—
“(b) send a copy of the notice to—
(i) the Scottish Ministers, if an activity authorised by the licence is within Scottish devolved competence,
(ii) the Welsh Ministers, if an activity authorised by the licence is within Welsh devolved competence,
(iii) the Department for the Economy in Northern Ireland, if an activity authorised by the licence is within Northern Ireland devolved competence,
(iv) the Oil and Gas Authority, and
(v) such other persons as the economic regulator considers are likely to be affected by the decision, and”.
This amendment and Amendment 208 require the Gas and Electricity Markets Authority to notify the specified authorities before giving consent to the transfer of a licence which authorises activities that are within devolved competence.
Amendment 208, page 20, line 29, at end insert—
“(1A) Section 17(4) (activities authorised by a licence: devolved competence) applies for the purposes of subsection (1)(b) of this section as it applies for the purposes of section 17.”—(Claire Coutinho.)
See the explanatory statement for the Minister’s amendment at page 20, line 27.
Clause 39
Forward work programmes
Amendment made: 209, page 35, line 4, at end insert—
“(5A) The economic regulator must send a copy of any notice given by it under subsection (4) to—
(a) the Welsh Ministers,
(b) the Scottish Ministers, and
(c) the Department for the Economy in Northern Ireland.”—(Claire Coutinho.)
This amendment requires the economic regulator to draw the draft work programme to the attention of the devolved administrations.
Clause 56
Chapter 1: interpretation
Amendments made: 144, page 50, leave out lines 20 to 23.
This amendment leaves out the definition of “electricity supplier” and is consequential on Amendment 148.
Amendment 145, page 50, line 32, at beginning insert “GB”.
This amendment changes the label “gas shipper” to “GB gas shipper”.
Amendment 146, page 50, leave out lines 34 to 37.
This amendment omits the definition of “gas supplier” and is consequential on Amendment 148.
Amendment 147, page 51, line 14, at end insert—
““Northern Ireland gas shipper” means a person who holds a licence under Article 8(1)(c) of the Gas (Northern Ireland) Order 1996 (S.I. 1996/275 (N.I. 2)) and who in the opinion of the Secretary of State carries on an activity which is similar to an activity that (in Great Britain) may be authorised by a licence under section 7A(2) of the Gas Act 1986;”.—(Claire Coutinho.)
This amendment provides a definition of “Northern Ireland gas shipper” and is supplemental to Amendment 148.
Clause 62
Direction to offer to contract with eligible hydrogen transport provider
Amendment made: 139, page 56, line 7, at end insert—
“(5) Regulations within subsection (4) may in particular make provision by reference to standards or other published documents (as they have effect from time to time).”—(Claire Coutinho.)
This amendment makes it clear that regulations defining “eligible” in relation to a hydrogen transport provider may make reference to documents external to the regulations, as the documents have effect from time to time.
Clause 64
Direction to offer to contract with eligible hydrogen storage provider
Amendment made: 140, page 57, line 20, at end insert—
“(5) Regulations within subsection (4) may in particular make provision by reference to standards or other published documents (as they have effect from time to time).”—(Claire Coutinho.)
This amendment makes it clear that regulations defining “eligible” in relation to a hydrogen storage provider may make reference to documents external to the regulations, as the documents have effect from time to time.
Clause 66
Direction to offer to contract
Amendment made: 141, page 58, line 38, at end insert—
“(5) Regulations within subsection (4) may in particular make provision by reference to standards or other published documents (as they have effect from time to time).”—(Claire Coutinho.)
This amendment makes it clear that regulations defining “eligible” in relation to a low carbon hydrogen producer may make reference to documents external to the regulations, as the documents have effect from time to time.
Clause 68
Direction to offer to contract
Amendment made: 142, page 60, line 20, at end insert—
“(5) Regulations within subsection (4) may in particular make provision by reference to standards or other published documents (as they have effect from time to time).”—(Claire Coutinho.)
This amendment makes it clear that regulations defining “eligible” in relation to a carbon capture entity may make reference to documents external to the regulations, as the documents have effect from time to time.
Clause 70
Obligations of relevant market participants
Amendment made: 148, page 62, line 4, leave out from “but” to end of line 8 and insert “a description so specified may not include persons other than—
(a) GB gas shippers;
(b) Northern Ireland gas shippers.”—(Claire Coutinho.)
