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Stephen Hesford: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what steps his Department is taking to reduce energy costs for vulnerable people in the community; and if he will make a statement. 
Malcolm Wicks: Action to reduce energy costs cuts across several Departments. The Government have a package of measures in place to support vulnerable households to reduce energy costs. We have announced that spend on energy efficiency measures for those on low incomes for the period 2008 to 2011 will be in excess of £2.3 billion.
In addition to this, my Department has promoted measures to reduce energy costs for those not connected to the mains gas network. In partnership with the regional development agencies in north-east England and Yorkshire and Humberside, we have set up two demonstration programmes to provide mains gas and renewable technologies to deprived communities outside the mains gas network. We have also worked with Ofgem to incentivise the large gas distribution networks to provide mains gas connections to deprived communities from April 2008.
In the Energy White Paper we made it clear that we expected energy suppliers to have a proportionate programme of assistance in place for vulnerable customers. Energy companies have responded and have recently increased the level of support they provide to vulnerable customers from £40 million to £56 million this winter.
Mrs. James: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what progress is being made on the Ofcom review into utility bill charges for people who do not pay by direct debit. 
The matter raised is the responsibility of the independent regulator, the Office of Communications (Ofcom), which is accountable to
Parliament rather than Ministers. Accordingly, I have asked the Chief Executive of Ofcom to reply directly to my hon. Friend. Copies of the Chief Executives letter will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.
Mr. Kidney: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how much was (a) allocated to and (b) spent by UK Trade and Investments Environmental Industries Sector Unit in each year since 2005. 
|(1) Forecast outturn|
|(1) Forecast outturn|
Mr. Kidney: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform which Government agencies have provided support for exports from UK-based environmental industries in each year since 2005; what the budget for this work was for each agency in each year; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Thomas: UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) is the Government organisation that supports companies in the UK doing business internationally and overseas enterprises seeking to set up or expand in the UK. It brings together the work of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform. The Environmental Industries Sector Unit (EISU) is a Government unit, operating within the Sector Group of UKTI, with responsibility for promoting the UK environmental industry overseas.
Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how many households in settlements with a population of 10,000 or less in England were in fuel poverty in the latest period for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement. 
Malcolm Wicks: The National Statistics Definition of rurality states that an area is defined as urban if it has a population greater than 10,000. Areas with a population of less than 10,000 are divided into Town and fringe and Village, hamlet or isolated dwelling. A breakdown of fuel poverty at this level is available in the Fuel Poverty 2005Detailed Tables (http://www.berr.gov.uk/files/file42705.pdf). This shows that in 2005 there were approximately 288,000 fuel poor households in a Village, hamlet or isolated dwelling and 146,000 fuel poor households defined as being part of a Town and fringe. This totals to approximately 434,000 households in fuel poverty in settlements of less than 10,000.
Martin Horwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what his most recent estimate is of the number of households in (a) Cheltenham and (b) each of the Gloucestershire constituencies which were in fuel poverty in each of the last 10 years for which figures are available. 
Malcolm Wicks: Over the last 10 years, sub-national estimates of fuel poverty are available only for 2003. The data for fuel poverty levels for 2003 come from the Fuel Poverty Indicator dataset (available online at http://www.fuelpovertyindicator.org.uk/). In 2003, there were around 2,800 households in Cheltenham living in fuel poverty. The following table shows estimated fuel poverty levels for each local authority in Gloucestershire in 2003;
|Local authority name||Estimate of number of fuel poor households (2003)|
Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what volume of biodiesel feedstocks (a) was imported into the UK in each of the last five years and (b) he estimates will be imported into the UK in each of the next five years. 
Biodiesel is derived from vegetable or animal oils, which are also used for a variety of other purposes, and is also available for import as a
blend with conventional diesel fuel. The Department does not hold information on the volume of biodiesel feedstocks imported into the UK in each of the last five years, nor does the Department have estimates of quantities likely to be imported in each of the next five years.
When the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO) comes into effect in April 2008, transport fuel suppliers will be required to report on a monthly basis the feedstock from which their biofuels were produced and its country of origin.
Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how many letters his Department received from hon. Members and Peers in each session of Parliament since 1997. 
Mr. Thomas: The Cabinet Office, on an annual basis, publishes a report to Parliament on the performance of Departments in replying to Members/Peers correspondence. Information relating to 2007 will be published as soon as it has been collated. The report for 2006 was published on 28 March 2007, Official Report, columns 101-04WS. Reports for earlier years are available in the Libraries of the House.
