§ Mrs. Brinton
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions (1) what estimate he has made of the number of people living in fuel poverty in(a) solid-walled and (b) cavity-walled housing; 
(2) what plans he has to provide funding for the insulation of the walls of solid-walled properties for those deemed to be living in fuel poverty. 
§ Mr. Meacher
Data from the English House Condition Survey shows that there were at least 4.3 million fuel poor households in 1996. Of these, 1.5 million are estimated as living in solid-walled properties and 2.4 million in cavity-walled housing. The remaining 0.4 million are thought to live in non-traditional and mixed-construction housing.
The new Home Energy Efficiency Scheme (HEES) has been designed to tackle fuel poverty, focusing on those households most at risk of ill health due to cold homes. It does so by providing packages of heating and insulation improvements that will reduce the cost of keeping warm for households by up to £1,000 a year.
During the development of the scheme, the full range of heating and insulation measures were considered, including the use of external or internal wall insulation for solid wall properties. Discussions with the insulation industry showed that the cost of external wall insulation was about £2,500 for an average 3-bedroom semi-detached property with disruption for the household. With internal wall insulation, installation costs are less but the disruption to households is greater and there is a loss of internal space. In addition, there are redecoration costs after the work has been completed.
It was therefore felt that both these measures were more appropriate for large-scale estate renewal programmes where they could be combined with other work such as damp proofing, rather than for new HEES which will target individual properties, primarily in the private sector.
The packages available for solid walled properties under the new HEES include higher levels of heating improvements than those for cavity walled homes, so providing similar reductions in fuel costs for both types of property.
§ Mr. Alan Simpson
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what responses have been received to the consultations relating to the proposed redefinition of households in fuel poverty; and if he will make a statement on his plan for action following the consultation. 
§ Mr. Meacher
The consultation document on the new Home Energy Efficiency Scheme invited comment on two aspects of the commonly used definition of a fuel poor492W household—that is to say, one needing to spend more than 10 per cent. of income to achieve a satisfactory heating regime—namely:whether the use of fuel for non-heating purposes should be included in assessing the amount of fuel needed to achieve a satisfactory heating regime;andwhether the calculation of household income should exclude any element of housing costs such as rent or mortgage payments.
A total of 252 responses to the consultation document have been received to date. Forty per cent. of respondents did not comment on either of these particular questions. On the issue of non-heating fuel, 54 per cent. felt that all fuel costs should be taken into account; 6 per cent. had various other suggestions. On the issue of housing costs, 34 per cent. felt that they should not be excluded from income; 20 per cent. felt the opposite; and 6 per cent. made other suggestions.
The eligibility of households for assistance under the new HEES is not directly dependent on the definition of fuel poverty. However, it is relevant more widely to the discussion of fuel poverty issues, and we intend to look at the definition in the light of the comments received.
I shall write to my hon. Friend separately with a full copy of the analysis of the consultation responses and place a copy in the Library.
§ Mrs. Brinton
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions (1) what percentages of heat is lost on average from(a) solid-walled and (b) cavity-walled housing; 
(2) what assessment he has made of the principal sources of heat loss in domestic properties. 
§ Mr. Meacher
On behalf of the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions the Building Research Establishment has undertaken research into heat loss from solid-walled and cavity-walled housing.
In a typical semi-detached dwelling with un-insulated cavity walls and with average insulation standards for the other elements, the walls account for about 40 per cent. of the total dwelling heat loss (reducing to slightly below 20 per cent. if cavity-wall insulation is added).
For the same dwelling with un-insulated solid walls, the heat loss through the walls accounts for about 48 per cent. of the total dwelling heat loss.
Estimates of the principal heat losses for a typical dwelling are: walls 38 per cent., ventilation 23 per cent., windows and doors 26 per cent., roofs 5 per cent., floors 8 per cent.