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Joan Ruddock [holding answer 15 September 2008]: In the last 12 months, Natural England, the Agency responsible for investigating complaints relating to the Weeds Act 1959, received 330 forms of complaint, mostly about Common Ragwort. DEFRA have also received approximately 190 pieces of general correspondence about ragwort, but we cannot give details of the specific categories of that correspondence.
Dan Rogerson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what consideration he has given to reviewing the regulations and legislation governing ragwort with a view to updating the provisions; and if he will make a statement. 
Joan Ruddock [holding answer 15 September 2008]: The administrative procedures for investigating complaints about ragwort and the other weeds covered by the Weeds Act 1959 were reviewed and updated in 2004. We have no current plans to review the Weeds Act 1959.
Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what estimate he has made of the (a) capital and (b) operating costs of the winning carbon capture and storage demonstration project proposal. 
Malcolm Wicks [holding answer 15 September 2008]: Given the unique nature of this project it is difficult to provide a definitive assessment of costs. It is also the case that the final cost may vary significantly according to the design of the winning project. We expect to develop a much clearer picture of both capital and operating costs during the competition process as we undertake detailed negotiations with the four pre-qualified Bidders.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how much was claimed in reimbursable expenses by special advisers in his Department in each of the last 10 years. 
Malcolm Wicks [holding answer 10 September 2008]: We announced in Budget 2008 that the Secretary of State was prepared, to use his statutory powers with a view to reducing the differential between prepayment and other forms of payment for both gas and electricity.
If Ofgems analysis does show that prepayment meter customers are suffering disadvantage then we will in the first instance expect Ofgem and the energy suppliers to provide the solution. If sufficient progress is not made by this winter 2008/09, the Secretary of State is prepared to consult on legislation, with a view to reducing unjustified tariff differentials.
Lembit Öpik: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what estimates his Department has made of the potential reduction in energy consumption by replacing D-rated and below energy circulator pumps with A-rated energy circulator pumps in (a) domestic and (b) non-domestic properties in the UK. 
Malcolm Wicks: BERR has not made estimates for reduced energy consumption for these products. We of course welcome efficiency measures to reduce energy consumption and encourage companies to seek guidance on reducing energy use from bodies such as the Carbon Trust. BERR works closely with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs who, as Whitehall policy lead, is considering the energy efficiency of products particularly in relation to the Eco-design of Energy-using Products Directive.
Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what recent steps his Department has taken to provide upgrades to internet services to the Scottish Islands; and if he will make a statement. 
The Scottish Government, however, announced on 26 June 2008 that it had signed a £3.3 million contract to deliver an affordable broadband service to those eligible households and businesses that registered as being out of reach of the technology. Avanti Caledonian Broadband Ltd, the selected supplier, aims to utilise a mix of technologies, including satellite and wireless, to deliver a broadband solution appropriate to the location and density of those that have made themselves known to the Scottish Government.
Steve Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what assessment he has made of the effect of recent increases in steel prices on the Government's energy policy; and if he will make a statement. 
Malcolm Wicks [holding answer 21 July 2008]: We have not made an assessment of the effect of recent increases in steel prices on the Government's energy policy. It is for energy companies to decide to what extent they take account of raw materials prices when making decisions on future investments. Strong demand for metals and the consequent rise in the price of steel is a global phenomenon and energy companies in other countries have been similarly affected.
However we are aware that the rising cost of raw materials including steel is one of the factors leading to a significant rise in the cost of wind turbines. Despite this price rise global demand for wind turbines is growing 30 per cent. year on year. The Government remain committed to achieving our contribution to the EU 2020 target and launched a consultation last month which will culminate in the publication of our renewable energy strategy early next year.
Mr. Wallace: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how much funding his Department has provided for motor sports technological development in each year since 2003. 
Malcolm Wicks: Since 2003, BERR has allocated a total of £4 million towards motorsport development as part of its commitment to the work of Motorsport Development UK (MDUK). In addition, the motorsport industry has received £1.4 million from UK Trade and Investment Sectors Group. Expenditure is set out in the following table.
|MDUK funding||UKTI Sector Group funding||Total spend in financial year|
Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what recent progress has been made on the Energy Efficient Motor Sport initiative, with particular reference to the development of a fuel-efficient sports car; and if he will make a statement. 
Malcolm Wicks: Energy Efficient Motor Sport (EEMS) is an initiative of Motorsport Development UK, a partnership between BERR and four regional development agencies set up to sustain and grow the UKs world-leading motorsport sector. EEMS has received £1.8 million Government funding.
