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Written Statements

Thursday 24 October 2013

Energy and Climate Change

Balance of Competences (Review)

The Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change (Mr Edward Davey): I wish to inform the House that, further to the Foreign Secretary’s oral statement launching the review of the balance of competences in July 2012 and the written statements on the progress of the review in October 2012, and May 2013, the Department of Energy and Climate Change has today published its call for evidence for the energy report.

This report, which will be completed by the summer 2014, will focus on the application and effect of the EU’s competence in relation to energy. It will include the internal energy market and its contribution to the single market and growth; security of energy supply, indigenous resources and energy infrastructure development; sustainability and energy efficiency measures, renewables and carbon capture and storage; the EU external energy dimension; and nuclear and Euratom.

The report will not include climate change aspects of the Department’s work, international climate change negotiations, the reduction of collective EU member state greenhouse gas emissions via burden-sharing arrangements and the EU emissions trading system. These issues will be covered in the Environment and Climate Change report due to be published this winter.

The energy call for evidence period will be open for 12 weeks and close on 15 January 2014. My Department will draw together the evidence and policy analysis into a first draft which will subsequently go through a process of scrutiny before publication next summer.

We will take a rigorous approach to the collection and analysis of evidence. The call for evidence sets out the scope of the report and includes a series of broad questions on which contributors are asked to focus. The evidence received (subject to the provisions of the Data Protection Act) will be published alongside the final report and will be available on: www.gov.uk/review-of-the-balance-of-competences. We will pursue an active engagement process, consulting with departmental Select Committees, the devolved Administrations, businesses and civil society in order to obtain evidence to contribute to our analysis of the issues. Our EU partners and the EU institutions will also be invited to contribute evidence to the review.

The resulting report is intended to be a comprehensive, thorough and detailed analysis of EU competence for environment and climate change and what this means for the UK. It will aid our understanding of the nature of our EU membership and will provide a constructive and serious contribution to the wider European debate about modernising, reforming and improving the EU. The report will not produce specific policy recommendations.

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I am placing this document and the call for evidence in the Libraries of both Houses. The call for evidence will also be available at: www.gov.uk/review-of-the-balance- of-competences.

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Agriculture and Fisheries Council

The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Mr Owen Paterson): The Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, my hon. Friend the Member for Camborne and Redruth (George Eustice) represented the UK at the Agriculture and Fisheries Council on 17 October in Luxembourg. Richard Lochhead MSP also attended.

The Council reached an agreement on fishing opportunities in the Baltic region for 2014. The Commission praised the Baltic member states as both providing a good example of regionalisation and sustainable management of stocks, in line with the spirit of the reformed common fisheries policy.

There was an exchange of views on the European Union-Norway annual fisheries agreement. This agreement is of vital importance to the UK fleet and the UK Government pressed for a 2014 North sea cod total allowable catch (TAC) which was in line with the science, maintaining current effort levels (the number of days fishermen are allowed to spend at sea) and for developing and expanding our discard-free catch quota schemes in the North sea.

In an exchange of views on the EU’s priorities for the annual meeting of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) next month, the UK supported continued protection of bluefin tuna stocks and argued for increasing the protection of vulnerable shark species. The Commission agreed with the UK point that, ICCAT was improving its performance and that this was finally bringing results. They promised to redouble their efforts to protect vulnerable sharks and to secure a ban on shark finning.

Under AOB Ireland raised the north-east Atlantic mackerel management and coastal state negotiations. The UK argued that new scientific advice could provide an opportunity to achieve a breakthrough in the long-running dispute with Iceland. However, a deal should not be at any cost, should not contain new access concessions and Norway must be a full and equal partner in any agreement. There was widespread support for the Commissioner’s approach of moving towards a fair and equitable solution that must involve Norway.

Home Department

National DNA Database Ethics Group

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (James Brokenshire): My noble Friend the Minister for Criminal Information, Lord Taylor of Holbeach, has today made the following written ministerial statement:

I am pleased to announce the publication of the sixth annual report of the National DNA Database Ethics Group on 24 October 2013. The group was established on 25 July 2007 to provide Ministers with independent ethical advice on the operation and practice of the national DNA database (NDNAD).

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I welcome the points raised in the report about the implementation of the Protection of Freedoms Act, and the consideration given in the report to a number of important issues around the ethical operation of the NDANAD.

The ethics group’s annual report can be viewed on the website of the independent forensic science regulator and I am arranging for a copy to be placed in the Library of the House.

DNA and Fingerprint Databases

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (James Brokenshire): My hon. Friend the Minister for Criminal Information, Lord Taylor of Holbeach, has today made the following written ministerial statement:

The Government have now delivered their commitment to reform the retention of DNA and fingerprint records by removing innocent people from the databases, and adding the guilty.

