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Mr. Maclean : Instructions to the state veterinary service are for internal use and not appropriate for placing in the Library. Where local authorities have enforcement responsibilities for legislation relating to BSE, they are provided with the appropriate statutory instruments. In addition, the Ministry's divisional veterinary officers have ensured that meat inspection authorities at non-EC approved slaughterhouses are aware of BSE, its clinical signs and the action they should take if they identify suspected cases.
Mr. Ron Davies : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what steps he has taken to indicate to other countries the dangers inherent in using meat and some meal of United Kingdom origin in animal foodstuffs ; and if he will indicate when such steps were taken.
Mr. Maclean : Comprehensive information about bovine spongiform encephalopathy, including the probable role of meat and bone-meal in its development, has been provided to the EC Commission and member states on a regular basis since the disease was first identified. Similar information has been passed to the Office International des Epizooties (OIE) for dissemination to third countries. Inquiries received from individual countries are answered as they arise.
Mr. Thurnham : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy how many barrels of oil are produced each day from onshore drilling sites in the United Kingdom ; how many such sites are currently in operation ; and if he will make a statement of his proposals for licensing future onshore oil production.
Column 91expected to increase substantially when production from the Wytch Farm field expands later this year. Twelve fields and a number of small sites in the east midlands are currently in production. Companies are free to apply to my Department for licences to produce oil from onshore discoveries at any time. No such applications are under consideration at present. Existing licensees require consent for their detailed plans to develop oil discoveries. My right hon. Friend has two applications for such consent currently under consideration.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy if he will give the names and dates of post-1980 NATO exercises in which the United Kingdom national oil board and the eastern branch of the NATO wartime oil organisation have participated.
Mr. Dobson : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy how many companies submitted tenders for the marketing and public relations advisers contract with his Department and the electricity supply industry won by Dewe Rogerson.
Mr. Wakeham : Three firms were invited to submit tenders in respect of the joint appointment of a marketing and PR adviser for the Government and the electricity supply industry. One of the firms declined to participate.
Mr. Wakeham : Lowe Bell Communications will provide independent marketing and public relations advice to the Department of Energy as required in respect of electricity privatisation. Detailed information concerning contracts with individual advisers is commercially confidential.
Mr. Dobson : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what are the target objectives set down in the contract with Dewe Rogerson as marketing and public relations advisers to his Department and the electricity supply industry.
Mr. Wakeham : The Secretary of State for Energy and the electricity supply industry (ESI) have jointly appointed Dewe Rogerson to be marketing and public relations advisers for the privatisation of the ESI in England and Wales. Dewe Rogerson will be responsible for the development of the marketing strategy and will undertake specific marketing and public relations tasks, as required. Detailed information concerning contracts with individual advisers is commercially confidential.
Mr. Dobson : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what will be the distinct roles of Lowe Bell and Dewe Rogerson in providing him with special marketing and marketing advice, respectively ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Wakeham : Dewe Rogerson as a joint appointment will provide marketing and public relations advice to both the Department of Energy and the electricity supply industry. Lowe Bell Communications will provide marketing and public relations advice solely to the Department of Energy.
Mr. Dobson : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy whether he will place in the Library a copy of the contract for marketing and public relations advice between Dewe Rogerson and his Department and the electricity supply industry.
Mr. Dobson : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what are his current proposals for employee shareholdings in the electricity supply industry in terms of individual employees and as a percentage of total shares respectively.
Mr. Dobson : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what is his current estimate of the value of the assets of the Central Electricity Generating Board, the 12 area boards and each of the Scottish electricity boards.
Information about the Scottish electricity boards is a matter for my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland.
(2) what was the total of electricity imported from France in 1989 in (a) kilowatt hours and (b) 1986 values.
Mr. Wakeham : Provisional data for the period December 1988 to November 1989, as published in the overseas trade statistics, show that electricity imports from France amounted to 14,045 GW hours. This equates to £346 million at 1986 prices. The figure at 1986 prices has been derived by applying the unit value of electricity imports in 1986 to the volume imported in 1989. There were no exports of electricity recorded for this period.
(2) what were the total imports of coal, natural gas and oil in December 1989 expressed in tonnes and at 1985 values.
