§ 7. Mr. Colvin
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what information he has about the priority given by the Central Electricity Generating Board to studying the relative merits of combined heat and power stations.
§ Mr. Michael Spicer
The board tells me that it gives high priority to studying the relative merits of combined heat and power stations compared with other forms of generation.
§ Mr. Colvin
Is my hon. Friend satisfied that the CEGB considered all the alternatives, such as combined heat and power and the Severn barrage, before deciding to submit plans for a new coal-fired power station at Fawley? Has he considered whether it might be wiser to leave decisions on new power generation to the market and to postpone all decisions on new power stations until the industry has been privatised?
§ Mr. Spicer
We certainly intend a privatised industry to take greater account of market forces. To that extent, I agree with my hon. Friend. The CEGB and ourselves are currently involved in spending money on assessing both the Severn barrage and combined heat and power schemes. In the meantime, the industry believes that it has severe capacity requirements in southern England, and it will therefore be making applications to meet them.
§ Mr. Ron Brown
As Edinburgh is a so-called key city for combined heat and power, will the Minister meet councillors, trade union representatives and members of the local community to discuss the matter? Bearing in mind the importance of jobs for Edinburgh—a city that 8 suffers from mass unemployment — will the Minister come along to discuss the matter, or must we wait until the private sector picks up the tab and organises things in its usual haphazard way?
§ Mr. Spicer
I disagree entirely with the hon. Gentleman's last point. We are currently spending £250,000 on assessing the Edinburgh scheme. I shall certainly be happy to meet and discuss the matter with anyone who wishes to take part in a delegation.