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30 Oct 2008 : Column 1213Wcontinued
Hilary Armstrong: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his Department's policy is on the creation of a UN Women's Agency; and what steps his Department has taken to encourage the UN to implement the gender reforms outlined by the High Level Panel on UN System-wide Coherence in November 2006. 
Mr. Thomas: I have been asked to reply.
The UK Government's policy is to support the establishment of a single UN gender entity.
Improving how the international system delivers development outcomes for women is important for achieving the Millennium Development Goals. Our objective is to see a merger of existing agencies with responsibility for gender and to ensure that UN staff responsible for gender have sufficient seniority and authority. The UK also wants to make the UN's operations on the ground better informed by its work on norms and standards, and vice versa.
The UK Government joined with other member states to agree in the UN General Assembly last month on a resolution enabling work to proceed on the single gender entity. More detailed design work is currently underway internally in the UN. We are in active discussion with the UN system, including UNIFEM and the Special Adviser on Gender, and with member states including EU partners to offer our support and advice.
Mr. Hunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how many press and communications officers are employed by (a) his Department, (b) its non-departmental public bodies and (c) its agencies. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: Six press officers have currently been transferred to the Department of Energy and Climate Change. Other communication functions are still under consideration. A decision on which non-departmental public bodies and agencies will transfer to the Department is being considered.
David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how many non-pensionable bonuses were awarded to members of staff who are now members of his Department in the last 12 months; and at what total cost. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: The Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) came into existence on 3 October 2008 and has therefore not yet paid any bonuses to staff. The figures for bonuses paid to those staff from BERR and Defra who have now moved to DECC are contained in the answers given for these two Departments. It is not currently possible to produce separate figures for these staff.
Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what his policy is on whether the aviation sectors energy requirements should be counted towards the total final energy demand of the UK for the purposes of the Directive on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: We are involved in continuing negotiations with EU member states, the Commission and European Parliament on the EU renewable energy directive and are working towards agreement by the end of the year.
The Government are fully committed to meeting the proposed target of 15 per cent. of UK energy consumption being sourced from renewable sources by 2020. Earlier this year, we consulted on how this might be achieved and, in the light of the results of this consultation, we plan to publish a UK renewable energy strategy in spring 2009.
Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change if he will take steps to ensure that energy prices are reduced for those paying by pre-payment meters. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: On 6 October Ofgem published initial findings from its probe into the energy supply markets for households and small businesses. They believe that, even taking account of higher costs facing companies from customers with pre-payment meters, many homes that use them are being overcharged. The Government's position was set out in my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State's statement to the House on 16 October 2008, Official Report, column 935.
"Unfair pricing which hits the most vulnerable hardest is completely unacceptable. I made that clear to the representatives of the big six energy companies when I met them yesterday.
I also told them that the Government expects rapid action or explanation to remedy any abuses and I will meet them again in a month to hear what they have done.
We, and Ofgem, are determined to see these issues addressed. Ofgem are consulting on its findings until 1 December as part of a due process.
If the companies don't act in a satisfactory way, then we will consult on legislation to prevent unfair pricing differentials."
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what assessment he has made of the likely effects of the recent changes in energy prices on fuel poverty among elderly people; what recent representations he has received on this issue; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: The Government recently published the sixth annual strategy report of fuel poverty in the UK, containing 2006 figures and detailed breakdowns, including for the elderly. The report features a detailed statistical annex which contains projections of fuel poverty in England for 2007 and 2008. The projections show that fuel poverty in England is likely to rise from 2.4 million households in 2006 to around 3.1 million in 2007. For 2008, the number is likely to rise to around 3.6 million households. The projections are indicative, and can only be made at an aggregate national level, so no further breakdown is available.
Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how many people were in fuel poverty in (a) the London borough of Havering and (b) England in the latest period for which figures are available. 
Joan Ruddock: The most recent period for which sub-regional estimates of fuel poverty are available is 2003. The data for fuel poverty levels for 2003 come from the Fuel Poverty Indicator dataset, available on the Fuel Poverty Indicator website.
This shows that in 2003, there were around 5,000 fuel poor households in Havering. In 2003, there were around 1.2 million fuel poor households in England in total.
The Government's Sixth Annual Progress Report on Fuel Poverty was published on 2 October 2008. It shows that, in 2006, there were approximately 3.5 million households in fuel poverty across the UK, an increase of 1 million households since 2005. Around 2.75 million of these are vulnerable households (containing children, the elderly or a person who is disabled or suffering from a long-term illness).
