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12 Jun 2003 : Column 998W—continued


3G Network

Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what regulations the Department plans to introduce in conjunction with the mobile telecom industry to protect minors from adult content viewed over the 3G network. [119233]

Mr. Timms: The industry is in the process of drawing up a self-regulatory code of practice, which will introduce safeguards to protect minors from accessing adult content via mobile phones.

Arbre Project

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) whether the Arbre project will qualify for bioenergy funds under the (a) Bioenergy Capital Growth Scheme and (b) Energy Crops Scheme to help farmers and foresters establish energy crops; and what representations she has received to make these grants to the Arbre project; [118405]

Mr. Wilson: The Bioenergy Capital Grants Scheme is a joint DTI/New Opportunities Fund scheme to provide support towards the capital costs of new bioenergy plant. All of the available £66 million of funding has been allocated to 21 projects throughout the United Kingdom.

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Defra's Energy Crops Scheme provides grants to establish crops for any valid heat, combined heat and power and electricity generation end use. Grants of £280,000 have been made to plant 280 hectares of short rotation coppice (SRC) under the Energy Crops Scheme. 1,157 hectares of SRC had previously been planted under the Forestry Commission's Woodland Grant Scheme at a cost of approximately £1 million.

Funding for the capital cost of the Arbre demonstration project has come from the European Commission and the project partners, with support for the establishment of energy crops coming from the Forestry Commission and Defra.

DTI have not received a request for assistance from the purchasers of the Arbre plant, but have agreed to consider any proposals to minimise the technology risk of taking the plant to full operation. Any support would be from our research and development programme.

In terms of the farmers with contracts to supply the Arbre project, that is essentially a commercial undertaking between the farmers and the owners of the plant. No compensation would be paid from the schemes mentioned.

Defra's Energy Crops Scheme provides a one-off payment when the crop is established. It is a condition of the grant that the crop is used to produce energy. Arbre growers are setting up a producer group to harvest and market their energy crops with assistance from the Energy Crops Scheme and Objective 1 funding. The scheme does not restrict growers to supplying the Arbre plant and they can seek alternative markets.

Whether the crops come from the Vale of York is a matter for the owners of the Arbre plant as they decide on a route to commercial operation of the plant.

Arms Trade

Mr. Menzies Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will list, by year, the licences, including military and dual use ratings, granted for the export of small arms to all countries in sub-Saharan Africa. [117930]

Nigel Griffiths: Prior to May 1997 previous Administrations have not considered it appropriate routinely to publish information on individual licensing decisions. Since May 1997 details of all export licences issued for small arms are published by destination in the Government's Annual Report on Strategic Export Controls, copies of which are available from the Libraries of the House.

Mr. Gardiner: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what representations she has received from the UK Working Group on Arms as part of her consultation on the secondary legislation for the Export Control Act 2002. [118942]

Nigel Griffiths: The UK Working Group on Arms (UKWGA) has submitted two separate responses to the consultation on the Export Control Act 2002 draft secondary legislation.

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Mrs. Shephard: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry which Minister in her Department is responsible for trade policy on the development of biofuels. [117590]

Mr. Wilson [holding answer 9 June 2003]: As Minister for Energy, I am responsible for the development of energy generation from renewable sources including biomass. This includes both developing the home market and encouraging the industry to seek opportunities overseas. In this work I am assisted by Renewables UK, a DTI unit that I established last year. Naturally, in this I act in liaison with my hon. Friend the Minister for International Trade and Investment, with her wider responsibilities for UK Trade Policy.

Lead responsibility within Government for the development of biofuels for transport lies with my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Transport.

British Energy

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment she has made of the recent loss announced by British Energy; how much public money has been given to support British Energy in each of the last three years; and what plans there are to continue this support during (a) 2003 and (b) 2004. [118466]

Mr. Wilson: The bulk of British Energy's (BE) reported loss is made up of asset write-downs. These are based on expected future cash flows of the business, as reflected in the company's restructuring plan, and consequently have already been taken into consideration when considering the on-going viability of the business.

On 9 September 2002 the Government agreed to provide BE with a credit facility for up to £410 million in respect of its working capital requirements and cash collateral for trading in the UK and North America. On 26 September 2002 the Government agreed to extend the facility and increase it from £410 million up to £650 million. My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry informed the House on 7 March 2003, Official Report, column 89WS that BE had repaid to Government all outstanding amounts under the facility. On a contingency basis the facility has been extended at a reduced level of £200 million to the earlier of 30 September 2004 or the date on which the company's restructuring plan becomes effective. As part of BE's restructuring, the Government plan to meet the cost of BE's historic nuclear fuel liabilities. This will include a payment of £175 million in financial year 2004–05 in line with the Secretary of State's statement of 28 November.


Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when letters from the hon. Member for Thurrock were recently received in her office; when they were referred to the Minister of State; why no holding letter has been sent to the hon. Member; and when she will make a substantive reply. [118897]

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Ms Hewitt: The first letter from my hon. Friend was received in my office on 6 February 2003 and was delegated to my hon. Friend the Minister for Energy and Construction on 7 February 2003, for him to reply on my behalf.

A subsequent letter was received on 14 March 2003 and delegated again to the Minister for Energy and Construction. Unfortunately, due to an oversight, replies to neither letter were issued.

I have now seen a copy of my hon. Friend's original letter, and after further consideration, it has been transferred to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions for reply, as the subject falls within the responsibility of his Department.

I regret the time it has taken to process these pieces of correspondence and have asked for steps to be taken to ensure that there is no repeat of the problem.

Energy Efficiency

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will list the targets she has set to improve energy efficiency within her Department; and how she intends to achieve those targets. [117713]

Ms Hewitt: In common with all other Government Departments, DTI is working towards the interim energy targets for the Government Estate:

To help meet this target, DTI undertook an estate-wide energy audit to identify areas where further savings could be made. This resulted in the enhancement of a DTI Building Energy Management System and the installation of Inverter Variable Speed Drives.

Other measures which contribute to this target include; ISO 14001 certified Environmental Management Systems across the DTI HQ estate; 33 per cent. of electricity in the DTI HQ estate is purchased from renewable sources; promoting environmental and energy awareness to DTI staff through 'Green Teams' who disseminate green and energy issues to their colleagues; a number of specific measures such as installation of solar film for windows.

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