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Mr. Sutcliffe: Since its introduction in April 2003, statutory adoption pay has been paid at the same standard rate and for the same length of time as statutory maternity pay (SMP) and maternity allowance (MA). We intend to continue the existing approach as we increase both the standard rate and the payment period. The Work and Families Bill will enable us to meet our commitment to extend the payment period of SMP, MA and SAP from the current 26 weeks to 39 weeks from April 2007, with an ambition to extend to one year by the end of this Parliament.
Norman Lamb: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much has been spent in financial year 200506 under each micro-generation installation scheme; and what the projected spend for this full financial year is for each scheme. 
Peter Law: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps he has taken to accelerate the process of providing compensation to the widows and families of deceased miners; and if he will make a statement on the waiting time for compensation. 
Malcolm Wicks: Two fast-track processes have been introduced to the respiratory disease scheme, one specifically for claims concerning deceased miners. These processes have enabled an additional 60,000 claims to be settled in the last nine months, for total compensation in excess of £125 million. We anticipate that fast-track payments could be made to a further 75,000 claimants, mainly in respect of deceased miners. These changes to the schemes should result in the time taken to settle all claims to be reduced by two years.
Malcolm Wicks: The recently announced energy review will be bringing forward proposals next year on energy policy to help us deliver our medium and long-term objectives. The review will be examining a wide range of options including civil nuclear power.
Anne Moffat: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry which companies have expressed an interest in (a) building and (b) operating a new generation of nuclear power stations in the UK. 
Malcolm Wicks: Many companies regularly express interest publicly in a variety of energy infrastructure projects that relate to a number of different generating technologies, including nuclear, renewables, gas and carbon capture and storage.
Malcolm Wicks [holding answer 7 December 2005]: The recently announced Energy Review will bring forward proposals next year on energy policy to help us deliver our medium and long-term objectives. The Review will be examining a wide range of options including civil nuclear power.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will amend the remit of Ofgem to require it to give more encouragement to (a) decentralised energy and (b) low-carbon technologies. 
Malcolm Wicks [holding answer 8 December 2005]: Ofgem's general duties already require them to contribute to the achievement of sustainable development as well as to have regard for the environment when making their decisions. The Secretary of State has also issued social and environmental guidance to Ofgem which allows them to contribute to broader Government policies without compromising the principle of independent regulation. There is therefore no need to amend their statutory duties. Government are committed to providing a framework which allows markets to make long term investment decisions with confidence. Stability and regulatory certainty are an important part of this. Changing the well understood duties of the regulator would inject unwelcome uncertainty in energy markets.
Mrs. Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) what guidance he has issued to successor companies to British Coal on their position under exemptions in relation to restoring open cast coal working on their sites; 
Malcolm Wicks: No guidance has been issued nor assessment made in relation to these matters. Where site restoration bonds are required, the level will be determined by the relevant mineral planning authority in light of the specific circumstances of the site concerned.
Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) what evidence he took into account in satisfying himself, for the purposes of its application for a grant under the Bio-energy Capital Grants scheme, that Peninsular Power Ltd. had access to adequate financing to complete the proposed project relating to a biomass energy generator at Winkleigh in Devon; 
(2) what evidence he took into account in satisfying himself, for the purposes of its application for a grant under the Bio-energy Capital Grants scheme, that Peninsular Power Ltd. was (a) credible, (b) possessed the right skills and track record and (c) were organised in an appropriate manner to ensure the project to construct a biomass energy generator at Winkleigh in Devon was well planned and managed. 
Peninsula Power, as applicants under the scheme, met all laid-down criteria for a developer company to demonstrate availability of finance before the issue of a grant offer letter. Peninsula Power also demonstrated at the application stage that that they would have access to the required project development skills and experience.
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Any offer of grant under the Bio-energy Capital Grants scheme remains an undertaking of support for an agreed period of time. The development of bio-energy projects is a complex process and the offer is subject to evidence of timely progress on a range of milestones. The milestones to be achieved before any grant drawdown could be triggered, include evidence of availability of adequate finance, securing of planning consent, and development of biomass fuel supply chains.
Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what representations he has been made to (a) Torridge district council and (b) Devon county council concerning the grant of planning permission to Peninsular Power Ltd. in respect of a biomass energy generator at Winkleigh in Devon. 
Malcolm Wicks: No representations have been madeby DTI Energy Group to either Torridge district council or Devon county council. National policy on development of renewable energy projects is set out in Planning Policy Statement 22.
Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade andIndustry what discussions he has had with the South West Regional Development Agency about the payment of public funds to cover Peninsular Power Ltd.'s costs associated with the project to construct a biomass energy generator, which are not eligible under the Bio-energy Capital Grants scheme. 
Malcolm Wicks: DTI routinely discuss matters of common interest with regional authorities and agencies regarding the projects it is supporting within their regions. Here, SWRDA funded elements of this project not eligible under the capital grants scheme from their own budgets as part of their own local bio-energy strategy.
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