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Nuclear Transport Ships

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many nuclear transport ships are owned by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority; and what the specifications of each are. [3121]

Malcolm Wicks [holding answer 15 June 2005]: The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) owns two vessels the 'Atlantic Osprey' and the 'European Shearwater'. They were transferred to the NDA from BNFL on 1 April 2005 and are now registered in the NDA's name. Their specifications and certification are in accordance with those specified in the International Maritime Organisations' (IMO) International Code for the Safe Carriage of Packaged Irradiated Nuclear Fuel, Plutonium, and High Level Radioactive Wastes on Board Ships (INF Code). Details on the INF Code can
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be found at Information relating to the security systems in place on such vessels are confidential for security reasons.

Parking Charges (Airports)

Mr. Greg Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will invite the Competition Commission to investigate the level of car parking charges in force at airports in the UK. [3700]

Mr. Sutcliffe: At the five-yearly reviews conducted by the Competition Commission of the three BAA London airports and Manchester airport, the Commission is able to examine all activities conducted by the airports, including car parking. Where it concludes that the airport has been acting against the public interest in any of these activities the Commission can ask the CAA to impose a remedy in the form of a condition on the airport. The Competition Commission last reviewed the four airports during 2002. It did not make any public interest findings in relation to car parking at any of the airports but did indicate that car parking at Manchester airport was an issue to which it might wish to return at the next review.

Plutonium Consignments

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when British Nuclear Fuels informed his Department that it planned to send consignments of plutonium to (a) French MOX plutonium nuclear fuel manufacturers Cogema and (b) Belgian MOX manufacturers Belgonucleaire; what details and when, of the proposed security arrangements for these plutonium transports were made available to (i) his Department and (ii) the Office of Civil Nuclear Security; when this was made available; and who will be responsible for funding for the implementation of the security arrangements for these shipments. [3123]

Malcolm Wicks [holding answer 15 June 2005]: Iunderstand that BNFL is considering the transport of plutonium to France and Belgium as one of a number of options to repay loans of plutonium made to BNFL by companies in these countries. No formal plans have been submitted to the Department.

Any such shipment will be carried out in accordance with the Nuclear Industries Security Regulations 2003 (NISR), which are administered and enforced by the DTFs Office for Civil Nuclear Security (OCNS). A key requirement of the NISR is that a Transport Security Plan is submitted to OCNS for approval. All details of this plan, including dates, are confidential and it is not Government policy to release such information. OCNS will not approve the plan until it is satisfied that all measures are in place and are adequately robust to counter any credible threat. The responsibility for any costs of security arrangements falls onto BNFL.

Public Money Use Guidance

Mr. Greg Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether he has issued guidance to regional development agencies concerning their use of public money. [3742]

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Alun Michael [holding answer 15 June 2005]: Each of the eight regional development agencies outside London is issued with a management statement and financial memorandum under Section 27 of the Regional Development Agencies Act 1998; the London Development Agency receives a 'Grant offer letter', which serves the same purposes. These documents set out the Agency's powers to offer financial assistance and identify various Treasury guidance concerning the use of public money.


Mr. Kidney: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what budget was available to each regional
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development agency in England for each of the last three financial years; how much each spent on (a) running costs and (b) management costs in each year; and what proportion of the budget each represented in each year. [1274]

Alun Michael: For financial years 2002–03 and 2003–04, information for each Regional Development Agency (RDA) in England is detailed as follows. The Department does not monitor the RDAs' spend in terms of running costs and management costs. However, these costs, included as shown, are based on certain assumptions (see footnote). Figures in bracket represent these categories as percentage of each RDA's net budget allocation for that year.

Running costs(18)
Management costs(18)
Advantage West Midlands205,156252,5069,159(4.5)11,908(4.7)6,457(3.1)7,259(2.9)
East of England Development Agency89,41386,7995,435(6.1)5,810(6.7)3,664(4.1)4,037(4.7)
East Midlands Development Agency102,892130,1275,569(5.4)6,851(5.3)5,611(5.5)6,027(4.6)
London Development Agency296,059317,6688,613(2.9)12,980(4.1)11,198(3.8)13,291(4.2)
North West Development Agency274,855338,59510,784(3.9)14,128(4.2)33,347(12.1)45,775(13.5)
One North East193,828226,3459,186(4.7)12,288(5.4)9,689(5.0)9,736(4.3)
South East England Development Agency115,034140,7188,678(7.5)12,629(9.0)6,473(3.3)6,645(4.7)
South West of England Regional
Development Agency
101,958104,8567,662 (7.5)9,541 (9.1)8,132 (8.0)8,378 (8.0)
Yorkshire Forward210,274267,05010,004(4.8)12,093(4.5)6,604(3.1)7,317(2.7)

(18)Running costs and managements costs equates to staff costs" and other administration costs" respectively, as defined in the RDAs' Audited Accounts for 2003–04

Similar information for the financial year 2004–05 is not yet available until the RDAs' annual accounts have been audited. However, indicative estimates, by applying the percentages in 2003–04 under these categories to the RDAs' net budget allocations for 2004–05, are given as follows. These figures will need to be revised after the RDAs' annual accounts have been audited and laid before Parliament in July 2005.

Budget Indicative estimates
2004–05Running costsManagement costs
Advantage West Midlands237,31411,1546,882
East of England Development Agency92,1776,1764,332
East Midlands Development Agency133,2767,0646,131
London Development Agency327,64213,43313,761
North West Development Agency366,96815,41349,541
One North East228,65112,3479,832
South East England Development Agency129,82511,6846,102
South West of England Regional Development Agency115,75810,5349,261
Yorkshire Forward290,49713,0727,843

Royal Mail

Peter Law: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement on the future of the Royal Mail. [4691]

Barry Gardiner: The Government want to see a successful Royal Mail providing excellent services to its customers. The Government are committed to reviewing the impact on Royal Mail of market liberalisation on Royal Mail, which allows alternative carriers to offer postal services in competition with Royal Mail. We are currently working on the details of the review and hope to announce these shortly.

Solar Grants Programme

Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement on the future of the Solar Grants Programme operated by the Energy Savings Trust; how much funding remains to be allocated from the programme; how many applications are outstanding; and if he will make a statement. [4795]

Malcolm Wicks: The PV Major Demonstration programme has been extended to run until March 2006. A low carbon buildings programme will supersede both this and the Clear Skies programme. A consultation document for the new programme will be released on 23 June 2005.
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Of a total of approximately 1250 stream one applications there are currently 481 that have been allocated grant funding from the existing budget and are yet to be completed. Of the 200 stream two approved projects there are 98 yet to be completed.

There are a further 30 stream two projects to be assessed at the next independent selection panel meeting in July 2005.

There are still currently £5.3 million unallocated under the current budget.

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