This amendment limits the persons who can be brought within the definition of a “relevant market participant” to persons holding a licence under section 7A(2) of the Gas Act 1986 and certain persons holding a licence under Article 8(1)(c) of the Gas (Northern Ireland) Order 1996.
Clause 73
Power to appoint allocation bodies
Amendment made: 121, page 64, line 37, leave out “designation” and insert “appointment”.—(Claire Coutinho.)
This amendment corrects a drafting error.
Clause 76
Allocation of contracts
Amendment made: 143, page 67, line 19, at end insert—
“(ba) make provision by reference to standards or other published documents (as they have effect from time to time);”.—(Claire Coutinho.)
This amendment makes it clear that provision in an allocation framework may relate to published standards or other published documents as they have effect from time to time.
Clause 83
Information and advice
Amendment made: 149, page 72, line 3, leave out sub-paragraphs (iii) to (v) and insert—
“(iii) a relevant market participant, or”.—(Claire Coutinho.)
This amendment is consequential on Amendments 144, 145 and 146.
Clause 84
Enforcement
Amendments made: 150, page 72, line 24, leave out sub-paragraphs (i) and (ii) and insert “a GB gas shipper”.
This amendment is consequential on Amendment 148.
Amendment 151, page 72, line 30, leave out paragraph (b).
This amendment is consequential on Amendment 148.
Amendment 152, page 72, line 35, leave out sub-paragraphs (i) and (ii) and insert
“a person who holds a licence under Article 8(1)(c) of the Gas (Northern Ireland) Order 1996 (S.I. 1996/275 (N.I. 2))”.—(Claire Coutinho.)
This amendment is consequential on Amendment 148.
Clause 85
Consultation
Amendments made: 210, page 73, line 20, leave out “consult” and insert—
“(a) consult the persons mentioned in subsection (1A), and
(b) specify a period of not less than 28 days for the purposes of subsection (1B).
(1A) The persons to be consulted under subsection (1) are—”.
This amendment requires that the period of a consultation under subsection (1) is at least 28 days.
Amendment 211, page 73, line 38, at end insert—
“(1B) The Secretary of State must consider any representations that are—
(a) duly made within the period specified under subsection (1)(b) by persons consulted under subsection (1), and
(b) not withdrawn.”
This amendment makes it clear that representations that are duly made within the specified time period must be considered.
Amendment 212, page 73, line 38, at end insert—
“(1C) Before making regulations under section 73(1) (power to appoint allocation bodies) the Secretary of State must consult—
(a) the Scottish Ministers, if the regulations contain provision that would be within the legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament if it were contained in an Act of that Parliament;
(b) the Welsh Ministers, if the regulations contain provision that would be within the legislative competence of Senedd Cymru if it were contained in an Act of the Senedd (ignoring any requirement for the consent of a Minister of the Crown imposed under Schedule 7B to the Government of Wales Act 2006);
(c) the Department for the Economy in Northern Ireland, if the regulations contain provision that—
(i) would be within the legislative competence of the Northern Ireland Assembly if it were contained in an Act of that Assembly, and
(ii) would not, if it were contained in a Bill in the Northern Ireland Assembly, result in the Bill requiring the consent of the Secretary of State under section 8 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998,
and the Secretary of State must consider any representations duly made by persons consulted under this subsection and not withdrawn.”
This amendment requires the Secretary of State to carry out consultation before making regulations appointing allocation bodies.
Amendment 213, page 73, leave out lines 40 and 41 and insert—
“(a) consult the persons mentioned in subsection (2A), and
(b) specify a period of not less than 28 days for the purposes of subsection (2B).
(2A) The persons to be consulted under subsection (2) are—
(a) the Scottish Ministers, if the standard terms contain provision that would be within the legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament if it were contained in an Act of that Parliament;
(b) the Welsh Ministers, if the standard terms contain provision that would be within the legislative competence of Senedd Cymru if it were contained in an Act of the Senedd (ignoring any requirement for the consent of a Minister of the Crown imposed under Schedule 7B to the Government of Wales Act 2006);
(c) the Department for the Economy in Northern Ireland, if the standard terms contain provision that—
(i) would be within the legislative competence of the Northern Ireland Assembly if it were contained in an Act of that Assembly, and
(ii) would not, if it were contained in a Bill in the Northern Ireland Assembly, result in the Bill requiring the consent of the Secretary of State under section 8 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998;
(d) such other persons as the Secretary of State considers appropriate.
