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Scientific Laboratories

Mr. Bayley: To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will make a statement on progress with market testing the first tranche of Government scientific laboratories. [1316]

Mr. Ian Taylor: My right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade placed in the Library of the House on 26 January 1996, a copy of the guidelines on the conduct of prior option reviews. These confirmed that research establishments would have their functions rigorously tested to decide whether the function was required at all, and whether there was scope for privatising, contracting out (which could include market testing), merging establishments or transferring work between them.

11 Nov 1996 : Column: 16

Announcements have subsequently been made: (i) to privatise ADAS, the Building Research Establishment, and the Royal Observatories; (ii) to create as new executive agencies within the public sector, the Directorate of Fisheries Research, the Fisheries Research Services, and the Forestry Commission Research Division; and (iii) that the Central Laboratory for the Research Councils, the National Weights and Measures Laboratory, the Health and Safety Laboratory, and the Scottish Agricultural Science Agency retain their current status within the public sector.

Information on the market testing of individual functions of each establishment is not held centrally.

Opencast Coal Mines

Mr. Clapham: To ask the President of the Board of Trade how many opencast coal mining sites are currently in operation; where they are situated; and what is the annual tonnage of coal extracted. [3306]

Mr. Page: There are 95 opencast coal mining sites currently in operation and their locations are given in the following table. The tonnage of coal extracted from opencast sites in 1995 was 16,369,000 tonnes.

Opencast sites

Site nameLocation
AirdsgreenEast Ayrshire
Arden QuarryDerbyshire
Arkwright Colliery ReclamationDerbyshire
Bag LaneWigan
BallochneyNorth Lanarkshire
BlairfordelPerth and Kinross
Bleak HouseStaffordshire
Blindwells ExtensionEast Lothian
Blinkbonny West MineMidlothian
Brawds LevelNeath and Port Talbot
Birch Vale QuarryDerbyshire
Broughton LodgeCumbria
Burnfoot MoorEast Ayrshire
Carters Ford WestSt. Helens
Castle FarmDurham
ChalmerstonEast Ayrshire
Chester HouseNorthumberland
Clarence Farm ExtensionDurham
Common Farm Phase IIIEast Ayrshire
DalquhandySouth Lanarkshire
DamsideNorth Lanarkshire
Derlwyn 2Neath and Port Talbot
Doe Hill HouseDerbyshire
East Pit ExtensionNeath and Port Talbot
Easter Balbeggie FarmFife
Easter FortissatNorth Lanarkshire
Edge FarmSouth Lanarkshire
Ffos LasCarmarthenshire
Gilfach IagoCarmarthenshire
Greenside FarmNorth Lanarkshire
Grove Farm Leeds
Grove Farm (Extended)Leeds
Hannahston FarmEast Ayrshire
Hare Hill SiteSouth Lanarkshire
Hawks Nest WoodLeeds
Henllan UchafPowys
Ireland CollieryDerbyshire
Kirk (revised)Derbyshire
Laigh RiggendNorth Lanarkshire
Lambhill RemainderPerth and Kinross
Leadbrook HallFlintshire
Llanilid West RevisedRhondda, Cynon and Taff
Lletty'r CruddNeath and Port Talbot
Lodge CoppiceShropshire
Low GordonDurham
Marks QuarryDurham
Methley ParkLeeds
Mossband FarmNorth Lanarkshire
Nant HelenPowys
New FarmMidlothian
Odd House FarmLeicestershire
Orgreave ReclamationRotherham
Park Slip WestMerthyr Tydfil
PiperhillEast Ayrshire
Prathouse SiteFife
Priors Close NorthDurham
Reedswood Reclamation Walsall
Roughcastle NorthFalkirk
Rye HillSunderland
Sarn Helen OpencastNeath and Port Talbot
Shellbrook and Wood FarmLeicestershire
Shortrig GorbachevFalkirk
South Brandon ExtensionDurham
Stanley MossDurham
Trecatti Landfill OpencastCaerphilly
Trinity IIIDerbyshire
Trinity III Deep Hard OpencastDerbyshire
Waingroves IIIDerbyshire
Wester Mosshat FarmSouth Lanarkshire
Westfield LinkFife
Whittington Sewage Treatment WorksDerbyshire
Whitwell DriftDurham
Woodbine Opencast SiteBarnsley
WoodmuirSouth Lanarkshire


The Coal Authority.

