Previous Section Index Home Page

3 Dec 2002 : Column 687W—continued

Nuclear Energy

Mr. Stunell : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what financial commitments she has made towards research into Generation IV nuclear energy systems; and if she will make a statement. [83877]

Mr. Wilson: The UK with eight other countries signed the Charter of the Generation IV International Forum (GIF) in July 2001. The initiative foresaw a need for advanced nuclear energy systems in the future to help meet growing international demands for carbon free energy; and that to meet public concerns, future systems must meet exceptionally high standards of safety, sustainability and proliferation resistance, while operating economically in liberalised markets. The aim is to develop a framework for collaborative R&D to facilitate the deployment of such advanced reactor systems from 2030 and beyond. The GIF meeting in Tokyo in September 2002 agreed a XRoadmap" for R&D development based on six systems selected as best satisfying these goals. Further information is available from the following website -

UK participation in the Charter is without commitment to a specific nuclear proportion of UK electricity generation sources. The involvement of representatives from DTI, HSE and the industry ensures our nuclear technology and regulatory experience is shared internationally.

The framework for international research agreement under the Generation IV initiative has yet to be put in place and the extent of any UK financial commitment to research has yet to be decided.

Mr. Stunell : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on the (a) UK's role within the Generation IV International Forum and (b) agreement reached on Generation IV nuclear energy systems in Japan in September. [83878]

Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what her estimate is of the level of BNFL-funded nuclear waste decommissioning and radioactive remediation liabilities. [84267]

Mr. Wilson: The recent DTI White Paper, Managing the Nuclear Legacy—a strategy for action, estimated that public sector civil nuclear liabilities stood at £47.9 billion undiscounted as at 31 March 2002; BNFL's share of those liabilities stood at £27.2 billion at that time.

Planning Applications

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) what timescale has been put in place for regional government offices to deal with planning

3 Dec 2002 : Column 688W

applications called in for (a) small developments, (b) major planning applications and (c) for applications dealing with tree preservation orders; [84078]

Mr. McNulty: I have been asked to reply.

Following proposals in the Planning Green Paper, a new Planning Central Casework Division has been established in the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister to deal with decisions on planning applications called in by my right hon. Friend, the Deputy Prime Minister.

The Central Casework Division has a shared target with the Planning Inspectorate to decide 80 per cent. of my right. hon. Friend, the Deputy Prime Minister's cases (this includes both called in applications and recovered appeals), from close of Inquiry to decision, within 16 weeks by March 2004.

Applications dealing with tree preservation are not called in. The Government Offices for the Regions deal with appeals against local authority decisions under tree preservation orders. They have a target to decide 80 per cent. of such appeals within eight weeks of receiving the Inspecting Officer's report.

Power Cuts

Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many homes in (a) Chesham and Amersham and (b) Buckinghamshire were without power after the storms in October; and for how long in each case. [85132]

Mr. Wilson: I have been advised by LE Group that the numbers of customers without electricity due to the storm in Chesham and Amersham on the following days were:

DayNumbers of customers
27 October 20021,977
28 October 2002150
29 October 200288
30 October 200255
31 October 200243
1 November 20020

With regard to your question (b), LE Group and Scottish and Southern Energy (S&S) company area boundaries divide Buckinghamshire. The companies have informed me that the number of customers without electricity was as follows:

Number of customers
DayS&SLE GroupTotal
27 October 20027,1907,11214,302
28 October 20021,3873,5974,984
29 October 20022229971,219
30 October 20020761761
31 October 20020686686
1 November 200205050

No accurate figures are available for 2 November 2002 from LE Group: however, all LE Group customers were restored by midnight on 3 November 2002.

3 Dec 2002 : Column 689W

Regional Energy Policy

Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on the Government's regional energy strategy. [85111]

Mr. Wilson: The Government are currently carrying out a review of future energy policy with a view to issuing a White Paper in the new year. As a part of this review, it is considering the role of the regions.

Renewable Energy

Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many people in the UK are employed in the renewable energy industry. [85104]

Mr. Wilson: At present, there are no authoritative figures on the number of people employed in the renewable energy sector. Renewables UK plans to undertake a collaborative study of the renewable supply chain covering all technologies for publication in the second half of 2003. One aim of this study is to detail how many people are employed across the whole renewable energy sector.

Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what percentage of licensed electricity suppliers fulfilled all of their obligations under the Renewables Obligation through the purchase of green certificates in 2001. [85319]

Mr. Wilson: The Renewables Obligation only came into effect on 1 April 2002, so electricity suppliers were not under any obligation in 2001. The Gas and Electricity Markets Authority are required by the Renewables Obligation Order to maintain a register holding specific information on the Renewables Obligation Certificates and to publish an annual report on the performance of the Obligation.

The first such report will cover the financial year 2002–03.

Renewable Energy Goods

Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what recent initiatives there have been to encourage entrepreneurs to (a) develop and (b) export renewable energy goods and services. [84192]

Mr. Wilson: The Renewables Obligation, which the Government introduced on 1 April 2002, is being backed by over £250 million of direct support measures to bring forward newer renewable energy technologies. This provides a substantial incentive to renewable energy generation in the UK, and creates a favourable climate, too, for the expansion of renewable energy goods and services.

Accordingly, the Government set up in April a new unit, Renewables UK, to encourage the renewable energy sector to take advantage of the opportunities created by the Renewables Obligation, and to increase the UK industry content of renewable energy projects.

To foster innovative research and development activity, the Government have increased provision for the New and Renewable Energy Programme to £19 million per year. The programme includes an

3 Dec 2002 : Column 690W

export promotion arm, for which Renewables UK is responsible, which provides specific, targeted support to UK companies in the renewables sector.

Renewables UK chairs an inter-governmental committee, the Sustainable Energy Exports Committee, which brings together all Departments and Government agencies supporting renewable energy exports activity to work together for the benefit of UK companies.

The Export Credit Guarantee Department makes available cover for up to £50 million of exports each year for projects in the renewable energy sector.

Renewable Energy Targets

Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what renewable energy targets have been set for local authorities. [85113]

Mr. Wilson: The Government have not set renewable energy targets for local authorities. However, the regional resource assessments, which indicate the level of renewable generation necessary for the UK to achieve the 10 per cent. target by 2010, have now been completed. The assessments take into account each region's potential renewable resource and have been made available to inform local decision taking.

The findings from the regional resource assessments can be found in the Regional Renewable Energy Assessments report, which can be accessed at the following web address:—report.pdf

Next Section Index Home Page