Mr. Doran : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy (1) of what material the leg of the Cormorant Alpha platform, damaged by explosion on 22 April 1989, was made ; what was the extent of the damage to the leg ; whether there was any water seepage into the leg at any point ; whether the structural integrity of the platform, or of the leg where the explosion occurred, has been affected ; what internal and external inspections have been carried out on the damaged leg ; what frequency of inspection of the damaged leg his Department will require in the future ; what repairs have been carried out to the leg ; and whether repairs so far carried out have been approved by the appropriate certifying authority ;
(2) what advice he has given to operators of offshore installations on the United Kingdom continental shelf consequent on the explosion on the Cormorant Alpha platform on 22 April 1989 ; and if he will publish the results of his Department's investigation into the causes of the explosion ;
(3) where the explosion on the Cormorant Alpha production platform on 22 April 1989 occurred ; what work was being carried out at the time ; and what was the cause of the explosion ;
(4) whether he intends to pass a copy of his Department's report on the explosion on the Cormorant Alpha platform on 22 April 1989 to the procurator fiscal in Aberdeen for consideration of prosecution.
Mr. Peter Morrison : The explosion occurred in one of the legs of the platform during the installation of an additional emergency shutdown valve on the gas riser. A small component failed allowing a safety plug in the gas riser to be ejected causing a gas leak. the valve and the riser were closed, isolating the riser, but residual gas in the leg found an unidentified ignition source. All personnel had been evacuated to a safe area and precautionary down-manning of the installation had commenced before the ignition occurred.
Column 94The legs of the Cormorant Alpha platform are constructed of concrete. There was no primary structural damage as a result of the explosion and the structural integrity of the platform had not been affected. Repairs to some minor internal damage to trunking and hatch covers have been carried out and have been approved by the certifying authority. Regular surveys of the platform will be undertaken by the certifying authority in accordance with statutory requirements. Although water from the deluge system entered the leg, there was no abnormal sea water seepage following the incident.
In October 1989 my safety directorate issued a discussion document on protection against fire and explosion on offshore installations. A report on my Department's investigation into the incident has been passed to the procurator fiscal in Aberdeen. As the report is an integral part of the procurator fiscal's consideration of whether any prosecution should be initiated, it would not be appropriate to release it.
Mr. Doran : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy when the Cormorant field will begin production of oil and gas ; and what has been the total loss of production from the Cormorant field caused by (a) the shutdown of the platform and (b) the shutdown of the pipeline system running through the Cormorant Alpha platform.
Mr. Peter Morrison : Production from the North Cormorant platform restarted late in May 1989. Production from the Cormorant Alpha platform is expected to restart later this month. It is not expected that there will be any long-term loss of production, but some 0.6 million tonnes of Cormorant production was deferred while the pipeline system was shut down and a further 1.1 million tonnes has been deferred while the Cormorant Alpha platform only has been shut down.
Mr. Doran : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy (1) what advice he has given following the leak of gas, which occurred on the Ninian Central platform in the week ended 8 October 1988, to other operators on the United Kingdom continental shelf ; if he will publish his Department's report into the incident ; and if he intends to pass a copy of his Department's report to the procurator fiscal in Aberdeen for consideration of prosecution ;
(2) what was the cause of the gas leak which occurred on the Ninian Central platform in the week ended 8 October 1988 ; what remedial steps have been taken to prevent a recurrence ; and what was the total cost of lost production of oil and gas as a result of the shutdown of the platform.
Mr. Peter Morrison : The incident was caused by undue manual force being applied when attempting to open a small valve. This resulted in the fracture of a drain line on a separator vessel, causing a high pressure discharge of condensate through a 0.75in hole. All similar drain connections on the operator's platforms were inspected and found to be in order.
My safety directorate issued a safety notice (5/89) on 21 February 1989. This made it clear that owners of installations should take steps, including safety assessments and hazard and operability studies where appropriate, to ensure that their systems and procedures
Column 95are adequate to prevent gas releases from pressurised systems and to provide effective fire and gas detection and water deluge systems.
It is not proposed to publish the report by my inspectors into this incident. Careful consideration was given to whether there were grounds for prosecution, but it was concluded that such action was not appropriate.
The total value of lost and deferred production was some £7 million in prices of the day, of which some 40 per cent. represented deferred rather than lost production.
