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Written Ministerial Statements

Thursday 19 January 2012


Armed Forces Pay Review Body - Reappointments

The Secretary of State for Defence (Mr Philip Hammond): I am pleased to announce that I have reappointed Ms Mary Carter and Mr John Steele as members of the Armed Forces Pay Review Body for a second three-year term; and the Very Reverend Dr Graham Forbes as a member of the Armed Forces Pay Review Body for a second two-year term. The reappointments, which commence in March 2012, have been conducted in accordance with the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments’ guidance on appointments to public bodies.

Energy and Climate Change

Feed-in Tariffs

The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Gregory Barker): On 31 October 2011, the Government published a consultation on feed-in tariffs (FITs) for solar photovoltaics (PV). This was in response to a substantial increase in deployment of PV, prompted by falling prices, with levels at nearly double the original projections for the first two years of the scheme. The consultation set out proposals for responding to these developments, which were putting unsustainable pressure on the budget available for FITs.

The consultation sought views on whether to reduce the generation tariffs available for new solar PV installations to a more financially sustainable level. Among other things, it proposed applying the new generation tariffs from 1 April 2012 to all new solar PV installations with an eligibility date on or after an earlier “reference date”, which we proposed should be 12 December 2011. This reference date proposal has since been challenged by judicial review and the Government have sought an appeal of the decision of the High Court. We are now waiting for a judgment from the Court of Appeal and we cannot be sure of the date on which this will be issued.

We continue to stand by our original proposal. However, I know that the uncertainty while we await the Court’s decision is difficult for the industry. A retention of the 43p tariff could also create substantial risks to the FITs budget if our appeal is unsuccessful. For these reasons, we believe it is prudent to bring forward our decision on one aspect of the consultation: the proposals for new solar PV tariffs.

We are therefore laying before Parliament today some draft licence modifications which, subject to the parliamentary process set out in the Energy Act 2008, makes provision for a reduced tariff rate (from 1 April 2012 onwards) for new PV installations with an eligibility date on or after 3 March 2012.

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If the Court finds in favour of the Government’s appeal, we intend to stand by all our consultation proposals, including an earlier (December) reference date, subject to the parliamentary procedure and consideration of consultation responses. It is very important that we reserve this as an option because these 43p payments will take a disproportionate share of the budget available for small scale low-carbon technologies. We want instead to maximise the number of installations that are possible within the available budget rather than use available subsidy to pay a higher tariff to a smaller number of installations.

The consultation closed on 23 December 2011 and over 2,000 consultation responses were received which we have been analysing carefully. We are intending to announce the outcome of the consultation by 9 February 2012, in time for any resulting legislative changes to come into effect from 1 April 2012. Our aim is that this announcement will be accompanied by a set of reform proposals for the next phase of the comprehensive review of the FITs scheme, which will be the subject of a further consultation.

The new generation tariffs set out in the draft licence modifications being laid today are set out in the table below and would apply for all installations with an eligibility date on or after 3 March 2012. Further information on the Government’s response to this aspect of the consultation, together with a summary of the relevant consultation responses, is also being published today on the Department for Energy and Climate Change’s website and will be available from: www.decc.gov.uk/FITs

Band (kW Declared Net Capacity Current Generation Tariff New Generation Tariff from
(DNC) (p/kWh) 1 April 2012 (p/kWh)

≤4kW (new build)



≤4kW (retrofit)





















stand alone



Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Bovine TB

The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Mrs Caroline Spelman): In December I announced that the Government would allow controlled culling of badgers, carried out by groups of farmers and landowners, as part of a science-led and carefully managed policy of badger control to tackle TB in cattle. The policy would be piloted in two areas to test our assumptions about the effectiveness, humaneness and safety of controlled shooting.

I also announced that to select the pilot areas, I was inviting the farming industry to come forward with a shortlist of areas from which DEFRA would prioritise two to submit full applications for licences to control badgers.

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I can now confirm that I have asked groups in two carefully selected areas, West Gloucestershire and West Somerset, to submit applications to Natural England.

Natural England will assess the applications against the strict licensing criteria and decide whether or not to grant licences. If either of the two areas fail to meet the licensing requirements, another area from the industry’s shortlist will be invited to apply.

I understand that residents in these areas may have views on the proposal to cull badgers and, as part of its assessment, Natural England will provide the public with an opportunity to comment on the applications.

However, those undertaking licensed activity, and those living and working within the application area, must be protected. Therefore, we do not propose to make available any further information at this stage about the exact location of the pilot areas.

We expect Natural England’s decision on whether or not to grant licences to these two areas to be made in the spring.

An independent panel of experts will oversee the monitoring and evaluation of the pilot areas and report back to Government.

Following conclusion of the first annual six-week cull in the pilot areas, from what we observe and what we learn, and taking into account the evaluation by the independent panel of experts, we will then take a decision on whether further licences should be granted.

Professor Christopher Wathes has been appointed chair of the independent panel of experts. Professor Wathes is a professor of animal welfare at the Royal

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Veterinary College and the current chair of the Farm Animal Welfare Committee. Other members of the panel will be appointed shortly.

I know that there is great strength of feeling on badger culling, but I also know that we need to take action now before the situation deteriorates even further. We need to tackle all transmission routes of TB using all the available tools.


ATOL Reform and the Civil Aviation Bill

The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Mrs Theresa Villiers): The Government consulted on proposals to reform the Air Travel Organisers’ Licensing (ATOL) scheme between 23 June and 15 September 2011. The consultation included proposals that would require new primary legislation to help bring greater clarity and coherence to holiday protection.

Following the consultation and after careful consideration of the responses, I am pleased to announce that the Civil Aviation Bill introduced today includes a clause that would widen the Secretary of State’s powers so that holidays sold by airlines or arranged on an “agent for the consumer” basis could be included in the ATOL scheme in the future. The Government’s intention is that such a step would only be taken following full consultation with stakeholders including an impact assessment.

The Government intend to make a further statement on the full range of proposals for ATOL reform, shortly.