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Carbon Credits

Mr. Davey: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps the Government plans to take to promote the inclusion of carbon capture and storage technology as a means of yielding carbon credits. [60633]

Malcolm Wicks: The UK took the initiative in the EU last year with the aim of having Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) qualify for carbon credits under the EU Emissions Trading Scheme. We established an ad hoc working group made up of interested EU member countries plus Norway to oversee the production of a report investigating the monitoring and verification guidelines necessary for CCS to qualify for Carbon Credits. This report can be found on the DTI website at:

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This report was presented to the European Commission last Autumn and they have now established a Working Group under the European Climate Change Programme, which includes UK representation, to develop policy recommendations for CCS in the EU ETS. In addition, the UK is working with other countries in the UNFCCC to ensure that CCS projects in developing countries are eligible for carbon credits under the Kyoto Protocol's Clean Development Mechanism.

Clear Skies Programme

Mr. Davey: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry for what reasons grants under the Clear Skies programme are not available between 5 March and the closure of the scheme on 31 March; and what steps the Government has taken to inform applicants that grants would no longer be made available from 5 March. [59479]

Malcolm Wicks: Under Clear Skies grants finished before the 31 March because all available funds had been allocated to the Programme.

Notice was given on the Programme website about the proposed closure date and time frames for submitting applications.

The new Low Carbon Buildings Programme will supersede Clear Skies in April this year, which will continue to make grants available for the installation of renewable technologies.

Coal-fired Power Stations

Mr. Davey: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what proportion of the UK's energy supply was derived from coal-fired power stations in each of the last 10 years. [60632]

Malcolm Wicks: The proportion of electricity supplied from coal in the United Kingdom in each of the last ten years is shown in the table. The table also shows the proportion of primary inland consumption of energy that was used in coal fired power stations.

Proportion of UK electricity supplied by coalProportion of UK inland consumption of energy used in coal-fired power stations

(7) The 2005 data are provisional
Digest of United Kingdom Energy Statistics 2005

Departmental Meetings

Mr. Davidson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry on what dates meetings have taken place between his Department and representatives of Asda, including Asda's parent company Wal-Mart, in the last 12 months; and if he will list the participants. [59942]

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Alun Michael: Because of the very wide range of goods and outlets involved, the retail sector is affected by more regulations than any other sector. Consequently major retailers will have regular contact with many departments and may also be involved in working and consultative groups. To list every meeting would involve disproportionate cost, so the following information relates to key meetings only. Data privacy legislation make it inappropriate listing participants.

Between 16 March 2005 and 16 March 2006 meetings between DTI and Asda/Wal-Mart took place on:

European Institute for Technology

Mr. Boris Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what representations he has received from businesses and industry on the European Commission's proposal to establish a European Institute for Technology. [58972]

Barry Gardiner: My right hon. Friend has received representations from the Confederation of British Industry. These support the Commission's objectives of improving links between universities and businesses to exploit research better, but they question whether the Commission has proposed the most effective mechanism to achieve these objectives.

European Structural Funds

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what changes are planned to the (a) distribution and (b) amount of European Structural Funds in the UK. [60115]

Alun Michael: The amounts of EU Structural Funds to be received by the UK over the next Financial Perspective (2007–2013) were set out in my written statement to Parliament of 20 December 2005 on the agreement achieved in the European Council on 15 to 16 December. The agreement (and that statement) also included specific allocations for regions covered by the Convergence Objective and by phasing-in provisions under the Competitiveness and Employment Objective, namely Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, West Wales and the Valleys, Merseyside and South Yorkshire, and the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. We are currently consulting on a draft National Strategic Reference Framework, which will establish key priorities for Structural Fund spending in the UK. As part of the consultation, we are also inviting comments on how to allocate the remaining funds available under the Competitiveness Objective.

Freshwater Biological Association Library/Kritsch Collection

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what discussions he has had with
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(a) the National Environment Research Council and (b) the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology on their decision to withdraw funding support for the Freshwater Biological Association Library and the Kritsch Collection. [60366]

Barry Gardiner [holding answer 21 March 2006]: The Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH) is wholly owned by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC). My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry has had no discussions with either (a) NERC or (b) CEH on the Freshwater Biological Association Library and the Kritsch Collection. NERC is responsible for determining the details of how funding is allocated to specific activities.


Mr. Davey: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will list the British companies that the Government have helped win contracts in Iraq since the current conflict began. [59478]

Ian Pearson: The Department does not hold a comprehensive list of all the companies that it has helped secure business in Iraq. However, I will send to the hon. Member a list of UK companies that are known to us to be operating in Iraq and which have given us permission to pass on their names. Many others have asked us not to pass on this information because of commercial confidentiality or security concerns for their staff and operations in Iraq. A number of the companies on the list will have received assistance from UK Trade and Investment.

This information will also be placed in the Libraries of the House.

Labour Statistics

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry which 10 areas of employment he estimates to be most short of workers. [59810]

Mr. Sutcliffe: The National Employer Skills Survey (NESS), produced by the Learning and Skills Council, is based on interviews with 27,000 employers and is the most reliable source on worker shortages.

Figures on total job vacancies by occupation can give a misleading picture—for employers within some occupations can fill their vacancies relatively easily. It is the vacancies which employers find hard to fill which reflect a shortage of workers. NESS figures on 'hard to fill vacancies' therefore give the clearest indication of occupations facing a shortage of workers.

The most recent data are for 2004 and show that the occupations with the most 'hard to fill' job vacancies as a percentage of employment were as follows:
Personal Service2.5
Associate Professionals1.8
Skilled Trades1.8
Transport and machine operatives1.5
Elementary Occupations1.3
Sales and Customer Service0.8
Administrative and Secretarial0.5
Managers and senior officials0.3

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