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17 Oct 2002 : Column 908W—continued


Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will list the public consultations undertaken by her Department since 1997, indicating for each consultation (a) if copies were available online, (b) if copies were available in print, (c) the date the time period given for responses opened and (d) the date the time period given for responses closed. [69796]

Ms Hewitt: Records relating to consultation documents issued before the introduction of the Cabinet Office Code of Practice on Written Consultations on 1 January 2001 are not held centrally. All consultation documents published after 1 January 2001 are available in printed form and are published on the Department's website.

The list of consultations undertaken by the Department since 1 January 2001, and the dates they were opened and closed, are placed in the Libraries of the House.

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Mr. Allen: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when she intends to respond to the letter of 10 July from the hon. Member for Nottingham, North about Mrs. M. Lynch. [74868]

Miss Melanie Johnson: I have answered today.


Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what policy applies to the provision of (a) entertainment and (b) gifts to (i) staff, (ii) ministers and officials and (iii) others by BNFL and its subsidiaries. [73945]

Mr. Wilson [holding answer 15 October 2002]: BNFL's policies on the provision of entertainment and gifts are a matter for the company.

Ministers and officials if receiving entertainment or gifts from BNFL, or any other company, must maintain standards of propriety in accordance with DTI and Cabinet Office guidance.

Fuel Stocks

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what discussions she has held in the last three months with (a) the oil industry, (b) the road haulage industry, (c) UK emergency services and (d) representatives of business organisations about the secure supply of fuels in the event of an oil price spike consequent upon a conflict in Iraq; and if she will make a statement. [74440]

Mr. Wilson [holding answer 15 October 2002]: The Department maintains an ongoing dialogue with the oil industry and other Government Departments who have primary responsibility for the road haulage industry and the UK emergency services. There are agreed procedures in place in case of possible disruption of fuel supplies. We stand ready to discuss issues of the security of oil supplies with other business organisations, should they wish to do so. We shall continue to keep the situation under review.


Mr. Hendrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement concerning fireworks. [76117]

Miss Melanie Johnson: On 15 October I announced tough new measures to cut the number of firework injuries. The new measures, which will also cut down on the problems of noise and nuisance, include:

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The announcement coincides with the launch of a new hard-hitting national safety campaign including posters and TV to highlight the injuries teenagers have suffered from fireworks misuse.

European Directives

Mr. Bill O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on the EU directive introduced on reducing further emissions of gases from coal and oil-fired power stations and the implications for electricity prices. [72349]

Mr. Wilson: Among its provisions, EC Directive 2001/80/EC, otherwise known as the Large Combustion Plant Directive (LCPD), requires that so called ''existing plants'' (defined as those for which the original construction or operating licence was granted prior to 1 July 1987) comply with emission limit values (ELVs) for sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx) and dust, by 1 January 2008. Such limits apply to all large combustion plants with a rated thermal input of 50MW or above, not just to power stations.

As an alternative to meeting ELVs, existing plants may be subject to a National Plan. Such a plan would reduce the total annual emissions of these pollutants to the levels that would have been achieved by applying the ELVs referred to above to the existing plants in operation in the year 2000, on the basis of each plant's operational performance averaged over the last five years of operation up to and including 2000.

The LCPD leaves it open to Member States to decide whether, instead of pursuing the specified ELV approach, to develop a National Plan approach, which could offer some additional flexibility, while meeting the broad aims of the Directive.

Existing plants may, however, as a derogation from the LCPD, opt to operate for a maximum of 20,000 hours between 1 January 2008 and 31 December 2015 during which time they may operate with less stringent emission limits. At the end of this period, existing plants opting to operate under the 20,000 hour derogation must close.

We do not yet know which approach to implementing the LCPD would best suit the UK's needs. Such a decision will need to take account of the costs and benefits of each approach, as well as the UK's energy policy objectives. There will be consultations before a decision is taken.

The implications for electricity prices will not be clearer until consultation and appropriate analysis of future options has been completed.

EU Committees

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when the EU Committee on Electronic Signatures is next due to meet; whether representatives of the Scottish Executive (a) have been and (b) are members of it; and if she will make a statement. [68549]

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Ms Hewitt: The Committee last met on 8 July 2002 and there are no further plans to meet. The UK is normally represented by an official from the Department of Trade and Industry. The DTI delegates at this committee represent all of the UK.

The Scottish Executive is regularly consulted on, and is fully involved in discussions, at official and Minister level, with the Department on the formulation of EU policy which touch on matters which fall within the responsibilities of the Scottish Executive.

Wind Farms

Mr. Gareth Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if a comprehensive UK-wide assessment has been carried out to identify brownfield sites with sufficiently consistent wind speeds suitable for wind farms. [74514]

Mr. Wilson: The Government strongly supports the setting up of wind farms on brownfield sites. It is encouraging that a number of projects of this kind are coming forward. We are preparing a UK Wind Speed Database, to be made available on the DTI website, to help developers identify areas of potential opportunity.

Unsolicited Mail

Candy Atherton: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) what information she has collated regarding the effect of the Data Protection Act 1998 on the dissemination of personal details for the distribution of unsolicited mail; [75152]

Miss Melanie Johnson: The Mailing Preference Service operated by the Direct Marketing Association helps reduce the amount of unsolicited mail received by individuals who register with the service.

Under the Data Protection Act 1988, if personal data is being disclosed to a third party for marketing purposes, an individual has the opportunity to opt out. Responsibility for administering and enforcing the Act lies with the Information Commissioner, who is independent of Government.



David Davis: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list external (a) public relations/communications companies, (b) advertising and marketing companies, (c) management consultancies, (d) accountancy companies, (e) banking firms, (f) individual consultants and (g) other specialist consultancies used by his Department since June 2001; what actions those consultancies/companies have performed within his Department; and what costs have been incurred through use of these consultancies/companies. [74686]

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Mr. MacShane: I refer the hon. Member to the answers I gave to the hon. Member for North Tayside (Mr. Wishart) on 11 June 2002, Official Report, column 1177W, and to the hon. Member for Buckingham (Mr. Bercow) on 24 January 2002, Official Report, column 999W.

In the financial years 2001–2002 and 2002 to date, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has paid a total of #883,027 to two public relations firms for the ''Know Before You Go'' public awareness campaign. This sum includes design and implementation of the campaign together with management fees. The two firms are: AEA Technology Environment and Biss Lancaster Euro RSCG.

We have also spent a total of #14,687 on consultancy advice and focus groups related to UK public attitudes towards the European Union. The firms involved were LA Associates/Peter Kellner and ICM Research.

Providing information on external consultancies other than public relations/communications firms would incur disproportionate costs.

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