• Research Briefing

    Energy Bill: Committee Stage Report

    This paper summarises the House of Commons Second Reading and Committee Stage proceedings of the Energy Bill. The Bill received its Second Reading on 7 December 2009. It was not amended in Committee. The Bill will introduce an incentive to support up to four carbon capture and storage (CSS) demonstration projects in the UK. CSS is a way of reducing the impact of fossil fuel emissions by capturing carbon dioxide. It will also introduce mandatory support to lower energy bills for the most vulnerable, increase the powers of the industry regulator, Ofgem, and give the Secretary of State the power to ban cross-subsidy between gas and electricity accounts.

  • Research Briefing

    Support for domestic energy users

    This note sets out financial support available to domestic energy consumers, including grants for central heating, insulation, microgeneration equipment and social security measures. It also explains how to seek advice or information about gas and electricity problems from Consumer Direct and the Energy Ombudsman.

  • Research Briefing

    Sources of historical statistics

    Details of online sources of historical statistics across all subject areas other than the economy. These sources are either long-term time series or snapshots of a range of data from a specific point in the past.They allow comparisons between the present day and the start of data collection and any intervening period and give an understanding of patterns -have trends been smooth, random, cyclical etc? Snapshots cover a wider range of data and help us make more general comparisons between 'then' and 'now'. Most of the series go back to around the 1920s or earlier. . This note does not include links to economic data or anything to do with family history.

  • Research Briefing

    Flood and Water Management Bill. Bill 9 2009-10.

    There has been growing pressure to introduce legislation to address the threat of flooding and water scarcity—both are predicted to increase with climate change. The Government published a draft Flood and Water Management Bill in April 2009, and the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee undertook pre-legislative scrutiny of the document. The Committee welcomed a number of the proposals, but it was concerned that a lack of parliamentary time would undermine the introduction of a comprehensive Bill. The Government introduced a slimmed-down version of the Bill on 19 November 2009. Key features include measures to: require the Environment Agency to create a National Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management Strategy, which a number of organisations will have to follow; require lead local flood authorities to create Local Flood Risk Management Strategies; enable the Environment Agency and local authorities more easily to carry out flood risk management works; introduce a more risk-based approach to reservoir management; change the arrangements that would apply should a water company go into administration; enable water companies more easily to control non-essential uses of water, such as the use of hosepipes; enable water companies to offer concessions to community groups for surface water drainage charges; require the use of sustainable drainage systems in certain new developments; and, introduce a mandatory build standard for sewers.

  • Research Briefing

    Energy Bill. Bill 7 2009-10.

    The Bill would introduce: a carbon capture and storage incentive to support the construction of up to four UK demonstration projects, to be chosen in a competition; mandatory social price support to lower energy bills (social tariffs) for the most vulnerable, which would replace the current voluntary agreement which expires in 2011. It would also add ensuring security of supply and protecting consumers to the objectives of the regulator, Ofgem; increase the regulator’s powers to deal with exploitation of electricity distribution constraints by generators; and increase Ofgem’s power to fine companies. It would give the Secretary of State the power to ban cross-subsidy between gas and electricity accounts.

  • Research Briefing

    Climate change levy

    The climate change levy was introduced in April 2001, charged on electricity, gas, liquefied petroleum gas and solid fuels, when supplied to business. This note gives a short history of the levy, and the impact it has had in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

  • Research Briefing

    Landfill communities fund

    Landfill tax is charged on waste disposed at landfill sites. Site operators may fund local community environmental projects, under a scheme allowing them to offset this investment against their tax liability, up to a specified limit. This note gives a short history of the scheme.