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16 Feb 2006 : Column 2402W—continued

Nuclear Power Plants

Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the cost to public funds was of building the (a) Trawsfynydd and (b) Wylfa nuclear power plants; and if he will make a statement. [49741]

Malcolm Wicks: The Trawsfynydd and Wylfa Magnox nuclear power stations were originally built and owned by the Central Electricity Generating Board (CEGB). Magnox Electric Limited now operates the plant under contract to the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority. The cost of building the power stations was at the time funded by the electricity market and there should, therefore, have been no cost to public funds in respect of the building of Trawsfynydd and Wylfa.

Operating and Financial Review

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what plans he has to meet businesses that supported the proposals in the operating and financial review. [51703]

Alun Michael: We are currently consulting on possible amendments to narrative reporting requirements in the Company Law Reform Bill. The deadline for responses is 24 March 2006. The department would be happy to receive views from any interested parties and to consider any request for a meeting.

Power Generation Technologies

Mr. Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what funding his Department has allocated to clean coal technologies in each year since 1997. [51864]

Malcolm Wicks: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to the hon. Member for Leominster on 12 September 2005, Official Report, column 2262W.

Research and Development Grants

Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what training is provided for assessment of applications for research and development grants; and what methods are used to assess their knowledge of business, commerce and technical innovation. [51493]

Barry Gardiner: The Technology Programme, managed by DTI, offers grant support for Collaborative Research and Development projects undertaken by Industry and the Science Base in prescribed high technology areas. Prior to undertaking any assessment, the status, technical qualifications, and business experience of Assessors is obtained and used to associate them to the applications that they may subsequently be asked to assess. In addition, prior to any Assessor being offered an assessment, unless they have had previous recognised experience in assessing applications to similar programme, all Assessors are required to attend a one-day briefing session that addresses all aspects of the process programme and an explanation of the criteria used for assessment. All the Assessors are recognised domain specialists and drawn from business, academia and/or from government research establishments and they are required to abide to strict confidentiality and non-conflict of interest agreements.
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Grant for Research and Development, which helps individuals and small and medium sized businesses with the costs of researching and developing new, technologically innovative products and processes, has been delivered by the Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) since 1 April 2005. On transferring the scheme, DTI undertook a programme of training and provided RDAs with extensive guidance on the framework within which applications should be appraised.

In appraising the technical and commercial aspects of applications RDAs take advice, in confidence, from qualified accountants, the Patent Office and internationally-renowned external organisations that are well qualified to judge the merits of a proposals. As an additional safeguard, RDAs will normally seek advice from two different external organisations when appraising an application.

Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what proportion of funds allocated for research and development grants for each regional development agency for 2005–06 had been offered to project applicants by 31 January 2006; and what proportion of the funds allocated were offered in 2004–05. [51495]

Alun Michael: I have asked each regional development agency to provide me with the relevant information about the region's activities. I will write to the hon. Member when I have the necessary information and place a copy of the letter in the Libraries of the House.


Mr. Chaytor: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what quantities of plutonium scrap have been produced from the present manufacturing regime for MOX nuclear fuel pellets at the MOX plant at Sellafield. [48830]

Malcolm Wicks: Material rejected from the Sellafield MOX Plant comes from two sources: pellets that are either out of specification or rejected from inspection, and residues that arise principally from grinder dust.

Material that is out of specification or rejected can be recycled and reintroduced into the production process. Due to chemical contamination, residues cannot be reintroduced into the production process. The main residue is grinder dust and typically accounts for up to 2.5 per cent. of throughput.

Student bankruptcies

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many students have been declared bankrupt in each of the last five years. [52602]

Mr. Sutcliffe: It is not possible from the information currently held centrally by the Insolvency Service to quantify how many students have been declared bankrupt.

US Government/Department of Defense Contracts

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many manufacturing companies in the UK have had contracts with (a) the US government
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and (b) the US Department of Defense in the last five years; and what the total value has been of such contracts in each case. [51306]

Alun Michael: DTI does not collate information in a way that shows how many manufacturing companies in the UK have had contracts with the US Government or the US Department of Defense but it is a significant figure.

WarnTone System

Dr. Starkey: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry pursuant to the answer of 13 October 2005, Official Report, column 561W, on WarnTone system, when he expects Ofcom to respond to the request for a test licence for the WarnTone system. [49301]

Alun Michael: The Chief Executive responded to my hon. Friend on 13 February. A copy of the letter has been placed in the Libraries of the House.

Wind Farms

Mr. David Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when he will announce his decision on the application by NPower renewables for consent under section 36 of the Electricity Act 1989 for the development of the Gwynt y Mor wind farm. [51642]

Malcolm Wicks: I cannot give a firm indication of when I will be in a position to reach a decision on the Gwynt Y Mor consent application. The application requires careful consideration and is currently being processed.


Aviation Policy

John Hemming: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps have been taken towards producing an evaluation strategy to assess the effectiveness of the Government's aviation policy; what the proposed timetable is for the production of this strategy; and what processes will be used to formulate it. [51649]

Ms Buck: I refer to my reply to the hon. Member for Hornsey and Wood Green on 19 January 2006, Official Report, column 1471W. The Government are committed to the monitoring and evaluation of the effectiveness and impact of the policies of the Air Transport White Paper. We will report by the end of 2006 on progress.

John Hemming: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when the 2006 Aviation White Paper Progress Review will be published; whether it will include revised passenger forecasts to take account of the increased cost of oil; whether his Department will seek the views of (a) other Government departments and (b) external stakeholders on progress made; and whether it will include an assessment of the role reductions in aviation emissions will play in the target to cut overall emissions by 60 per cent. by 2050. [51650]

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Ms Buck: The Department for Transport (DfT) expects to publish a Progress Report on the policies and proposals set out in the Air Transport White Paper (ATWP), by the end of 2006. Paragraph 12.29 of the Air Transport White Paper says that we will continue to regularly publish data on air travel and to update traffic forecasts in the light of trends. Movement in oil price is one of several explanatory factors in air transport forecasts.

The DfT is currently seeking the views of other Government departments. It also engages with external stakeholders on progress made, in a range of fora including the ATWP External Advisory Group.

The support paper to the Air Transport White paper, Aviation and Global Warming, includes forecasts of aviation emissions relative to other emissions. These forecasts are kept under review. However, the Energy White Paper 60 per cent. reduction target focuses on domestic emissions, and does not include international aviation. This is because emissions from international flights do not currently count in the national inventories of greenhouse gas emissions, there being no international agreement yet on ways of allocating such emissions.

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