Previous Section Index Home Page

6 Feb 2007 : Column 880W—continued


While the number of contracts has fallen since 2001, in 2005-06 the number of civil acts of assistance reached its highest since 2000 at 708,510.

From 2001, the LSC introduced contracting for services provided under the Criminal Defence Service and the number of contracts held by legal aid practices at 31 March each year is as follows:

Number

2000

3,500

2001

2,925

2002

2,909

2003

2,900

2004

2,669

2005

2,643

2006

2,608


Mr. Rogerson: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs whether her Department takes into account loans previously received on (a) a commercial basis and (b) by private arrangement when adjudging the potential income of applicants for legal aid. [119294]

Vera Baird: The Legal Services Commission (LSC), when assessing the capital or income of an applicant for civil legal aid, may take into account any funds received through a commercial or private loan. The first £100,000 of any disputed assets can be disregarded from the means assessment process, as can up to £100,000 of any outstanding mortgage. Moreover, in assessing an applicant’s financial eligibility for civil legal aid, the LSC may take into account the resources of other persons where either another person has been maintaining the applicant or their partner, or resources from another person have been made available to the applicant or their partner.

In assessing the income of an applicant for criminal legal aid in the magistrates court, those with a weighted gross income of between £11,591 and £20,739 will have mortgage repayments in respect of their main dwelling taken into consideration by the LSC in assessing their disposable income.

Mrs. James: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what mechanisms are in place to prevent (a) repetitious and (b) fraudulent legal aid claims in child custody cases. [118389]

Vera Baird: The Legal Services Commission’s Funding Code Procedures allow a client in private family law proceedings only one legal aid certificate at any one time in respect of the same family relationship.

The procedures also allow for funding to be revoked if the client has made an untrue or misleading statement, or failed to disclose a material fact, in connection with their legal aid application.


6 Feb 2007 : Column 881W

Local Authorities: High Court

Mr. Drew: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what the average length of time is between the filing of a defence and the hearing of a case in the High Court in cases where a local authority’s local plan is challenged; and if she will take steps to reduce the time taken to hear such cases. [119242]

Vera Baird: Information on the average length of time between the filing of a defence and the hearing of a case in the High Court in cases where a local authority’s local plan is challenged is not available centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Lord Chancellor: Functions

Mr. Heald: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs pursuant to the answers of 27 November 2006, Official Report, column 343W, and 13 December 2006, Official Report, column 1071W, on the Lord Chancellor (Functions), what the estimated cost to the public purse was of each of the seven functions in the Lord Chancellor’s official residence in Admiralty House; how many people attended each such function; and what the purpose was of each function. [113946]

Bridget Prentice: The costs for these functions are accounted for in the usual way and are not yet available. Information relating to the use of the Lord Chancellor’s residence, including costs, will be available at the end of the financial year.

Magistrates Courts

Mr. Heald: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what representations she has received from magistrates on administrative changes in the types of cases heard in particular courts in the 2006-07 financial year. [112574]

Ms Harman: I regularly meet magistrates to discuss a broad range of criminal, civil and family justice issues.

Mr. Heald: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what recent changes there have been in the level of training offered to magistrates; what assessment she has made of the effect of the lack of training offered to magistrates on defendants’ rights under the Human Rights Act 1998; and if she will make a statement. [112575]

Vera Baird: A minimum level of training for magistrates is agreed annually between the Judicial Studies Board and Her Majesty’s Courts Service. There has been no significant change in this minimum requirement recently.

All magistrates, and their legal advisers who advise them on the appropriate legislation and case law in individual cases, were trained in the provisions of the Human Rights Act before it came into force on 2 October 2000. Since then, the Act has been part of domestic UK law, so its provisions are always considered and where appropriate incorporated in the
6 Feb 2007 : Column 882W
preparation and delivery of magistrates’ training. There have been no indications that insufficient training is being provided to magistrates on human rights.

Voting Methods: Greater London

Mr. Evennett: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what recent representations she has received on (a) postal and (b) proxy voting in London. [118258]

Bridget Prentice: Since my previous answer on 22 May 2006, Official Report, column 472W, we have not received any letters from members of the public or MPs about postal and proxy voting in London. My right hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State Department for Constitutional Affairs, Baroness Ashton of Upholland, answered a parliamentary question in the other place from Lord Greaves on 6 November 2006, Official Report, column WA 83, about the Metropolitan Police Authority report of 26 October 2006 on ‘Electoral offences in London following the local elections of May 2006’.

Trade and Industry

Air Pollution

Dr. Whitehead: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps he is taking to reduce the reliance in the UK on the use of chlorofluorocarbons permitted under the Montreal Protocol. [119078]

Malcolm Wicks: Production and consumption of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) in the UK has been phased out except for a few specialised uses.

