Thank you for your email about the Climate Change and Sustainable Energy Bill.
As you know, this has been introduced as a Private Member’s Bill by the Labour Member of Parliament, Mark Lazarowicz. David Cameron and his colleagues in the Shadow Cabinet have fully supported this Bill throughout its development. Peter Ainsworth, the Shadow Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is a co-sponsor of the Bill. Greg Barker, our front bench spokesman on the environment, has been heavily involved in strengthening the provisions of the Bill in Committee stage.
We regard this Bill as a worthwhile step forward which would help to ratchet up environmental standards in buildings; improve energy efficiency; and enable residents and local authorities to make better use of renewable energy sources. It is closely aligned with the initiative we announced recently on decentralised energy, which our Quality of Life Policy Group is now considering at David Cameron’s request.
In short, the Conservative Party is fully supportive of this Bill and we very much hope that it becomes law.
However, as you know, Private Member’s Bills are not the subject of the usual Party Whip. It is entirely open to individual Members of Parliament to express their own personal views on such Bills, even if, as in this case, they differ with the policy of the party as a whole.
Although the actions of these two backbenchers may delay its passage, we remain hopeful that Mark Lazarowicz’s Bill will become law in due course. We are committed to cross-party co-operation on climate change. This is not an issue which can be tackled in the life-span of a single Government. It must be approached on a genuine long-term basis.
As you may also know, all Private Member’s Bills are vulnerable to falling foul of Parliamentary time constraints. Given that the Government has indicated that it supports the aims of this Bill, we very much hope that, in the event of the Bill not completing its passage, the Government would reintroduce its measures in Government time. Such a step would have the Conservative Party’s full support.
Thank you once again for writing.
David Cameron’s Office
We all recognise the importance of tackling climate change, and I welcome the emphasis that you are placing on the issue.
Last Friday the House of Commons debated a proposed new law called the Climate Change and Sustainable Energy Bill. This Bill is an important step forward in tackling climate change. It would make it simpler to fit and connect microgeneration equipment like solar panels and domestic wind turbines (which I understand you wish to install on your own home), as well as requiring Government and local authorities to implement strategies to combat climate change.
The debate last Friday should have been straightforward in which MPs completed all the remaining stages of the Bill and passed it on to the Lords – because sensibly it is supported by the vast majority of MPs.
Unfortunately, two Conservative backbench MPs, Eric Forth and Christopher Chope, managed to talk for long enough to ensure that the Bill remained stuck in the Commons (despite your spokesmen making it very clear that your party supports the Bill).
Fortunately the Bill has a second chance, on this Friday 17th March. The Climate Change and Sustainable Energy Bill, if passed, will make a great contribution to helping our communities become more sustainable. I hope that you will attend the debate on Friday and encourage your colleagues to do likewise to ensure that this important Bill is passed.