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Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry which United Kingdom organisations are members of the European Safeguards Research and Development Association (Esarda); and whether public resources are provided to support participation in Esarda. 
Nigel Griffiths: UK organisations with current membership of the European Safeguards Research and Development Association (Esarda) are BNFL and UKAEA. The DTI provides funding for participation by UKAEA in the Esarda Scientific Council and Co-ordination Board on behalf of the DTI-sponsored UK Safeguards Support Programme to the IAEA. In addition, officials from DTI participate in some meetings of Esarda Committees and specialist Working Groups. Further information on the activities of Esarda can be found on its website: www.jrc.org/esarda/ or www.jrc.cec.eu.int/esarda/
Mr. Sutcliffe: On 22 December the Fireworks Regulations 2003 came into force which made it an offence for those persons under the age of 18 years to possess fireworks in a public place and for persons of any age to possess Category 4 professional fireworks, the largest most powerful type that are used for public displays.
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We are currently drafting a regulation to prohibit the supply of air bombs to the public and have begun preliminary consultations on implementing the rest of the Fireworks Act and will publish draft regulations early this year.
Tony Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether new measures to tackle firework nuisance will provide specific protection for vulnerable premises, with particular reference to stables. 
Mr. Sutcliffe: The Fireworks Act 2003 does not contain provisions relating directly to the protection of premises. However, the Act does provide that firework regulations may prohibit public displays unless certain conditions are met.
Further, the Act also provides for compulsory training courses for operators of public firework displays which could lessen the chances of a firework straying to cause damage to nearby buildings such as a stable.
Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many financial services companies in the FTSE All-Share list of companies have reported suspected cases of money laundering in each of the last five years; and what estimate has been made of the sums involved. 
Companies suspecting money laundering activity are under various legal obligations to report this to the National Criminal Intelligence Service (NCIS). The information provided is used by law enforcement agencies in fighting crime, including through locating the proceeds of crime with a view to confiscation.
NCIS does not break down reports by reference to whether the reporting institution is listed on the FTSE All-Share list. Since 1999 303 companies in the banking, insurance/life assurance, and securities/investment sectors made reports. The number of reports received was:
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The growth in reporting is believed to result mainly from the impact of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, an increased regulatory focus on money laundering (in particular relating to the Financial Services Authority's statutory responsibilities), and greater awareness of the issues in the light of the tragic events of 11 September 2001.
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Mr. Colman: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will direct the management of the Post Office to extend the consultation period for those Post Office branch closures which it has put out for consultation over the Christmas period by at least two weeks. 
Mr. Timms: Post Office Ltd. carries out its formal public consultation in accordance with the Code of Practice agreed with Postwatch. With the move from individual proposals to area closure proposals by parliamentary constitutency last autumn, the consultation period was extended from four to six weeks.
Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much has been made available in each year since 200102 to the devolved regions to support post office branches in deprived areas; and how much has been made available for future years. 
Mr. Timms: The funding arrangements and allocations to support post office branches in deprived areas of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are the responsibility of the Devolved Administrations. I understand that, in December 2002, the Scottish Parliament allocated £2 million for its programme to support post office branches in deprived areas of Scotland.
Annabelle Ewing: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether the six-week public consultation period for closure proposals under the urban network reinvention programme includes (a) public holidays, (b) Saturdays and (c) Sundays. 
John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many responses were received to the consultation on the proposed closure of Stenhouse Cross Post Office; of these, how many (a) supported and (b) opposed the closure; and when she expects a final decision to be taken on the closure. 
Mr. Timms: Proposals put out to consultation for, and subsequent decisions on, post office closures under the urban network reinvention programme are an operational matter for Post Office Ltd. and I have asked the Chief Executive to reply direct to the hon. Member.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on employment prospects in rural areas with particular reference to (a) environmental management and (b) waste control. 
Mr. Timms: There are considerable employment opportunities across rural areas in the UK as a result both of improvements in land and water management (which cover organic food production, agri-environment
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schemes, national parks and nature protection projects etc.) and more innovative approaches to waste management and treatment (e.g. farm waste-to-energy plants). Furthermore, the role of eco-tourism in stimulating rural jobs, especially from farm diversification, should not be underestimated. However, quantifying these opportunities is challenging and there is only limited evidence available.
Nigel Griffiths: As 'Social enterprise: a strategy for success' published in July 2002 made clear, social and community enterprises have a major role to play in meeting the needs of rural communities. The recently published Progress report (on implementation of the strategy) includes many measures to support the promotion and development of rural social enterprises. The Business Link network works closely with specialist rural business support organisations and Co-operative Development Agencies.
In addition, DEFRA and the Home Office Active Community Unit recently announced they will provide £10 million over 200405 and 200506 to support community capacity building and voluntary and community sector infrastructure in rural areas.
Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what discussions her Department has held with representatives of the shipping industry in connection with the expansion of offshore wind farms. 
Mr. Timms: In November 2002, DTI published a consultation document, "Future Offshore", which outlined a strategic approach to the arrangements for site leasing for offshore renewable development. Consultees associated with the shipping industry included the Chamber of Shipping, the Maritime and Coastguards Agency, the Port of London Authority, Associated British Ports, British Ports Association, International Tanker Owners, and the Society of Maritime Industries. Of these, replies were received from the Chamber of Shipping, the Maritime and Coastguards Agency and the Port of London Authority.
Following this consultation, DTI commissioned a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) of the three strategic areas proposed for the sites of the second round of wind farms in the Future Offshore consultation. Over 400 organisations and individuals were consulted on the SEA. Organisations responding who represent the shipping industry included the Port of London Authority and Trinity Light House Services, the Royal Yachting Association and the Maritime and Coastguards Agency. A summary of the responses to the consultation and the DTI's response to them can be found on the SEA website at: http://www.og.dti.gov.uk/offshore-wind-sea/process/envrepresponse.htm
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on impact on shipping at a strategic level. Having been offered a site lease, each developer is required to conduct an environmental impact assessment and associated consultations before development consent can be given.
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