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15 July 2009 : Column 419W—continued

Plutonium

Joan Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change pursuant to the answer of 8 June 2009, Official Report, column 725W, on plutonium, for what reason his Department declined to fund the travel and accommodation expenses of stakeholders attending the plutonium policy meeting on 21 May 2009; and if he will make a statement. [282004]

Mr. Kidney: Normal practice is for organisations to fund the expenses of those attending meetings on their behalf.

DECC in common with all Departments has to manage its limited funding and used normal practice with respect to the expenses of those invited to the meeting.

Power Stations: Influenza

Charles Hendry: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what arrangements his Department has made regarding the continuity of fuel supplies to power stations in the event of an influenza pandemic. [283254]

Mr. Kidney: DECC has been working closely with the energy sector through the Energy Emergencies Executive Committee (E3C) for over two years in order to identify and mitigate energy supply risks specific to an influenza pandemic.

Within the power generation industry, work has focused on a number of risks to the continuity of generation including; a severe shortage of manpower, unavailability of primary fuels for generation and disruption of the supply chain for essential chemicals and other goods.

On the particular question of fuel supplies, these are mainly coal, gas and nuclear.

In the case of coal, fuel stocks currently stand at about three months supply, and this figure would usually rise as we approach the winter. These stock levels are thought to be sufficient to cope with any disruptions caused by a flu pandemic, where the peak impact might be intense but would be of a relatively short duration.


15 July 2009 : Column 420W

For gas fired power stations the supply route is robust, with gas being transported by pipeline via the main national gas transmission network. We are working with gas network owners via E3C to ensure appropriate business continuity plans are in place to minimise the likelihood of disruption to gas supplies.

The UK's nuclear power station need to replenish their nuclear reactor fuel on a regular basis, however the impact of a delay in the replenishment programmes would be a gradual reduction in output rather than complete loss. The risk of a disruption to supply arrangements is deemed to be very low, however British Energy and Magnox are working with the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate to understand what flexibility exists within current regulations to help extend the life of fuel cells and thus reduce the frequency of the refuelling process if necessary.

Radioactive Waste: Waste Management

Mr. Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what the baseline planning assumptions are for the proposed national deep-level geological repository for radioactive waste. [285519]

Mr. Kidney: [holding answer 9 July 2009]: The "Managing Radioactive Waste Safely White Paper: A Framework for Implementing Geological Disposal", published in June 2008, outlined the role of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) as the body responsible for planning and implementing geological disposal of higher activity radioactive waste.

The White Paper sets out a staged decision-making process to site a geological disposal facility and the NDA are proceeding with early planning. The process is driven by discussions with potential host communities but early assumptions will need to be made for planning purposes on a wide range of technical issues that will not become clear for some time, such as the potential geological characteristics of a site and the amount of waste to be disposed of. The NDA plans to publish a document outlining and explaining its early planning work on this subject later this year.

Mr. Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what discussions (a) Ministers and (b) officials in his Department have had with the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority on (i) the earliest and (ii) latest dates for the proposed national deep-level geological repository for radioactive waste to open to receive waste deposits; and what discussions have been held on the operational opening dates. [285520]

Mr. Kidney [holding answer 9 July 2009]: Ministers and Officials meet the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) regularly to discuss its responsibilities for decommissioning and clean-up of the UK's public civil nuclear sites including the geological disposal of higher activity radioactive waste.

The process to site a geological disposal facility is driven by discussions with potential host communities. The programme is flexible and able to incorporate both robust technical site investigations and ongoing interactions between the project and potential host communities. The Government have therefore not set a fixed delivery timetable, but the NDA, as part of its baseline delivery
15 July 2009 : Column 421W
strategy, has a current planning assumption that the disposal facility could be available to receive the first waste in 2040. In the event that geological disposal facilities are not available until after this date, interim stores will have their lives extended as required, in order to provide safe and secure interim storage throughout the geological disposal facility development programme.

Renewable Energy

Ms Keeble: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change when he plans to announce his decision on the future of (a) the Severn Tidal Barrier and (b) each other proposed renewable energy project under consideration by his Department. [284315]

Mr. Kidney: The Government response to public consultation on Severn tidal power is published today. A decision on whether to support a Severn Estuary power scheme will be made after further assessment of the costs, benefits and impacts and following a second public consultation, likely to be during 2010.

The Government's Renewable Energy Strategy, which contains a range of measures to meet the UK's renewable energy target, will also be published shortly.

