Anne Snelgrove negotiated a deal with Ministers last week that saw an amendment go into the historic Climate Change Bill with Government backing. Now she is writing to church groups, Swindon Climate Action Network and Swindon residents who backed her campaign.
Anne has welcomed the support she has received. “This has been an exhausting process and last week’s negotiations were a huge breakthrough. This week we have seen the amendment actually go into the Climate Change Bill. SCAN and the churches in Swindon have been huge supporters of this initiative that will see public buildings become more energy efficient. Energy efficiency will help Labour reach its ambitious climate change targets and save the taxpayer money.”
In late October Anne wrote to the 160 MPs who have been most closely supporting her with this message:
'When my original Private Member’s Bill was blocked by Christopher Chope at 2nd reading, I decided to table an amendment to the Climate Change Bill containing the provisions of the Bill. As you can imagine, in recent weeks we have been involved in lengthy discussions about the amendment with DECC and Treasury Ministers and their officials. As of late last night, we have reached an agreed way forward, which is reflected in the text of a new amendment (below), which will be tabled by Martin Caton MP this morning and for which we have been promised Government support.
'My original amendment required the Government to procure for their use only buildings in the top quartile of energy performance. This is a commitment that was first made in 2004, but both Ministers and officials admit that progress towards achieving it has been poor. In our recent discussions, however, Martin and I have been heartened to learn that there is a vigorous new drive within Government to improve the energy performance of the public estate. For the first time, the Office of Government Commerce has a dedicated sustainability team, charged with bringing about the very improvements that we have been calling for. We are also persuaded that Ed Miliband, in his new role, is personally signed up to this agenda.
However, Ministers and officials have told us that there is a real difficulty in enshrining the ‘top quartile’ commitment in legislation at this time – mostly because the information about the energy performance of commercial buildings is only now being collected in a meaningful way, with the introduction of Display Energy Certificates. That is why Martin and I have agreed to the wording of the new amendment, which requires the Government to report annually on progress to improve the efficiency and sustainability of the civil estate – including the procurement of top quartile buildings. Although this is clearly a lesser requirement than one to take action, Martin and I are persuaded that, combined with the new drive across Government, the amendment, if passed, will deliver the improvements we would all like to see.'
Pictured right: Anne with Hilary Benn MP who visited the Royal Oak, Bishopstone in April to talk with Swindon people about the Climate Change Bill.