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Power Stations

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many power stations there are in the United Kingdom and how each one is fuelled. [28014]

Ms Hewitt [holding answer 21 January 2002]: A list of power stations in the United Kingdom (operational at 31 May 2001 and of more than 1 MW capacity) is given in Table 5.13 of the Digest of United Kingdom Energy Statistics, 2001, a copy of which is available in the Libraries of the House and on the DTI website. The list shows the fuel used by each station and its generating capacity. In total 165 separate stations appear on the list.

Energy Sources

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on the extent to which (a) geothermal, (b) hydroelectric, (c) wind and (d) wave sources of energy are used in the United Kingdom. [28015]

Ms Hewitt [holding answer 21 January 2002]: We are aware of only one operating geothermal aquifer scheme in the UK, in Southampton, where a geothermal aquifer contributes 2 MW of heat to a 12 MW district heating scheme. The UK is unlikely to see extensive developments based upon aquifers due to a limited resource and limited scope for its exploitation. In the 1980s, the UK conducted major research into geothermal hot dry rock technology, involving the extraction of heat through the artificial injection of water into otherwise dry rock formations, but no prospect was seen at the time of making this technology economically viable in the short or medium term.

The UK has extensive hydroelectric schemes, most of them long-established. Declared net capacity of UK hydro plants in 2000 was 1,479 MW. Scope for expansion is limited by the availability of suitable new sites and environmental considerations.

Wind energy is already well established in the UK, and unit production costs have been falling for some years. The British Wind Energy Association calculates that, at the end of 2001, total UK wind energy generating capacity stood at 473.6 MW installed capacity, and that nearly 200 MW more is confirmed for construction in 2002. We are taking vigorous steps to encourage the development of the wind energy industry, with its enormous potential, both

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onshore and offshore. The UK's first offshore wind energy installation, off Blyth in Northumberland, opened in 2000. The Government are encouraging more ambitious developments offshore by a substantial capital grants programme.

Wave energy is at an early stage of development in the UK. A 500 kilowatt wave energy device, supported through an SRO contract, is operating on Islay. The Government have recently announced support for further innovative wave energy projects. The UK's potential wave energy resource is enormous.

Household Products

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what plans she has to introduce legislation to control the use of chemicals in household products; and if she will make a statement. [29509]

Miss Melanie Johnson: The safety of chemical products, such as household products, is governed by the Chemicals (Hazard Information and Packaging for Supply) Regulations 1994. These regulations require that manufacturers must assess a chemical product for its health effects (toxicity, irritancy etc.). If dangerous the product must then be labelled with a warning symbol and phrases indicating the dangers. The particular chemical(s) which cause the product to be classified must be named on the label.

The regulations also require that all potentially dangerous chemicals supplied to the public must be in packaging which is properly labelled and contains warnings about the potential hazards and giving brief advice on suitable precautions. Manufacturers or suppliers of household products are also required to give details of how to use the product safely.

International Communications

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many international communications are routed daily through the UK; and what percentage of those are transmitted via satellite. [28585]

Mr. Alexander: Many millions of traffic minutes per day are routed through the UK, which is an important transit hub for international telecoms traffic. However, neither the Department nor Oftel maintains statistics on the routing of international communications through the UK or on what percentage of these are transmitted via satellite.


Mr. Whittingdale: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on the likely effect on UK banana importers of changes to the EU banana regime. [25957]

Mr. Morley: I have been asked to reply.

The EU banana regime has recently been amended to implement Phase II of the Understanding with the US and Ecuador in response to World Trade Organisation concerns and to end the long-running trade dispute. The main effects of this are to transfer 100,000 tonnes of

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bananas from the C Quota to the A/B Quota, and to make the C Quota exclusive to bananas originating from ACP countries.

Detailed European Commission regulations are necessary for the management of the quota regime, and until these have been proposed, it is not possible to determine the effect on individual UK banana importers.

Mr. Whittingdale: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on the outcome of the meeting of the EU Banana Management Committee on 15 November 2001. [25958]

Mr. Morley: I have been asked to reply.

Two European Commission proposals received favourable opinions. The first was to establish the maximum quantity of bananas which may be imported into the Community during the first quarter of 2002 by each registered operator. The second was to amend Commission Regulation 896/2001 to correct certain errors in the text as well as to clarify the rules for determining the reference quantities applicable to traditional operators in the A/B Quota.

In response to a suggestion from the UK, the chairman proposed to issue a working document on strengthening the rules prohibiting linkage between traditional and non-traditional operators.

Mr. Whittingdale: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what estimates she has made of the value of the reduction in banana imports under C licences as a result of changes to the EU banana regime in the next five years. [25956]

Mr. Morley: I have been asked to reply.

Under the previous arrangements (Phase I of the Understanding with the US and Ecuador), 850,000 tonnes of banana imports under C Quota licences were permitted per year. Under Phase II, the effect on banana traders registered as operators in the C Quota arise both from the transfer of 100,000 tonnes of bananas from the C Quota to the A/B Quota, and from making the C Quota exclusive to ACP countries.

Total imports from ACP countries in 1999 (the last year for which full data are available) amounted to 676,638 tonnes, with similar quantities in the previous two years. This implies that the changes made in Phase II, taken together, should enable the ACP to continue to achieve a market share comparable with that they have had in the recent past. The value of this to ACP suppliers and individual importers will depend on price developments and, in the case of importers, their licence allocations.


Care Beds

2. Sir Teddy Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on his plans to increase the number of care beds across the country. [26361]

Jacqui Smith: Our policy is to enable people to remain independent in their own homes wherever possible. That is where most people want to receive care. Between 1999 and 2000 there was a 5 per cent. increase in the number

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of households receiving intensive home care. In addition, in October last year, we announced an extra £300 million investment over two years which will buy a range of services including additional care home placements.

Delayed Discharges

17. Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he is taking to reduce unnecessary delays in discharges from hospital. [26376]

19. John Cryer: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what progress is being made in reducing delayed discharges from hospital. [26378]

Jacqui Smith: On 8 January, we announced the allocation to councils of the £190 million Building Care Capacity Grant for 2002–03. £100 million was allocated nationally for the grant in 2001–02 and the first payment made in November 2001.

This additional funding has been used to deliver a significant national reduction in delayed discharges since September 2001.

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people were in hospital on 25 December 2001 as a result of delayed discharges. [27362]

Jacqui Smith: The information requested is not collected centrally on a daily basis.

Social Services

18. Ms Munn: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent measures he has introduced to improve the performance of local authority social services. [26377]

Jacqui Smith: The Government have announced the introduction of star rating for social services from this summer to enable councils and the public to see how they are performing. Standards for delivery have been published in National Service Frameworks for mental health and older people. "Quality Protects" is delivering improved life chances for children. We have also increased the resources available for social services by an average of 3.2 per cent. a year in real terms between 1996–97 and 2002–03.

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