Mr. Doran : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy (1) what advice he has given to offshore operators on the United Kingdom continental shelf consequent on the incident in the week of 25 December 1988, when the Fulmar FSU broke loose from its moorings ; if he will publish a copy of his Department's report into the incident ; and if he intends to pass a copy of his Department's report to the procurator fiscal in Aberdeen for consideration of prosecution ; (2) what was the cause of the Fulmar FSU breaking loose from its moorings in the week of 25 December 1988 ; what was the loss of production caused by this incident ; and what technical changes have been advised or required of operators of this and similar operations, to prevent a recurrence and earlier warning of serious incidents.
Mr. Peter Morrison : The Fulmar FSU broke loose from its single anchor leg mooring buoy when critical latch components at the base of the buoy fractured during severe weather conditions. The buoy was of a design unique on the UKCS and any lessons learnt are largely specific to it. As a result of requirements by my safety directorate, the operator has made a number of design modifications and has installed a new position reference system and a propulsion facility to enable the direction of drift to be controlled. In addition, my safety directorate laid down specific technical requirements prior to the reinstatement of the Fulmar FSU. Similar advice has been given to one other operator planning to procure a floating storage unit. My Department's investigation report will be sent to the procurator fiscal in Aberdeen and will form an integral part of his consideration of whether any prosecution should be initiated. It would not therefore be appropriate for it to be published. It is not expected that there will be any long-term loss of production as a result of this incident, but production of some 2.25 million tonnes of oil was deferred until later in the field life.
Mr. Doran : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what was the loss of oil spillage as a result of the Fulmar FSU breaking loose from its moorings in the week of 25 December 1988 ; what steps were taken to control the resulting oil slick ; what arrangements were in place at the locus to deal with oil spills ; what was the maximum spillage that existing facilities could contain ; and what instructions or guidance he has given to operators as a result of this incident to improve the oil spill response capacity on the United Kingdom continental shelf.
Mr. Peter Morrison : Approximately 1,300 tons of oil were spilled following the incident. The oil slick was closely monitored by air and sea surveillance. No action was taken when it was found to have dispersed naturally.
Column 96The standby vessel for the Fulmar FSU held a maximum of 5 tons of dispersant capable of dealing with 100 tons of oil.
Primary responsibility for responding to oil spills from offshore installations rests with the operators who are required to have oil spill contingency plans. The industry has a counter-pollution capability on a collective basis, and the resources of the marine pollution control unit of the Department of Transport are available for dealing with oil spills requiring greater resources than those provided by the industry. No additional guidance as a result of Fulmar FSU incident is considered necessary.
Mr. Doran : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what research his Department has undertaken into the problem of corrosion under insulation, in offshore installations on the United Kingdom continental shelf ; what specific instructions or guidance he has given to operators on this matter ; and what assessment he has made of the loss of production as a result of corrosion under insulation.
Mr. Peter Morrison : My safety directorate has appointed an independent consultant to carry out a survey to determine the procedures and systems in use for monitoring and controlling corrosion and erosion of pipework and plant, including corrosion under insulation, on offshore installations. The aim in sponsoring this work is to issue, if necessary, improved guidance to the industry.
My Department is also sponsoring the development of a system to detect corrosion of process pipework without removing the insulation cladding. A company has demonstrated the feasibility of the concept and is now proceeding with prototype manufacture prior to experimental evaluation.
My Department is not aware of any loss of production due to corrosion under insulation on offshore installations.
Mr. Hardy : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what is his estimate of the proportion by which electricity prices will have risen for heavy industrial users between the years 1986-87 and 1990-91.
Mr. Baldry : Prices for all industrial users have risen by 12 per cent. in current terms, equivalent to a reduction of 5 per cent. in real terms, between 1986-87 and the first two quarters of 1989-90. Figures beyond the second quarter of 1989-90 are not yet available.
Mr. Baldry : Electricity customers benefit from the security of supply which diversity helps ensure, and therefore should contribute to the costs of achieving that security. The cost of nuclear power is already included in electricity prices. This will not change after privatisation. The fossil fuel levy will simply indentify this cost.
Column 97Mr. Baldry : I refer the hon. Member to the statement made by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Energy earlier today.
Mr. Morgan : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what is the maximum number of supply interruptions allowed in one year of a supply contract for electricity generated from nuclear sources for it to count towards the non-fossil fuel quota.
Mr. Baldry : Arrangements which allow a generator at his discretion to interrupt the supply, do not provide security of supply. Such arrangements will therefore not be capable of contributing towards the non- fossil fuel obligation.
