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Competitive Tendering (Contracts)

Mr. Donohoe: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many contracts for goods or services have been awarded in each of the last three financial years by his Department and its executive agencies after competitive tendering; and what was the total combined value of these contracts. [21032]

Sir Paul Beresford: This information is not held centrally by my Department and is obtainable only at disproportionate cost.

Pollution Controls

Ms Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will reconsider his decision to delay the implementation of pollution controls on volatile organic compound emissions; and if he will make a decision. [20878]

Mr. Clappison: No. The decision, announced last June, was justified pending the review of the relevant statutory guidance notes. It avoided industry incurring what might prove to be unnecessary expenditure. We are well on

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course to achieving a 30 per cent. reduction in volatile organic compound emissions by 1999 in accordance with the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe VOC protocol. This reduction will not be compromised by the extension to the implementation time-scale.

Home Energy Efficiency Scheme

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what assessment he has made of the effect of changes to the home energy efficiency scheme on pensioner households. [21049]

Mr. Clappison: All householders aged over 60 remain entitled to grants under this successful high-quality scheme. Those on low incomes or receiving disability benefits will continue to be eligible for 100 per cent. grants for better insulation of their homes and for energy advice. From 1 April, better-off householders over 60 will be entitled to free advice, and to insulation measures at a substantial discount.

Ms Ruddock: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many (a) requests for information and (b) applications for grants were made under the home energy efficiency scheme in (i) February 1995, (ii) February 1996, (iii) March 1995 and (iv) March 1996 to the latest available date. [21261]

Mr. Robert B. Jones: The table shows the numbers of requests for information received by Eaga Ltd. the scheme managers, and the numbers of grants claimed.

MonthInquiries handled by Eaga Ltd.Grant claims
February 199527,32242,801
February 199653,87458,551
March 199518,80532,390
March 1996 (until 8th)12,60527,225

Ms Ruddock: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) how many home energy efficiency scheme (a) applications and (b) grants have been made since 1 April 1995 to the latest available date; [21262]

Mr. Jones: From 1 April 1995 to 8 March 1996, 602,791 home energy efficiency scheme grant claims in respect of work completed were received by Eaga Ltd. Applications to installers for work to be done are not centrally recorded. In the same period, Eaga Ltd. received 330,000 inquiries about the scheme.

Ms Ruddock: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the waiting list of applications for home energy efficiency scheme grants which have been received but have yet to be processed at the latest available date. [21264]

Mr. Jones: I estimate that installers now have, on average, about 18 weeks, work from people who have registered an interest in the home energy efficiency scheme.

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Ms Ruddock: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how much money from the 1996-97 home energy efficiency scheme budget will be used to fund work where the application was made on or before 31 March; and how many grants will be paid for in this way. [21287]

Mr. Jones: I estimate that up to 210,000 claimants may have registered an interest by 31 March 1995. If all of them are eligible for grants under the present rules, up to £34 million of the 1996-97 budget could be spent.

Ms Ruddock: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) in how many cases where applications for home energy efficiency scheme grants have been approved the work has not yet been carried out; [21265]

Mr. Jones: I understand that over 200,000 people who have inquired about grants are waiting for work to be done. The table gives the information requested about times of inquiry and estimated payment of grant.

Percentage

Period of enquiryWork completed in 1995-96Work completed in 1996-97
Third quarter of 1995-9695 5
Fourth quarter of 1995-9625 75

Ms Ruddock: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what proportion of home energy efficiency scheme grants made in (a) financial year 1994-95 and (b) financial year 1995-96 to the latest available date, were made to people who will no longer be eligible for a full grant after 1 April. [21267]

Mr. Jones: I estimate that in 1994-95, 33 per cent. of all home energy efficiency scheme grants were paid to people aged over 60 who did not also claim an income-related benefit, and the equivalent figure for 1995-96 is likely to be about 45 per cent. I expect the proportion to fall in future.

Ms Ruddock: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) what was the national average waiting time for (a) processing applications for home energy efficiency scheme grants and (b) carrying out work under the home energy efficiency scheme once an application was approved, in each month of 1995 and each month of 1996 to the latest available date; [21268]

Mr. Jones: The information requested is not available on a regional basis. National data are given in the table. Average waiting times nationally, allowing for seasonal

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variations in demand, are not significantly longer this winter than last, despite the recent increase in demand for the scheme.

MonthMean time from inquiry to work completed (weeks)
1995
January14
February12
March9
April8
May7
June6
July6
August7
September7
October7
November8
December8
1996
January12
February14
March18

Orimulsion Burning (Emissions)

Mr. Clapham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement about the permissible daily tonnage of PM 10s which will be emitted from power stations burning orimulsion; and what monitoring procedures have been agreed. [20847]

Mr. Clappison [holding answer 18 March 1996]: With reference to Pembroke power station, proposals have been received from National Power for the burning of orimulsion, and these are currently being evaluated by Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution. It is intended that releases of particulate matter would be continuously monitored.

With regard to Ince power station, over 90 per cent. of the particulates from orimulsion combustion are removed by the electrostatic precipitators. The particulate emission limits for orimulsion are currently the most stringent of the black fossil power generation processes.

HMIP requires continuous monitoring of particulates emissions, and specific limits have been imposed for short-term (two hours), medium-term (48 hours), and long-term (monthly) average emission levels. In addition, maximum annual tonnage limits are specified.

The authorisation of Ince power station under EPA90 is soon to be modified, and it is expected that PowerGen will be required to assess the effect of emissions (including PM 10s) on local air quality with a view, if necessary, to reducing concentrations under adverse meteorological conditions.

Mr. Clapham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement on the measures to be taken at power stations burning orimulsion to ensure there are no emissions of vanadium and other heavy metals as well as pentoxide fumes; and what monitoring procedures have been agreed. [20848]

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Mr. Clappison [holding answer 18 March 1996]: Orimulsion, in common with most heavy fuel oils, contains a small amount of vanadium and heavy metals which form part of the particulates produced in combustion.

The one power station which is currently firing orimulsion is Ince, and this uses electrostatic precipitators which effectively reduce vanadium and heavy metal emissions levels by more than 90 per cent. as a requirement of its IPC authorisation.

Currently, HMIP imposes an annual tonnage limit on power stations for vanadium and heavy metal emissions. In the forthcoming modified authorisation for Ince power station, this limit has been reduced by 15 per cent.


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