1,766,000 DNA profiles taken from innocent adults and children have been deleted from the national DNA database. 1,672,000 fingerprint records taken from innocent adults and children have been deleted from the national fingerprint database. 7,753,000 DNA samples containing sensitive personal biological material, no longer needed as a DNA profile has been obtained, have been destroyed. 480,000 of the DNA profiles removed as part of this programme were taken from children.

At the same time, 6,800 convicted murderers and sex offenders, not on the database under the previous Government, have had their DNA taken and added to the database. These records will be kept permanently, as will those of every convicted adult on the database, to ensure our databases remain a powerful tool for fighting crime.

Now that our DNA and fingerprint databases meet the requirements set out in part 1, chapter 1 of the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012, these provisions will be commenced on 31 October.

The national DNA database (NDNAD) annual report for 2012-13 was today published on the Home Office website, providing information for the public on the routine operation and effectiveness of the database, and on the programme to delete innocent people in preparation for the Protection of Freedoms Act. This report is an important part of the Government’s aim for transparency and public confidence in the use of DNA.

The figures in the first part of the report show the size of the NDNAD to 31 March 2013, part way through work to delete DNA profiles in line with the Protection of Freedoms Act. Following the deletions described above, the NDNAD will now be considerably smaller. Part 2 of the report provides more detailed information on these deletions.

The report is available from:


A copy will be placed in the Library of the House.



The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport (Mr Robert Goodwill): Today I am publishing the Command Paper “The Government Response to the Design Refinement Consultation: Decisions and Safeguarding Directions for Northolt and Bromford”. This document sets out the decisions to tunnel the HS2 phase 1 route at Northolt and Bromford, in light of the responses to the

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May 2013 design refinement consultation, and the decision to reissue safeguarding directions for the phase 1 route to reflect these additional tunnels.

In July 2013, following consultation, the Secretary of State for Transport issued safeguarding directions to local planning authorities (LPAs) along most of the route of phase 1 of HS2, between London and the West Midlands. Safeguarding directions protect the route of HS2 from conflicting development. At that time we were consulting separately on fourteen design refinements on the phase 1 route. In particular, the Secretary of State proposed that there should be bored tunnels rather than a surface route at both Northolt and Bromford. As the nature of safeguarding in these areas would be very different depending on the option chosen it was decided to delay safeguarding these areas until the Secretary of State had reached the final decisions on the tunnel proposals following consultation.

Following careful consideration of the responses to the consultation, I can confirm the proposed changes to replace the surface sections of track at Northolt and Bromford with bored tunnels. In these locations tunnels are appropriate on the basis of cost, risk and environmental effects.

We are taking these decisions now in order to provide certainty to property owners in these areas as soon as practicable. Decisions on the remaining 12 refinements to the route will be published soon.

The purpose of safeguarding is not to prevent development along the route of HS2, but to ensure that any development that does take place is consistent with our plans for the railway. LPAs to whom safeguarding directions apply are required to consult HS2 Ltd on new planning applications in respect of land that is within the safeguarded area.

Safeguarding is also a trigger for statutory blight procedures under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. We do not expect that many properties within the newly safeguarded area will be required for construction of the railway because the route will be in tunnel. However, some land on the surface is affected, particularly for construction purposes, and owners of this land may be able to take advantage of the statutory blight provisions.

The command paper “The Government Response to the Design Refinement Consultation: Decisions and Safeguarding Directions for Northolt and Bromford” is available at:


Copies of the Command Paper are available in the House Library.

Haulage: Road Tank Vehicle Compliance

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport (Mr Robert Goodwill): The Department for Transport is working with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and industry to resolve an issue around the incorrect certification of a particular model of fuel tanker in operation in the UK.

The tankers, manufactured in South Africa, and certified as meeting international standards by Bureau Veritas (SA), were first imported into the UK in 2006. Regrettably, they are not in full compliance with internationally-agreed

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regulations—the European agreement concerning the international carriage of dangerous goods by road— “ADR”) and remedial action is being taken to resolve the issue.

The Department has an ongoing dialogue with industry to discuss proposals to replace or modify the tankers according to a schedule that ensures security of fuel supply while maintaining safety. Around 230 of the tankers are in operation in Great Britain and account for around 12% of the fleet of vehicles delivering road

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fuel. Some of these tankers have been on the road for over seven years and collectively they have travelled millions of miles without a serious incident. We are not complacent about the risks and it is important that this remedial work is carried out as soon as is practical. This would involve tankers over six years old being taken out of service first, with modifications on newer models to allow a staged withdrawal of these vehicles over subsequent months. Some haulage firms have already placed, in total, orders for about 100 new tankers.