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14 Dec 2005 : Column 2111W—continued


Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many injuries associated with fireworks and bonfires there were over the recent Halloween period; and what the figures were in each year since 2001, broken down by primary care trust area. [37556]

Mr. Sutcliffe: Each year firework injury statistics are collected over a four-week period around 5 November, this includes Halloween. Statistics for 2005 will not be available until March 2006. Copies of the total injury statistics for NHS trusts for the years 2001–04 have been placed in the Libraries of the House.

Fuel Cell Technology

Mr. Yeo: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what support his Department gives to the (a) development of fuel cell technology and (b) application of such technology to the transport sector. [37228]

Malcolm Wicks: DTI provides support for industrial collaborative research and development for fuel cells through the DTI Technology programme. The programme seeks to advance fuel cell technology for both stationary power generation and transport applications, with a view to achieving the cost reductions and performance levels necessary for commercial deployment.

Basic research in universities on both fuel cells and hydrogen is supported by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), including through the SUPERGEN initiative.
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The Government also provided funding of over £450,000 for the trial of three hydrogen-powered fuel cell buses in London as part of the CUTE project. £7.5 million of funding has been provided for the fuel cell and low carbon vehicle technology Centre of Excellence (CENEX) based in Loughborough.

On 14 June 2005, the Government announced a funding package worth £15 million for hydrogen and fuel cell demonstration projects. This scheme is currently in preparation, and will require EC state aids approval.


Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment he has made of the future security of supply of the importation of gas. [35526]

Malcolm Wicks [holding answer 7 December 2005]: Diverse supplies, delivered through competitive markets, are the most efficient way to ensure security of gas supply. The Government is committed to working with others to provide an appropriate framework for international trade in gas, and to developing partnerships with gas producing and transit countries. However, there is concern that changes in other Governments' national rules are potentially diverting cargoes of Liquefied Natural Gas away from Great Britain, and that gas supplies via the interconnector from continental Europe have not fully responded to recent strong price signals; Ofgem and the Government are pursuing these issues with the European Commission. The Government's Energy Review, due to report in 2006, will look at the reliability of energy supplies in the medium and long term.

Martin Horwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what estimate he has made of the cost of boosting the storage capacity of gas in the UK from 11 days to 60 days. [32645]

Malcolm Wicks: The UK currently has gas storage capacity of more than 75 days. This is mainly in the rough gas storage facility operated by Centrica Storage Ltd but also includes capacity available in the medium and short range storage facilities, for example at Hornsea. Further Information is available on the National Grid website:

Subject to regulatory consents, a further 10 storage projects could be completed by 2010. Together these would more than double GB's storage capacity. Independent energy consultants estimate that the investment in these projects might in total cost some £1.3 billion.

Greenhouse Gases

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much was allocated to support industries developing new methods of reducing their emissions of greenhouse gases in 2005–06. [36985]

Malcolm Wicks: The Carbon Trust is an independent company grant funded predominantly by Defra for England, and via separate relationships with the devolved Administrations, to take the lead on business and public sector energy efficiency and encourage the
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development of a low carbon sector in the UK. Defra has allocated £60.6 million in 2005–06 to support the work of the Carbon Trust.

The Government also support the development of low carbon energy generation technologies. This is a commitment of around £500 million between 2002–08. Eligible renewable energy sources can also gain support through the Renewables Obligation.

Low Carbon Buildings Programme

Mr. Yeo: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what role fuel cells will play in implementing the Low Carbon Buildings programme. [37227]

Malcolm Wicks: The Low Carbon Buildings programme is currently being finalised and is due to start in April 2006, subject to state aid approval. The programme will be technology blind and it is intended that fuel cells technologies in micro-CHP mode will be eligible for support.

Mr. Yeo: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will publish the responses to the consultation paper Microgeneration Strategy and Low Carbon Buildings programme. [37229]

Malcolm Wicks: The responses to the consultation paper on the Microgeneration Strategy and Low Carbon Buildings programme were published on Monday 12 December and can be found at

Nuclear Decommissioning Authority

Peter Law: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when he expects to receive the final version of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority's national strategy. [35834]

Malcolm Wicks: I expect to receive the NDA's proposed strategy before the House rises for the Christmas recess. It will go to the Scottish Ministers at the same time. The Scottish Ministers and I will then have until 31 March 2006 to consider and approve the NDA's proposed strategy.

Nuclear Power Stations

Mr. Meacher: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what parliamentary approval is required to confirm a decision to commence building (a) a nuclear power station and (b) a series of nuclear power stations. [36742]

Malcolm Wicks: Under section 36 of the 1989 Electricity Act approval is required from the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (in Scotland approval is required by Scottish Ministers) for the construction or operation of any power station with a capacity in excess of 50 MW, which would include all nuclear power stations.

Parliamentary approval is not required to confirm a decision for the building of power stations of any type.

Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what studies his Department has made of the impact on carbon dioxide release of the expanded use of lower grade ores in the production of nuclear energy. [37116]

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Malcolm Wicks: The Department has undertaken no studies to examine the impact that lower grade uranium ores would make on carbon dioxide emissions.

However, the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency has informed the Department that there is no imminent use of low-grade ore envisioned. And, the nature of the ores to be mined in the near future is very much similar to that of the past 40 years.

Mr. Liddell-Grainger: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the exclusion zone for building around nuclear power stations is. [37245]

Malcolm Wicks: There is no exclusion zone for building around nuclear power stations. Developments can, and do take place. These are controlled by the local planning authorities, which consult with relevant stakeholders including the station operator and the Health and Safety Executive. A developer must be able to demonstrate to the satisfaction of these bodies that any proposed development does not have a significant adverse effect on the safety case for the site.

Nuclear-related Research

Alan Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much his Department has allocated to nuclear-related research in each of the last five years. [36603]

Malcolm Wicks: The expenditure on nuclear energy technology research from 2000 to 2005 is set out in the following tables.
Expenditure by the EPSRC on nuclear fission research

Financial yearNuclear fission (£ million)

Figures for direct Government expenditure (but not including spending by the Research Councils) on nuclear fission

Financial yearNuclear fission (£ million)

Expenditure in support of Meteorological Office emergency response arrangements currently accounts for approximately £2.1 million.

Figures for nuclear fusion R and D

Financial yearNuclear fusion (£ million)

The UK's indirect contribution to the European fusion programme, via central European Union funding for the EURATOM Framework Programme, is excluded.

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