EEMS is actively involved in a new championship specifically designed to bring efficient sports cars into motorsport. It is working in partnership with enviroSportscar to develop the regulations for the new series that will see high-performance, fuel-efficient sports cars competing in a series of circuit, drag and endurance racing challenges. The new championship was officially launched on 21 July 2008 at the London Motor show. In addition, EEMS is working with one of the highest profile sports car championships in the UKthe British Touring Car Championship (BTCC)to introduce regulation that will stimulate the more efficient use of fuels.
Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what meetings (a) he and (b) his Ministers have held with representatives of the National Union of Mineworkers in the last six months; what the date was of each such meeting; and if he will make a statement. 
Malcolm Wicks: No bilateral meetings have taken place between Ministers from the Department and the NUM within the last six months. However, I attended a meeting at the TUC on 19 June 2008 and a representative of the NUM was present.
The NUM were also represented at the Coal Health Monitoring Group meeting on 25 June 2008 which I chaired. Also the NUM, BACM and TUC were represented at the Coal Forum which I attended on the 17 July 2008.
Mr. Dai Davies:
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what correspondence his Department has had with the Welsh Assembly Government on a freedom of information
request to the Welsh Assembly Government on communications between his Department and the Welsh Assembly Government over the responsibility for granting permission for the construction of power stations over 50 MW in Wales. 
Malcolm Wicks: The Department has corresponded with the Welsh Assembly Government on this Freedom of Information Request request. The Welsh Assembly Government sought the views of BERR on records that fell within the scope of the request. BERR advised that as the information related to the Planning Bill which was currently before Parliament, information on interdepartmental policy discussions should be withheld.
John Penrose: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what assessment he has made of the likely effect on the Severn Tidal Power Feasibility Study of English Heritage's identification of Weston-Super-Mare as a conservation area. 
Malcolm Wicks [holding answer 10 September 2008]: The Severn Tidal Power Feasibility Study, which was launched in January 2007, is currently at its scoping phase. The Historic Environment, which includes assessment of impacts on conservation areas, has been identified as a key topic for investigation under the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) being carried out as part of the overall feasibility study. We will be consulting on the scope of the SEA around the turn of the year.
Mark Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what estimate he has made of the number of telephone lines delivered through a digital access carrier system in each region of the UK. 
Malcolm Wicks: Digital access carrier system equipment is used in a limited number of areas across the country as an acceptable method of delivering two independent telephone services over a single line in areas where there is a shortage of line capacity.
BERR has been informed by BT that there are currently around 400,000 DACS (digital access carrier system) lines in the UK and the vast majority of DACS systems are operated by BT. Following further investment in new network capacity by BT, there has been a reduction of around 20 per cent. in the number of DACS lines on BT's network in the last 12 months. This number is expected to continue to fall in the coming years as BT continues to invest to deliver broadband service. BT does not analyse DACS populations by region.
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (1) what recent discussions his Department has had with Ofgem
on the effects of zonal transmission losses on environmentally beneficial projects; and if he will make a statement; 
Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many people cleared to work airside at UK airports are (a) UK citizens born in the UK, (b) UK citizens born abroad and (c) foreign nationals. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: A survey of 29 airports to identify the number of UK and foreign nationals cleared to work in airside areas indicated that from a total of around 190,000 airside workers 78 per cent. were UK nationals and 14 per cent. were foreign nationals (including 8 per cent. from the EU). The nationality of the remainder was not recorded.
Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what steps her Department takes to promote compliance with the provisions of the Civil Aviation (Denied Boarding, Compensation and Assistance) Regulations 2005 and European regulations in respect of payment of compensation for (a) cancelled and (b) delayed flights; 
(2) what steps her Department has taken following non-compliance on the part of airline operators with Council Regulation (EC) No. 261/2004 on duties to deliver compensation and assistance in respect of cancelled and delayed flights since the Regulation came into force. 
Jim Fitzpatrick [holding answer 10 September 2008]: The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has been designated as the enforcement body under EC Regulation 261/2004 and the Air Transport Users Council (AUC) is the designated complaints handling body.
The CAA takes a proactive approach to the promotion of air carrier compliance by ensuring that all airlines that operate from the UK are aware of their obligations under this legislation. This is supported by active monitoring of the experiences of air passengers; including unannounced airport spot checks at airports. If an actual or potential breach of the regulation is identified, the CAA will offer guidance to the carrier concerned and if appropriate, undertake enforcement action.
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