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Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) what assessment she has made of the information contained in recent correspondence from the hon. Member for Vale of York on the health effects of electromagnetic fields; and if she will impose a moratorium on the proposed Lackenby to Shipton overhead transmission line; 
Mr. Wilson: While we are always interested to note the hon. Member's representations, development consent was granted for the North Yorkshire power line in March 1998 and it is now up to the National Grid Company to implement that decision.
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment the Secretary of State has made of the implications of the new ownership of the former Enron power station in Teesside; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Wilson: If a transfer of ownership qualifies for investigation under the Fair Trading Act 1973, it will be for the Office of Fair Trading to advise me on whether to refer the merger to the Competition Commission. If, on the other hand, it falls under the European Community Merger Regulation, it will be for the European Commission to consider it.
Mr. Grogan: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what percentage loss of gas supply (a) during a 1 in 20 peak demand and (b) during an average peak demand on the gas system in (i) winter 200102 and (ii) winter 200506 would trigger emergency measures under the Emergency Powers Act 1920 or Energy Act 1976. 
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Transco (who manage the National Gas Transmission System) are already empowered to take significant steps to mitigate against losses of supply. These are set out in Transco's Network Gas Supply Emergency Procedures which are tested regularly. I have arranged for copies of the procedures to be placed in the Libraries of the House.
Mr. Grogan: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what contingency planning her Department undertakes with (a) the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets, (b) Transco, (c) the National Grid Company and (d) the Health and Safety Executive to prepare for disruption to supplies of gas; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Wilson: We have set up the Gas Industry Emergency Committee. Its membership includes Ofgem, Transco, NGC, HSE and many others from throughout the supply chain. It assesses the risks of new and emerging developments that could lead to large-scale gas supply failures. Its aim is to ensure that in the event of a gas supply emergency, contingency plans are in place to ensure the rapid and safe restoration of supplies to consumers.
Mr. Grogan: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the emergency gas stockholding capacity is in days of use at full levels of generation for each of the combined cycle gas turbine power stations commissioned since 1990. 
Mr. Wilson: Combined cycle gas turbine power stations do not hold emergency stocks of gas, nor are emergency stocks of gas specifically held as part of the UK gas transmission system for these generators. Where a gas facility is dual fired, power stations usually hold stocks of their alternative fuelpredominantly coal or oil products. Some gas is stored, but this tends to be at the extremities of the transmission system in facilities such as salt cavities' offshore fields or as liquefied natural gas.
Some liquefied natural gas is held by Transco to cope with system emergencies. The remainder is used to help maintain the overall balance within the gas transmission system between supply and demand for gas. The stored gas tends to be used during periods of peak demand (e.g. winter months) and to meet shortfalls of gas supplies at other times during the year. Combined cycle gas stations compete for any gas coming from storage along with other gas users.
Mr. Hood: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the outcome was of the Telecommunications Council held in Brussels on 6 and 7 December; what the Government's stance was on each issue discussed, including its voting record; and if she will make a statement. 
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The Presidency reported to the Council on the state of play of negotiations with the European Parliament on the proposed new regulatory framework for electronic communications. The most contentious issues on which agreement is still outstanding are:
the grounds on which undertakings should be able to appeal NRA decisions at the national level; and
whether a digital television standard should be mandated.
the introduction of an obligation to provide users with clear and comprehensive advance information about the purposes of cookies and similar devices and to offer them the possibility to refuse; and
a clarification of the scope for member states to legislate on data retention for law-enforcement purposes as long as this is in accordance with the agreed principles of Community Law. This was inserted in the body of the Directive itself at the request of the UK.
The Commission presented a Communication on the exploitation of public sector information which aims to remove many of the barriers that content companies currently face in trying to develop the next generation of cross-border information services and products based on public sector information. The Commission may now propose a Directive to cover the commercial exploitation of public sector information. The Commission also gave a presentation on the seventh implementation report on telecoms regulation.
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Ms Hewitt: The Equal Pay Act 1970 has enabled many women to make real headway, allowing women to claim their rights in a number of landmark cases and to challenge stereotypical assumptions about aspects of their work that have been undervalued.
The pay gap has halved from 37 per cent. when the Equal Pay Act was introduced 30 years ago to 19 per cent. today. Individual claims brought under the Act can impact on many other women and lead to employers making significant changes to their pay systems.
Work is under way to streamline and speed up employment tribunal procedures to make it easier for women to claim their rights on equal pay. Equal Pay tribunals can be stressful and time consuming for women and for employers faced with a claim. The proposal to introduce a questionnaire procedure into the Equal Pay Act has been included in the Employment Bill that was introduced on 7 November 2001. It will enable an individual who believes they may not be receiving equal pay to request key information from their employer when they are deciding whether to bring a case.
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