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19 Sept 2002 : Column 161W—continued

Bujagali Dam (Uganda)

John Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if the ECGD received an application from the company, NOR-ICIL in relation to the Bujagali Dam in Uganda; and if she will make a statement. [72581]

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Ms Hewitt: ECGD has no record of any application for cover in respect of the Bujagali Dam and has issued no guarantees in respect of the project.

John Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry on what grounds the application to the ECGD for support for the Bujagali Dam in Uganda was refused. [72584]

Ms Hewitt: ECGD has no record of any application for cover in respect of the Bujagali Dam and has issued no guarantees in respect of the project.

John Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what corruption allegations the ECGD were informed of at the time of the application for support for the Bujagali Dam in Uganda; and whether such allegations involved British companies. [72585]

Ms Hewitt: ECGD has no record of any applications for cover in respect of the Bujagali Dam and has issued no guarantees in respect of the project.

John Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry which company was the lead contractor on the application made to the ECGD for the Bujagali Dam in Uganda. [72583]

Ms Hewitt: ECGD has no record of any application for cover in respect of the Bujagali Dam and has issued no guarantees in respect of the project.

John Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether NOR-ICIL was named as a contractor on an application she received with regard to the Bujagali Dam in Uganda. [72582]

Ms Hewitt: ECGD has no record of any application for cover in respect of the Bujagali Dam and has issued no guarantees in respect of the project.

Anglo-Irish Ministerial Meetings

Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when and where Ministers in her Department have held meetings with Ministers and officials of the Irish Government since 1 June 2000; which Ministers were involved in each meeting; which Irish Government Departments were involved in each meeting; and which Ministers and officials from the Irish Government attended each meeting. [72698]

Ms Hewitt: I refer the hon. Member to the reply given by my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary on 20 June, Official Report, column 533W.

Ministerial Meetings

Annabelle Ewing: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many formal and official inter-ministerial meetings her Department has held with the Scottish Executive since May 1999, broken down by (a) Scottish Executive department, (b) subject and (c) date. [72713]

Ms Hewitt [holding answer 24 July 2002]: There are regular and frequent meetings between my Department and the Scottish Executive, at both Ministerial and official levels, on policy issues which touch on matters which fall within the responsibilities of the Scottish Executive.

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Your Guide Pilot

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when the Government's evaluation of the Your Guide pilot will be completed; and if she will make a statement. [73234]

Stephen Timms: The final evaluation was completed on time at the end of June and was published on 23 July.

Petrol Retailers

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many petrol retailers (a) are in operation and (b) have been closed and sealed since 1990, broken down by (i) oil company sites, (ii) main retailer sites, (iii) supermarket sites, (iv) smaller retailer sites and (v) other unbranded sites; and if she will make a statement. [72506]

Mr. Wilson [holding answer 24 July 2002]: There were 12,201 petrol retailers operating at the end of last year (2001) compared with 19,465 sites in 1990.

Total sites closed since 1990 is 7,264, of which 5,085 are oil company sites, while 1,452 are from the main retailers.

No supermarket sites have closed, as they have been steadily increasing in numbers. We do not have a breakdown between categories smaller retailer and unbranded sites, however the total for this category is 727.

The data used were from the Institute of petroleum (IP) annual "UK Retail Marketing Survey" (last published in March of this year).

University Business Start-Ups

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what information she collated on the performance of the companies that were spun out of universities in 1999–2000. [73130]

Ms Hewitt: The first survey of Higher Education Business Interaction carried out in 2001 showed that 199 companies were spun out from universities in the academic year 1999–2000, compared to an average of 70 each year for the previous 5 years. In 1999–2000, UK universities identified one spinout for every £8.6 million of research expenditure, compared with one spinout for every £13.9 million in Canadian Universities in 1999, and one spinout for every £53.1 million in the US. The Survey also covered employment, turnover and equity value of spinouts established by universities but responses were incomplete and raised concerns about the burden associated with collecting this data. A modified second survey currently underway seeks a build on data previously collected to provide a more systematic overview of exploitation performance across the higher education sector.

Science and Discovery Centres

Dr. Naysmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what discussions she has had with other Departments about the funding of science and discovery centres; and if she will make a statement. [72322]

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Ms Hewitt [holding answer 24 July 2002]: My noble Friend the Minister for the Arts at DCMS called a meeting to discuss science and discovery centres on 18 July 2002 with my noble Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State with responsibility for Science and Innovation and my noble Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State with responsibility for Early Years and School Standards at DfES.

Dr. Naysmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what plans she has to assist the funding of science and discovery centres; and if she will make a statement. [72323]

Ms Hewitt [holding answer 24 July 2002]: The Government has currently no plans to assist the funding of science and discovery centres. The Millennium Commission, together with the Wellcome Trust and the Wolfson Foundation, on Monday launched a £33 million fund for science centres and museums to allow them to renew or replace high quality science, education and technology exhibitions.

Biotechnology Research Projects

Alan Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what biotechnology research projects in (a) agriculture and (b) biomedics have been supported by her Department; and what level of public investment has gone into them in each of the last three years. [73239]

Ms Hewitt: DTI has not funded any biotechnology research projects in agriculture. The Department has provided £5 million of funding under the Applied Genomics LINK programme, which was launched in 2000, together with £10 million funding from the Research Councils, to assist the exploitation of genomics for healthcare applications. In addition, a substantial part of the £25 million Harnessing Genomics programme, launched by DTI in 2001, is providing support for industrially relevant R and D in key underpinning technology areas, including bioinformatics and nanobiotechnology.

Miners' Compensation

Paddy Tipping: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the (a) minimum, (b) maximum and (c) average final compensation settlements made to date in respect of (i) VWF and (ii) COPD are. [72924]

Mr. Wilson: The figures are:

Full and Final SettlementCOPDVWF
Minimum£5£200
Maximum£372,115£53,185
Average£6,823£7,687

Abandoned Vehicles

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many cars were recorded as having been (a) abandoned and (b) scrapped in each of the last three years; and if she will make a statement. [73138]

Mr. Wilson: Local authorities are responsible for dealing with abandoned vehicles and DEFRA currently holds no central records of the number of vehicles abandoned each year. However, it estimates that some

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350,000 were abandoned in the United Kingdom in 2000. Information on the number of abandoned vehicles removed by local authorities has been collected for the first time in DEFRA's 2000–01 Municipal Waste Management Survey which will be published in August.

In its three most recent annual reports, the Automotive Consortium on Recycling and Disposal (ACORD) has estimated that the following numbers of vehicles were scrapped: 1.8 million (1998), 1.8 million (1999), 2.0 million (2000).


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