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In the course of developing the scheme Ministers and officials consulted a wide range of organisations, nationally and internationally. A number of supporting studies are also available at the same website.
Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what assistance his Department plans to prove to those in social housing to participate in the feed-in tariff scheme; and how many social housing tenants he estimates will participate in it. 
Mr. Kidney: On 1 February the Government published their response to a consultation on feed-in tariffs for small-scale electricity generation, available from the Department of Energy and Climate Change website at:
As the response states the Government consider the role of local authorities to be important and are keen for them to develop their leadership role on climate change including action on social housing. Accordingly the Government are piloting the concept of low carbon frameworks, further details may be found at:
Further, building on the experience of pilot projects for Pay as You Save financing and Warm Front, the Government will consult later this year on measures to help low-income households take advantage of clean energy cashback.
Martin Horwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what estimate he has made of the number of (a) individuals and (b) households in (i) England, (ii) Wales and (iii) Scotland who spend (A) over 20 per cent., (B) between 15 and 20 per cent., (C) between 10 and 15 per cent., (D) between 5 and 10 per cent. and (E) up to 5 per cent. of income on energy costs; and what estimate he has made of the average (1) fuel cost, (2) property SAP rating and (3) income for each such group. 
Mr. Kidney: Fuel poverty is measured at household level rather than at individual level. Rather than actual bills, fuel poverty uses modelled bills, modelled to ensure each household maintains an adequate standard of warmth, alongside energy use on water heating, lights and appliances and cooking. Similar information is not available on actual spending.
DECC compiles detailed information for England from the English House Condition Survey and takes headline data from Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland to produce a UK aggregated estimate. Detailed data for Wales and Scotland are the responsibility of the respective devolved Administrations and are best obtained direct from them.
|Number of households (thousand)||Average income (£)||Average modelled fuel bill (£)||Average SAP|
Mr. Kidney: The most recently available sub-regional split of fuel poverty relates to 2006, and shows that there were 11.6 per cent. of households in the Leeds, North-West constituency that were classified as living in fuel poverty.
Mr. Kidney [holding answer 4 February 2010]: The Government have a strong package of measures to help reduce fuel poverty amongst vulnerable households which includes pensioners. This is centred on tackling the three root causes of fuel poverty:
Reducing the demand for energy by improving home energy efficiency through schemes such as Warm Front, Carbon Emissions Reduction Target, Community Energy Saving Programme and the Decent Homes Standard;
Putting in place and continuously looking to improve a regulatory framework that promotes competition as the main driver to ensure downward pressure on prices for consumers, and to improve license conditions and strengthen Ofgem's powers through the Energy Bill; and
Raising real incomes, including through Winter Fuel Payments and Cold Weather Payments alongside the wider tax and benefit system and through Benefit Entitlement Checks under the Warm Front Scheme.
We have also introduced legislation to implement mandated social price support schemes once the current voluntary agreement with suppliers comes to an end in 2011. These schemes will provide more of the most vulnerable consumers with help towards their energy costs. We have said that we are minded to focus the majority of the additional resources on older pensioner households on the lowest incomes as these households tend to have a high incidence of fuel poverty - over 50 per cent. of fuel poor households have a person over 60 living in them; their circumstances are relatively stable; and they are at the greatest risk of excess winter deaths.
Mr. Kidney [holding answer 2 February 2010]: The letter from the hon. Member was received by the Department on 13 January 2010. A reply was drafted by officials, signed by Lord Hunt and was sent out on 5 February 2010. This is within agreed Whitehall targets.
Thank you for your letter of 11 January to Ed Miliband, about the provision of information on energy customers' bills. I am replying as this matter falls within my portfolio.
I think we can both agree that the provision of clear and comparable information on energy bills is crucial for consumers, to enable them to engage fully with, and understand, the range of products available to them - so I am very happy to provide the clarifications you seek.
The issue of the provision of information on bills was addressed in the Probe into energy markets conducted by Ofgem and the remedies that resulted from it. We have therefore referred the questions you raise on this issue to Ofgem, which has advised that the Licence conditions to which you refer have been agreed following extensive consultation and input from consumer stakeholder groups. Ofgem issued its final direction on 19 October 2009.
This is available online at:
It also published a timetable for when these new rules were due to come into force and this is available online at:
http://www.ofgem.gov.uk/Markets/RetMkts/ensuppro/Documents1/Implementation%20of%20the%20Energy% 20Supply%20Probe%20 Retail%20Markets.pdf
With regard to the rules governing the comparison of a customer's tariff with the supplier's standard direct debit tariff, Ofgem advises that Licence condition 31A.4 states that the Licensee must provide every domestic customer, once in every 12 month period, with the domestic customer's exact tariff name (31 A.4 (a)) and with details of any premium or discount that applies to the domestic customer's tariff as compared to the electricity supplier's standard tariff where payment is by direct debit (31 A.4 (c)). There is, therefore, an obligation for suppliers to provide domestic
customers with a comparison of their tariff against another actual tariff. This Licence condition is enforceable under Ofgem's current powers.
