Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee

Session 2007-08

July 17 2008


Further to the Committee's press notice of 28th February 2008 inviting interested parties to help devise the scope of its proposed inquiry into energy efficiency and fuel poverty, the Committee has now decided to examine the UK Energy Efficiency Action Plan, with particular reference to Defra's efforts to improve households' energy efficiency and its statutory duty under the Warm Homes and Energy Conservation Act 2000 to ensure that, as far as reasonably practicable, people in England do not live in fuel poverty*.

The Committee will consider in particular the following:

1. Defra's Departmental Report 2008 shows slippage against PSA 7 on eliminating fuel poverty in vulnerable households by 2010, with a rise in the number of households in fuel poverty. Does Defra need to redefine its approaches to ensure it meets the statutory 2010 target?

2. How effectively can policies aimed at addressing the energy efficiency of dwellings tackle fuel poverty, given recent rapid increases in fuel prices, and how can strategies be developed to join up energy efficiency approaches with those on fuel prices and income maximisation?

3. Does the UK Energy Efficiency Action Plan 2007** give sufficient weight to the need to address fuel poverty as well as tackle greenhouse gas emissions through increased use of energy efficiency measures?

4. What should be the comparative contribution of government and energy supply industry programmes to achieving fuel poverty objectives, and what levels of investment are required (for example for Warm Front, the Carbon Emissions Reduction Target (CERT) and the Supplier Obligation post 2011)? How can these programmes be better integrated?

5. What should the longer term strategies be, in particular for those in the social housing sector after Decent Homes***, and what role should the energy supply industry have post CERT (post 2011)?

6. How can we make greater progress on hard to treat homes (for example solid wall properties or those not connected to mains gas supplies)?

7. How should smart metering, new technologies and microgeneration be deployed and incentivised in fuel poverty approaches? Is there sufficient scope in current approaches to apply the most appropriate solutions?

8. Is there a problem identifying those who are already, or are at risk of becoming, fuel poor, and how can data sharing across the public and private sector be improved so that assistance can be targetted?

9. What are the specific issues for new homes and how can strategies ensure that all new homes minimise the potential for occupiers to experience fuel poverty?

10. How does the Winter Fuel Payment system impact on fuel poverty and could this funding be better utilised to tackle the underlying issues leading to households becoming fuel poor?

The Committee invites all interested parties to address these matters in writing. The deadline for submissions is Thursday 2 October 2008. More information about the required format of submissions is given below.

Oral evidence sessions will be announced in due course.


Submissions should be in Word or rich text format and sent by e-mail to efracom@parliament.uk. The body of the e-mail must include a contact name, telephone number and postal address. The e-mail should also make clear who the submission is from.

Please mark the submission for the attention of the EFRA Committee inquiry.

Submissions should be as brief as possible, and no more than 2,000 words. Paragraphs should be numbered for ease of reference. The document should include an executive summary (no more than one page long).

Committees make public much of the evidence they receive during inquiries. If you do not wish your submission to be published, you must clearly say so. If you wish to include private or confidential information in your submission to the Committee, please contact the Clerk of the Committee to discuss this. Please bear in mind that Committees are not able to investigate individual cases.

Personal information, such as address and contact details, should be provided separately from the body of your submission. You should be aware that there may be circumstances in which the House of Commons will be required to communicate information to third parties on request, in order to comply with its obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Submissions should be original work, not previously published or circulated elsewhere. Once submitted, no public use should be made of the submission unless you have first obtained permission from the Committee.

For further details about this inquiry, please contact Nerys Welfoot, Second Clerk, on 020 7219 2735 or Sarah Coe, Committee Specialist, on 020 7219 2290.


1. Further details about this inquiry can be found at:


Media Enquiries: Laura Kibby: Tel: 020 7219 0718, Mob: 079174 88557, Email: kibbyl@parliament.uk

Committee Website: www.parliament.uk/efracom

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* The Warm Homes and Energy Conservation Act was passed in 2000 committing the government to the legally binding targets of eradicating fuel poverty in England among the vulnerable-pensioners, the disabled and long-term ill by 2010. By 2016-18 the government is committed to eradicating fuel poverty across the UK.

** The UK Energy Efficiency Action Plan sets out policies on how the UK will meet the EU Energy End-Use Efficiency and Energy Services Directive target of a 9% energy saving by 2016.

*** The government definition of a decent home is one which is dry, safe and warm, has a relatively modern bathroom and kitchen and is in a good state of repair. In 2003 the Government published the Communities Plan which included a requirement for all Local Authorities to bring all of their homes up to the Decent Homes Standard by 2010.