In England, the overall number of households estimated to be in fuel poverty in 2006 is 2.4 million of which around 1.9 million are vulnerable. This represents a rise of 900,000 households since 2005 and a rise of 700,000 vulnerable households over the same period. In London in 2006, there were around 250,000 fuel poor households.
Official figures for 2007 will not be available until next year, however indicative projections for 2007 and 2008 were published in the Sixth Annual Progress Report, copies of which have been placed in the Library. The projections made for 2007 show that further price rises are likely to have pushed a further 0.7 million households into fuel poverty. Projections for 2008 show a further increase in fuel poverty for England, of around 0.5 million households. These projections are based on known price changes along with estimates for income and energy efficiency improvements.
Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change if he will bring forward legislation to reduce the retail price of (a) petrol and (b) gas in line with reductions in production costs. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: The Government do not intend to control petrol or gas prices through legislation. In order to ensure competitive pricing, the Office of Fair Trading monitors the UK petrol and diesel market. It is empowered to act if the price level appears to be the result of anti-competitive behaviour. Similarly, Ofgem regulates the gas market to ensure the consumer is protected.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what estimate he has made of the volume of carbon dioxide emissions from 100,000 tonnes of ozone-depleting substances in building foams in buildings. 
Joan Ruddock: No firm estimates are currently available for the quantity of ozone-depleting substances in building insulation foams. Assuming the blowing agent is two-thirds chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and one-third hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), 100,000 tonnes might be equivalent to 336 million tonnes of CO2.
The level of emissions from building foam is known to be at its lowest while the foam remains undisturbed in the building. Most of these foams are currently still in buildings; therefore emissions from building foam sources are not likely to be significant at present.
The technical and economic feasibility of recovering and destroying ozone-depleting substances in building insulation foams at the end of the life of the building is being considered by the European Commission and member states. Defra is also seeking the views of industry stakeholders.
Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what estimate he has made of the potential TWh contribution that solar photo voltaics and small wind technologies can make (a) to the 2020 renewable energy target and (b) by 2030. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: Recent studies on the potential of solar photo voltaics and wind technologies below 1MW in the non-domestic sector showed that these technologies can make the following contributions:
|Annual generation in 2020||Cumulative resource cost by 2020||Annual generation in 2030||Cumulative resource cost by 2030|
|TWh||£ billion||TWh||£ billion|
The Renewable Energy Strategy Consultation closed for responses on 26 September. In formulating our final strategy we will be considering the contribution needed to meet our targets from different technologies.
Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change for what reasons the Renewable Energy Strategy Consultation document did not include an analysis of the potential of solar photo voltaics and small wind technologies in the non-domestic sector. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: The Renewable Energy Strategy (RES) consultation document considered a study by Element Energy on the growth potential for microgeneration and so included some analysis on the potential of solar PV and small wind technologies in the non-domestic setting up to 50 kWe. In addition, we commissioned a further study, prior to the RES consultation, on the potential of solar PV and wind technologies beyond this up to 1 MW. However, this work was not completed at the time the RES consultation was launched. We therefore said that we planned to publish this study to scope the potential for retrofitting larger on-site renewable electricity generation in the existing built environment during the consultation period, which we did. The result of this study is available at:
As part of the Renewable Energy Strategy, which will be published in spring 2009, we will consider incentives to encourage on-site technologies and this analysis will feed into that work.
Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what estimate his Department has made of the number of domestic microgeneration installations, broken down by type. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: A recent study by Element Energy commissioned by DECC (formerly BERR) and a range of stakeholders suggested the following number of domestic microgeneration installations across different technologies: Further information available at:
DECC has also commissioned more detailed work on installations broken down by regions/devolved Administrations which will be published shortly.
|Estimated number of grid-connected electricity-generating microgeneration units installed|
|Grid-connected electricity-generating microgeneration technology||Estimated annual sales (Units)||Estimated number of units installed by 2007||Comments|
|(1) In 2006.|
|Estimated numbers of heat-only microgeneration technologies installed|
|Heat-only generating microgeneration technology||Approximate annual sales||Estimated number installed by 2007||Comments|
Higher numbers have been estimated by STA, but could not be verified during this study
Estimated by a fuel supplier. Mostly these are fuelled by chips rather than pellets
Estimated by industry experts and likely uptake through publicly-funded energy efficiency schemes
Mostly installed through publicly-funded energy efficiency schemes
|(1) In 2007.|
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