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Environmental Standards

Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether his Department (a) is committed to the achievement of environmental management to ISO 14001 standard and (b) has been externally certified as in compliance with that standard; and if he will make a statement. [81190]

Malcolm Wicks: The Department for Trade and Industry has operated an Environmental Management System (EMS) certified to ISO 14001 since November 1999, which is compliant with the framework for sustainable development in Government. The EMS is a management tool used in achieving the Department's commitment to the environment. The certificate has been externally verified by a verification organisation certified by the United Kingdon Accreditation Service.

EU Committees

Mr. Heathcoat-Amory: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will list the dates on which (a) the EU Anti-dumping and Anti-subsidy Committee and (b) the Article 133 Committee met during the past 12 months; and if he will publish the minutes of those meetings. [70906]

Mr. McCartney: The EC Anti-dumping and Anti-subsidy Advisory Committee has met on the following dates during the past 12 months:

The minutes of the Advisory Committee are not available to the public. However, a person may apply to the Commission for access to these documents in accordance with the procedures set down in Regulation
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(EC) No. 1049/2001 of the European Parliament and the Council. When a request is received, the Commission will consider whether the documents can be released or are covered by the exceptions set down in Article 4 of the Regulation.

The Article 133 Committee meets weekly, once a month in full members format and three times a month in deputy members format. There are no formal minutes of these meetings. However the Secretariat of the Council of the European Union publishes outcomes from the Article 133 Committee in accordance with Council Regulation 1049/2001 (Regulation of the European Parliament and Council regarding public access to European Parliament, Council and Commission documents). These documents can be accessed through the Council’s website at

EU Structural Funds

Mr. Love: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) when he expects an announcement to be made on the allocation of EU structural funds, and if he will make a statement; [81420]

(2) what consideration is being given to the alignment of future EU structural funding with the Government's domestic spending priorities, and if he will make a statement; [81421]

(3) what consideration is being given to providing additional domestic resources to support the objectives of regional development through EU structural funding, and if he will make a statement. [81422]

Margaret Hodge: The Government are currently considering responses to our consultation documents published on 28 February setting out an approach to the allocation of EU structural funds and potential for alignment with domestic programmes. We hope to publish our conclusions by the beginning of September.

The Government are committed to increasing the rate of growth of every region, to addressing the disparities between the nations and regions and, in England, to reducing the persistent gap in growth rates between regions. To this end, they are already providing significant resources to support regional economic development, including £2.2 billion annually for the Regional Development Agencies.

Insurance Industry

Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps he is taking to prevent the loss of insurance-related jobs in the UK to offshore locations. [74753]

Mr. McCartney: In this globalised world, companies must be allowed to take the steps required to remain competitive. Location is a business decision for companies.

The Government are well aware of concerns about the effects of offshoring, including those on employment in the insurance sector. But we know from our consultations that there is a broad consensus in the
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UK that trade protectionism is not the right response. Instead, we must do all we can to ensure that those who are affected by decisions to offshore work are found alternative work as quickly as possible. We also need to ensure that the UK remains competitive and an attractive place in which other countries wish to do business.

Local Loop Unbundling

John Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what further targets he plans to set for local loop unbundling. [75270]

Margaret Hodge: The responsibility for local loop unbundling and further targets falls to the telecommunications regulator, Ofcom, and the Telecommunications Adjudicator.

The Telecommunications Adjudicator Scheme was initiated by Ofcom, the independent regulator of the communications sector, in July 2004 to ensure that the unbundling process takes place in a timely and effective way. Membership of this industry scheme is voluntary for BT Group PLC and the LLU operators. Any targets set by the independent Adjudicator are a matter for him on the basis of the best information then available.

John Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps he is taking to ensure that the target for 1.5 million lines to be unbundled from the local loop network by April 2007 is met. [75271]

Margaret Hodge: The target of 1.5 million lines to be unbundled was set by the telecommunications regulator, Ofcom, and the Telecommunications Adjudicator. The responsibility for ensuring that the target is met falls to Ofcom, the industry and the Telecommunications Adjudicator within that regulatory framework.

However, I fully expect the target to be reached.

Local loop unbundling offers greater scope for innovation and competition in broadband services and as such its roll-out is welcome.

London Olympics

Mr. Andy Reed: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry which officials in his Department (a) are responsible for Olympics-related activity and (b) sit on the Inter-Departmental Steering Group for the Olympics. [81565]

Margaret Hodge: David Hendon, Head of Business Relations 2 Directorate, is the Senior Responsible Owner (SRO) for the Olympics project in DTI. He also sits on the Inter-Departmental Steering Group for the Olympics.

Military-technical Co-operation (Export Licences)

John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry for which countries an export licence relating to military-technical co-operation has been
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granted since January 2006; what assessment is made of a third country's arms transfer control system prior to an export licence relating to military-technical co-operation being authorised; and if he will make a statement. [81611]

Malcolm Wicks: The Government do not issue export licences for the act of military-technical co-operation.

North West Regional Development Agency

Geraldine Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will list the public transport schemes which the North West Regional Development Agency supports; and which are in Morecambe and Lunesdale. [79478]

Margaret Hodge [holding answer 29 June 2006]: The North West Regional Development Agency’s priorities for transport are set out in the 2006 Regional Economic Strategy (RES). The RES seeks to reduce levels of congestion by encouraging the use of public transport and reducing peak traffic volumes in all areas across the region.

