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Afghanistan

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many people were taken prisoners in Kunduz since November 2001; when these arrests took place; what the nationality of these people was; and if he will make a statement. [67759]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: We have asked about this but the relevant authorities in Kabul have told us that there is no accurate information available on the number of prisoners taken at Kunduz or of their nationalities.

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many prisoners-of-war were transported from Kunduz to (a) Sheberghan and (b) Mazar-i-Sharif since November 2001; when these transports took place; what the nationality was of the transported people; and if he will make a statement [67758]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: We have made inquiries but the relevant authorities in Afghanistan have said to us that there is no accurate information available on the transfer of prisoners of war from Kunduz to Sheberghan and Mazar-i-Sharif.

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Korea

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps are being taken to improve diplomatic relations between North Korea and South Korea following recent incidents. [67536]

Mr. MacShane: The United Nations Command Military Armistice Commission, of which the UK is a member, is investigating the recent confrontation between the naval forces of the DPRK and the Republic of Korea.

We maintain links with the Governments of both countries through our embassies in Seoul and Pyongyang, and we strongly encourage the preservation of regional stability, and the promotion of inter-Korean relations through a process of dialogue.

Visas

Mike Gapes: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when normal visa services will resume at posts in (a) New Delhi, (b) Mumbai, (c) Islamabad and (d) Karachi, and if he will make a statement. [68383]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: In India, we continue to operate a full service in Chennai and Kolkata and the service in Mumbai and New Delhi continues to expand. But it is too early to say when a full service there can resume.

Because of the continuing terrorist threat, an early resumption of a full service in Pakistan is unlikely, although every effort is being made to maximise the number of applicants who can use the courier-assisted service.

TRADE AND INDUSTRY

End-of-life Vehicles

Ms Buck: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) what estimate she has made of the cost to (a) local authorities in London and (b) all other local authorities if the European End of Life Vehicle Directive is implemented with the cost of (i) de-pollution, (ii) recycling and (iii) scrapping of the vehicle being placed on the last owner; [67552]

Mr. Wilson: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Carlisle (Mr. Martlew) on 21 June 2002, Official Report, column 592W.

Fuel Companies

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps Ofgem is taking to ensure that fuel companies offer fuel efficiency advice in line with their Social Action Plan at the point when salesmen contact customers with a view to transferring. [67312]

Mr. Wilson: Current supply licence conditions require suppliers to prepare, and seek Ofgem approval of, a code of practice setting out how they will make energy

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efficiency advice available to customers. It is not a formal licensing requirement to do this in discussions over transfer from one supplier to another.

Ofgem has recently published its "Report on the quality of energy efficiency advice provided by gas and electricity suppliers", which concluded that all the companies could do more to help customers. Ofgem will be discussing the report with suppliers and considering the need for further action to ensure that companies meet their licence obligations in this area.

As regards marketing by gas and electricity suppliers, Ofgem has recently consulted on proposals to make the regulation of this activity more effective. Ofgem is currently considering the next steps, including areas of possible research.

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) how many times consumers have been compensated by fuel companies, following erroneous transfers, in line with licence condition 48; and if she will make a statement; [67314]

Mr. Wilson: These are matters for the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem). I have, therefore, written to the chairman and chief executive of Ofgem, setting out the questions raised and asking him to reply direct to the hon. Member.

Small and Medium-sized Enterprises

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on the level of representation by members of small businesses on the boards of Government-funded organisations charged with supporting SMEs. [66749]

Nigel Griffiths: The Small Business Council advises my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry and Chief Executive of the Small Business Service on the needs and concerns of SMEs. As of 1 July it has 23 members, all but one are from small businesses.

The Ethnic Minority Business Forum advises DTI Ministers and the Chief Executive of the Small Business Service on the right help and advice ethnic minority businesses need for growth and success. All 20 members are small business owners.

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The Business Link Operators have an average of 55 per cent. SME representation on their boards.

The Small Business Service's new Strategy Board will include up to six non-executive independent members. At least two members will have a small business background.

Used Tyres

Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on the work of the joint Government/Industry Scrap Tyre Working Group since July 1999; and what the most recent figure is for the percentage of scrapped tyres from which the industry recovers value. [67680]

Mr. Wilson: The Used Tyre Working Group (UTWG) publishes a report each year which is distributed to interested parties and made available through its website at www.tyredisposal.co.uk. The latest report is dated July 2001 and copies have been placed in the Library of the House. The UTWG intends to publish its 2002 report later in the year in light of responses to the DTI's March 2002 discussion paper on used tyre issues. Copies of this paper can also be found in the Libraries of the House.

UTWG statistics for 2000 show that the industry recovered value from around 63 per cent. of the 450,000 tonnes of tyres disposed that year. This was less than in previous years due to the closure of the UK's single largest used tyre treatment facility in 2000. Since then, significant new processing capacity has been developed. The UTWG is currently compiling statistics for 2001 which are expected to show this processing capacity feeding through to an improved recovery rate.

Aggregates Industry

Mr. Peter Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many people are employed in the United Kingdom aggregates industry. [67455]

Mr. Wilson: The Quarrying/Aggregates industry directly employs around 20,000 people.

Bolda Biofuels Ltd.

Mr. Key: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much money has been granted by her Department to Bolda Biofuels Ltd. in the last three years, under what grant regime, on what date, for what purpose it was granted; and if she will make a statement. [64672]

Mr. Wilson: The following projects involving Border Biofuels have been supported under the Department's Sustainable Energy Programme in the last three years:

Project title Contract grant Start dateValue (£)End dateTotal cost of project (£)Percentage of funding from DTI DTI spend(3) (£)
SRC Harvesting and Logistics—Phase 225 February 2002133,51924 February 2004267,038500
Integrated Biofuels, Pyrolysis and Energy Conversion Demonstration Plant9 January 20011,161,3008 July 20034,645,10025321,620
Investigation of Low-till Systems for the Establishment of Willow Coppice in Grassland1 January 200176,50028 February 2003153,0005047,657
Investigation of Single Stem Tree Plantations for Bioenergy1 April 200129,50030 June 200259,0005011,458
Development of an Integrated Wood Fuel Supply System to Deliver SRC from Field to Power Station15 March 2000173,04131 July 2002346,08250154,671
Overcoming Planning Barriers for Biomass Power Plants6 August 199980,0001 September 199980,00010080,000
The Effects of Pollution Abatement Techniques Applied to Biomass Pyrolysis Energy Plant21 July 199942,65431 August 200060,9357042,654
Provision of Site Services in Aid of Ecological Monitoring15 February 199920,86714 February 200420,86710020,387
Evaluation of Low-cost Establishment Systems for Short Rotation Coppice1 January 1999211,56030 June 2003391,12050170,856
The Export of UK Bio-Energy Expertise: A Study of the Feasibility of Working in Poland by a Consortium of UK Companies1 January 199914,77631 December 200036,9404014,776
Design Construction and Testing of a Continuous Flow Wood Fuel Dryer Using Low Grade Heat1 March 1998270,87030 September 2000816,36533270,870

(3) To date


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