Bio-energy Capital Grants Scheme

Mr. Todd: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will list the grants awarded under the bio-energy capital grants scheme toward biomass generation projects; and if he will make a statement. [114871]

Malcolm Wicks: Launched in February 2002, the original £66 million scheme, joint-funded by DTI and the National Lottery's New Opportunities Fund was designed to encourage the development of biomass power stations and biomass-sourced heat, using both established and new technologies and to provide markets for dedicated energy crops.

In 2006 the National Lottery—now the Big Lottery Fund (BIG)—used unallocated scheme funds of £2.2 million to provide a second competitive round of funding and awarded seven further grants last September.

In December 2006, Defra announced a five-year continuation of the scheme to support the installation of biomass-fuelled heat and combined heat and power projects in the industrial, commercial and community sectors in England, with funding of £10 to £15 million available for the first two years. This funding round is currently open for applications.


6 Feb 2007 : Column 883W

The combined projects previously and presently supported by DTI, BIG and Defra under the bio-energy capital grants scheme are as follows.


6 Feb 2007 : Column 884W
Priority 1A—Large scale electricity generation, greater than 20MWe fuelled by energy crops National Lottery New Opportunities Fund
Applicant/project name Status Location MWe/MWth Grant (£ million)

United Utilities/Herefordshire Biomass Project

Offer declined

Hereford

22/0

10.944

Enron Teeside/Wilton 10 (Became SembCorp Utilities/Wilton 10)

Building

Teeside

30/0

11.900

Powergen/Proposal for a 30 MWe Biomass Fuelled Electricity Generating Station at Killingholme, Lincolnshire (Became E.ON Renewables Stevens Croft, Lockerbie)

Building

Lincs (Became Scotland)

30/0

18.000


Priority 1B—Electricity generation and CHP over IMWe from energy crops, forestry wood fuels and agricultural by products. Department of Trade and Industry
Applicant/project name Status Location MWe/MWth Grant (£ million)

Bronzeoak/6.88 MWe Biomass Combined Cycle Gasification CHP Plant

Offer declined

Somerset

6.9/1.5

3.8

Eccleshall Biomass/Fanning for Energy

Building

Staffs

2.2/0

0.48

Charlton Energy Ltd.

Planning

Gloucester

7/7

2.0

Western Log—Fortum/Port Talbot Bio-Energy Plant. An advanced l0MWe biomass power plant firing clean wood residues

Building

Wales

10/0

4.65

Roves Energy/Farmers Fuelling the Future

Planning

Wilts

2/0

0.96

Balcas/The conversion of the energy in wood into CHP and the production of wood pellets

Operating

Northern Ireland

2/10

2.03

EPRL—Arjo Wiggins/The Corpach Biomass Plant

Planning

Fort William

5/26

5.04


Priority 2—Advanced conversion technologies Department of Trade and Industry
Applicant/project name Status Location MWe/MWth Grant (£ million)

Peninsula Power Ltd./Winkleigh Biomass Phase 1 . (Offer subsequently withdrawn)

Offer withdrawn

Devon

22

11.5


Priority 3A biomass heating clusters National Lottery New Opportunities Fund
Lead company Project Grant awarded (£)

Econergy Ltd.

Ecoheat Clusters Development Project

1,060,080

Wood Energy Ltd.

Biomass Heating Clusters in South West England and Lincolnshire

903,837

Rural Energy Ltd.

Rural Energy East Midlands Wood Hearing Network

879,060

Woodland Ed. Trust

Lignatherm—SE Regional Wood Heat Supply Company

112,750

Fermanagh Business Initiative (became Maurice Stevenson Ltd.)

Biomass for Sustainable Development (became Fermanagh Schools renewables initiative)

96,610

Torren Energy (became Buccleuch Bioenergy)

Torren Energy Scottish Biomass Heat Clusters (Priority 3A)

580,655

Welsh Biofuels Ltd.

The Wales Biocluster Project

347,970


Priority 3B industrial and commercial biomass heating Department of Trade and Industry
Lead company Project Award (£)

Econergy Ltd.

Industrial Ecoheat Development Project

335,940

Countryside Properties Ltd. (declined offer)

Cliveden Community

195,000

Nottinghamshire county council (became RENU)

Nottinghamshire Woodheat Project

197,600

Torren Energy (became Buccleuch Bioenergy)

Torren Energy Scottish Biomass Heat Clusters (priority 3B)

193,552


6 Feb 2007 : Column 885W

Following round 2 in 2006 there are a further seven projects that are being supported by the National Lottery Big Lottery Fund.


6 Feb 2007 : Column 886W
Table 2 Priority 3a (heat only) projects recommended for funding
Lead company Project Country Grant awarded (£)

Nottinghamshire county council

Nottingham Woodheat Programme

England

500,000

Highland Wood Energy Limited

Cluster of installations.

Scotland

262,240

3G Energi Ltd.

3G Energi Woodheat

Scotland

262,944

The National Trust

The NATHEN Project

England

494,568

Midlands Wood Fuel Limited

Midlands Wood Fuel

England

359,975

Dulas Ltd.

Powys county council/Mostyn Hall

Wales

204,963


Next Section Index Home Page