|Previous Section||Home Page|
Mr. Trippier [holding answer 14 December 1989] : The reorganisation of Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution was intended to facilitate the integration of the four regulatory functions which were combined when it was formed. It provides the organisational structure appropriate for the effective implementation of integrated pollution control. I am pleased that such good progress has been made to date.
Mr. Boyes : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement on the progress being made in the production of a video on the poll tax in British sign language for deaf people.
Mr. Chope [holding answer 14 December 1989] : The Department has corresponded with four bodies--the Royal National Institute for the Deaf, the British Deaf Association, the British Association of the Hard of Hearing and the Royal Association in Aid of Deaf People--on the potential demand for a video in BSL on the community charge and the most effective way of making it. We await one substantive response.
Mr. Chope [holding answer 14 December 1989] : Proposals for making information on the community charge available to the blind through braille and moon, which are currently being pursued with the Royal National Institute for the Blind, should assist some of the deaf-blind. We are considering other means of informing deaf-blind people, such as the production of a video specifically for the deaf. In addition, carers-- including those who care for deaf-blind individuals--are one of the groups we intend to address before the new system comes into effect with information on the community charge benefit scheme and transitional relief.
Mr. Chris Patten [holding answer 14 December 1989] : It is already my policy to take environmental concerns into account in the activities of my Department. I am considering whether procedures to achieve this should be strengthened.
Mr. Ron Brown : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he has received recent representations from trade unions opposing privatisation of the Property Services Agency ; and if he will make a statement.
Disposals to sea of sewage sludge from the United Kingdom under licences issued under part II of the Food and Environment Protection Act 1985 were as follows :
|'000 tonnes |(wet weight) --------------------------------------- 1986 |9,735 1987 |9,016 1988 |9,856
About 95 per cent. of the content is water.
The Ministry of Agriculture is responsible for monitoring disposals to sea from England and Wales. An extensive field assessment programme is conducted at each of the designated disposal sites ; each site is visited at least biennially although some sites are studied more frequently. In addition, licensees are required to carry out an approved programme of dumpsite monitoring as a condition of their licences. Detailed monitoring reports have been published for a number of sites and copies of these are in the Library. The results of these investigations have shown that the disposal of sewage sludge has caused no detrimental environmental impact at any of the designated sites.
Licences to deposit sewage sludge at sea provide for annual limits on the quantity of individual metals in the waste. A requirement is placed on licensees to monitor the composition of sludge as dumped and to report levels to the licensing authority. The composition of sludge is checked directly by sampling by the licensing authority.
Dr. Thomas : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what plans he has to introduce legislation to provide a financial incentive to commercial and industrial firms for the recycling and re-use of materials ; and if he has investigated the feasibility of, and problems associated with, the kerbside collection of materials from domestic and commercial refuse for recycling.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : We do not intend to introduce such legislation ; although proposed legislation on pollution control and waste disposal will provide a market incentive for recycling. We are however contributing, with
Column 99the Department of Trade and Industry and the Industry Council for Packaging and the Environment, to the evaluation of the UK2000 recycling city project in Sheffield which includes a kerbside collection scheme for recyclable domestic refuse.
Mr. Peter Morrison : The Government's response to the select Committee's report was submitted on 8 November and has since been published by the Committee. We continue to monitor carefully this matter and take decisions accordingly.
Mr. Peter Morrison : My Department has produced a report entitled "An Evaluation of Energy Related Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Measures to Ameliorate Them', as a contribution to the work of the intergovernmental panel on climate change. A copy of the report is available in the Library of the House.
Column 100between fossil fuel industries, including coal, and nuclear fuel supplies to electricity generation subsequent to vesting day.
Mr. Michael Spicer : Coal will continue to be the major fuel for electricity generation for many years to come. The non-fossil fuel obligation will ensure that nuclear power continues to play a strategic role in ensuring security of supply and that renewable sources of energy will be able to fulfil their potential as soon as practicable.
68. Ms. Quin : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what is his latest estimate of the total cumulative cost to his departmental public expenditure so far of consultancy, advertising and advice relating to privatisation of the electricity supply industry
Mr. Michael Spicer : Major industrial users will be able to negotiate with the supplier or generator of their choice. The introduction of competition should enable such customers to obtain competitive contracts. There will thus be a downward pressure on costs and prices.
January to October 1989 --------------------------------------- United States of America |3,879 Australia |1,822 Poland |830 Colombia |682 Canada |622 China |405 South Africa |323 Federal Republic of Germany |225 Netherlands |169 USSR |163 Panama |106 Venezuela |86 Belgium |62 Others |175 |------ Total |9,549 Source: Her Majesty's Customs and Excise.
59. Mr. Hardy : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what is his estimate of the volume of coal imports into the United Kingdom for the current year ; and if he will meet the chairman of British Coal to discuss levels of coal imports.
My right hon. Friend and I meet the chairman of British Coal regularly to discuss all aspects of the coal industry.
Mr. Michael Spicer : The Government will provide up to £8 million towards the cost of British Coal's work on the topping cycle at Grimethorpe. This offers a 20 per cent. reduction in carbon dioxide emissions compared with coal fired stations which should make a significant contribution to combating the "greenhouse effect".
Mr. Michael Spicer : The CEGB is providing my Department with six- monthly progress reports on Sizewell B, including construction costs. Nuclear Electric will continue this arrangement and has made clear that it is committed to completing the station to time and present cost estimates.
