Previous Section Index Home Page

17 Jun 2008 : Column 827W—continued

Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform

Energy: Consumption

Mr. Ellwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what the total energy consumption in Scotland was in the week-long period beginning (a) 14 March, (b) 21 March, (c) 31 March and (d) 6 April 2008; and what estimate he has made of the cost of energy consumed in each week. [210748]

Malcolm Wicks [holding answer 13 June 2008]: Statistics of energy consumption are not compiled on a weekly basis. Total energy consumption statistics are available on a monthly basis but only for the United Kingdom as a whole.

Fuel Poverty

Steve Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform pursuant to paragraph 4.34 of Budget 2008, on helping vulnerable households heat their homes, whether the Government intend to bring forward proposals to introduce minimum standards for social tariffs. [209569]

17 Jun 2008 : Column 828W

Malcolm Wicks: The Government have secured individual voluntary agreements with the six largest energy suppliers to increase their collective spend on social programmes to at least £150 million a year by 2010-11. This voluntary approach provides for a wide range of help to vulnerable households, including social tariffs, energy efficiency measures and bill rebates.

Ofgem is leading the process to determine the parameters for what can be included under this additional spend and is currently consulting on a draft framework, including qualifying criteria for social tariffs. The Government therefore have no plans at present to bring forward further proposals on social tariffs.

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what recent representations he has received on fuel poverty; what steps he is taking in response; and what consideration he has given to increasing assistance for super-insulation of homes. [210297]

Malcolm Wicks [holding answer 11 June 2008]: I receive a number of representations on fuel poverty from Members of Parliament, members of the public, and a range of stakeholder organisations with an interest in fuel poverty.

Since 2000 the Government have spent around £20 billion on fuel poverty programmes and benefits. Most recently my Department has secured the individual agreement of the six major energy suppliers to increase their collective spend on social programmes for low income households from £50 million to £150 million year by 2010-11.

The Government also announced a one-off additional payment to the winter fuel payment for this coming winter of £50 for the over 60s and £100 for the over 80s. And the recent Ofgem-led Fuel Poverty summit resulted in a package of measures that will help vulnerable households access the best available tariffs. Our research has shown that switching suppliers and payment method can bring savings of up to £200.

The Government's Warm Front programme provides a range of insulation measures and energy efficiency advice to households in receipt of certain benefits. Between 2000-08 the Government will have committed £1.6 billion to Warm Front providing support to 1.7 million households.

The carbon emissions reduction target places an obligation on energy suppliers to deliver energy efficiency measures to householders, including insulation. Under this scheme it is expected that £1.5 billion will be directed to low income and elderly consumers over the three years of the programme.

Progress is also being made in improving the insulation of social housing under the Decent Homes standard. The Decent Homes standard is a minimum standard below which homes should not fall in England, and includes thermal comfort. The Government expect 95 per cent. of social homes to meet the Decent Homes standard by 2010.

We have no plans at present to extend the range of energy efficiency programmes.

17 Jun 2008 : Column 829W


Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what (a) initiatives have been launched and (b) documents have been published on micro-generation by his Department in the last month. [209970]

Malcolm Wicks: The Government announced on 30 May 2008 that £3 million of the low carbon buildings programme would be directed towards a pilot fuel poverty stream to demonstrate the potential of microgeneration technologies to fuel poor communities. The pilot projects will be undertaken in Wales, East Anglia, north-east England and Yorkshire and Humberside, and will also be supported by the Welsh Assembly and the local regional development agencies. The delivery bodies for the projects will also offer a range of other activities to assist fuel poor households.

I have also spoken at a number of events including at Building Research Establishment to publicise the low carbon buildings programme and award the first certificate to a product under the microgeneration certification scheme and at the Micropower Council annual conference.

The following document on microgeneration was published by the Department on 2 June 2008:

Nuclear Power Stations

Colin Challen: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what the level of outage was for each nuclear power station in the last five years; and from what source additional generating capacity has been drawn to compensate for each such outage. [210684]

Malcolm Wicks: The Department does not publish data on levels of output from individual nuclear stations. Data on recent historic nuclear generation unavailability are published in the National Grid Winter consultation report which is available at:

BERR publishes a table of fuel used in electricity generation by major producers, which shows the contribution to overall generation from all sources including nuclear plant on an annual basis going back to 1995. This is available on the BERR website at

17 Jun 2008 : Column 830W

Oil: Licensing

Mark Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what criteria are used by his Department to decide whether an appropriate assessment is necessary for proposed oil and gas licensing. [209911]

Malcolm Wicks: Article 6 of the Habitats Directive (Council Directive 92/43/EC on the conservation of natural habitats of wild fauna and flora) requires that any plan or project (either individually or in combination with other plans or projects) which is not directly connected with or necessary to the management of a special area of conservation but is likely to have a significant effect on such an area be subject to an appropriate assessment.

Where the above test is satisfied, the Offshore Petroleum Activities (Conservation of Habitats) Regulations 2001 (as amended) set out the matters in respect of which I must carry out an appropriate assessment e.g. before granting a Petroleum Act licence, a seismic survey consent, a consent issued under a Petroleum Act licence, etc..

I am also guided in the selection of plans or projects for assessment by information and guidance such as that provided by the European Commission; "Assessment of plans and projects significantly affecting Natura 2000 sites" and that provided by statutory conservation agencies such as the JNCC.

