Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page

Lord Williams of Elvel asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Sainsbury of Turville: Since 1997 ECGD has provided cover for exports to coal-fired power stations in:

    (b) China valued at £291 million,

    (c) Zimbabwe valued at £9 million, and

    (d) Turkey valued at £34 million.

Under the Kyoto Protocol, developed countries have legally binding targets to limit or reduce their greenhouse gas emission. Developing countries do not have such targets but they do have an obligation to limit their emissions.

Although the UK encourages the use of more environmentally friendly means of power generation, it is up to individual governments to decide their own power generation strategies. Government policy for power generation in the UK is to continue to use a diverse range of energy sources in order to ensure security of supply, and it is not for the UK to deny that option to other countries.

UK companies sell goods and services to coal-fired power stations abroad and some of these exports make use of cover from ECGD. This is in line with the UK Government's policy to promote sustainable development and the use of cleaner coal technologies for coal-fired power generation. Many developing countries (such as China) do not at present have readily available alternatives to coal as their major source of fuel and the UK's aim is to encourage them to adopt high efficiency and cleaner coal technologies to reduce emissions. Provided that emissions are controlled ECGD believes that the economic and social benefits resulting from the availability of electrical power are usually sufficient to outweigh the potential environmental impact of the associated greenhouse gas emissions, but ECGD considers each case on its own merits.

ECGD is keen to support electricity generation from renewable resources. As the Prime Minister announced in September, the ECGD will help developing countries limit their greenhouse gas emissions by making available at least £50 million of cover each year, from next April, for creditworthy exports in the renewable energy sector. This is not a cap and should it receive viable applications for a greater level of business ECGD will consider raising

7 Nov 2002 : Column WA134

the level of support available. This initiative will assist countries to meet their power generation requirements in a sustainable way and their obligations under Kyoto.

e-greeting Cards: Unsolicited Commercial e-mail

The Earl of Northesk asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What their policy is towards the marketing technique, closely allied to the practice of spamming and recently reported in the media in respect of e-greeting cards, whereby computer users are invited to install an application on their computer, the licence of which grants permission for e-mails to be sent to all contacts in a user's e-mail address book.[HL6279]

Lord Sainsbury of Turville: The recent media reports concern an e-mail that invites the recipient to collect an e-greetings card from one of two websites. On visiting one of these websites, the recipient is invited to install an application onto their computer in order to view the e-greetings card. The installation process includes the display of two end user licence agreements, the second of which states that by installing the application the user is allowing a similar greetings card to be sent to all the e-mail addresses in the user's e-mail address book, and that if they object to this they should not download, install, access or use the websites concerned. It is only by agreeing to these licence agreements that recipients will allow their own contacts to be e-mailed in the same way.

Although all but the initial e-mail addresses are supplied by the recipients, the originators of this e-mail are sending direct marketing communications by means of unsolicited commercial e-mail (UCE). The Government encourage all direct marketers to adopt responsible techniques, to take account of consumer preferences where available and to target their marketing as far as possible. The regulatory framework for UCE, including industry codes of conduct and legislation, is still developing. The Electronic Commerce (EC Directive) Regulations 2002 require UCE to be easily identifiable as such as soon as it is received, enabling automatic filtering or deletion. The new Directive on Privacy and Electronic Communications to be implemented by October 2003 will require an opt-in approach to UCE sent to individuals except where there is an existing relationship between the parties.

Unsolicited Sales or Polling Faxes

Lord Jacobs asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether senders of unsolicited sales or polling faxes are required to display their names, addresses

7 Nov 2002 : Column WA135

    and telephone numbers; and whether the recipients of such faxes have any power to prevent further faxes being sent to them.[HL6354]

Lord Sainsbury of Turville: Under the Telecommunications (Data Protection and Privacy) Regulations 1999, the sending of direct marketing faxes to individual subscribers is banned unless the subscribers have given their prior consent. The regulations also set up a central opt-out list, called the Fax Preference Service (FPS), primarily for corporate subscribers but individuals may also register as an additional protection. Direct marketers are obliged to ensure that they do not send direct marketing faxes to numbers appearing on the FPS list unless they have prior consent to do so.

The regulations also require that all direct marketing faxes that are sent must include the sender's name and either their address or a freephone telephone number through which they can be contacted.

Further details, including how to register with the FPS and how to complain about apparent breaches of the regulations, are available on the DTI website at the following URL:

Energy-supplying Wind Farms

Lord Fearn asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether any more energy-supplying wind farms are planned for north west England.[HL6254]

Lord Sainsbury of Turville: Applications for consent to construct and operate wind farms with a capacity greater than 50 megawatts on-shore and greater than 1 megawatt off-shore are considered by my right

7 Nov 2002 : Column WA136

honourable friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry under Section 36 of the Electricity Act 1989. My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry is currently considering two such applications for off-shore wind farms at Walney Island off Barrow and Burbo Bank off North Wirral. No such applications for on-shore wind farms in the north west are under consideration.

Applications for wind farms with a capacity of 50 megawatts or below on-shore are dealt with under the normal planning regime. The Department of Trade and Industry does not keep a register of such applications.

Education Spending: IT Projects

The Earl of Northesk asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What proportion and value of the budget of public sector education was spent on information technology projects and procurement in each of the last five years.[HL6277]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Education and Skills (Baroness Ashton of Upholland): The table below sets out the value of information technology programmes supported by specific central government grant as a proportion of overall expenditure on education in England. Since data are not collected centrally on how much schools, colleges or universities also choose to spend on information technology from their core budgets, which account for the vast majority of the overall public sector education budget, the figures necessarily understate the overall investment in information technology over the last five years.

IT grant1998–991999–20002000–012001–022002–03
£ million105130301580865
% of total budget0.

7 Nov 2002 : Column WA135

7 Nov 2002 : Column WA135

BBC: Recruitment

Lord Lamont of Lerwick asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether in view of the BBC's obligation to be politically impartial they will discuss with the Chairman of the BBC the placing of job advertisements only in the Guardian.[HL6197]

The Minister of State, Department for Culture, Media and Sport (Baroness Blackstone): The recruitment of its staff is a matter for the BBC, but I understand that its policy is to select the medium most likely to produce, cost effectively, a diverse range of suitably qualified candidates. In the year to June 2002, it advertised in over 250 external media, both in print and online.

7 Nov 2002 : Column WA136

Treasury Silver: Loan to V & A

Lord Freyberg asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the Department for Culture, Media and Sport will reclassify the Treasury silver on loan to the Victoria and Albert Museum as a non-operational heritage asset.[HL6330]

Baroness Blackstone: The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has agreed a long-term loan of the Treasury silver to the Victoria and Albert Museum. Accounting standards require the substance of transactions to be reflected in the museum's accounts. In the case of the Treasury silver it is the Victoria and Albert Museum which is enjoying the rewards of ownership and bearing the risks. The museum will therefore classify the silver as a non-operational heritage asset and include in its balance sheet as a capitalised addition to its existing collection.

7 Nov 2002 : Column WA137

Next Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page