Mr. Morgan : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy (1) if he will meet the chairman of the Central Electricity Generating Board to discuss the timetable for publication of the study commissioned by the board in 1988 into electro-magnetic fields emanating from power lines and the incidence of adult leukaemia ;
(2) if during his next meeting with the chairman of the Central Electricity Generating Board, he will discuss the publication date of the report it commissioned into the link between electro-magnetic fields emanating from power lines and adult leukaemia.
Mr. Baldry : The national grid division of the CEGB is managing this work on behalf of the electricity supply industry. It is supporting investigations by independent researchers of good standing and it is expected that the results will be published in due course in scientific journals following the normal peer review process.
12. Mr. John Evans : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps he has taken to ensure the enforcement of tachograph regulations for heavy lorries ; how many tachograph inspectors have been appointed by his Department ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Atkins : Checks on HGV drivers' tachograph records are conducted by the Department's traffic examiners at the roadside and in follow-up investigations at operating bases. Charts are also checked in the 11 traffic area offices using computerised analysis equipment.
Over 1.4 million tachograph charts will be checked in 1990-91. Twenty-five traffic examiners were recruited in 1989, and a further recruitment drive is planned for 1990 to bring the grade up to its full strength of 235 posts.
14. Mr. Dykes : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will hold discussions with London Underground Limited on options for a special extra line service from Embankment to Charing Cross stations following any eastward extensions of the Jubilee line route.
Mr. Portillo : The existing Northern line and Bakerloo line services from Embankment to Charing Cross stations will be unaffected by the proposed extension of the Jubilee line, and it is proposed that Jubilee line passengers will benefit from new interchanges at Westminster, Waterloo, London Bridge and points east of there.
18. Dr. Goodson-Wickes : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps are being taken to implement the major upgrading programme of London's Underground, proposed in the central London rail study.
Mr. Portillo : Action to implement the £1.5 billion modernisation programme is in hand on both the Underground and Network SouthEast. Examples on the Underground include the modernisation of the Central line at a cost of about £720 million ; the development of similar plans for the Northern line ; improvements to increase the capacity of other lines ; and works to increase the capacity of some of the most heavily congested stations.
28. Ms. Harman : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what information he has as to how many London Underground stations have been closed for all or part of the day to staff shortages so far this year.
Mr. Portillo : London Underground will close a station when insufficient numbers of staff are present to permit safe operation. There were 153 station closures during the first four weeks of this year. Sixty- eight of these occurred during the first week, when additional staff had to be recruited to carry out the hourly fire inspections required by the London Fire and Civil Defence Authority.
Mr. McLoughlin : My right hon. Friend met the chairman and director general of the committee on 26 September 1989 before publication of the report. I shall be meeting the committee again on 14 February to discuss matters of mutual interest.
Column 99Mr. Portillo : My right hon. Friend and I frequently meet the chairman of London Regional Transport. The most recent meeting was on 5 February when the chairman and I discussed a wide range of matters including safety.
Mr. Portillo : London Regional Transport estimates that it has secured cost savings of some 15 per cent. as a result of letting bus routes by competitive tender. It is not possible to quantify the impact of competitive tendering on other areas of its business.
74. Ms. Mowlam : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much grant aid he is providing for London Regional Transport to implement the findings of the Fennell report during 1989-90 and 1990-91.
Mr. Portillo : London Underground estimates that by the year 2000 it will have spent more than £1 billion on improving safety. The improvements go much wider than the recommendations of the Fennell report. Government grant to London Regional Transport is not attributed to specific projects or activities, but the successive increases in grant announced in the last two Autumn Statements will be more than sufficient to enable London Underground to secure its planned improvements in safety standards. Grant is planed to rise by 115 per cent. over the public expenditure survey period.
Mr. Atkins : Cutting child casualties is one of our top road safety priorities. Since September we have introduced compulsory rear seat restraints, launched "conspicuity" and "safe route to school" campaigns, and are developing other safety measures which will benefit particularly child pedestrians and cyclists. I am looking to local authorities in their road safety plans to foster local initiatives with schools, hospitals, parents and all concerned with the safety and well-being of children.
19. Mr. Sims : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what information he has as to the extent to which fares on Network SouthEast are presently subsidised and on the effect on Network SouthEast of the phasing out of the public service obligation grant ; and if he will make a statement.
"about the maximum rate we can physically manage".
According to BR's plans Network SouthEast's investment can be achieved through modest real fares increases while subsidy falls from 13 per cent. to zero.