Environmental Audit Committee

14 February 2002

Sustainable Energy:

The PIU energy review

The Cabinet Office finally published today the long-delayed PIU energy review.  The Chairman of the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee, John Horam, said today  "This report is being slipped out in response to an oral question on the eve of a Parliamentary recess.   This is a deeply unsatisfactory situation.   The development of a sustainable energy strategy is fundamental to our whole future, and the Energy Minister, Brian Wilson, should have made a statement to the House."

He went on to offer some initial comments on the PIU report:

• "The PIU report was intended to respond to the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution, which called last year for a 60% cut in emissions by 2050 to avoid irreversible Climate Change.  It was meant to set out where the UK should be in 2050 and how we should get there.  I find it disappointing that the PIU have stepped back from this strategic aim and fail to set out how aims and targets are to be achieved."

• "With regard to renewable energy, the main recommendation of the PIU review is that the Government should set a target of 20% renewable energy by 2020.   But this is hardly earth-shattering as it simply builds on the 10% target the Government has set for 2010.  My Committee heard only last week that the Danes, for example, are setting a target of 50% renewable energy.   Is this yet another area where Britain will trail behind the rest of Europe?"

• "My Committee has just begun an inquiry on Sustainable Energy and the PIU review.   In the course of future evidence sessions, we fully intend to examine in detail the conclusions reached by the PIU and the manner in which they reached them - including the extent to which the report may have been redrafted at a late stage as a result of political interference."

The Environmental Audit Committee is currently conducting an inquiry into "Sustainable Energy: Renewables and the PIU review".   Organisations are invited to submit memoranda, or supplementary memoranda, either by post (addressed to the Clerk) or e-mail (eacom@parliament.uk),  by Friday 22 March.   The objectives of the inquiry are contained in the Committee's press notice no.8, 3 December 2001.