Previous Section Index Home Page

27 Feb 2006 : Column 138W—continued

Power Generation Technologies

Mr. Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what funding his Department has allocated to hydrogen power technologies in each year since 1997. [51869]

Malcolm Wicks: On 15 June 2005, I announced the Government's response to the report A Strategic Framework for Hydrogen Energy Activity in the UK" 1 which included a funding package from my department of £15 million over four years for a UK wide hydrogen and fuel cell demonstration programme. The demonstration scheme is currently in preparation, and will require EC state aid approval.

Currently, my Department supports industrial collaborative research and development for fuel cell and hydrogen technologies through the Technology Programme (and previously through the new and renewable energy programme). Fuel Cells have been supported since 1992. Bids specifically for hydrogen technologies have been invited since April 2005. The programme seeks to advance these technologies for both stationary power generation and transport applications, with a view to achieving the cost reductions and performance levels necessary for commercial deployment. This support has amounted to approximately £2 million per annum since 1997.

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), including through the SUPERGEN initiative, support basic research in universities on both fuel cells and hydrogen. SUPERGEN supports the UK Sustainable Hydrogen Energy Consortium (UK SHEC) which has received funding of £2.5 million. This programme is supporting projects on: hydrogen generation; hydrogen storage; and socio-economic implications for a hydrogen economy. In addition to SUPERGEN, EPSRC has awarded £1 million to investigate the potential role of formic acid as a chemical method for the storage of hydrogen. £500,000 has been granted to three projects on fundamental science and engineering relevant to the hydrogen economy. EPSRC also contributes to projects through the DTI's Technology Programme. More widely, the research councils EPSRC, ESRC, and NERC have recently established the UK Energy Research Centre.

The Government have also provided funding of over £450,000 for the trial of three hydrogen-powered fuel cell buses in London as part of the EU CUTE (Clean Urban Transport in Europe) 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.
27 Feb 2006 : Column 139W

The Department for Transport announced in January, as part of their Horizons innovative research programme, a competition for projects to investigate the options for the further steps required to move to the adoption of a hydrogen transport infrastructure. It is hoped to support between two and four projects examining the practicality and timing of the introduction of the required infrastructure to support hydrogen-fuelled vehicles at a cost of up to £500,000.

Public Information

Mr. Gale: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much was spent on the Department's public relations and information services in each of the last five years for which figures are available. [48968]

Alan Johnson: The following was spent on public relations by DTI via the Central Office of Information between 2002 and November 2005.
UK Online for Business661,606.84
Invest UK126,282.39
Trade Partners247,651.65
Trade Partners546,312.99
UK Online for Business443,767.40
Invest UK447,412.30
Dispute Resolution68,405.05
Renewable Energy (specialist pr)516,490.60
Best Business Practice338,443.29
Best Practice151,827.51
Renewable Energy (consumer, public activity
and regional tour pr)
2005 (to date)
Consumer Direct138,560.25
Consumer Direct22,975.59
Consumer Direct—event6,902.50

To provide details beyond the above would exceed disproportionate costs.

The support costs for the Department's main information source, the website, are included in the overall service charge paid monthly under the IT service contract in place since 1 April 1999.


Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement on the operation of the (a) Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 and (b) the Control of Misleading Advertisements Regulations 1988. [54200]

Mr. Sutcliffe: The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 set levels of fire resistance for domestic upholstered furniture manufactured in or imported into the UK. These regulations are enforced
27 Feb 2006 : Column 140W
by local authority trading standards departments, which have powers to suspend the supply of products which do not meet the requirements of the regulations, to seize such products and to bring prosecutions against suppliers.

The Control of Misleading Advertisements Regulations 1988 empowers the Director General of Fair Trading to investigate misleading advertisements and, where necessary, take action to prevent further publication.

Renewable Energy

Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment his Department has made of the viability of incorporating on-site renewable energy in major new commercial developments. [54048]

Malcolm Wicks: A study carried out by Future Energy Solutions (Renewable Heat and Heat from Combined Heat and Power plants—Study and Analysis) on behalf of the DTI examined the potential for renewable heat to be incorporated in commercial buildings. We also commissioned a study from the Energy Saving Trust (Potential for Microgeneration—Study and Analysis), which examined the costs and benefits associated with microgeneration installations, including the installation of solar photovoltaics on a commercial scale (40kW). The Future Energy Solutions report is available at and the Energy Saving Trust report is available at

Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment his Department has made of the impact of trends in gas and electricity prices on the cost-effectiveness of renewable energy technologies in the domestic sector. [54049]

Malcolm Wicks: The Energy Saving Trust Report Potential for Micro generation—Study and Analysis" (, commissioned by the DTI, examines the costs and benefits of a range of microgeneration technologies in the domestic sector. The assessment takes into account the latest gas and electricity price projections published on the DTI website at that time.

Recent increases in gas and electricity prices will make renewable technologies in the domestic sector relatively more cost-effective. In November 2005, the Prime Minister announced that there would be a review of energy policy that would report in summer 2006. The review will consider all options including the role of current generating technologies such as renewables, as well as new and emerging technologies.

Mr. Grogan: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what estimate he has made of the impact of the regulation of the amount of an electricity supplier's renewable obligation that can come from co-firing from April 2006 on the price of co-fired renewable obligation certificates. [54208]

Malcolm Wicks: The Government do not make forecasts of renewable obligation certificate (ROC) prices. The value of co-fired ROCs reflects demand and supply taking account of the rules on co-firing in the renewables obligation.
27 Feb 2006 : Column 141W

Research and Development Grants

Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what sums from unused research and development grants were carried forward from 2004–05 to 2005–06 in each region. [51494]

Alun Michael: The 2004–05 baseline budget for grant for research and development was fully utilised. No monies were carried forward into 2005–06.

Royal Mail

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make it his policy to ensure that Royal Mail remains entirely in public ownership. [53651]

Barry Gardiner: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry made it clear at DTI oral questions on 21 July that the Government will not privatise Royal Mail. We will continue to pursue our ambition of a publicly owned Royal Mail Group fully restored to good health and providing customers with an excellent service and its employees with rewarding employment.

Angela Watkinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what targets have been set for the Royal Mail to return (a) misdirected and (b) wrongly addressed post. [53239]

Barry Gardiner: Royal Mail receives no revenue for the return of misdirected and wrongly addressed post and no targets have been set for the time within which it has to be returned. Some cannot be returned. The matter is dealt with by schemes made under section 89 of the Postal Services Act 2000, in particular the successor postal services company inland letter post scheme 2001, paragraph 8 of which provides that the service of returning undeliverable letters is discretionary.

Next Section Index Home Page