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Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what training courses have been attended by special advisers in his Department in the last 12 months; and at what cost. 
Mr. Kidney: Special advisers receive training as appropriate to enable them to fulfil their duties and responsibilities as set out in the Model Contract for Special Advisers. Since DECC was created in October 2008, its special advisers have not attended any training courses.
Mr. Swire: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change whether the forthcoming national policy statement on electricity transmission networks will require good design, as defined in the Planning Act 2008, to be considered in the construction of new overhead transmission lines. 
Mr. Kidney: The Secretary of State will have regard to the desirability of achieving good design as part of the overall objective of contributing to the achievement of sustainable development in relation to national policy statements. This is a requirement of the Planning Act 2008 and will apply to all energy NPSs including those covering electricity networks. National policy on good design will therefore be addressed in the national policy statements.
Jim Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what information his Department has on the number of energy supply company customers who are on social tariffs; and whether social tariffs are available to new customers of each of the energy supply companies. 
Mr. Kidney: Ofgem monitors the suppliers social programmes on behalf of Government. In its latest report published in December 2008 Ofgem gave the latest data on discounted and social tariffs for 2007-08. A copy of the report can be found at
|Supplier||Tariff name||Total customer accounts as at 31 March 2008|
Ofgem set out its new criteria for what constitutes a social tariff. To qualify as a social tariff it has to be at least as good as the lowest tariff in a customers area. Ofgem will report formally on the suppliers social programmes later this summer. The report will include information on whether existing social tariffs and any other new versions that have been introduced by the suppliers since its last report are or continue to be consistent with the revised definition of a social tariff.
The Department does not hold any specific information on the average length of time a customer has to be with an energy supplier before being able to apply for a social or discounted tariff. However, in their December 2008 report on suppliers social programmes, Ofgem supplied details of the qualifying criteria for the suppliers social and discounted tariffs. This information shows that there is no minimum qualifying period for a customer to be eligible for suppliers social and discounted tariffs with the exception of E.Ons WarmAssist tariff, where a customer has to be with the company for at least a year before qualifying.
Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change (1) what recent discussions he has held with his counterpart in (a) Germany, (b) Austria, (c) Denmark and (d) the United Arab Emirates on their bids to host the headquarters of the International Renewable Energy Agency; and whether he plans to support any candidate; 
(3) what recent discussions he has held with his counterpart in (a) Canada, (b) China, (c) Japan, (d) India, (e) Brazil, (f) Australia and (g) the US on membership of the International Renewable Energy Agency. 
We have for some months been in close and regular contact with both the German Government and other key participants in IRENA. We have fully supported and actively participated in the process for establishing the new organisation.
The UK will participate fully in the second meeting of the Preparatory Commission on 29-30 June 2009. Decisions on the future location of the new organisation, and on the appointment of its Director-General, will be taken in the light of discussion at that meeting.
Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Tunbridge Wells of 17 March 2009, Official Report, column 1003W, on the International Renewable Energy Agency, what recent discussions he has had with his German counterparts on a timetable for UK membership of the International Renewable Energy Agency. 
Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change for what reasons the THORP reprocessing plant is not operational; for how long he expects the plant to be non-operational; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Kidney [holding answer 16 June 2009]: THORP is currently operating on a batch by batch basis where each batch requires its own safety justification. Existing policy for THORP is the plant will continue to operate until existing contracts have been completed or the plant is no longer economic.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what discussions he had with the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on the potential effect of measures in the Marine and Coastal Access Bill on (a) tidal stream technology and (b) off-shore wind power generation. 
Mr. Kidney: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has regular meetings with Cabinet colleagues including the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on a range of issues, including in relation to marine and renewable energy.
Mr. Crabb: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what recent discussions he has had on the potential development of marine renewable energy projects off the Pembrokeshire coast. 
Mr. Kidney: I have not had any discussions recently on the potential development of marine renewable energy projects off the Pembrokeshire coast. However, my noble Friend the Minister of State for Energy and Climate Change and DECC officials have had contact with a developer who plans to deploy wave energy devices off the Pembrokeshire coast.
Mr. MacNeil: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change when he plans to answer Question (a) 273929, (b) 273930, (c) 273931 and (d) 273932, tabled on 5 May 2009, on the Cabinet meeting in Glasgow. 
16. Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent discussions he has had with his EU counterparts on proposals to reform the Common Fisheries Policy. 
Huw Irranca-Davies: I spoke at the April and May Councils of Fisheries Ministers. On both occasions I, and my EU counterparts, presented our respective initial reactions to the Green Paper on CFP reform published by the European Commission in April.
17. Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent assessment he has made of the sustainability of the Colchester native oyster fishery off the Essex coast; and if he will make a statement. 
19. Mr. Whittingdale: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what representations he has received on rights of appeal against a coastal access report under the provisions of the Marine and Coastal Access Bill; and if he will make a statement. 
Following concerns raised during the Pre-Legislative Scrutiny of the Bill and during its passage through the House of Lords, we brought forward
schedule 1A to the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949, as inserted by schedule 19 to the Marine and Coastal Access Bill. This will enable those with a relevant interest in affected land to make objections should they believe the proposals in Natural England's coastal access reports fail to strike a fair balance on certain grounds.
Huw Irranca-Davies: Eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean bluefin tuna stocks are governed by the management plan agreed at the 2008 International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT). This includes tight controls on minimum sizes, shortened fishing seasons, a trade documentation scheme and enhanced inspection and observer schemes. ICCAT will also implement a comprehensive fleet capacity reduction plan. The UK encouraged the Commission to adopt a stringent conservation approach so that all fishing for bluefin is heavily regulated.
Jim Fitzpatrick: The longer term prospects for the dairy sector are encouraging and the UK is well placed to take advantage of the expected growth in global demand. The British dairy sector as a whole is fundamentally sound and through the Dairy Supply Chain Forum we are providing a framework for constructive debate and information for the industry to make informed decisions about its future.
Jim Fitzpatrick: Working with industry, through the Dairy Supply Chain Forum we are providing a framework for constructive debate and information for the supply chain to make informed decisions about its future. The Forum also considers sector efficiency and sustainable development.
22. Mr. Swire: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent representations he has received on the implementation of the recommendations in the Pitt report; and if he will make a statement. 
DEFRA Ministers and officials maintain regular contact with relevant bodies on a range of issues concerning the recommendations set out in Sir Michael Pitt's report into the 2007 summer
floods, in particular to maintain a dialogue on progress against the action plan that the Government have set out. An update report detailing the progress Government have made in implementing the report's recommendations was published on 25 June.
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