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Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many members of the Natural Environment Research Council Executive board were ecologists when the decision to close the facility at Winfrith, South Dorset, was taken. 
Barry Gardiner [holding answer 27 February 2006]: The science budget allocation to the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) has doubled since 1997, demonstrating our commitment to maintaining the quality of environmental research in the UK. NERC is currently considering the input from a wide consultation with stakeholders on proposals on how the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH) can contribute to this on a sustainable basis.
NERC Council is the governing body of NERC, and decisions on these proposals are expected to be taken by NERC Council in March. Three members of Council are ecologists and another member has expertise in ecological toxicology.
Barry Gardiner: The governing body responsible for decisions at the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) is NERC Council. Details of members of NERC Council, including relevant scientific qualifications, expertise and research interests, are available on the NERC website at http://www.nerc.ac.uk/secretariat-council/.
Between June 2003 and early 2004, the Government consulted on proposals concerning the treatment of exclusions and exemptions from competition lawincluding vertical agreements such as those relating to newspaper and magazine distribution. A copy of the consultation document may be found on
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the DTI website at www.dti.gov.uk/ccp/consultpdf/modconsult1.pdf Section 4 of that consultation document dealt with vertical agreements and the question of whether the order made in 2000 excluding vertical agreements from prohibition under UK competition law should be repealed. Parties from the newspaper and magazine supply chain were among those that submitted views to the consultation. The Government's response may be found on the DTI website at www.dti.gov.uk/ccp/consultpdf/compmodresp.pdf (section 7).
In 2004, following repeal of the domestic exclusion for vertical agreements, a number of industry parties sought advice from the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) on the continued compatibility with competition law of agreements relating to the distribution of newspapers and magazines and requested the OFT recommend a new block exemption to cover such agreements. The OFT received representations from across the newspaper and magazine supply chain about the operation of the market. A number of the parties that made representations to the OFT wrote separately to DTI Ministers expressing their views. The OFT published its preliminary opinion on the matter in May 2005 for consultation. A copy can be found on the OFT website at www.oft.gov.uk/NR/rdonlyres/F7299676-BAAC-439B-A5A7-2A7AB3191B50/0/oft450.pdf The OFT received a number of further representations which it has since been considering. Again, a number of the parties that made representations to the OFT have written separately to DTI Ministers expressing their views. Ministers have also received letters on the matter from a number of hon. Members writing on behalf of constituents and from a small number of private individuals.
Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what (a) types and (b) levels of subsidy have been given to the rural post office network in (i) Wales, (ii) Ogmore constituency and (iii) the Bridgend County Borough area in each year since 1997; and what the average annual income of a rural post office from each such subsidy was in each year. 
Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many post offices in (a) Ogmore constituency, (b) the Bridgend County Borough area and (c) the Rhondda Cynon Taff County Borough area are designated (i) rural, (ii) urban and (iii) other. 
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what estimate he has made of (a) the amount of biomass which will be co-fired with coal at
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power stations between (i) April 2005 and March 2006 and (ii) April 2006 and March 2007, (b) the resultant level of carbon dioxide emissions in each period and (c) the carbon dioxide emissions which would result from firing solely with coal in each period. 
Malcolm Wicks [holding answer 27 February 2006]: The Renewables Obligation requires generators to provide Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROCs) as evidence that 5.5 per cent. of their electricity supply has been generated from eligible renewable sources in the period from April 2005 to March 2006 and 6.7 per cent. in the period from April 2006 to March 2007. ROCs issued for co-firing biomass with fossil fuel can be used as evidence for 25 per cent. of a supplier's obligation for the period from April 2005-March 2006 and 10 per cent. of a supplier's obligation for the period from April 2006 to March 2007.
The Department does not make estimates of the amount of biomass co-fired with coal in the periods mentioned. A publication (available by entering reference URN 05/1159 at www.dti.gov.uk/publications) in August 2005 from the Co-firing of Biomass at UK Power Plant project under the DTI's Carbon Abatement Technologies Programme indicated potential maximum co-firing levels of 4.4TWh in the period from April 2005-March 2006 and 2.2TWh from April 2006-March 2007 based on the caps set by the Renewables Obligation.
Average figures for carbon dioxide emissions from power generation given on the DTI Energy Statistics website are 910g/kWh for coal-fired generation and 360g/kWh for gas-fired generation. The Renewables Innovation Review indicated net carbon dioxide emissions for a range of biomass fuels of 22-45g/kWh.
[holding answer 27 February 2006]: Science infrastructure is funded by the DTI through a number of routes. Universities are funded directly via the Science Research Investment Fund. Other investments are channelled through the Research Councils, who fund infrastructure both within the university sector and within their own institutes. Councils can also draw on the centrally-held Large Facilities Capital Fund for the largest new capital projects. The Research Councils or individual universities and research institutes are responsible for taking decisions on investments in science including new scientific infrastructure. Each Research Council has mechanisms for ensuring decisions are taken impartially in the best interests of the UK scientific community, overseen by a governing Council. The Department organises periodic prioritisation exercises carried out by the Research Councils to inform on the allocations of
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the Large Facilities Capital Fund. All the decisions and processes of the Department and the Research Councils are subject to scrutiny by the National Audit Office.
Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when the independent report on the cost-benefit analysis of amending the Sunday trading legislation will be published. 
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