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The Earl of Northesk asked Her Majesty's Government:

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Lord Sainsbury of Turville: Oftel's November 2001 ADSL Factsheet reported that 60 per cent of UK households were connected to an ADSL-enabled exchange. The publication UK Online: the broadband future features a geographical breakdown of the availability of broadband technologies, including ADSL. An updated version of this map will shortly be placed in the Libraries of the House.

The Earl of Northesk asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What data transfer speeds they use to determine whether an Internet connection can be defined as "broadband" (a) in respect of the commercial market and (b) in respect of the residential market.[HL1172]

Lord Sainsbury of Turville: In UK Online: the Broadband Future, the Government offered an initial definition of broadband as always-on, unmetered Internet services with a downstream (from supplier to home or business user) speed of more than 384 kbit/s.

Nuclear Industry Policies

Lord Roberts of Conwy asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When they expect to publish their plans for the development of the nuclear power industry.[HL1185]

Lord Sainsbury of Turville: The Cabinet Office Performance and Innovation Unit is carrying out a review of energy policy as announced by the Prime Minister on 25 June. The review is looking at the objectives of energy policy to develop a strategy that ensures current policy commitments are consistent with longer-term goals. To achieve its aim, the review is considering all sources of energy including nuclear. At this stage, there is no presumption of any change in nuclear industry policies. The review is due to report to the Prime Minister at the end of the year.

Fuel Poverty

Lord Ashley of Stoke asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What percentage of households containing one or more pensioners are in fuel poverty. [HL1199]

Lord Sainsbury of Turville: The latest available figures indicate that in England 29 per cent of households headed by an older couple or a single person over the age of 60 were in fuel poverty in 1998. This is based on fuel poverty being defined as when a household needs to spend more than 10 per cent of its income (including housing benefit and income support for mortgage interest) on fuel in order to maintain a satisfactory heating regime. When fuel poverty is defined using income excluding housing benefit or income support for mortgage interest 35 per cent of

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households headed by an older couple or a single person over the age of 60 were in fuel poverty in England in 1998.

An analysis of fuel poverty in England in 1998 was published in August 2001 by DTI and DEFRA, and is available at www.dti.gov.uk/energy/pdf/fuel pov.pdf.

Fuel poverty is a devolved matter and therefore it is for the respective Assemblies and Parliament to report on the situation in Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland.

Lord Ashley of Stoke asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What criteria define the households considered to be in fuel poverty. [HL1251]

Lord Sainsbury of Turville: The UK Fuel Poverty Strategy, Consultation draft, which was published in February 2001, sets out the definitions of fuel poverty which are used in the UK.

For England a fuel poor household is defined as one needing to spend in excess of 10 per cent of household income to achieve a satisfactory heating regime (21 degrees C in the living room and 18 degrees C in the other occupied rooms). The definition covers expenditure on all fuel used, and not just that for heating purposes. Two definitions of income are used:


    (1) income includes housing benefit and income support for mortgate interest.


    (2) income excluding housing benefit and income support for mortgage interest.

The consultation draft of the UK fuel poverty strategy proposed that the number of fuel poor in England is shown on both of these definitions, but that (1) will be used for the purpose of setting targets.

Fuel poverty is a devolved matter and therefore it is for the respective Assemblies and Parliament to report on the situation in Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland.

Lord Ashley of Stoke asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Which national survey is the source of information on the households in fuel poverty.[HL1252]

Lord Sainsbury of Turville: The UK Fuel Poverty Strategy, Consultation draft, which was published in February 2001, sets out the information which is available on fuel poverty in the UK.

For England the main source of information is the five-yearly English House Condition Survey (EHCS). The latest edition of this survey for which figures on fuel poverty are available relates to 1996. Figures for households in fuel poverty in 1998 have been produced from the 1998 Energy Follow Up Survey to the English House Condition Survey, although the analysis available from this survey is more limited than that from the EHCS. The 2001 English House Condition Survey will provide figures on fuel poverty which should be available towards the end of 2002. As of 2002 the English House Condition Survey will be an annual survey.

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Fuel poverty is a devolved matter and therefore it is for the respective Assemblies and Parliament to report on the situation in Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland.

Northern Ireland Electricity Market

Lord Glentoran asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the effective exclusion for the next six years of Northern Ireland from trading in renewables obligation certificates is intentional.[HL1216]

Lord Sainsbury of Turville: Under the Utilities Act 2000, a condition for eligibility for renewable obligation certificates (ROCs) is physical supply of electricity to customers in Great Britain. In order for generators located in Northern Ireland to receive ROCs, they would need to provide evidence of physical supply into the Great Britain distribution system. It is recognised that it would be difficult to provide such evidence under current conditions.

Discussions are continuing between my department, the Department for Enterprise, Trade and Investment (Northern Ireland) and Ofreg on the relationship between the renewables obligation and the Northern Ireland electricity market. The Government will review the situation in the light of any proposals emerging from the current consultation taking place in Northern Ireland on the development of renewable energy in the Province.

Lord Glentoran asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will erase sub-clause 4(5)(d)(iv) from the draft statutory instrument that implements the renewables obligation arrangements.[HL1217]

Lord Sainsbury of Turville: Under the Utilities Act 2000, a condition for eligibility for renewable obligation certificates (ROCs) is physical supply of electricity to customers in Great Britain. In order for generators located in Northern Ireland to receive ROCs, they would need to provide evidence of physical supply into the Great Britain distribution system.

The evidence required would include proof that electricity has not flowed in the opposite direction. This is the provision to which the noble Lord refers in his Question.

This evidence would be required to prevent "virtual imports", where electricity is not physically supplied, but merely notionally supplied by a transaction on paper.

The Government are continuing to consider responses to the consultation on the draft statutory instrument, but at this stage do not propose to remove the provision to which the noble Lord refers.

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Northern Ireland: Renewable Energy

Lord Glentoran asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will negotiate with the Northern Ireland Assembly to implement a renewables obligation similar to that currently in draft for Great Britain or under a United Kingdom-wide umbrella.[HL1218]

Lord Sainsbury of Turville: As the noble Lord is aware, energy issues in Northern Ireland are a devolved matter. The Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Investment has recently published a Northern Ireland-wide consultation on forms of support for renewable energy in the Province and he will wish to consider appropriate support mechanisms in the light of the consultation. The Government will review the situation in respect of the United Kingdom as a whole in the light of any measures forthcoming to support renewable energy in Northern Ireland.

Euratom Treaty

Lord Inglewood asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they consider that by signing the Euratom Treaty a member state recognises the legitimacy of civil nuclear establishments in other member states so long as they have complied with the provisions of that treaty.[HL1221]

Lord Sainsbury of Turville: All signatories to the Euratom Treaty accept that the main task of the Euratom Community is to "create the conditions necessary for the speedy establishment and growth of nuclear industries". It is the responsibility of the member states to ensure that nuclear activities are carried out in accordance with all relevant national regulatory requirements and obligations under the Euratom Treaty. The Government are confident that all member states are committed to full compliance with their Euratom Treaty obligations.


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