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30 Jan 2006 : Column 104W—continued

Departmental Research

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what research projects commissioned by his Department are being undertaken; and what the publication arrangements are in each case. [33001]

Alan Johnson: A trawl of DTI Directorates and its Agencies has identified some 50 research projects. These are being collated into a table and I will write to the hon. Member with the details very shortly and place copies of my letter in the Libraries of both Houses. Published reports are listed on the Department's website http://www.dti.

Electricity Generation

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what research has been (a) commissioned
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and (b) evaluated by the Department into the potential for using waste heat from the chemical industry to produce electricity. [36984]

Malcolm Wicks: The Department has commissioned no specific research. However, the Carbon Trust has launched Project Bolt to examine the potential for the commercialisation of projects linking providers and purchasers of waste heat.

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will take steps to ensure that new EU rules on coal-fired power stations do not lead to a fall in electricity generated from coal. [45699]

Malcolm Wicks: In consultation with industry and with their support, we have done everything possible to ensure that coal fired power stations have been given that maximum degree of flexibility in how they meet EU regulations. For example, the Government have been successful in securing Commission agreement to our proposed implementation of the large combustion plants directive, thereby ensuring that coal-fired power stations which opt in to compliance with the LCPD and invest in flue gas desulphurisation are not subject to an absolute cap on the amount of electricity they generate.

It is, however, for the owners of coal-fired power stations to decide whether to opt in and make the investment, and how much electricity to generate from those stations.

Energy Imports

Mr. Crabb: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much (a) coal and (b) gas was imported during the last year for which figures are available, broken down by country of origin. [46823]

Malcolm Wicks: Imports of coal and other solid fuels by country of origin during 2004 are shown in the table. In the same year 95,363GWh of gas were imported from Norway and 37,670GWh were imported via the Zeebrugge to Bacton interconnector. It is not possible to identify where gas imported through the interconnector was physically sourced.
Imports of coal and solid fuel by country of origin 2004
Thousand tonnes

solid fuel
European Union
Irish Republic3468
Total European Union1,50080199
People's Republic of China
Republic of South Africa
United States of America
Other countries179
Total all countries29,6146,3451941,051

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John Hemming: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the peak import rate of gas into the United Kingdom via the Bacton Interconnector has been to date in winter 2005–06; and what the average rate was for the 10 highest days. [46855]

Malcolm Wicks: In the period 1 October 2005 to 24 January 2006, the highest daily import of natural gas through the Bacton-Zeebrugge Interconnector was 379 GWh; this occurred on 9 January. The average rate for the ten highest consecutive days was 310 GWh per day (359 GWh per day based on absolute days).

EU Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive

Mr. Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry which other EU countries have not yet implemented the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive. [42295]

Malcolm Wicks: Currently, I understand that Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland and Spain have not yet fully implemented the requirements of the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive.

Food Retail Sector

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what policies his Department has put in place to promote and support small businesses in the food retail sector. [41427]

Mr. Bradshaw: I have been asked to reply.

Defra provides a wide range of support for small businesses in the food sector, including food retail. For example, in 2004–05, the Department provided an additional £2 million to the Business Link Network to support projects designed to look at different approaches to increase the uptake of advice to small businesses in economically underperforming rural areas. The Department supports the retention of shops in small settlements. In line with this, the Government have assisted local services by extending mandatory rate relief at 50 per cent. to include sole village public houses, petrol stations and village food shops under the village shop scheme. Planning guidance has also been provided to local authorities to adopt a positive approach to planning proposals designed to improve the viability, accessibility or community value of existing services and facilities such as village shops. The Department also provides a range of trade development, consumer awareness and business competitiveness initiatives, as well as funding under various grant schemes, to regional and local food businesses, including assisting small producers to gain access to markets. The Department also currently devotes just under £4 million per year on
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schemes to encourages innovation in the food sector and pays particular attention to dissemination of research and development results to small and medium sized food and drink companies through, for example, a network of Regional Technology Transfer Centres.

Gas Supply

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry pursuant to his answer of 19 December 2005, Official Report, column 2328W, on gas supply, whether the planned investment in liquid natural gas import projects includes a facility on Canvey Island; and if he will make a statement. [45683]

Malcolm Wicks: Development of import infrastructure is a commercial matter for market participants. Calor Gas Ltd. submitted planning applications in January 2006 to Castle Point borough council for conversion of the existing LPG (liquid petroleum gas) terminal to a LNG (liquefied natural gas) terminal on Canvey Island. Further details can be found at the website:

Green Ministers

Mr. Alan Reid: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what work his Department's Green Minister has undertaken during the last 12 months in an official capacity in that role. [16238]

Malcolm Wicks: Following the general election in May, the Cabinet Sub-Committee of Green Ministers (ENV(G)) was replaced by the Ministerial Sub-Committee on Sustainable Development in Government (EE(SD)) whose members are departmental Sustainable Development Ministers.

As the Minister of State for Energy, I was appointed as our departmental Sustainable Development Minister in June 2005. In July, I attended a breakfast seminar for Sustainable Development Ministers to discuss the sustainable development strategy and Ministers role in delivering it.

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