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Electricity Order 1997

Mrs. Ellman: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he has reached conclusions following his consultation on proposals to amend the Electricity (Class Exemptions from the Requirement for a Licence) Order 1997. [129580]

Mrs. Liddell: In order to reduce the regulatory burden on generators which are not subject to central despatch at present I am proposing to make changes to the de-minimis level above which a generation licence is required. Subject to final comments, I propose to lay an order to exempt for a period of one year all generators which are not capable of exporting more than 100 MW to the total system and which have energised connections on the date of the order coming into force. Additionally a small number of stations which exceed this limit but are not presently subject to central despatch will be included within this exempt class.

The change will allow generators which are currently connected to the public network and do not presently have to submit to central despatch the freedom to aggregate their output with suppliers when the new electricity trading arrangements come into effect. This will be of particular help to those plants which do not have predictable or flexible output, including renewables and CHP operators.

The Government propose to lay the order in August. It will come into force before the commencement of NETA trading in the autumn.

This order will be an interim arrangement pending the coming into force of new legislation and will apply in England and Wales. During this interim period, generators who wish to connect new plant capable of exporting between 50-100 MW or who plan to increase the size of their plant so that it comes within this category may apply to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry for an individual exemption. In deciding whether or not to grant and in determining the date of the granting of such exemptions, the Department will take into account the views of interested parties--including those of Ofgem and the relevant transmission and distribution network operators.

It is my intention within the coming year to lay a further, final order replacing this interim order. Further orders will cover the de-minimis rules to govern exemptions from the need for licences to generate, supply and distribute electricity.

The generation exemptions covering plant of this size will be subject to periodic review. It is the Government's present intention that they will be reviewed approximately every three years.

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I intend to consult further on possible changes to the rules governing supply exemptions. These changes, which I would propose to bring into effect within the coming year, would help small and industrial on-site generators, including renewable and CHP operators to serve their customers more effectively.

I am therefore seeking views on a proposal to allow suppliers who generate electricity themselves to supply an aggregate of up to 5 MW of power, of which 2.5 MW may be supplied to domestic customers. The class would be required to supply at prices not exceeding those set out in the order, and would be required to alert customers being recruited as to their status as exempt suppliers.

I also wish to hear views on a proposal to allow generators which supply a qualifying group of customers on the same site as the generator, to supply the same group of customers at remote sites. This latter class would be required to demonstrate that at least one third of the electricity supplied to the qualifying group went to on-site premises.

Telecommunications Report

Mr. Miller: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he has received a report by the Director General of Telecommunications for 1999, as required under section 55 of the Telecommunications Act 1984. [129579]

Mr. Byers: Yes. The sixteenth Report by the Director General of Telecommunications is being published today. It covers the period 1 January to 31 December 1999. This includes initiatives to encourage the widespread take-up of Information Age services such as innovative pricing packages for internet access and opening up competition in BT's local loop to deliver new high-speed services to homes and small businesses. Copies of the report have been laid before each House of Parliament.

Ilisu Dam

Mr. Alan Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what estimate he has made of the number of people who will be displaced if the Ilisu Dam project goes ahead; and what plans he has for aid to deal with the consequences of this displacement. [127758]

Mr. Caborn: There have been various estimates made about the number of people who will be displaced by the Ilisu Dam project. I refer my hon. Friend to the reply given by the Prime Minister to my hon. Friend the Member for Hull, North (Mr. McNamara) on 17 January 2000, Official Report, column 268W. In addition, a number of people will be partially affected by the project. Accurate assessment of the numbers who would be affected is now being made as a result of a detailed survey. This work is being carried out by SEMOR, a firm that has experience of carrying out social assessment projects for the World bank. Dr. Ayse Kudat, an eminent environmental sociologist, who was until recently a senior staff member at the World bank, has been appointed by the Swiss Export Credit Agency to assist in this work; the expertise of Dr. Kudat will help ensure that the resettlement programme will reflect internationally accepted practice.

The Resettlement Action Plan (RAP) which is being drawn up for the Turkish authorities will publish these accurate numbers. The RAP will set out what is to be

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done to deal with the consequences of those who are displaced or whose lands will be partially affected. It is ultimately for the Turkish authorities to ensure that resettlement is properly carried out. The RAP will of course be discussed among the Export Credit Agencies who are considering offering support for the project. The RAP is currently not expected to be ready until the end of August at the earliest.


Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment has been made by (a) his Department and (b) consultants to his Department of the potential toxic effects of release of hydrofluorocarbons into the environment. [128454]

Ms Hewitt: My Department has not itself carried out or commissioned any such assessments. The Department for the Environment, Transport and the Regions (DETR) is responsible for Government policy on climate change and protection of the stratospheric ozone layer. My Department works closely with DETR in the development of Government policy in these areas.

Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what consultations he has had with the refrigeration industry trade associations in respect of replacement options for hydrofluorocarbons. [128451]

Ms Hewitt: My Department holds regular Refrigeration Sector Group meetings, which involve representatives of the refrigerant industry trade associations, industry and other Government Departments to discuss current and future issues of interest such as the use of alternative refrigerants.


Dr. Whitehead: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what plans he has to distinguish between producer responsibility obligations for packaging that has a high energy contribution to its life cycle, and that which does not. [128889]

Ms Hewitt: A producer responsibility regime exists for packaging in the form of the Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations 1997. These regulations place an obligation on businesses throughout the packaging chain which meet certain threshold requirements, to recover and recycle packaging waste. The regulations do not distinguish between different kinds of packaging or packaging materials on the basis of either their energy content or the energy consumed in their manufacture and use.

PFI Contracts

Mr. Alan Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will list the PFI contracts entered into by his Department, indicating (a) their dates of commencement, (b) their value, (c) if they have been subject to refinancing and (d) if his Department has a claw-back entitlement to share in savings arising from refinancing. [129058]

Mr. Byers: The Department and its agencies have signed three PFI contracts--the Radiocommunications Agency's joint venture for the provision of IT services and international consultancy, signed on 8 June 1998,

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with an estimated capital value of £15 million; the contract for the redevelopment of the National Physical Laboratory at Teddington, signed on 31 July 1998, with a capital value of £88.6 million; the Elgar contract for the provision of the Department's IT services, signed on 18 November 1998 with a currently estimated capital value of £60 million. The only contract that included external financing by a bank or financial institution was the redevelopment of the National Physical Laboratory. This contract has not been subject to refinancing. DTI agreement would be required in the event that refinancing led to an increase in potential DTI termination liabilities, although there is no pre-determined formal claw-back provision in the contract.

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