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Renewables Obligation

Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry for what period the proposed Renewables Obligation buy-out price of 3p/KWh will be maintained. [135057]

Mrs. Liddell: The Government propose that the Renewables Obligation will extend to 31 March 2026, and that the 3p/KWh level of the buy-out price will not be reduced throughout that time in order to ensure that there is a secure basis for long-term investment. The Government also propose to link the buy-out to the Retail Prices Index. The Government's proposals are subject to the outcome of the current consultation.

Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when he notified the European Commission about the Renewables Obligation; and when he anticipates receiving approval. [135056]

Mrs. Liddell: The European Commission was formally notified of the Renewables Obligation in July 2000. My Department is currently in discussion with the Commission on the details of the notification.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what research underlies his forecast for the level of greenhouse gas emissions after 2000. [135055]

Ms Hewitt: At a broad level, the DTI is responsible for projections of energy demand which are used to project carbon dioxide emissions, while the DETR and MAFF have responsibility for projections of other greenhouse gases.

Projections of carbon dioxide emissions are based on the energy demand projections which are generated by the DTI's energy model, which has been developed through extensive research over many years. The approach taken to modelling energy demand is described in chapter 2 of a working paper made available in March this year. A copy of the working paper, entitled "Energy Projections for the UK", is available in the Library of the House. The DETR also funds extensive research into carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions from specific sectors such as non-domestic buildings, manufacturing industry and road transport to help inform Government projections.

Methods for projecting emissions of the other greenhouse gases (methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulphur hexafluoride) have been developed by DETR and MAFF based on many years of Government funded research. The projections were updated recently by independent consultants for inclusion in the draft Climate Change Programme and provided as a working paper entitled "Projections of Non-CO2 Greenhouse Gases For The United Kingdom", March 2000, WS Atkins Limited, also available in the Library of the House.

Cowboy Builders

Mr. Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what projects his Department is supporting connected with the First Check Point organisation to combat incompetent and dishonest builders. [135429]

30 Oct 2000 : Column: 227W

Dr. Howells: My Department is not supporting any projects connected with the first check point organisation.

Romania

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what representations he has received on the decision not to extend export credit guarantee cover to Romania; if he will review this decision; and if he will make a statement. [135556]

Mr. Caborn: A number of exporters have made representations about the provision of export credit guarantees to support potential business in Romania. ECGD has reached its exposure ceiling for Romania. They expect to carry out a review shortly to determine the acceptability of making more cover available in the light of Romania's political and economic situation.

Bilateral Concordat

Mr. Miller: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when he expects to publish the bilateral concordat between his Department and the Northern Ireland Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment. [135865]

Mr. Byers: The Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Investment and I have today agreed the text of the Concordat between the Department of Trade and Industry and the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment. Copies of the Concordat have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses and the text will be made available on the Department of Trade and Industry web-site.

Part-time Working Directive

Mr. Win Griffiths: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what progress has been made in discussions within the EU on securing equal treatment for agency workers under the part-time working directive. [135709]

Mr. Alan Johnson: I understand that the Social Partners have held three meetings to date to discuss a possible framework agreement covering agency workers. The European directive on part-time work of 1997 was implemented in the UK through the Part-Time Workers (Prevention of less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2000, in July this year. These regulations give protection to all workers, including agency workers, against less favourable treatment on the grounds that they work part-time.

Asteroids

Mr. Opik: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) when he will announce the next steps the Government plan to take to address the threat of cosmic impact; and if he will make a statement; [135476]

Ms Hewitt: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave my hon. Friend the Member for Linlithgow (Mr. Dalyell) on 23 October 2000, Official Report, column 9W.

30 Oct 2000 : Column: 228W

Near Earth Objects

Mr. Opik: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will discuss with the Prime Minister the possibility of including the threat of Near Earth Objects at a future meeting of the G8 leaders; and if he will make a statement. [135477]

Ms Hewitt: Officials are consulting widely with interested parties and authorities in many countries about the issues raised by the report of the Task Force on Near Earth Objects. I have not discussed with the Prime Minister the possibility of raising this issue with G8 leaders.

Deregulation

Mr. Page: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make available the evidence upon which the statement on his Department's website, concerning the impact of action taken by the Government to reduce the burdens on business caused by regulation, was based; and if he will quantify the reduction in the burdens on business caused by regulation referred to in that statement. [R] [135664]

Ms Hewitt: My Department has been unable to identify the statement referred to in this question. Regulatory Impact Assessments, which are prepared for all new regulations with cost impacts on business, quantify the anticipated cost burden or saving of individual measures. Copies of these are available in the House of Commons Library.

Silicosis Claims

Mr. Watts: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) how many silicosis cases (a) have been processed to date and (b) are still outstanding; and what assessment he has made of the length of time needed to complete all the outstanding silicosis claims; [135543]

Mrs. Liddell: Since assuming the former British Coal's health liabilities in January 1998 the Department has received no claims for silicosis.

Bujagali Dam, Uganda

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment the ECGD has made of the proposed Bujagali Dam in Uganda. [135112]

Mr. Caborn: ECGD cover is not currently available for Uganda, although a review is due soon. ECGD has not been asked to undertake an assessment of the proposed Bujagali Dam project.

International Atomic Energy Agency

Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement on matters discussed and decisions taken at the International Atomic Energy Agency annual conference in September, in so far as they affect the United Kingdom; and if he will place relevant documentation in the Library. [135439]

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Dr. Howells: The UK delegation to the 44th General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) played a full and active part during the conference. The UK was involved in the drafting and submission by the European Union of resolutions covering strengthening the effectiveness and improving the efficiency of the safeguards system and application of the model protocol, measures against illicit trafficking in nuclear materials and other radioactive sources and the implementation of United Nations Security Council resolutions relating to Iraq. These draft resolutions were in some cases amended in negotiation with other delegations, but all were eventually adopted. The UK delegation also participated fully in discussions concerning other resolutions and decisions of the conference.

A copy of the document produced by the IAEA containing resolutions and other decisions of the General Conference will be placed in the Library of the House when it becomes available.


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