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7 Feb 2006 : Column 1074W—continued

Nuisance Text Messages

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many complaints Ofcom has received regarding nuisance text messages sent by companies in the last 12 months. [48381]

Alun Michael: Under Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003, which came into force on 11 December 2003, the Information Commissioner's Office and not Ofcom has responsibility for the consideration of complaints relating to unsolicited marketing text messages. I am advised by his office that the following complaints were received in relation to Regulation 22, which covers unsolicited marketing text messages going back to the introduction of the present casework management system in 2004, although due to the nature of the casework management system previously used by his office figures are not available before this date:
Number of complaints

(2) To date.

Palm Oil

Colin Challen: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will take steps to ensure that UK power stations will not earn renewable obligation certificates by using palm oil as part of its fuel mix. [48363]

Malcolm Wicks [holding answer 6 February 2006]: Under the Renewables Obligation (RO) palm oil, as a biomass fuel, is eligible for renewable obligation
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certificates (ROCs). All biomass fuels are eligible for ROCs and the Government have no plans to amend this position at the present time.

Petroleum Imports

Mr. Crabb: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what was the total volume of oil and petroleum imports into the UK during the last year for which figures are available; and what were the countries of origin of the imports. [48614]

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Malcolm Wicks: The table shows imports into the UK of primary oil and petroleum products by country of origin for 2004.

Total imports of primary oil into the UK in 2004 were 62 and a half million tonnes, with Norway accounting for about two thirds (64 per cent.) of primary oil imports. Total imports of petroleum products into the UK in 2004 were 19 and a half million tonnes, with two countries (Saudi Arabia and Russia) accounting for 22 per cent. of product imports.
Imports of oil and petroleum products into the UK in 2004, by country.

Thousand tonnes
Country of OriginTotal primary oilPercentage of total oil importsTotal petroleum productsPercentage of total product importsTotal importsPercentage of total imports
Saudi Arabia1,35722,077113,4354
United Arab Emirates(4)(4)1,77391,7732
Total Imports62,51610019,48510082,001100

(3) Indicates zero imports.
(4) Value less than one thousand tonnes.
Digest of UK energy statistics 2005 and company data.

Regulatory Reform

Mr. Prisk: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many regulatory reform orders his Department has laid before Parliament in each of the last five calendar years. [46811]

Alan Johnson: My Department has laid five regulatory reform orders (which have subsequently been made) in the last five calendar years. These are listed as follows:

Renewable Energy

Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement on his renewable heat strategy. [48017]

Malcolm Wicks: I refer the hon. Member to my previous answer to the right hon. Member for West Dorset (Mr. Letwin) on 7 November 2005, Official Report, column 36W.

The Government Biomass Group considering the recommendations of the Biomass Task Force will be reporting in April.

Social Enterprises

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps he is taking to encourage the development of social enterprises. [47812]

Alun Michael: The Government published a strategy for social enterprise in 2002. Since then we have provided funding to help establish the Social Enterprise Coalition as a representative body for social enterprises, and carried out a major survey to determine the size of the sector. We have introduced the Community Interest Company" to provide businesses operating primarily for a social purpose a tailor-made limited company model, and we are working with the regional development agencies to ensure that social enterprises are well-served by publicly funded business support available through Business Link.

We have produced a guide for banks entitled Lending to the Social Enterprise sector" and sponsored the excellent Matchwinners" publication which exemplifies commercial collaboration between social enterprises and the private sector.

We are currently refreshing the strategy for social enterprise, and will launch a new action plan in the spring. The action plan will focus on four key areas:

Actions will include ensuring social enterprises are well served by publicly funded business support, improving access to public procurement, new research into the impact of social enterprise, and promoting social enterprise to potential entrepreneurs.


Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether he plans to review the Supermarket Code of Practice; and whether he plans to
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give advice to the Office of Fair Trading in respect of establishing a regulator to monitor breaches of the Code of Conduct by supermarkets. [48142]

Mr. Sutcliffe: The prime responsibility for operating our competition regime rests with the independent competition authorities. In the specific case of supermarkets it is the Office of Fair Trading (OFT). The OFT is currently responsible for keeping under review the Code of Practice governing supermarket's relations with their suppliers and for dealing with any other competition issues in the sector.

Complaints regarding alleged breaches of the Code of Practice will be investigated by the OFT who will take appropriate action where necessary.


Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry pursuant to his answer of 26 January 2006, Official Report, column 2355W, on THORP, whether ministerial approval is required in the event that the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and the British Nuclear Group agree the plant should restart. [48765]

Malcolm Wicks: The Thermal Oxide Reprocessing Plant (THORP) has been shut since a major leak in April 2005. Once the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate is satisfied that its safety requirements are met, the decision as to when to re-start the operation of THORP would be for the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority to take, in conjunction with plant operator BNG.

The NDA has been given a direction to operate THORP under the Energy Act 2004. A decision by the NDA to re-start the operation of THORP would therefore be in compliance with this direction. Further ministerial approval would not be required provided plans to re-start THORP are within the current operating plan for the plant.

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