(2B) The Secretary of State must consider any representations that are—
(a) duly made within the period specified under subsection (2)(b) by persons consulted under subsection (2), and
(b) not withdrawn.”—(Claire Coutinho.)
This amendment alters the list of persons who must be consulted before publishing standard terms and requires that the period of a consultation under subsection (2) is at least 28 days.
Clause 89
Modifications of licences etc for purposes related to levy obligations
Amendments made: 153, page 77, line 5, leave out subsection (1).
This amendment is consequential on Amendment 148.
Amendment 154, page 77, line 21, leave out subsection (3).
This amendment is consequential on Amendment 148.
Amendment 155, page 77, line 38, leave out “(1) to” and insert “(2) and”.
This amendment is consequential on Amendments 153 and 154.
Amendment 156, page 78, line 2, leave out “(1) to” and insert “(2) and”.
This amendment is consequential on Amendments 153 and 154.
Amendment 157, page 78, line 8, leave out paragraph (a).
This amendment is consequential on Amendment 148.
Amendment 158, page 78, line 10, leave out paragraph (c).
This amendment is consequential on Amendment 148.
Amendment 159, page 78, line 14, leave out “(c) and”.
This amendment is consequential on Amendment 156.
Amendment 160, page 78, line 15, leave out “those sub-paragraphs” and insert “that sub-paragraph”.
This amendment is consequential on Amendment 159.
Amendment 161, page 78, line 17, leave out “(1) or”.
This amendment is consequential on Amendment 153.
Amendment 162, page 78, line 23, leave out “(3) or”.—(Claire Coutinho.)
This amendment is consequential on Amendment 154.
Clause 91
Sections 89 and 90: supplementary
Amendments made: 163, page 79, line 35, leave out
“any of subsections (1) to”
and insert “subsection (2) or”.
This amendment is consequential on Amendments153 and 154.
Amendment 164, page 80, line 31, leave out from “1986” to “or” in line 32.
This amendment is consequential on Amendments153 and 154.
Amendment 70, page 80, line 37, leave out “Smart Meters Act 2018” and insert “Energy Prices Act 2022”.
This amendment results from the passing of the Energy Prices Act 2022 since the Bill was introduced in July 2022.
Amendment 165, page 80, line 39, leave out subsection (14).—(Claire Coutinho.)
This amendment is consequential on Amendment 153.
Clause 92
Financing of costs of decommissioning etc
Amendment made: 122, page 82, line 28, at end insert—
““carbon storage installation” has the same meaning as in section 30 of the Energy Act 2008;”.—(Claire Coutinho.)
This amendment clarifies that the definition of “carbon storage installation” in section 30 of the Energy Act 2008 applies to clause 92.
Clause 94
Provisions relating to Part 4 of the Petroleum Act 1998
Amendments made: 123, page 84, line 17, leave out “(5)” and insert “(5A)”.
This amendment is consequential on Amendment 124.
Amendment 124, page 86, line 20, leave out subsection (5) and insert—
“(5) In subsection (5), for the words from “falling” to the end substitute “which is or has been maintained, or is intended to be established, for the purposes of an activity mentioned in section 17(2)(a), (b) or (c) to which subsection (6) applies.
(5A) In subsection (6), for the words from the beginning to “it” substitute “This subsection applies to any activity which is carried on from, by means of or on an installation which”.”—(Claire Coutinho.)
This amendment omits “or has been” before “established” in the words amending section 30(5) of the Energy Act 2008 for greater consistency with subsection (2) of that section. It also clarifies the relationship between section 30(5) (as amended by the Bill) and section 30(6)).
Clause 100
Review
Amendments made: 214, page 94, line 15, leave out from beginning to “before”.
See Amendment 215.
Amendment 215, page 94, line 16, at end insert
“the Secretary of State must give notice to the appropriate consultees—
(a) setting out the Secretary of State’s proposed decision, and
(b) specifying the period (of not less than 28 days from the date on which the notice is given) within which representations must be made,
and the Secretary of State must consider any representations which are duly made and not withdrawn.
(10A) For the purposes of subsection (10), the “appropriate consultees” are—”.—(Claire Coutinho.)