However, domestic customers will be provided with a reminder, in a prominent position, that they may change their supplier, and with information about where they may obtain impartial advice and information about switching. In addition, customers can identify if they can access a cheaper standard tariff as the comparison with the supplier's standard direct debit tariff will be shown along with details of any premium or discount that currently applies to the customer's existing tariff. This information will show the extra amount the customer is paying (compared to the standard direct debit tariff) due to premium products such as a green tariff or, for example, due to their chosen payment method.
I think it is important to reiterate that Ofgem has consulted widely on its proposals to improve customer information and has received views from a range of organisations, including consumer groups and I support the changes it is introducing.
Consumer Focus has an important role to play in overseeing the switching and price comparison websites. We welcome its recent public consultation, which has just closed, on the Confidence Code - a voluntary code of practice for domestic gas and electricity price comparison. This consultation considered, among other things, an extension of the code to include telesales activity. We await its considered view on the responses to it in due course.
I also expect Ofgem to continue to work with energy suppliers, consumers and consumer representatives to ensure consumers have the information they need. In its monitoring of the effectiveness of these rules we will expect Ofgem to review whether these changes have proved sufficient to help consumers understand their energy bills and are able to make informed choices based on the information available to them.
I welcome your continued engagement on this important issue and I hope this information is helpful.
Mr. Hurd: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what payments (a) his Department and (b) each of its agencies made to the Newspaper Licensing Agency in each year since his Department was established. 
Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what recent estimate his Department has made of the cost of defending Britain's nuclear sites from the effects of coastal erosion in the next 160 years. 
Mr. Kidney: The Department has not made any such estimates. As with other external hazards, ensuring that nuclear sites are protected against flooding and coastal erosion is the responsibility of the site operator, subject to regulatory oversight by the Health and Safety Executive working alongside the Environment Agency in England and Wales. These regulators require the operators to demonstrate and cover the cost of appropriate levels of protection against such hazards throughout the lifetime of the site, including the decommissioning phase.
DEFRA has promoted Shoreline Management Plans (SMPs) that assess the risks of coastal erosion and tidal flooding for the whole coast of England and Wales, for the next 100 years. SMPs are prepared jointly by the
relevant operating authorities using the latest coastal monitoring information. This includes the condition of all existing defences, including those constructed to protect nuclear sites. These plans consider the evidence on climate change, as well as other relevant data and research. They account for the impact of coastal processes on the whole coast including coastal communities and should be used by planning authorities where they need to take planning decisions on the coast.
A review of Shoreline Management Plans is currently under way and will be complete by the end of the year. SMPs are publicly available and include a minimum three-month public and stakeholder consultation period.
Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what account the Infrastructure Planning Commission will take of the (a) method and (b) siting of nuclear waste storage when deciding on planning applications for nuclear power stations. 
Mr. Kidney: Radioactive waste interim storage facilities located on site at new nuclear power stations are covered in the Draft National Policy Statement for Nuclear Power Generation (EN-6) (see page 24).
When considering planning applications the Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC) will be able to seek the views of the independent safety, security and environmental nuclear regulators, on both the method of storage and the siting of the storage facilities. The IPC will need to be satisfied that the necessary regulatory licence, authorisation or permit can or is likely to be issued in due course. The IPC will also be able to consider the views of other interested parties during the planning application process.
The Draft National Policy Statement is currently being consulted on. The Government will further consider what advice the IPC requires in the light of responses to the public consultation and parliamentary scrutiny.
Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what assessment his Department has made of the average cost of planting a tree as part of a carbon offset programme. 
Joan Ruddock: The Government have developed a quality assurance scheme (QAS) for carbon offsetting. This covers regulated credits, which could include UN-accredited forestry projects outside of the UK. Offsets under the QAS are sold by independent companies from a range of UN-accredited projects and current prices range from around £15 to £18 per tonne of carbon dioxide depending on the supplier.
The independent Read report (Combating Climate change: a Role for UK Forests), the first report of the Committee on Climate Change and the Government's UK Low Carbon Transition Plan 2007 each concluded that woodland creation is a cost-effective measure, providing abatement at a cost of £20 to £40 per tonne carbon dioxide. This includes among other costs, the cost of tree planting.
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