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David Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change if he will take steps to ensure that the National Policy Statement on electricity transmission networks will prevent the construction of high voltage lines in Areas of Outstanding National Beauty and National Parks; and if he will make a statement. 
Dr. Whitehead: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what recent estimate he has made of the proportion of annual average household electricity consumption comprised by the operation of (a) a refrigerator, (b) a freezer, (c) a television, (d) a computer, (e) a central heating water pump and (f) lighting. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: From data published in the Digest of UK Energy Statistics, it is estimated that the average electricity consumption of UK households is around 4,400 kWh per year; this average includes households that use electricity for space heating.
|Total UK electricity use (GWh)||Electricity use per household (kWh)||Percentage of annual average household electricity consumption|
Greg Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change if he will place in the Library a copy of the minutes of each meeting held between representatives of his Department and Lord Truscott since the creation of his Department. 
Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change when the Minister of State expects to reply to the letters of 19 November and 30 December 2008 from the hon. Member for Forest of Dean, on Oakenhill opencast coal site, reference FD8841. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: The UK sees diversity of sources of imported gas as vital for the EU's security of energy supply. Recent events have underlined the importance to the EU of being supplied with gas from a wide range of countries. The development of a southern corridor, with the aim of bringing gas to the EU from the Caspian region through Turkey or directly across the Black Sea, and in the longer term from the Middle East, is crucial to that end. The UK therefore strongly supports the efforts of the European Commission and fellow EU Member States to develop a southern corridor and this Department is actively engaged in these efforts.
The Commission's second Strategic Energy Review (SEER2) of November 2008 affirmed the importance of a southern corridor as one of the EU's highest energy priorities and the importance, to that end, of increasing high level political engagement with potential gas supplier countries, such as Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Iraq. The European Commission and current Czech presidency of the EU have made this a priority for 2009 and we are working closely with them.
The UK also sees it as important for there to be a diverse selection of routes for gas to enter the EU and for this reason we support the building of new pipelines, under market conditions, to bring gas from established suppliers to the EU such as Norway, Russia and Algeria. In addition to pipelines, Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), imported by tanker from countries such as Qatar, Trinidad and Tobago, Egypt, Algeria and Nigeria, also plays an important role in diversifying gas supply to the UK and other EU member states.
The UK's own security of gas supply has been improved in recent years by new import infrastructure projects such as the BBL (Netherlands-UK) and Langeled (from Norway) pipelines, expansion of the (Belgium-UK) IUK pipeline and the new LNG import terminal at the Isle of Grain. Two further major LNG import terminals at Milford Haven are expected to be commissioned soon.
Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how long the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority has been without a permanent chief executive; when he plans to appoint a permanent replacement; and what salary and compensation package he expects the new chief executive will receive. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien [holding answer 16 March 2009]: Dr. Ian Roxburgh left the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority in August 2008 (although he remained available to provide advice until 31 December 2008). The process to appoint a new chief executive is ongoing and the NDA hopes to conclude the process in the near future. In the meantime, the NDA has continued to make good progress under the leadership of Richard Waite, Strategy Director, who has been acting CEO since August 2008. The salary package for the new chief executive was advertised at around £380,000, depending on the candidate.
Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what the final annual salary of the outgoing chief executive of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority was; and what his (a) final departure package and (b) pension arrangements are. 
Dr. Roxburgh was a member of the Civil Service PCSPS scheme and attained the equivalent of 40 years service on attaining his 60(th) birthday. His pension arrangements under the scheme are in line with the scheme rules. Dr. Roxburgh transferred his private sector pension entitlement into the civil service scheme.
Mr. Mike O'Brien: The Government are taking a number of measures to promote greater energy efficiency and diversify the energy mix across all sectors of the economy, including through increased use of low carbon and renewable energy sources, improved vehicle emission standards, and biofuels and electricity in road transport.
John Mason: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change whether his Department has engaged any (a) actors, (b) musicians and (c) other performers to support its initiatives over the last five years. 
Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change if he will make an assessment of the adequacy of the criteria used in decisions on whether an inquiry under Regulation 17 of the Justification of Practices Involving Ionising Radiation Regulations 2004 should be held. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: The Justification of Practices Involving Ionising Radiation Regulations 2004 provide that the Justifying Authority may cause an inquiry or other hearing to be held if it appears to him expedient to do so in connection with the exercise of any of his functions under these regulations.
The regulations do not explicitly prescribe any criteria to be applied by the Justifying Authority when considering whether to hold an inquiry or other hearing. Rather, the Justifying Authority will need to consider what is reasonable in the circumstances of a particular case. This approach is entirely sensible given that the justification regulations apply to a very wide range of classes or types of practice and any decision whether to hold an inquiry in a particular case will necessarily depend on the particular circumstances of each individual case. This might for instance include consideration of the extent to which the public have an opportunity to engage in the process.
where the Justifying Authority considers that any application is of sufficient importance and wide public interest, they may cause a public hearing or other inquiry to be held. It is expected that inquiries under the regulations would only be held in relation to major or contentious classes or types of practice.
While Government will obviously have regard to this guidance when considering whether to hold an inquiry, it will need to make any decision on whether to hold an inquiry on the merits of individual cases.
Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change with reference to paragraph 74 of the UK Renewable Energy Strategy consultation, on what basis the estimates of increases in gas bills by 2020 necessary as incentives for renewable energy deployment were made. 
The impact of these incentives on future prices and bills are estimated by taking into account the pass through of the costs of the policy through the suppliers into gas prices and bills. Costs are calculated by taking into account the cost of the renewable heat technologies versus conventional heating technologies as well as estimates on demand and supply side barriers that need to be overcome to incentivise renewable heat uptake under different scenarios.
The net impact on gas prices is dependent on our baseline assumptions of average domestic and industrial bills up to 2020. We are in the process of revising our analysis which will be published alongside the final Renewable Energy Strategy this year.
Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change with reference to paragraph 7.5.35 of the UK Renewable Energy Strategy consultation, what steps he plans to take to counter the principal constraints to the provision of biomass infrastructure. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: The Government continue to consider the issues raised by paragraph 7.5.35 of the consultation paper and will announce their intentions in the Renewable Energy Strategy, to be published later this year.
Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what discussions his Department has had with EU partners on developing an EU supergrid to enhance the development of renewable energy in the last 12 months. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) is in regular contact with the European Commission and other EU member states on all aspects of energy policy, including on development of EU energy networks.
Part of the idea behind an EU supergrid envisages the linking of renewable generation at the periphery of Europe, such as offshore wind projects in the North sea or solar projects in the Sahara desert, with the joint objective of helping EU member states meet their climate change and energy goals while promoting economic development and efficient energy use in the relevant energy producing countries.
DECC officials are in regular discussion with the European Commission and the EU Co-ordinator on the concept of a North sea offshore grid to link offshore wind generation in the North and Baltic seas, in order to share our experience of offshore transmission and ensure that UK objectives are met in any developments on this project. DECC officials are also engaging with the Commission and other EU member states on proposals to develop solar and wind power in desert regions in North Africa and the Middle East as a means to provide clean energy for these countries and for Europe. We are in contact with the French Government which has been seeking to give impetus to these ideas.
The idea of a European supergrid could help member states meet climate change and energy goals. However, these types of project involve many difficult cross-border and jurisdictional issues, which would require significant effort and time to resolve, and the costs relative to other options to secure energy supplies seem likely to be high.
Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how much his Department and its predecessors spent on (a) wind, (b) tidal, (c) solar and (d) geothermal power development in the last five years. 
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