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John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what estimate he has made of the likely number of deaths of miners pursuing compensation claims in the next 12 months. 
Malcolm Wicks: The Department is unable to make such a prediction with any certainty. However, from the information provided by the claimants legal representatives we are aware of 135 claimants with a life expectancy of less than two years.
Alan Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what funding his Department has allocated to the Environment Agency to carry out the process of pre-authorisation for new nuclear power stations. 
Alan Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform by what date he expects the first pre-authorisation consent for new nuclear power stations to be granted by the Environment Agency. 
The regulators, including the Environment Agency, estimate that performing generic design assessments for a competitive number of reactor designs could take around three and a half years. Greater clarity on the time needed for the generic design assessment process should become available as the process unfolds. The time needed will also depend on the number of designs that are assessed concurrently.
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what budget his Department has allocated to the (a) Health
and Safety Executive and (b) Nuclear Installations Inspectorate to carry out the process of generic design assessment for new nuclear power stations. 
Alan Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform by what date he expects the first design consent to be granted following the process of generic design assessment for new nuclear power stations. 
Malcolm Wicks: Following a request from the Government, the regulators (the Health and Safety Executive and the Environment Agency) developed a process for generic design assessment of new nuclear reactor designs, which they are carrying out on a contingent basis pending the outcome of the consultation on the future of nuclear power. The regulators published their guidance on the Generic Design Assessment process in January 2007.
The regulators estimate that performing generic design assessments for a competitive number of reactor designs could take around three and a half years, running until around 2010-11. Greater clarity on the time needed for the generic design assessment process should become available as the process unfolds. The time needed will also depend on the number of designs that are assessed concurrently.
Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform from where the uranium for the UKs nuclear power stations is sourced; and what percentage came from each country in the latest period for which figures are available. 
Malcolm Wicks: Uranium imports come from a diverse range of countriesuranium is currently mined in 19 different countries and resources of economic interest have been identified in at least 25 other countries.
The IEAs 2006 World Energy Outlook concluded that identified conventional uranium resources are sufficient for several decades of operation at current usage rates. All demand to 2030 can be met from reasonably assured resources at a production cost below $80/kg. Beyond 2030 the additional demand can still be met on the basis of current estimates of total reasonably assured, inferred and undiscovered uranium resources.
Richard Burden: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform when he expects to receive the report of the inspectors appointed by Ministers under section 432 of the Companies Act 1985 to investigate and report on the affairs of Phoenix Venture Holdings Ltd, MG Rover Limited and related companies; what progress has been made with the inquiry; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. McFadden [holding answer 29 November 2007]: The investigation is ongoing. The inspectors, who are independent of BERR, are seeking to complete the report as quickly as possible, with due regard for the fairness of the process and the thoroughness of the task. It would not otherwise be appropriate to comment on the details of a current investigation or to speculate on when it might be completed.
Charles Hendry: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how many responses have been received to the six-week consultation over proposed post office closures in the Hampshire and the Isle of Wight Area Plan. 
Mr. Francois: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how many anonymous visits have been made to post offices to monitor the delivery of network change programme checks of key messages to customers. 
Mr. McFadden [holding answer 15 November 2007]: This is an operational matter for Post Office Ltd. (POL). I have therefore asked Alan Cook, Managing Director of POL, to reply direct to the hon. Member.
Kate Hoey: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what the Governments policy is on requiring postmen to maintain a pace of four miles per hour across their route as determined by the Pegasus 2 programme; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. McFadden: This is an operational matter for which Royal Mail has direct responsibility. I have therefore asked the Chief Executive of Royal Mail, Adam Crozier, to provide a direct reply to the hon. Member.
Mr. Lancaster: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what productivity per worker is in the UK; what information his Department holds on equivalent figures for (a) the USA, (b) Germany, (c) France, (d) China and (e) India; and if he will make a statement. 
Latest international comparisons of productivity per worker produced by the ONS for 2006 show the gap with France currently stands at around 9 per cent. down from 23 per cent. in 1995. The data also show that productivity in the UK is 4 per cent. higher than in Germany from being 10 per cent. lower in 1995. The gap with the US stands at around 23 per cent. down from 29 per cent. in 1995.
Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform who is responsible for the security of trains carrying nuclear waste through London; and if he will make a statement. 
Malcolm Wicks: The transportation of spent nuclear fuel is carried out in accordance with stringent security regulationsthe Nuclear Industries Security Regulations 2003 (NISR 03). These regulations are administered and enforced by the Office for Civil Nuclear Security (OCNS), part of the Health and Safety Executive, who regulate the security of such movements.
A key requirement of the NISR 03 is that all carriers of civil nuclear material submit a Transport Security Statement (TSS), which is legally binding, detailing the security policies and procedures implemented in order to prevent the theft or sabotage of civil nuclear material in transit. Before a carrier can commence the transport of civil nuclear material, the TSS has to be approved by OCNS who must be assured that the standards detailed are sufficiently robust.
Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what steps his Department has taken to (a) review and (b) improve the security arrangements for (i) nuclear facilities and (ii) the transportation of nuclear materials including (A) MOX plutonium and (B) nuclear waste; and if he will make a statement. 
Malcolm Wicks: Security measures for the transportation of nuclear material and of licensed nuclear sites are kept under continuing review in light of the prevailing threat and we are satisfied that existing procedures are robust and effective.
The Office for Civil Nuclear Security (OCNS), part of the Health and Safety Executive, is the Government's regulator for security in the civil nuclear industry and is responsible for ensuring, inter alia, that the industry complies with the requirements of the Nuclear Industries Security Regulations 2003 (NISR 03).
The NISR 03 makes provision for the protection of nuclear material, both on sites and in transit, against the risks of theft and sabotage, and for the protection of sensitive nuclear information, such as site security arrangements.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what criteria were used to allocate funding referred to in the answer of 23 October 2007, Official Report, column 195W, on regional development agency: finance, to each regional development agency. 
Mr. Timms: The regional development agencies' budgets for 2007-08 were allocated to the RDAs following spending review 2004. Grant in aid was divided between the RDAs using a funding formula which takes into account the needs of the region (including skills, worklessness and productivity).
Once the RDAs' overall budgets were set, each of the RDAs produced corporate plans in which they set out their requirements for pay and non-pay administration costs. Those plans were approved by Ministers.
Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what proposals he has to improve the development and uptake of renewable and low carbon energy technologies through targeted sectoral deployment support measures. 
The 2007 Energy White Paper sets out the Government's policy to promote energy innovation in renewable and low carbon technologies. The Government are supporting a wide range of technology push measures to stimulate research and development through the Research Councils, Technology Strategy Board, Energy Technologies Institute (all DIUS funded) and the Environmental Transformation Fund (DEFRA and BERR funded). The ETF will be the key mechanism for supporting demonstration and early phase deployment for low carbon energy and energy efficiency technologies and will be operational from April 2008. It will include BERR's existing sector specific demonstration programmes
such as; Hydrogen Fuel Cell and Carbon Abatement Demonstration Programme, Marine Renewables Deployment Fund Programme, Low Carbon Buildings Programmes, Bioenergy Capital Grants Programme, Offshore Wind Capital Grants Programme.
In addition market pull comes by providing the market mechanisms and incentives such as the renewables obligation (RO) and the renewable transport fuel obligation (RTFO). The RO will provide by 2010 some £1 billion support for renewable deployment. We are introducing measures to allow banding of the RO, this will provide the generation industry with greater incentive to develop and deploy those technologies which are currently further from commercial deployment. The UK has shown its commitment to a responsible biofuel strategy through the development of the RTFO, which would require the totality of road transport fuel to include a minimum proportion of biofuel, reaching 5 per cent. by volume by 2010-11.
In terms of the heat sector, we have been carrying out further work this year into renewable technologies, policy options and support measures that could further reduce the carbon impact of heat and its use.
Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what steps his Department is taking to implement options for utilising a lower carbon grid policy arising from the Prime Minister's commitment to treble the amount of electricity produced from renewable sources by 2015. 
Malcolm Wicks: The Energy White Paper announced the reform of the renewables obligation which it is estimated will see a trebling in the amount of electricity produced from renewable sources from 4.6 per cent. in 2006 to around 15 per cent. in 2015.
Investment in electricity networks to support these, and other developments, is made by the transmission owners and distribution network operators under the regulatory supervision of Ofgem. Ofgem have agreed £560 million of investment in the transmission network specifically to connect new renewable generation in Scotland and the North of England. In the transmission price control, which covers the five year period from 1 April 2007, a further £3.8 billion of investment in the transmission network was agreed. This figure includes both refurbishment and the costs of connecting new generators of all types and may increase if warranted by generator demand.
We also announced in the Energy White Paper a review of the framework for grid access for renewable generation (the transmission access review). This review will consider ways to better support the connection of renewable generation to the grid.
In addition, my Department has supported innovation in the integration of renewable and other low carbon generating technologies into the electricity networks, through the technology programme, now operated by DIUS through the Technology Strategy Board. The Department has also supported the work of the Electricity Networks Strategy Group, and its predecessor the Distributed Generation Working Group, in successfully addressing a range of grid-related barriers to small renewable generators and other low carbon technologies. The Centre for Distributed Generation and Sustainable
Energy, has also been supported by the Department to the tune of some £2.5 million over five years, in addressing a range of issues relating to the integration of renewable generation.
Since taking powers in the Energy Act 2004 for the Secretary of State to make changes for purposes connected with offshore electricity transmission to codes, licences and agreements, the Department has also been working jointly with Ofgem to establish the details of the new regulatory framework that will deliver grid connections for offshore renewable energy projects. We are continuing to develop the details of the new regime in consultation with industry, and aim to issue final proposals for consultation in June 2008.
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