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45. Mr. Skinner : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what further representations he has received asking him to seek discussions with British Coal regarding the reinstatement of miners sacked during the 1984- 85 coal strike ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Peter Morrison : Minimum standards of insulation for new housing are specified in building regulations. Draft regulations further increasing standards of thermal efficiency are at present under consideration by the Department of the Environment. In addition, the Energy Efficiency Office promotes a number of measures for improving the energy efficiency of housing, including double glazing where economic.
Mr. Peter Morrison : The estimates of abandonment costs remain very uncertain due to continuing uncertainties as to timing, technology and extent of removal. But for all existing installations and for those currently in the process of, or close to construction my Department currently estimates an aggregate abandonment cost of some £4 billion at 1988 prices.
Mr. Michael Spicer : The increase of over £1 million to £2.6 million next year in my Department's coal-based energy research and development budget will be used to support additional research on the clean use of coal.
53. Mr. Harry Barnes : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy if he has plans in the current parliamentary Session to introduce measures to improve compensation arrangements for those who suffer from the effects of coal mining subsidence.
Mr. Michael Spicer : Decisions on coal mining subsidence legislation will be taken after careful consideration of all comments received on the Government's consultation Paper issued earlier this year. The legislation will be introduced when the legislative timetable permits.
54. Mrs. Margaret Ewing : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what discussions he has recently held with individuals or groups who are concerned with achieving secure employment and orders for oil fabrication yards.
Mr. Peter Morrison : I have had a number of discussions recently about the oil fabrication industry. Only last week I chaired the offshore industry liaison committee, which includes representatives from the oil and supplies industries and trade unions when the situation in the fabrication industry and its prospects were reviewed. The upturn in UKCS oil and gas activity this year has provided improved opportunities for competitive yards.
Mr. Parkinson : I met the chairman of the Southern Electricity Board and the other area board chairmen on Monday 28 November. We discussed a range of issues concerning the privatisation of the electricity supply industry.
Mr. Peter Morrison : We continue to publicise and promote energy efficiency through a variety of means, including targeted advertising, for example "The Heat is On" campaign aimed at major energy using sectors of industry (chemical, ceramics and metal). A series of press advertisements was featured strongly in this campaign.
Mr. Michael Spicer : The Government have invested over £25 million in wind energy research and are currently investing over £4 million annually. In addition United Kingdom industry, including the electricity supply industry is currently investing over £5 million annually.
Mr. Peter Morrison : As I have already announced, the Energy Efficiency Office is entering a new phase in which it will offer more specific and targeted services with an emphasis on the regional offices.
Dr. Thomas : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what is his policy on the allocation of civil servants from his Department to assist the Hinkley Point C inquiry inspector, in the drafting of chapters of his final report.
Mr. Michael Spicer : My right hon. Friend has provided the inquiry inspector with the resources and staff that he (the inspector) felt necessary to conduct the inquiry. It is a matter for the inspector to determine in which way to use these resources and to which tasks to allocate his staff.
Mr. Alan Williams : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy how many staff were accommodated in his Department's headquarters in 1986 ; how many he expects will be accommodated in the new offices in 1989 ; and in each case what is the area of office space per head.
Mr. Parkinson : In September 1986 the Department's headquarters occupied 242,419 sq ft, accommodating 814 staff in post. The new headquarters will have 184,000 sq ft and we expect to have 840 staff in post. Space per head is therefore 298 sq ft and 219 sq ft respectively.
Mr. Hood : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy if he will list the numbers of those employed in the coal mining industry in each of the coalfield areas ; and if he will also list the numbers employed by British Coal, giving the percentage in each case.
Mr. Blair : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what will be the salaries of the chairmen and chief executives of the National Power Company, the Power Generation Company and the National Grid Company.
Mr. Wray : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy, further to his answer to the hon. Member for Glasgow, Provan, Official Report , 28 November, column 125, if he will urgently make it his policy to allocate the same amount of funds for research on alternative sources of energy, as is allocated for research on nuclear energy.
Mr. Michael Spicer : No. There is an inherent difference in scale, and hence in costs, between the R & D needed to achieve results in the different sectors. Nuclear R & D is at the development stage, which is also inherently more expensive than the research stage, at which much of the non -nuclear work is being done at present. The Government look at each research area and programme on its own merits, in the light of advice from ACORD, and allocate resources accordingly, rather than try to seek a spurious balance between them.
Mr. Harry Barnes : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy if he will monitor the building of a new power station in Malta as a means of drawing lessons for the siting and nature of energy systems in the United Kingdom.
Column 484last wo years in England and Wales ; and what have been the total generation costs for electricity from all types of stations.
Mr. Portillo : Thirty-nine National Bus Company subsidiaries have been acquired either wholly or partially by their managements or by their managements and staff jointly. One local authority owned bus company has also recently been taken over by its management and staff with an employee share ownership plan, and in another case the staff acquired a minority shareholding. We have no information available on such takeovers in the private sector.