Mr. Dobson : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy on how many occasions in the past 10 years the auditors of British Coal or the National Coal Board have drawn his attention to inadequacies in their accounts.
British Coal's accounts have been qualified by its Auditors from 1983-84 to 1988-89 owing to the uncertainty over the recoverability out of future earnings of the total net book amount of the corporation's tangible fixed assets. British Coal's accounts were also qualified from 1983-84 to 1986-87 owing to the uncertainty over the amount of liability arising from future claims for surface damage ; and from 1979-80 to 1983-84 over provision for liabilities under the mineworkers' pension scheme and the voluntary early retirement scheme.
Mr. Michael Spicer : It is not possible to predict manpower requirements over future years since this will depend on the performance of individual collieries and the success British Coal has in meeting the requirements of its customers. Manpower requirements are however, a matter for British Coal and I have asked the chairman to write to the hon. Member.
Column 103Mr. Wakeham : I meet the chairman of British Coal regularly to discuss all aspects of the coal industry.
The Cornwall Energy Project by Cornwall County Council ; The Geothermal Hot Dry Rock Project by the Camborne School of Mines ; The Proposed Wind Farm at Cold Northcott by the Central Electricity Generating Board.
Mr. Wakeham : The nation has substantially improved its energy efficiency over the last 10 years. Our energy ratio--the amount of primary energy used to produce each £1,000 of gross domestic product--has improved from 1.24 tonnes of coal equivalent in 1979 to 1.01 tonnes of coal equivalent in 1988 ; and average reduction in energy intensity of 2 per cent. per year.
Mr. Peter Morrison : I refer my hon. Friends to the answer I gave to my hon. Friends for Fylde (Mr. Jack) and for Maidstone (Miss Widdecombe) on 13 November 1989 at column 95. The next meeting will take place on 31 January 1990.
Mr. Dobson : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy if he will give for each year since 1978 the collective estimated expenditure on energy efficiency measures in the domestic sector consistent with the figure of £73 million given for 1987-88 in paragraph 3.7 of the National Audit Office's "National Energy Efficiency", breaking the figure for each year down into assistance for (a) owner-occupiers, (b) private sector tenants and (c) council tenants.
Mr. Wakeham : The main components of £73 million for 1987-88 quoted by the National Audit Office consisted of direct expenditure on domestic energy efficiency measures through the homes insulation scheme and the community insulation programme (the latter also supports
Column 104training objectives and so cannot be attributed entirely to energy efficiency measures). Expenditure under these schemes is given below for each financial year from 1981-82. A breakdown of the figures in the form requested is not available.
|Homes |Community |insulation |insulation |scheme |programme |(£ million)|(£ million) ------------------------------------------------ 1981-82 |24.3 |n/a 1982-83 |30.0 |n/a 1983-84 |25.5 |5.5 1984-85 |25.3 |8.6 1985-86 |28.0 |19.4 1986-87 |26.5 |36.6 1987-88 |24.8 |45.2 1988-89 |9.9 |n/a
Mr. Morgan : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what has been the progress since June 1987 of the building research energy conservation support unit in (a) concentrating on the elderly and disadvantaged and (b) private sector housing research and development activities.
Mr. Peter Morrison : Since June 1987 the building research energy conservation unit, working for the Energy Efficiency Office : 1. Has completed 12 demonstration projects to promote more efficient energy use in sheltered accommodation and the refurbishment of older housing.
2. Is currently preparing a number of good practice guides and case studies for low income housing under the best practice programme. 3. Has developed a strategy under the best practice programme designed to achieve large scale improvements in energy efficiency in private sector housing. The results of the first of these initiatives is Wimpey's new "Superspec" home which my right hon. Friend opened earlier this month and which is built to standards considerably beyond those required to meet the 1990 building regulations for energy efficiency.
Mr. Morgan : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy if he will make a statement on the relationship between the provision of information on energy efficiency by the privatised electricity distribution boards and the role of the Energy Efficiency Office.
Mr. Peter Morrison : Officials of the Energy Efficiency Office (EEO) have already had discussions with officials of the Office Of Electricity Regulation (OFFER) whose role is to supervise the obligations of licensees to promote energy efficiency under the terms of the Electricity Act 1989.
I have no doubt that the present constructive co-operation between regional energy efficiency offices and electricity boards will continue. For instance REEOs are members of judging panels of competitions on energy efficiency organised by electricity distribution boards. Electricity boards and the EEO frequently co-operate in the sponsorship of seminars and exhibitions on energy efficiency.
Mr. Dobson : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy (1) whether the new scheme of grants towards basic insulation measures announced on 22 November will extend to (a) cavity wall insulation and (b) double glazing ;
Column 105(2) whether the new system of grants for house insulation announced on 22 November will involve contributions to the cost by the recipients of grants.
Mr. Doran : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what conclusions the Energy Efficiency Office has reached about questions of productivity of neighbourhood energy action projects under employment training ; and if he will place a copy of its conclusions in the Library.
Mr. Wakeham : The most recently available information on productivity was included in the Neighbourhood Energy Action publication "Energy Efficiency and Employment Training--One Year On". I have asked Neighbourhood Energy Action, from whom the report is publicly available, to send a copy to the hon. Member.