11 Nov 1996 : Column: 17

British Coal Land

Mr. Clapham: To ask the President of the Board of Trade how much money British Coal's land sales have raised to date; and what acreage has been bought by coalmining companies. [3305]

Mr. Page: The sale of British Coal's property is a matter for the corporation.

11 Nov 1996 : Column: 18

Enterprise Britain Initiative

Mr. Hoon: To ask the President of the Board of Trade, pursuant to his answer of 30 October, Official Report, column 154 if he will list the constituencies in which meetings have so far been arranged under the enterprise Britain initiative; and what is the projected cost to date. [2291]

Mr. Lang [holding answer 6 November 1996]: The programme of events is still being arranged. Events are being held in cities and smaller towns across Britain and are not being held for individual parliamentary constituencies. The first events will be in Luton and Lincoln on 11 November. The cost of these and future events will depend on the number of participants.

Biomass Plants

Mr. Clapham: To ask the President of the Board of Trade how many biomass plants are operating in the UK under the non-fossil fuel obligation; where they are situated; and what is the potential output of each plant. [2975]

Mr. Page [holding answer 7 November 1996]: Two poultry--litter fuelled electricity generating stations are operating in the UK under the non-fossil fuel obligation, at Diss in Suffolk and Scunthorpe in Humberside. Each has a declared net capacity of 12.69 mw. In addition, an installation at Piddlehinton in Dorset, utilising pig slurry as a fuel, is currently generating under the NFFO. It has a capacity of 0.1 mw.

A further poultry-litter fuelled power station with a capacity of 38.5 mw is under construction at Thetford in Norfolk.

Manufacturing Investment

Mr. Corbett: To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will make a statement on the presentation of the Government's policies relating to manufacturing investment. [1321]

Mr. Greg Knight: Manufacturing investment is primarily a matter for manufacturing companies. The role of Government is to encourage enterprise by providing a stable macroeconomic environment, making markets work better, and helping firms to help themselves through the provision of high quality business support services.

The Government set out their policies to achieve these objectives in "Competitiveness: Creating the Enterprise Centre of Europe", Cm 3300. My right. hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade and other Ministers are explaining these policies to business people and listening to their concerns at a series of business breakfasts being held in several towns and cities.

Launch Aid

Mr. Ingram: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what was the last project supported by his Department under the launch aid programme; when this took place; and what was the level of the support. [991]

Mr. Greg Knight [pursuant to the reply, 30 October, Official Report, column 152]: The hon. Member should be aware that part of the amount remaining to be paid has been allocated in 1996-97.

11 Nov 1996 : Column: 19


Nuclear Weapons

Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what meetings (i) he, (ii) other Ministers and (iii) officials from his Department (a) have had and (b) plan to have with representatives of the Australian Government to discuss the report of the Canberra commission on the elimination of nuclear weapons. [2929]

Mr. David Davis: We have regular discussions with the Australian Government on nuclear non-proliferation and arms control issues. The Australian Government have made clear that the Canberra commission acted as an independent body.

Death Penalty

Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he plans to make to the Governments of Latvia, Lithuania, Ukraine and Russia concerning (a) the abolition of the death penalty and (b) resolution 1097 (1996) of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe; and if he will make a statement. [2745]

Mr. Hanley: The European Union made a demarche to Ukraine on 31 October, and to Russia on 4 November, encouraging them to fulfil commitments made to the Council of Europe to introduce moratoriums on the death penalty. The Presidents of Latvia and Lithuania have declared moratoriums on the death penalty pending parliamentary discussion of its abolition.

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