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Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of incinerating waste for the purpose of producing electricity; and if he will make a statement. 
The Energy White Paper recognised the energy and waste policy benefits of generating energy from waste that cannot be prevented, reused or
recycled. Recovering energy from waste by incineration or other methods has benefits for security of fuel supply, with the biomass fraction of waste also being a renewable energy source.
According to the latest available statistics, in 2006 1,083 GWh of electricity were generated from the biodegradable fraction of municipal solid waste and a further 651 GWh from the non-biodegradable fraction most of which was of fossil fuel origin. These together accounted for 0.4 per cent. of the UK's electricity generation in 2006.
Steve Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what methodology his Department uses to calculate a cash equivalent in cost-benefit analyses for enhanced security of supply obtained from UK capital projects in energy generation. 
Malcolm Wicks: Since the Government do not invest in energy generation projects, there is no reason for Government to undertake cost-benefit analysis for such projects. This is a matter for investors.
Mr. Todd: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what representations he has received on the environmental sustainability of the Sakhalin II project; what factors will be taken into account in the decision on whether to provide an export credits guarantee for the project; and if he will make a statement. 
Malcolm Wicks: The ECGD has received submissions from a number of interested parties about the environmental impacts of the Sakhalin II project. These will be taken into account in accordance with the ECGDs published Case Impact Analysis Process:
In considering support for the project the ECGD will apply its normal underwriting policy and its business principles. Relevant factors include financial, technical and environmental aspects of the project.
The Franco-British Nuclear Forum was announced following the then Prime Ministers
meeting with the then President of the French Republic in June 2006. The announcement said:
We have agreed to explore and further develop the opportunities of working together in the civil nuclear field. To that end we have agreed to establish a regular Franco-British Nuclear Forum, involving representatives from government, industry and technical experts. The Forum will provide a vehicle to discuss Franco-British nuclear cooperation, including research, skills, decommissioning and waste management.
Malcolm Wicks: The budget for the forum was met from the Departments existing budget for nuclear liabilities. The costs of the 29 March event held in London were £9,500 for conference facilities, lunch and translation and interpretation facilities, plus staff costs of approximately £14,000.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how many meetings of the Franco-British Nuclear Forum have been held during 2007; and when he expects it next to meet. 
Malcolm Wicks: One meeting of the Forum was held in March 2007 and, subject to the French Governments decision on dates, we expect the next meeting to take place in the spring. Working groups continue to meet regularly to progress their work individually.
Stephen Hesford: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform whether he has had any recent discussions with ministerial colleagues on freezing or reducing fuel duty to assist businesses. 
Malcolm Wicks: Fuel duty rates are set by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer. The 2007 Budget announced fuel duty rates for the next three yearsfor environmental reasons, to fund public services and to provide certainty alongside the other tax reforms in this Budget.
From 1 October 2007, the Reduced Pollution Certificate scheme has been extended so that hauliers buying a Euro V compliant vehicle up to 31 September 2009 can claim a discount of up to £500 a year on vehicle excise duty (VED).
VED rates for heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) have been frozen since 2001 and the Government have now announced that they will continue to be frozen in 2008-09.
Mr. MacNeil: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what assessment he has made of the effect on remote and island communities of the recent increases in road fuel prices. 
A range of factors such as crude oil prices, exchange rate, seasonal factors, level of stocks, refinery capacity, distribution costs and degree of retail competition determine retail petrol and diesel prices.
Mrs. Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what funding was provided to the furniture industry by regional development agencies in each of the last three years. 
|(1 )No figures available.|
John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what steps his Department takes when Vendside refuses to transfer files to a solicitor as requested by a claimant for miner's compensation. 
Malcolm Wicks: It is not within the Department's remit to require Vendside to transfer files to a claimant's legal representatives. The claimants' legal representatives are best placed to advise their clients of their options.
The Claims Management Regulation regime established by the Compensation Act 2006 provides the statutory framework for the regulation of claims management activities. Further information can be found on the Claims Management Regulations website on http://www.claimsregulation.gov.uk/index.aspx. Complaints about the ongoing behaviour of claims
handlers such as Vendside could be referred to the Claims Management Regulator.
Stephen Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what plans he has to bring forward proposals to reform legislation governing insolvencies and the fees levied by liquidators in the administration thereof. 
Mr. McFadden [holding answer 6 December 2007]: We are seeking to introduce a new individual insolvency procedure, the debt relief order (DRO) from April 2009, the framework for which is set out in the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007. DROs are aimed at people who owe relatively little, have very low incomes and few, if any, assets and have no way to pay their debts because they are financially excluded from existing remedies. In order to obtain a DRO the debtor will need to pay one up-front fee that will be set at a level to cover the official receiver's costs of administering the case and no more. The precise level is yet to be determined but it will be significantly less than the deposit required on presentation of a bankruptcy petition and no further fees will be payable in such cases.
We have also been consulting extensively on proposals to augment the existing individual voluntary arrangement regime (IVA) with a simplified version of the IVA for those with undisputed debts of less than £75,000. The necessary legislative changes to give effect to this are planned to come into force from October 2008.
Work is also being undertaken to consolidate and modernise the insolvency secondary legislation including the insolvency rules themselves, which set out the detailed procedures for the various insolvency processes. The changes proposed include changes to the mechanism by which insolvency office-holders have their remuneration and expenses agreed by creditors. These changes are intended to increase transparency and accountability by requiring insolvency office-holders to have their remuneration and expenses agreed by creditors. These changes are intended to increase transparency and accountability by requiring insolvency office-holders to provide information on remuneration taken, on a regular basis. Creditors will be given new powers to request further and better particulars in respect of remuneration charged and expenses incurred, together with clearer rights to challenge those amounts in court where they consider them to be excessive.
Mrs. James: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what estimate he has made of the number and proportion of swimming pool lifeguards who receive the minimum wage at the (a) adult and (b) 16 to 17-year-old rate. 
Mr. McFadden: Estimates of the number of jobs paid at the national minimum wage are derived from the ONSs Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE). It does not contain the occupational detail needed to identify swimming pool lifeguards and so an estimate is not available.
Mr. Kemp: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what percentage of the UK's electricity was supplied from sources in the North East using microgeneration technologies in the last period for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement. 
Malcolm Wicks: Specific figures for the amount of electricity generated by microgeneration at regional level are not available; however, we estimate that there are approximately 100,000 microgeneration installations in the United Kingdom.
Charles Hendry: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how many additional specialist personnel the nuclear installations inspectorate intends to recruit to undertake the work to approve four alternative designs of nuclear reactors within three years. 
Malcolm Wicks [holding answer 13 December 2007]: The nuclear regulators, which include the nuclear installations inspectorate (NII) of the Health and Safety Executive, will apply their resources to ensure that a rigorous approach is taken to the generic design assessment (GDA) process. If the outcome of the consultation on the Future of Nuclear Power is that private sector companies should be allowed to invest in new nuclear power stations, the NII will need to take on additional staff as the assessment process progresses. The number of specialist personnel the NII will require to undertake the process is a matter for them.
Although four designs are currently being assessed in the initial stage of GDA, we set out in the consultation document that if more than three designs remain viable following this stage, then a prioritisation process will need to be run to select no more than three designs to proceed to the detailed stage of the assessments. Depending on the outcome of the nuclear consultation, we will announce the detail of how this prioritisation process would operate in due course.
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