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8 Jan 2003 : Column 247Wcontinued
Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what discussions she has had with ministerial colleagues on the potential impact on the development of renewable energy sources of the implementation of an indicative planning process; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Wilson [holding answer 19 December 2002]: DTI Ministers have met and discussed the impact of renewable energy developments on the planning process with colleagues in the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. These discussions have taken place in the context of: preparing the Energy White Paper, which the Government plan to publish early in the new year, the re-drafting of Planning Policy Statement 22 which sets out statutory planning guidance on renewables in England and the ODPM's wider planning reforms.
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Mr. Wilson [holding answer 19 December 2002]: It is vitally important that there are no barriers to Scotland's renewable electricity output being brought to centres of demand further south. Following a report, which was published by my Department in February, into the possibility of building a subsea cable to take electricity generated in Scotland down the west coast to link up with the onshore grid system further south, my Department set up the Transmission Issues Working Group to consider the implications for the grid infrastructure of significant increases in renewable energy generating capacity throughout Great Britain.
The Working Group considered the costs of reinforcing both marine links and the grid onshore to bring electricity generated in Scotland to markets in the south and the transmission system operators in both Scotland and England are currently in discussions with their regulator, Ofgem, on the regulatory framework for making this happen. The report of the Transmission Issues Working Group will be published early next year.
Nigel Griffiths [holding answer 7 January 2003]: Small and medium-sized enterprises are critical to the UK economy, generating new jobs and contributing to over half of the UK business revenue. Recent figures estimate there were 3.7 million enterprises employing nearly 23 million people, and with an annual turnover of over #2 trillion. Small retail businesses (sector 52 with 0 to 249 employees) represent 8 per cent. of all enterprises, 5 per cent. of all work force jobs and account for 4 per cent. of the UK turnover.
Mr. Wilson: The success of the first phase of the major PV demonstration programme will be judged by a number of criteria including: whether the target number of installations have been completed within the budget, whether the overall cost of the PV systems has reduced significantly, and whether a strong PV industry in both installation and manufacture has been established.
Mr. Blunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what measures her Department has put in place since 1997 to encourage investment in the off-grid solar PV market; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Wilson: The Department has funded a number of research and development projects under its Renewable Energy Programme, such as Hybrolight and Aviation Beacon/Landing Lights, Transport Refrigeration,
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Vaccine Fridge, Desalination System and UK leadership of an International Energy Agency PV Power Systems Task on PV for Developing Countries.
Mr. Blunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether a decision to move to phase 2 of the solar PV major demonstration programme will be made in consultation with the UK solar PV industry. 
Mr. Wilson: We take it as read that the UK solar PV industry would welcome a second phase of the major PV demonstration programme. Should there be one, we will endeavour to consult them as far as is practicable about its shape and operation.
Mr. Wilson: According to figures reported to Ofgem, in the 12 months to 30 November 2002, Transco attended 98.51 per cent. of uncontrolled gas escapes within one hour, against a target of 97 per cent.
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Gareth Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry further to her answer of 11 December, Official Report, column 329W, if she will set out the conclusions of the research; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Wilson: The Wind Energy, Defence and Civil Aviation Interests Working Group, which was set up and is chaired by the Department, published in October Interim Guidelines on Wind Energy and Aviation Interests. The guidelines are intended to be a Xliving document" which will be updated and amended to reflect the outcome of research into the interaction between wind turbines and aviation (particularly radar). Copies of the document have been deposited in the Libraries of the House.
The Working Group will be considering arrangements for the release of the studies as they are completed. The ongoing research includes studies to produce a model which will be used to predict the impact of wind turbines on radar systems; to investigate the various technical approaches which could reduce these impacts, and a study to examine European experience and practice regarding the impact of wind turbines on aviation interests.
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Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much her Department gave through multilateral agencies in (a) 2000, (b) 2001 and (c) 2002 to (i) the Government of Burma and (ii) the Burmese internally displaced people. 
Clare Short: In calendar year 2000 my Department provided approximately #1.8 million through global funding of the UN and ECHO for poor and vulnerable people in Burma. The figures for 2001 and 2002 are not yet available. We also gave humanitarian funding to ICRC in support of its work with the very vulnerable and war affected in Burma. Additionally, we provided humanitarian funding for UNHCR and WHO in support of their work with refugees and the very vulnerable within Burma and across the Thai border. The breakdown by financial years is as follows:
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Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much her Department is proposing to give in 2003 to (a) the Government of Burma and (b) the Burmese internally displaced people. 
Clare Short: DFID's funding to assist the poor in Burma is not channelled through the Government but through selected non-governmental organisations, United Nation's agencies, and the EU (ECHO). This policy will not be altered unless there is substantive political change.
Clare Short: There is credible information, including from Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and the United Nations that this is a serious problem in Burma, both with the Burmese army and also Burmese insurgent groups. In November, the EU co-sponsored a resolution on Burma at the United Nations General Assembly that expressed grave concern over the human rights situation in Burma, including the use of child soldiers.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment she has made of human rights abuses by Burmese soldiers, with particular reference to sexual violence against ethnic minority women and girls. 
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Clare Short: The use of sexual violence by members of the Burmese armed forces requires a thorough and independent investigation. The EU co-sponsored a resolution on the human rights situation in Burma in November 2002 at the United Nations General Assembly that condemned the Burmese regime's human rights record, including the instances of sexual violence by members of the armed forces.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent discussions she has held with (a) groups working in Burma and (b) the Burmese internally displaced people. 
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