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Sombrero Island

Mr. Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, pursuant to his answer of 9 December 1998, Official Report, column 199, on the island of Sombrero, if he will make a statement about officials' discussions with the Government of Anguilla. [76629]

Mr. Battle: Officials from the British National Space Centre are in contact with the Government of Anguilla on the outer space aspects of the request by the US company Beal Aerospace to lease Sombrero Island for the purpose of launching commercial satellites. A meeting was held in London on 10 December between UK Government Departments and representatives of the Governor and Government of Anguilla to discuss the process and timetable for considering the application. Representatives of Beal Aerospace and of the Non-Governmental Organisations were also present.

I understand that subsequent discussions have also been held by officials of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office with the Government of Anguilla on this and on other aspects of this unique proposal. My officials continue to be in contact when appropriate.

Discussions are continuing on the full implications of the project.

Ilisu Dam, Turkey

Mr. Dafis: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what criteria are applied by the Export Credits Guarantee Department in reaching decisions on giving support for the Ilisu Dam project in Turkey. [77133]

Mr. Wilson: The Export Credits Guarantee Department will employ its normal underwriting criteria to ensure that the provision of support for this project involves an acceptable risk. Part of the underwriting process involves looking, with other Export Credit Agencies, at environmental issues, including social issues, such as the resettlement of the local population and protection of cultural heritage, as well as the economic and political risks involved. Ministers will be consulted.

22 Mar 1999 : Column: 116

Mr. Dafis: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will publish a full environmental and social impact assessment before granting export credit insurance for British firms involved in the Ilisu Dam project in Turkey. [77079]

Mr. Wilson: I do not propose to publish a full environmental and social assessment on this project. We are working on the basis of documents which have been produced by other parties to the project and which are not our property. However, we shall be reviewing very carefully the environmental and social aspects of this project.

Export Credits Guarantee Department

Mr. Dafis: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will adopt World Bank policies on (a) environmental assessment, (b) involuntary resettlement and (c) the protection of cultural heritage for the screening of projects receiving support from the Export Credits Guarantee Department. [77132]

Mr. Wilson: I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave him on 11 February 1999, Official Report, columns 410-11.

Mr. Dafis: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if it is part of the standard procedure that projects considered for support by the Export Credits Guarantee Department are assessed in respect of their compliance with the OECD's guidelines for the conduct of multinational enterprises. [77081]

Mr. Wilson: I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave him on 11 February 1999, Official Report, columns 410-11. ECGD is aware of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, but it is not part of its normal underwriting procedures to assess compliance with these. HMG (through DTI) are currently engaged, together with their OECD partners, in the review of the Guidelines. One of the issues under discussion is the broader question of how Governments can encourage greater awareness and observance.

One of the main aims of the procedures ECGD is developing is to raise the awareness of UK exporters, investors and overseas buyers of environmental issues.

Waste Tyres

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what safe forms of disposal for waste tyres the Government are promoting. [75963]

Dr. Howells [holding answer 16 March 1999]: There are a number of options for handling waste tyres. These options include retreading a used tyre to give it another life, energy recovery in the form of electricity generation or as fuel in cement kilns, recycling and re-use. The Government believe that all these options have an important role to play in meeting the 100 per cent. recovery target for waste tyres that the EU landfill Directive will bring. Together with industry, in the form of the Government/Industry Scrap Tyre Working Group, we are considering what steps may be necessary to improve our scrap tyre recovery performance from its level of 74 per cent. in 1997 to the target of 100 per cent., which it is anticipated we will need to achieve by 2003.

22 Mar 1999 : Column: 117

Soft Timbers

Mr. Opik: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will list the tonnage of soft timbers imported from (a) Latvia, (b) Lithuania and (c) Estonia during each of the last three years; and if he will make a statement. [77200]

Mr. Wilson: It is possible to differentiate most, but not all, imported timbers between softwood and other timber. For those categories which can be distinguished, available figures for the imports of softwood from the Baltic States are:

(thousand metric tons)
199519961997
Latvia352449718
Lithuania387397
Estonia6893161

Source:

Eurostat Intra & Extra EU Trade

The figures cover Standard International Trade Classification (Rev3) 247.30, 247.40, 248.20 and 248.30.


Mr. Opik: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will list the output figures of softwoods for the UK timber industry over each of the last three years; and if he will make a statement. [77201]

Mr. Wilson: Information on the output of UK sawmills is available in "Product Sales and Trade, PRA17", published by the Office for National Statistics. A copy is held in the Library of the House. The latest year for which data is available is 1996.

Mr. Opik: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what reports he has assessed of illegal dumping of imported softwoods onto the UK market; and if he will make a statement. [77205]

Mr. Wilson: I am aware of the difficulties being experienced by the UK soft wood industry and have had discussions with their representatives. However, it is the responsibility of the European Commission to investigate complaints about allegedly dumped imports into the EU. So far as I am aware the industry has not made a complaint to the European Commission about the dumping of soft wood.

Pains Wessex

Ann Clwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will list the licensed production agreements that Pains Wessex has established in other countries, indicating the products which the agreements cover. [77238]

Dr. Howells: Companies wishing to license overseas production of their products do not require DTI approval, nor are they required to notify DTI of agreements entered into.

However, I would also refer my hon. Friend to the answer given by my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Small Firms, Trade and Industry on 12 January 1999, Official Report, columns 149-50.

22 Mar 1999 : Column: 118

Wind Turbines

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, pursuant to his answer of 1 March 1999, Official Report, column 571, on the potential inclusion of offshore wind energy in NFFO, if he will introduce a support scheme for long-term investment in wind turbine manufacture. [77271]

Mr. Battle: The Government are already supporting the commercial development of wind energy in the UK under the Non-Fossil Fuel Obligation (NFFO). At 31 December 1998, there were 58 wind projects operational, comprising 138 MW Declared Net Capacity. In addition, a further 69 wind projects, comprising 368 MW of capacity were contracted under NFFO-5 which I announced last September.

Support for manufacturers for research and development of wind turbine technology is available under my Department's New and Renewable Energy Programme. As referred to in my answer of 17 March 1999, Official Report, columns 700-01, total DTI expenditure on wind energy projects in 1997-98 was £1.5 million.

Support under the Department's Regional Selective Assistance (RSA) scheme is also available. This is a discretionary scheme aimed at attracting investment and creating/safeguarding jobs in the Assisted Areas. Guidance notes and application forms for this scheme can be obtained from local Business Links or Government Offices.


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