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13 Jun 2005 : Column 83W—continued

Nuclear Industry

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what estimate he has made of the future costs of ensuring the secure status of (a) nuclear installations to the end of their decommissioning and (b) nuclear materials until they are no longer useable in a malevolent fashion; and what measures have been put in place to ensure such future security. [2082]

Malcolm Wicks: Security measures are the responsibility of those licensed to run nuclear installations. The licensees bear the cost of these security measures. For those sites for which the Nuclear Decommissioning Agency is responsible, these costs are included in the lifecycle baselines prepared by each site. These are updated annually and summaries posted on the NDA website. The 2005 summaries will appear on the website in November. Security is regulated under the Nuclear Installations Security Regulations 2003 (NISR2003), implemented by the Office for Civil Nuclear Security; the Security Regulator. NISR2003 will cease to apply, and cease to be appropriately enforced, only when an installation no longer requires to be licensed. In practical terms this means that strict security compliance will be required for the lifetime of each nuclear installation. As to what measures are in place, it is not Government policy to discuss the details of security measures at nuclear installations, as this information could potentially be of use to terrorists.

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) whether it is his policy that all existing nuclear sites should be fully cleaned up to a standard allowing unrestricted use when they cease to be used for operational purposes; [1486]

(2) whether it is his policy that the clean-up of nuclear sites should always follow the Best Practicable Environmental Option. [1487]

Malcolm Wicks: The Department published a statement of the UK Government and devolved Administration's policy on the decommissioning of all nuclear facilities in September 2004. The document: The Decommissioning of the UK Nuclear Industry's Facilities" is available on the Department's website ( The statement covers all aspects of decommissioning operations and strategies and the need to consider the applicability of the Best Practicable Environmental Option to sites as part of the decommissioning process.

Private finance projects

Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will list the Private Finance Initiative and Public Private Partnership projects his Department is undertaking; and what the status of each is. [2374]

Alan Johnson: The Department has two PFI/PPP contracts. They are (a) the provision of IT services within the Department (ELGAR) running until 2013/2014 and (b) Constructionline which provides information on approved contractors within the construction industry. There are no further planned PFI/PPP projects.
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Royal Mail Services

David Davis: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what percentage of first class letters posted in the East Riding of Yorkshire met Royal Mail's online delivery target in the last year for which figures are available. [3590]

Barry Gardiner: This is an operational matter for Royal Mail. The chief executive has been asked to reply direct to the hon. Member.

Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what discussions he has had with Royal Mail on the future of the universal service obligation following Postcomm's recommendations on the future cost of first class post. [3090]

Barry Gardiner: DTI Ministers and officials meet with representatives from Royal Mail on a regular basis to discuss a wide range of issues, including regulatory issues.

Maintenance of the universal postal service is the primary statutory duty of Postcomm.

Strategic Petroleum and Oil Reserves

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what estimate he has made of the number of days of strategic reserves of (a) petroleum and (b) oil held; how this estimate was calculated; and if he will make a statement. [2660]

Malcolm Wicks: The Department of Trade and Industry collects monthly oil stocks directly from the UK oil industry. At the end of March 2005 the UK held oil stocks equivalent to 84 days of the previous year's consumption. Of this 84 days, 45 days were held in the form of crude oil and feedstocks, and 39 days in the form of finished products.

The Department publishes levels of oil stocks quarterly in its publication Energy Trends. These are available in the Libraries of the House and the next edition with the March data will be published on 30 June 2005.

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what meetings were held in his Department during the period Parliament was dissolved concerning the security of supply of road fuels and strategic reserves; and if he will publish the minutes of those meetings. [2661]

Malcolm Wicks: DTI officials often meet to discuss the supply of road fuels and strategic reserves as part of prudent contingency planning. No formal meetings at which minutes were taken were held in the Department during the period in question.

Thorp Plant

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement on the circumstances which led to the recent leak of radioactive material from a pipe at the Thorp plant. [3276]

Malcolm Wicks: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to the hon. Member for North Essex (Mr.Jenkin), on 9 June 2005, Official Report, column 646–47W.
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UK Presidency (EU)

Kate Hoey: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what communication activities are planned in relation to the policy areas covered by his Department during the UK Presidency of the EU; and what budget has been allocated for these activities. [1647]

Alan Johnson: The Department of Trade and Industry's work on communications during the UK Presidency is as a part of a centrally run exercise by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. No separate Departmental budget has therefore been allocated for these activities.

Wind Farms

Mr. Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what subsidies the Government make available for wind farms; and according to what criteria they are given. [2651]

Malcolm Wicks [holding answer 9 June 2005]: The Government's main instrument for supporting the establishment of wind farms is the renewables obligation. The obligation is a market based support mechanism that requires licensed electricity suppliers to provide a specified and growing proportion of their electricity from renewable sources eligible under the obligation. Wind farms are one of the technologies supported under the obligation. This provides an assured market for renewable electricity and ensures that it attracts a premium.

To date, the Government have committed £117 million in grant support towards the capital installation of early offshore wind farm development.
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No direct grant support is provided for onshore wind farm development except for some small household or community installations under the clear skies scheme.

The criteria for determining eligibility for the last round of capital grants for offshore wind projects can be found at: pdfs/guidancenotes.pdf.


Cabinet Committee on UK-US Relations

Norman Baker: To ask the Prime Minister for what reason the Cabinet Committee on UK-US relations has been abolished; what representations he received on this matter from the US authorities; and which other committees are now undertaking the work previously dealt with under the auspices of the committee. [3280]

The Prime Minister: I refer the hon. Member to the Written Ministerial Statement on Ministerial Committees of the Cabinet I made on 24 May 2005, Official Report, column 12WS.

The Defence and Overseas Policy Cabinet Committee will discuss UK-US relations as appropriate. I have received no representations on this matter from the US authorities.

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