This amendment and Amendment 214 provide that when the Secretary of State proposes on a review under this section to leave the strategy and policy statement as it is or to withdraw its designation the Secretary of State must allow at least 28 days for representations to be made and must consider any representations that are properly made.
Clause 127
Access to infrastructure
Amendment made: 216, page 114, line 6, leave out “consult” and insert
“give to the appropriate consultees a notice—
(a) stating that the Secretary of State proposes to make regulations under subsection (1), and
(b) specifying the period (of not less than 28 days from the date on which the notice is given) within which representations must be made with respect to the proposed provisions,
and must consider any representations duly made and not withdrawn.”
(6A) For the purposes of this section the “appropriate consultees” are—”.—(Claire Coutinho.)
This amendment requires the Secretary of State to allow 28 days for representations to be made about proposed regulations and imposes a duty to consider representations that are properly made.
Clause 128
Financial assistance
Amendments made: 125, page 115, line 6, leave out “and storage”.
This amendment and Amendment 126 clarify that the Secretary of State is authorised to provide financial assistance for either or both of transport and storage of carbon dioxide.
Amendment 126, page 115, line 6, at end insert—
“(aa) storage of carbon dioxide;”.
See the explanatory statement for Amendment 125.
Amendment 127, page 115, line 8, leave out from “for” to end of line 9 and insert
“any activity mentioned in paragraph (a) or (aa)”.
This amendment ensures that the Secretary of State is authorised to provide financial assistance for carbon dioxide capture facilities which operate (or are to operate) in association with facilities for either or both of transport and storage of carbon dioxide.
Amendment 128, page 115, line 11, leave out “and storage”.
This amendment and Amendment 129 clarify that the Secretary of State is authorised to provide financial assistance for either or both of transport and storage of hydrogen.
Amendment 129, page 115, line 11, at end insert—
“(e) storage of hydrogen.”
See the explanatory statement for Amendment 128.
Amendment 71, page 115, line 27, leave out paragraph (f) and insert—
“(f) may be provided by the acquisition of shares or any other interest in, or securities of, a body corporate;”
This amendment, together with Amendments 72, 77, 80, 81, 92 and 93, seeks to ensure consistency with wording used in other provisions in the Bill that confer powers to provide financial assistance.
Amendment 72, page 115, line 29, leave out
“take the form of investment”
and insert “be provided”.—(Claire Coutinho.)
See the explanatory statement for Amendment 71.
Clause 133
Grant, extension or restriction of gas transporter licence by Secretary of State
Amendment made: 133, page 119, line 23, leave out “subsection (1)” and insert “this section”.—(Claire Coutinho.)
This amendment corrects a minor drafting error.
Clause 139
Conditions of gas transporter licences for conveyance of hydrogen
Amendment made: 134, page 125, line 33, leave out
“licences to which this section applies”
and insert “relevant licences”.—(Claire Coutinho.)
This amendment corrects a minor drafting error.
Clause 150
Scheme regulations: procedure etc
Amendments made: 217, page 132, line 15, leave out subsection (3).
This amendment removes the requirement for the Secretary of State to consult the devolved administrations so far as regulations under clause 142(1) apply in relation to Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland. The requirement is superseded by the more detailed provision made by Amendment 218.
Amendment 218, page 132, line 23, at end insert—
“(5) Before making scheme regulations that apply in relation to Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, the Secretary of State must give notice—
(a) stating that the Secretary of State proposes to make scheme regulations,
(b) setting out or describing the provisions of the regulations that apply in relation to Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, and
(c) specifying the period (of not less than 28 days from the date on which the notice is given) within which representations may be made with respect to those provisions,
and must consider any representations duly made and not withdrawn.
(6) A notice under subsection (5) must be given to each relevant devolved authority, that is to say—
(a) the Scottish Ministers, so far as the regulations apply in relation to Scotland;
(b) the Welsh Ministers, so far as the regulations apply in relation to Wales;
(c) the Department for the Economy in Northern Ireland, so far as the regulations apply in relation to Northern Ireland.
(7) The Secretary of State need not wait until the end of the period specified under subsection (5)(c) before making regulations if, before the end of that period, each relevant devolved authority to which the notice was given has confirmed that it has made any representations it intends to make with respect to the provisions referred to in subsection (5)(b).