Paul Farrelly: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform whether (a) he and (b) members of his Department have been approached by representatives of (i) BSkyB, (i) News International and (iii) any other News Corporation controlled company about BSkyB's shareholding in ITV. 
Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what definition his Department uses of remote in the context of paragraph 3.58 of the White Paper on Nuclear Power, Cm 7296. 
Malcolm Wicks: The Governments policy on waste and decommissioning for new nuclear power stations is designed to ensure that operators make adequate arrangements to cover the full costs of decommissioning and their full share of waste management and disposal costs.
In the past the Government have found themselves called upon to cover the costs of decommissioning and waste management and disposal where nuclear power station operators have been unable to do so. The mechanism set out by the Government in the Energy Bill aim to mitigate in so far as possible against this risk for any new power stations that are built.
Paragraph 3.58 of the White Paper makes clear that the financing arrangements put in place by a nuclear operator must demonstrate that the risk of Government
being called upon in this way is minimised. The operator must do this by ensuring that in addition to the accruing fund, additional financial safeguard mechanisms are in place to deal with a range of challenging scenarios. However, paragraph 3.58 recognises that in extreme circumstances the Government may be called upon to meet the costs of ensuring the protection of the public and the environment.
Government intend to publish draft guidance for public consultation in February which will give further information on what would constitute acceptable proposals for securely meeting decommissioning and waste management and disposal costs.
Peter Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform pursuant to his answer of 12 November 2007, Official Report, column 64W, on packaging, when he plans to publish his Department's decision on private prosecutions in relation to copycat packaging as part of his Department's implementation of the unfair commercial practices directive. 
Mr. Thomas: I intend to publish Government's Response to the May 2007 consultation on draft Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations (CPRs) implementing the unfair commercial practices directive shortly. This will say that the Government do not propose to allow businesses to enforce the regulations, but this position will be kept under review and will be formally reviewed three years after the regulations come into force.
The Office of Fair Trading and Trading Standards Services will have a duty to enforce the regulations. The Government believe that these enforcement arrangements suffice to adequately enforce the CPRs, including in relation to misleading copycat packaging design. OFT and trading standards services will have to act in a manner consistent with their duty to enforce the regulations. Indeed the Gowers Review of Intellectual Property notes that in this context the Local Authority Coordinators of Regulatory Services have said that once the UCPD is in place they will act on behalf of consumers by pursuing businesses who act improperly.
John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how many planning applications for new public telephone boxes were submitted to local authorities in the latest period for which figures are available, broken down by local authority; how many boxes were proposed in such applications; how many applications were successful; and how many boxes were proposed in such successful applications. 
The information requested is not held centrally. Communities and Local Government collects quarterly aggregate statistics on development control from all local planning authorities in England. However, we do not collect information on individual planning application topics.
Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what alternative provision will be made for the supply of energy needed to meet targets likely to be required under the EU 20 per cent. renewables target for total primary energy in circumstances where a shortfall may be caused by insufficient wind speed to supply usable power by means of wind generation. 
Malcolm Wicks: In the summer, the Government will launch a full consultation on what more we should do to increase renewable energy use to meet our share of the EU 2020 renewables target. This will consider a range of issues including the role of wind power and other technologies.
New and Renewable Energy: Prospects for the 21st Century: The Renewables Obligation Preliminary ConsultationOctober 2000;
New and Renewable Energy: Prospects for the 21st Century: The Renewables Obligation Statutory ConsultationAugust 2001;
New and Renewable Energy: Prospects for the 21st Century: The Renewables Obligation (Amendment) Order 2003 Statutory ConsultationAugust 2003;
New and Renewable Energy: Prospects for the 21st Century: The Renewables Obligation (Amendment) Order 2003 Statutory Consultation on Late PaymentsAugust 2003;
The Renewables Obligation Order 2005 Statutory ConsultationSeptember 2004;
2005-06 Review of the Renewables Obligation Preliminary ConsultationMarch 2005;
2005-06 Review of the Renewables Obligation Statutory ConsultationOctober 2005;
Reform of the Renewables Obligation and Statutory Consultation on the Renewables Obligation Order 2007October 2006;
Renewable Energy: Reform of the Renewables ObligationMay 2007.
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