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4 Dec 2003 : Column 124W—continued


Brian Cotter: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what business support schemes and organisations within her Department have been re-branded within the last two years; and what the cost was of each re-branding exercise. [141610]

Ms Hewitt: No existing business support schemes or organisations within my Department have been re-branded within the last two years. Four new business support products were launched in spring 2003; these and future DTI business support products have to conform with DTI corporate brand guidelines which aim to standardise design and eliminate the cost of developing unnecessary new brand identities.

I have joint responsibility with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs for UK Trade and Investment, which recently brought together British Trade International, Trade Partners UK and Invest.UK under a single worldwide corporate identity at a cost of £600,000. Consequential savings of £250,000 per year are anticipated through the use of commonly branded stationery and promotional materials.

Regulatory Accountability

Brian Cotter: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many times the Ministerial Panel for Regulatory Accountability has met since its formation. [141607]

Mr. Alexander: I have been asked to reply.

It has been established practice under successive Governments not to disclose information relating to the proceedings of Cabinet Committees. This practice is now formalised by Exemption 2 of Part II of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information.

Staff Efficiency

Sir Teddy Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will publish the outcomes of

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inefficiency proceedings initiated against members of staff in each of the past five years; how many involved (a) office transfers, (b) resignations and (c) dismissals; and what the ethnic background of the individuals concerned was in each year. [141260]

Ms Hewitt [holding answer 3 December 2003]: The DTI does not collect statistics on inefficiency proceedings initiated in each of the past five years in the form requested. The total number of dismissals for inefficiency in DTI HQ in the period June 1998 to November 2003 was 16.

Wind Farms

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) what research her Department is undertaking to establish the potential impact of offshore wind farms on common scoters; and if she will make a statement; [141955]

Mr. Timms: The DTI itself has not commissioned any research on the potential impact of wind farms on common scoter specifically. A DTI report published in 2001 assessed the effects of offshore wind farms on birds. The report reviewed all contemporary published data from both UK and overseas studies and looked at the effects, if any, that wind farms have on birds including common scoter.

More recently, a Strategic Environmental Assessment has been completed in advance of the second round of offshore wind farm development. The Environmental Report resulting from the Assessment considers the full range of impacts that might arise from wind farm activity including those affecting birds. The Report also identifies additional studies that need to be carried out. These include further work on the distribution and main flight paths of seabirds including migratory, feeding and roosting patterns and their behavioural response to wind farms.

The University of Wales at Bangor is close to completing a project on the potential displacement of birds (especially common scoter) from benthic feeding areas because of the impact of wind turbines. The Bangor study is being carried out on behalf of COWRIE (Collaborative Offshore Wind Farm Research in the Environment), a body which includes members drawn from the Crown Estate, Government, offshore wind farm developers and environmental groups.

Before any offshore wind farm can be developed, a number of statutory consents are required—especially under either the Electricity Act, the Food and Environment Protection Act (FEPA) and the Coast Protection Act or under the Transport and Works Act and FEPA. As part of the application process for Electricity Act and Transport and Works Act consents, the applicant has to undertake an Environmental Impact Assessment, the product of which is an Environmental Statement. This document addresses the potential environmental impacts (including those affecting bird populations) of the projects under application. In determining the application, the

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Secretary of State will consider any likely impacts on the environment including on any European sites in line with the requirements of the Birds and Habitats Directives. Any decisions about granting consents for offshore wind farms will consider advice provided by the statutory nature conservation bodies and other interested parties about their impact on the marine environment.

Any consent granted in response to an application may include conditions that will minimise and monitor impacts. Since the Food and Environment Protection Act specifically addresses the protection of the marine environment, it is likely that conditions relating to seabirds would be incorporated into any licence issued under this Act.

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what plans she has to hold a public inquiry into Cirrus Energy's proposed offshore wind farm development at Shell Flat, Liverpool Bay; and if she will make a statement. [141957]

Mr. Timms: Cirrus Energy has applied for consent for the proposed Shell Flat offshore wind farm under the Transport and Works Act 1992 (TWA). The TWA process requires that a decision is taken on which one of three processes will be used to consider objections to an application for consent: a public inquiry, a hearing or an exchange of correspondence. The timing of this decision can be varied at the request of the applicant for the Order or at the instigation of the Secretary of State.

No decision has yet been taken on how to deal with the objections to the Shell Flat proposal.


Al Yamamah Programme

Mr. Kilfoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what his Ministry's obligations are under the Government-to-Government arrangements with Saudi Arabia concerning the Al Yamamah programme; [140789]

Mr. Ingram: The Ministry of Defence's obligation in respect of the Al Yamamah programme are covered in Government-to-Government arrangements, the details of which are confidential between the United Kingdom and Saudi Arabian Governments. The Director-General of the Saudi Armed Forces Project (DGSAP) is responsible for fulfilling the Department's obligation under these arrangements. DGSAP and his staff are involved in the negotiation of the Al Yamamah contracts, monitoring the progress and performance of the programme prime contractor in the delivery of goods and services to the Saudi armed forces and, when satisfied, endorsing claims made by the prime contractor in accordance with the terms of the contracts for payment by the Saudi Government.

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Flying Hours (RAF Marham)

Mr. Gerald Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many hours on average were flown by RAF pilots based at RAF Marham in each month over the past two years. [141295]

Mr. Ingram: The information in the table. shows the number of hours flown on average by pilots based at RAF Marham, by month. These figures include hours flown by exchange pilots from foreign air forces serving with RAF Squadrons based at the Station, as these are not recorded separately. On average there are two such pilots at the Station, and they would normally fly at the same rate as RAF pilots. The figures include hours flown by Marham-based pilots deployed on Operation TELIC, hence the increase in March and April 2003.

MonthAverage hours per pilot
December 200129.97
January 200232.93
February 200228.55
March 200338.28
April 200235.85
May 200231.11
June 200230.07
July 200240.11
August 200231.71
September 200237.55
October 200238.86
November 200225.16
December 200221.28
January 200329.32
February 200329.08
March 200347.44
April 200397.30
May 200325.65
June 200337.78
July 200332.87
August 200333.70
September 200330.87
October 200331.42


Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many deaths in custody there have been since the start of the Iraq conflict of Iraqis (a) under UK responsibility, (b) under US responsibility and (c) under the responsibility of other authorities in Iraq; and if he will make a statement. [141102]

Mr. Ingram: There have been six recorded deaths of Iraqis while in the custody of UK Forces all of which are being investigated. The number of deaths of Iraqis in custody of authorities other than UK Forces is a matter for those authorities.

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