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7 Jan 2010 : Column 633W—continued

Departmental Training

Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how much his Department and its agencies spent on away days in the last 12 months; and what the (i) subject and (ii) location of each away day was. [306756]

Joan Ruddock: The information requested is not available centrally and could be made available only at disproportional cost.

Natural Gas

Charles Hendry: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change for what reasons the oxygen specification threshold of natural gas was set at 0.2 per cent.; and whether his Department has made an estimate of the effect on the level of use of natural gas of raising that threshold to three per cent. [305182]

Mr. Kidney [holding answer 8 December 2009]: This limit is set in the Gas Safety (Management) Regulations 1996 (SI 1996 No. 551), at schedule 3/part 1. Those regulations were made, by the then Department of the Environment, on the advice of the HSE. Subsequently the then Department for Business and Regulatory Reform consulted on future arrangements for Great Britain's gas quality specifications, and concluded that there was not a case for seeking change to the GS(M)R. Gas quality, and the process for seeking flexibility under the current statutory arrangements, is again discussed in a document just published by my Department, entitled "Biomethane into the Gas Network: A Guide for Producers"; this is available at:

Natural Gas: Storage

Mr. David Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what additional volume of gas storage capacity he expects to be available in the UK by 2012. [308903]

Mr. Kidney: National Grid's "Ten Year Statement 2009" (published in December) shows 0.53 bcm of storage capacity under construction, and expected to commission by 2011-12.

Renewable Energy

Jacqui Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what steps he plans to
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take to ensure that local communities benefit directly from local renewable energy generation. [308888]

Joan Ruddock: The Government are developing and demonstrating successful models of community engagement through the 'Low Carbon Communities Challenge'; phase 1 winners were announced on 21 December. We are also setting effective financial subsidy levels through feed-in tariffs and the renewable heat incentive to benefit communities.

Renewable Energy: Heating

Dr. Whitehead: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what progress his Department is making in the establishment of an incentive mechanism for the development of renewable heat technologies. [308898]

Joan Ruddock: We are currently working on the development of the renewable heat incentive scheme which will provide financial incentives to encourage renewable heat generation at all scales. We plan to publish our consultation on the scheme shortly. Details of how the scheme will operate will be set out in the consultation.

Sellafield: Waste Management

Mark Hunter: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what recent representations he has received on policy on disposal of nuclear waste from Sellafield. [308906]

Mr. Kidney: The Department has regular contact with the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), its nuclear sites and other interested stakeholders. Government recognise the importance of managing radioactive waste to the highest environmental, security and safety standards and work closely with the NDA to ensure that this is done achieving best value for money consistent with those standards.

Warm Front Scheme: East Sussex

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how many households in (a) Lewes constituency and (b) East Sussex county council area received assistance under the Warm Front programme in 2008-09. [308457]

Mr. Kidney: In 2008-09, 322 households in Lewes constituency and 2,921 in East Sussex county council area received assistance from the Warm Front scheme.

Warm Front Scheme: Stroud

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how much has been spent on the Warm Front programme in Stroud district in each year since its inception; and what other measures the Government have taken in Stroud district to (a) encourage greater energy efficiency measures and (b) reduce the level of fuel poverty. [309141]

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Mr. Kidney: The following table details the amount spent by the Warm Front scheme each year in Stroud since June 2005.

Warm Front spend












(1) Up to 30 November 2009.

The Government have a strong package of national programmes aimed at encouraging greater energy efficiency measures and reducing the level of fuel poverty. The combination of Warm Front, the Carbon Emissions Reduction Target (CERT), Community Energy Savings Programme (CESP), Decent Homes and local programmes delivered through local government, partnerships, energy suppliers, Eaga and National Energy Action (such as Warm Zones and the Community Energy Efficiency Fund) are all important in tackling fuel poverty and encouraging greater energy efficiency across England.

In December 2009, my Department announced the launch of the Home Energy Pay As You Save (PAYS) pilots. Stroud district council in partnership with Severn Wye Energy Agency will deliver a PAYS pilot project to householders within the Stroud area. The PAYS pilot will give households the opportunity to invest in energy efficiency and microgeneration technologies in their homes with no up-front cost. Householders will make repayments spread over a long enough period so that repayments are lower than their predicted energy bill savings, meaning financial and carbon savings are made from day one.

Wind Power

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what percentage of the United Kingdom's energy needs are generated by wind power; and how many wind turbines are operating in the UK. [309075]

Mr. Kidney: In 2008 1.8 per cent. of UK electricity generation was from wind power(1). Provisional figures for the first three quarters of 2009 indicate that in this period 2.2 per cent. of electricity generated in the UK was from wind(2).

The following table sets out the number of operational wind turbines in the UK as at November 2009. In addition, it is estimated that there are approximately 12,000 micro-wind turbines in the UK.

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Onshore Offshore Total

Greater than 50kW




Less than 50kW








(1)Does not include the Beatrice offshore wind demonstrator project which is outside UK territorial waters. Source: AEA Technology.

Wind Power: Noise

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change on what advice the maximum permitted night-time noise from onshore wind turbines was set at 43 decibels; when this limit was last reviewed; and why the recommendation in the 2006 draft report by Hayes McKenzie Partnership of a reduction in the sound level was rejected. [309012]

Mr. Kidney [holding answer 6 January 2010]: The 43 decibel night-time limit in the ETSU-R-97 guidance is derived from the 35 dB(A) sleep disturbance criteria referred to in Planning Policy Guidance 24 (Planning and Noise). An addition of 10 dB(A) was made to the 35 dB(A) figure to allow for attenuation through an open window, and 2 dB subtracted to account for the use of LA90 rather than LAeq. ETSU-R-97 has not been formally reviewed, but other aspects of wind turbine noise have been subject to a number of studies including the 2006 research by Hayes McKenzie.

In relation to the Hayes McKenzie research, I understand that the reference to the decibel levels was not included in the final report because the consultants decided that referring to a specific level (as in the first draft of the report) did not reflect the terms of reference of the study.

Written Questions: Government Responses

Andrew Selous: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change when he will respond to Question 301323, tabled by the hon. Member for South West Bedfordshire on 19 November 2009, on departmental working practices. [305879]

Joan Ruddock [holding answer 10 December 2009]: I responded to the hon. Member on 16 December 2009, Official Report, column 1334W.

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