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Public Bodies

Dr. Wright: To ask the President of the Boards of Trade how many appointments to the public bodies listed in "Public Bodies" for his Department were made during 1994-95 from names supplied by the public appointments unit; and if he will list them. [25952]

Mr. John M. Taylor [holding answer 22 April 1996]: From 1 January 1994 to 31 December 1995, departmental records show that 13 appointments to nine separate public bodies were made from names supplied by the public appointments unit. A list of the appointments is as follows.


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Nickel Dust

Mr. Hardy: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what level of nickel dust will be released by combustion for the purposes of electricity generation; and if the figure exceeds the action levels determined by Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution in 1995. [25627]

Mr. Page [holding answer 23 April 1996]: The vast majority of UK electricity generation arising from fossil fuels is based on coal or natural gas combustion. Nickel features as a trace element in coal, with a typical concentration of 20 ppm covering a range from 0.5 to 50 ppm, and is also present in fuel oil.

Nickel compounds, along with other trace elements which are released to air during electricity production, are generally associated with particulates. These are captured by particulate removal devices which, in large coal-fired generating plants, exhibit a typical removal efficiency greater than 99 per cent. Emission levels of nickel compounds arising from the combustion of fuel in power stations are not identified separately. Controls on these substances are applied indirectly through the regulation of particulate releases and there is little routine monitoring of such trace elements or reliable estimates of their release in the UK.

Preliminary estimates provided by the power generators to the Environment Agency indicate that release rates are in the range 9x10-3 to 4x10-2 grams per second--g/s--for coal-fired stations and to 3 to 5 g/s for oil-fired stations. These levels are greater than the "significant release rate" of 8x10-3 g/s proposed by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Pollution in 1995. The "significant release rate" provides guidance to operators on the level of release above which the substance should be considered in any environmental assessment submitted as part of an application for authorisation under integrated pollution control. The "significant release rate" supersedes but performs the same function as the "Action Level" proposed by HMIP in a consultation guidance document on best practical

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environmental option--BPEO--assessment procedures in April 1994. Under typical operating conditions, releases of this magnitude might be expected to result in ambient air concentrations which are less than 2 per cent. of the environmental assessment level for nickel as an annual average.

In view of the preliminary nature of these estimates, the Environment Agency has asked the major operators to provide a written response by 1 October 1996 to demonstrate how reliable annual estimates are to be provided for a number of trace substances, including nickel compounds.

Inward Investment (Merseyside)

Mrs. Jane Kennedy: To ask the President of the Board of Trade, pursuant to his answer of 5 March, Official Report, column 137, how many inward investment strategies for Merseyside have been produced by his Department since 1985. [26504]

Mr. John M. Taylor: No inward investment strategies for Merseyside have been developed since 1985, although a strategy is currently being developed with local partners.

Mrs. Kennedy: To ask the President of the Board of Trade, pursuant to his answer of 5 March, Official Report, column 137, when he expects an inward investment strategy for Merseyside to be completed; and if he will publish that strategy. [26505]

Mr. Taylor: An outline strategy has been prepared involving all the relevant local agencies on Merseyside. It is set within the framework for inward investment support provided by the objective 1 single programming document. A decision on whether and when to publish the strategy will be taken by local partners in due course.

Patent Office

Mr. Harvey: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what are the objectives of process re-engineering as applied to the Patent Office; and if he will make a statement. [26616]

Mr. Ian Taylor: The objective of process re-engineering is the more effective delivery of services. That is also the criterion by which any specific proposals are judged.

Single Market Programme

Mrs. Roche: To ask the President of the Board of Trade how many pieces of legislation have been enacted to implement the single market programme (a) in the United Kingdom as a whole, (b) in the United Kingdom affecting firms with fewer than 100 employees and (c) in each other EU country (i) as a whole and (ii) affecting firms with fewer than 100 employees. [26040]

Mr. Oppenheim [holding answer 24 April 1996]: A table showing the number of measures in the Commission's 1985 White Paper on the single market transposed into national law by each member state as at December 1995 follows. The Department does not monitor the number of pieces of national legislation necessary to transpose the directives. The measures contained in the White Paper aim to benefit business generally and apply to all companies.

State of Implementation of the White Paper Measures 276 provisions in force/222 reqiring national implementing measures Breakdown of situation by Member State(1)
(31 December 1995)

Measures notifiedNot applicableDerogationsMeasures not notifiedPartial notificationInfringement for non-conformity
DK21730110
NL21420501
E21112413
S20347710
L20760900
P20733702
UK21020343
F20910732
FIN193641090
B200201127
I198401523
IRL198401622
EL193332111
D1943011410
A1843718100

(1) The situation regarding transposition in the new Member States is being reviewed in the light of bilateral meetings in early 1996.


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Late Payments

Mrs. Roche: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what percentage of bills were paid late by his Department in 1995-96. [26110]

Mr. John M. Taylor [holding answer 24 April 1996]: This information is being collated by the Department and will be published by my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade before the summer recess.

Mrs. Roche: To ask the President of the Board of Trade how much was paid late to the private sector for goods and services by his Department in 1995-96. [26146]

Mr. Taylor [holding answer 24 April 1996]: This information is not held in the form requested and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Coalfield Communities (Recreational Sites)

Mr. Hardy: To ask the President of the Board of Trade when he expects the discussions between his Department and British Coal in regard to the retention and safeguarding of recreational sites in coalfield communities to be included; and if he will make it his policy that the future of these sites be safeguarded. [26354]

Mr. Page: The Government's objective remains that British Coal land in active use for sport and recreation will be retained for those purposes. Discussions continue with British Coal and the Coal Industry Social Welfare Organisation as to how this can best be achieved. Those discussions will be concluded as soon as possible.

DEFENCE

Works of Art

Mrs. Clwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what was the cost to public funds of the three paintings depicting the Army in Bosnia; [20840]

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Mr. Arbuthnot: Works of art are purchased to enhance the working environment or to represent an aspect of the history of the Department. The three paintings representing events in Bosnia were purchased for the departmental art collection in January 1995 at a cost of £6,556.50, including VAT. The purchase was made because it was considered that the collection should include paintings depicting the Army's important contribution in Bosnia.

Approval was given in the normal way within the civilian management area which is responsible for works of art. It complied with normal budgetary and accounting procedures.


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