§ 2. Mr. Evennett
asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will make a statement on progress with Energy Efficiency Year initiatives.
§ The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Energy (Mr. David Hunt)
My right hon. Friend's Monergy 86 initiative is fast becoming one of the most successful campaigns ever. Already more than 750 events have taken place, and we are well on the way to surpassing by a big margin my right hon. Friend's target of 1,000 events. We have issued 140,000 domestic, industrial and educational packs in response to requests generated by our advertising campaign, in addition to the millions of leaflets delivered to households across Britain. Over 3,000 top executives have attended the first six of our Energy Efficiency Year breakfast briefings.
I thank my hon. Friend for his reply and congratulate him on the success of the project. Is he prepared to see an ever-increasing role for energy managers, and does he agree that they have an important role to play in promoting energy efficiency?
§ Mr. Hunt
I am delighted to confirm the important role played by energy managers in getting the monergy message across. My right hon. Friend set a target for doubling the number of energy managers. That has already been achieved, and we want to see a further doubling of that figure. I welcome the excellent job performed by energy management groups, of which the Bexleyheath management group, in my hon. Friend's constituency, is a fine example. Energy managers are the front-line troops in this vital campaign.
§ Mr. O'Brien
Is the Minister aware that there are still areas where there is a lack of knowledge about energy efficiency, especially in poorer areas? Will he ask energy efficiency boards to make a special effort to bring more knowledge of the improvements that are necessary for energy efficiency in areas of gross unemployment and in the poorer sections of the community?
§ Mr. Hunt
I am surprised to hear that, but I join the hon. Gentleman in wishing to see the monergy message distributed as widely as possible, especially to those sections of the community who most need help. My right hon. Friend has spearheaded a substantial increase in the grant to the neighbourhood energy action group, and there has been a massive increase in the number of groups which directly help in an efficient way those faced with high fuel bills who need to insulate.