Sandra Osborne: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what estimate his Department has made of the heat generated from woody biomass in each year since 2005; and on what data he bases such estimates. [286793]

Joan Ruddock: Information on all forms of renewable energy used for heat generation is contained in table 7.6 of the annual Digest of UK Energy Statistics. The current edition, published in July 2008, contains information up to and including 2007; the data for 2005-07 are shown in the table. The next edition of the digest, which will contain 2008 data, is being published on 30 July 2009.

Thousand tonnes of oil equivalent

Domestic wood use Industrial wood use

2005

286.6

80.9

2006

322.4

80.9

2007

358.3

80.9


The data are based on information from the Forestry Commission, the Heating Equipment Testing and Approval Scheme (HETAS), the bio-energy capital grants scheme, and AEA, acting on behalf of DECC.

Warm Front Scheme

Charles Hendry: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how many boilers running on (a) wood chips and (b) other biomass fuels have been installed under the Warm Front scheme in each of the last five years. [283246]

Mr. Kidney: The Warm Front scheme does not provide for wood-chip and other biomass fuelled measures, therefore no such measures have been installed.


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Justine Greening: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what procedures are in place to ensure that work is carried out by Warm Front contractors before they are paid for it. [285190]

Mr. Kidney: All Warm Front installations must be signed for by the householder, who will sign a Works Completion Certificate confirming they are satisfied with the installation that has been carried out. Installers then submit their request for payment to eaga.

Inspections of the installations (100 per cent. of gas, 5 per cent. of oil, 5 per cent. of electric heating installations, and a 5 per cent. sample of insulation installations) are also performed, eaga reserves the right to withhold payment to installers should the installation not meet Warm Front required standards.

In those cases where the work quoted exceeds the grant limit the customer will need to pay the excess paid direct to the installer before work can commence.

Justine Greening: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how many households had work undertaken for them by Warm Front contractors (a) in the UK and (b) in Wandsworth in (i) 2006, (ii) 2007, (iii) 2008 and (iv) 2009. [285192]

Mr. Kidney: The following table details the number of households assisted by Warm Front in (a) England and (b) Wandsworth borough in years 2005-06 to 2008-09 and from 1 March to 19 June in 2009-10, (the latest period for which figures are available).

Assisted households 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10( 1) Total

England

114,591

253,079

268,900

233,594

45,168

915,332

Wandsworth

109

237

289

325

62

1,022

(1) Up to 19 June 2009

Justine Greening: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what his estimate is of the average waiting time for insulation work to be carried out under the Warm Front scheme in (a) 2006, (b) 2007, (c) 2008 and (d) 2009. [285193]

Joan Ruddock: The following table details the average waiting times for insulation measures delivered by Warm Front in years 2006-07 to 2008-09 and from 1 March to 9 May in 2009-10.(the latest period for which figures are available).

Average days to install

2006-07

33

2007-08

28

2008-09

33

2009-10(1)

24

(1) To 9 May 2009

Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how many households in each region (a) were eligible for and (b) received grants under the Warm Front Scheme in each of the last five years; and if he will make a statement. [286485]


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Mr. Kidney: The Department does not record how many households are eligible for a Warm Front grant in each region.


15 July 2009 : Column 424W

The following table details how many households in each Government office region received grants under the Warm Front scheme in each of the last five years.

Government office region
Scheme year East Midlands East of England Greater London North East England North West England South East England South West England West Midlands Yorkshire and Humber

2004-05

20,505

14,520

13,623

15,420

47,246

19,000

16,978

27,457

33,335

2005-06

15,038

14,458

12,080

11,418

41,410

17,183

17,949

19,808

23,840

2006-08

24,110

19,901

12,766

20,683

61,536

22,046

19,424

36,453

36,160

2007-08

25,136

24,421

19,481

18,865

60,089

22,941

22,034

36,530

39,403

2008-09

22,613

25,503

16,888

13,721

51,079

22,959

21,365

30,745

28,721


Work and Pensions

Action for Employment

David T.C. Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many training and skills contracts her Department has with A4e; what percentage of people who have attended such A4e training and skills courses have been placed into permanent employment; who supervises and inspects sites where A4e are giving such courses; and if she will make a statement. [283289]

Jim Knight: The Department currently has 47 contracts with A4e for the delivery of a range of welfare to work provision.

On those contracts where we count job outcomes, during the period 2008-09, 20 per cent. of people starting provision delivered by A4e have started work. Some customers, however, will still be on provision.

The delivery of provision is monitored by the Department and is also subject to external inspection by Ofsted in England, and Estyn in Wales. Areas for improvement identified at inspection are addressed through the Department's contract management process.


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