Oil: Reserves

Adam Price: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what the size is of the UK's strategic oil reserves. [211095]

Malcolm Wicks [holding answer 13 June 2008]: The UK does not have strategic oil reserves. As a member of the European Union and of the International Energy Agency, the UK is required to hold emergency oil stocks equivalent to 67.5 days' national consumption for release in the event of disruption of international supplies. It meets these obligations by directing oil companies to hold stocks under powers derived from section 6 of the Energy Act 1976.

At the end of March 2008 the following stocks were available to the United Kingdom:

Million tonnes

(i) Crude oil and refinery process oils:


ii) Petroleum products


These were equivalent to 78 days' national consumption.

World War II: Medals

Jon Trickett: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what records he holds to determine who is eligible for a Bevin Boys badge. [210230]

Malcolm Wicks: No employment records are available for those employed under the Bevin Boys scheme. Applications for the Bevin Boys veterans badge are processed using information supplied by the applicants and cross referencing this against key features of the Bevin Boys scheme.

17 Jun 2008 : Column 831W

Home Department

Animals Act 1986

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if her Department will add abstracts for projected licences granted under the Animals Act 1986 prior to 2005 to its website. [210048]

Meg Hillier: We have no plans to do so. We believe that it is a better use of resources to focus our energies on ensuring that as many abstracts are posted for newly granted licences as possible. Abstracts are provided voluntarily by licensees and there are currently over 1,300 posted on the Home Office website.

Antisocial Behaviour Orders: Devon

Mr. Swire: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the answer of 10 June 2008, Official Report, columns 193-4W, on antisocial behaviour orders: Devon, how many of the antisocial behaviour orders issued in Devon and Cornwall in 2006 were breached; and how many offenders received (a) one and (b) two warnings in lieu of an antisocial behaviour order. [211550]

Mr. Coaker: 79 of the persons who had been issued with an antisocial behaviour order (ASBO) at a court located in the Devon and Cornwall criminal justice system (CJS) area between 1 June 2000 and 31 December 2006 have been proven in court to have breached their order at least once at some point before 31 December 2006. It is important to note, however, that an ASBO can be issued in one CJS area and breached in another. Therefore not all the 79 persons would necessarily have breached their ASBO in Devon and Cornwall.

Data on warnings are not collected centrally.

Cannabis: Young People

Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many Vietnamese children have been (a) charged with and (b) convicted of offences related to cannabis cultivation in the last three years; and if she will make a statement. [204741]

Mr. Coaker [holding answer 12 May 2008]: Charging data are not collected centrally by the Ministry of Justice. Court proceedings data held by the Office for Criminal Justice Reform, which include information on defendants proceeded against and convicted, do not identify the nationality of the defendants.

Community Policing

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent assessment she has made of the effectiveness of neighbourhood policing in the creation of safer communities. [209492]

Mr. Coaker: Neighbourhood policing provides high visibility, reassurance policing in all communities, establishing local priorities with local people by engaging with the community on the issues which matter most to them.

17 Jun 2008 : Column 832W

We know that a neighbourhood policing approach works. The Home Office evaluation of the National Reassurance Policing Programme (NRPP)—the precursor to neighbourhood policing which was trialled in 16 sites in England between 2003 and 2005—demonstrated that crime and antisocial behaviour were positively affected by a neighbourhood policing approach and that public confidence increased fivefold.

There are now around 3,600 dedicated teams in place across England and Wales consisting of over 13,500 sergeants and constables and 16,000 police community support officers. For the first time ever, every household across the country now has a dedicated police team to solve local problems and has a name and contact number for their local team.

The Home Office is monitoring and evaluating these new teams across England and Wales, through a three-year research programme, due to be completed in autumn 2009.

Early indications show the positive impact of neighbourhood policing on crime and antisocial behaviour, as well as feelings of safety and confidence in the police. The Home Office also continues to assess police performance, including the impact of neighbourhood policing, through the Assessments of Policing and Community Safety (APACS) framework, while inspections by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary also provide a qualitative assessment of neighbourhood policing delivery.

Crimes of Violence: Taxis

David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many violent crimes in which the victim's occupation or the victim type was given as taxi driver were carried out in England in each of the last three years, broken down by region. [211351]

Mr. Coaker: This information is not held centrally.

Female Genital Mutilation

Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department which local authorities have established a strategy on tackling the practice of female genital mutilation. [211048]

Mr. Coaker [holding answer 16 June 2008]: We do not monitor whether local authorities have established strategies on tackling the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM). However, the Home Office is currently sponsoring a series of regional seminars/road shows, designed to engage with a wide range of professionals and communities to raise awareness of the problem of honour based violence, which includes tackling the practice of FGM. The aim of these forums is to enable local partnerships to develop strategies to identify and protect vulnerable victims for honour based violence.

As part of our commitment to address FGM we are engaging with a number of third sector agencies that work within the support and research sector of this field.

We will soon set up a national Black and Minority Ethnic working group of Government, statutory agencies and the third sector that will promote a partnership approach to a range of issues including FGM. It is envisaged that the group will identify and develop actions and practical tools to assist victims and potential victims.

Next Section Index Home Page