The 10-year regional transport priorities have been submitted to Government as part of the Regional Funding Allocation process. There are no public transport schemes specifically in Morecambe and Lunesdale, but a number of public transport schemes across Lancashire are included in the investment programme.

The NWDA is financially supporting the Lancashire Rural Pathfinder Project, which is seeking to establish alternative approaches for access to services in rural communities. It covers a number of constituencies in Lancashire including Morecambe and Lunesdale.

Nuclear Energy

Julia Goldsworthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much power was generated in the UK by nuclear energy in the last period for which figures are available. [81423]

Malcolm Wicks: Nuclear power accounted for 19 per cent. of electricity supplied in the first quarter of 2006. This equates to 20.5 TWh (electricity).

Full details of UK energy statistics are available on the DTI Energy website at

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, pursuant to the answer of 22 May 2006, Official Report, column 1635W, on nuclear power, if he will place in the Library a copy of the studies referred to, including a translation into English where the study is in a foreign language. [78936]

Malcolm Wicks: I have arranged for a copy of the studies referred to in my previous answer to be placed in the Library of the House.

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what financial contribution has been
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made by (a) his Department, (b) other Government Departments, (c) the UK’s public sector nuclear industry and (d) the UK nuclear industry’s private sector to the work done by the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate/Health and Safety Executive on the pre-licensing of nuclear power generation plants. [81070]

Malcolm Wicks: The Nuclear Installations Inspectorate (NII) of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has not done any work on the pre-licensing of new nuclear power plants.

In its Expert Report for the Energy Review published on 28 June 2006, HSE describes its proposed approach to dealing with any future requests for pre-licensing assessments of new designs of nuclear power station. HSE’s proposal was devised using existing HSE resources and no additional funding has been provided from any source.

David Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment he has made of the feed-in tariff system for encouraging the use of electricity generated from renewable sources or from nuclear energy. [82133]

Malcolm Wicks: The Energy Review has looked at a wide range of options for bringing forward low carbon energy technologies of all kinds. The current intention is to publish the results of the Energy Review in July.

Offshore Wind Development

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps his Department has taken to facilitate the development of offshore wind after 2010. [81432]

Malcolm Wicks: The Renewables Obligation is the Government's key mechanism for encouraging new renewable generating capacity and will stay in place until 2027. The current Energy Review is looking at a wide range of issues including emerging renewable technologies such as offshore wind and will report shortly.

The DTI has a 2010 Target Team to remove the barriers to development of renewable energy and achieve the Government's target of 10 per cent. of electricity by 2010.

Many of the issues being tackled will assist the development of offshore wind beyond 2010. The higher cost of developing offshore wind remains an issue, and the costs of connection to the electricity grid are part of that. Grid connections are likely to form 10-15 per cent. of capital costs for the Round 2 wind farms, given the considerable cable lengths involved.

Certainty about how the grid connection costs will be funded, and the regulation that controls them, is therefore a key factor that developers need in preparing their business models.

In March this year the Government announced their decision to extend the existing onshore model of regulation of transmission links. Following a joint
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consultation with Ofgem the Government concluded that this approach has a number of clear advantages for offshore projects.

First, extending the regulated price control approach offshore will ensure consistency with the regulatory arrangements onshore. Secondly, it will provide a financial benefit to offshore developers by spreading the costs they face to connect to the onshore electricity system over a number of years. Finally, it will mean that the responsibility for developing the offshore transmission network will be shared by the system operator and the transmission asset owners who can bring their existing expertise to bear.

The DTI and Ofgem are now leading the project to put the new regime in place to connect a proportion of Round 2 projects in time to contribute to the 2010 target, and to ensure there is an enduring framework in place beyond 2010 for offshore wind and other forms of offshore renewables.

The Government have provided capital grants of £107 million to stimulate early development of a significant number of offshore wind farms under the Round 1 offshore wind programme. This will have a significant benefit in the development of offshore wind post-2010 by underpinning the development of the industry and equipment supply chains and will build skills, providing a learning experience which can improve confidence and help reduce future costs and enable future projects to proceed without the need for grant support.

The DTI established the Research Advisory Group (RAG) to facilitate a co-ordinated approach among the regulatory and funding bodies to address the key impact issues of Round 2 wind farm proposals. The DTI has allocated an initial programme budget of up to £2.5 million for offshore wind farm issues, and has collated a list of the potential environmental issues in relation to offshore wind farms and has taken forward and funded a number of these projects.

The DTI, MOD and Civil Aviation Authorities are working to develop mitigation technologies for offshore and onshore radar issues.

The Renewables Advisory Board is also working on the longer term economics of offshore wind to identify cost savings for Round 2 projects.

While Round 2 offshore wind projects will contribute to our targets for 2010 and beyond, there are also enormous economic benefits for the UK in offshore wind. The DTI’s Business Development Team is working to ensure that UK companies maximise the opportunities for offshore wind projects.

Opium Plants

John Battle: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether he has investigated the scientific potential for opium plants to be developed as a bio-fuel energy source. [80162]

Dr. Ladyman: I have been asked to reply.

The Government are not aware of any specific research on using opium plants as a source of fuel. Compared with other plants which are used to make biofuels or energy, opium plants have a relatively low
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yield. In countries where they are grown for the unregulated drug trade, a better solution would therefore be for the growers to change to other crops.

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