Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page

We continue to urge both the Rwandan and DRC Governments to pursue political solutions to the problems in eastern DRC and to ensure the full implementation of the Nairobi and Goma agreements. To that end, we welcome the outcome of the Nairobi summit on 7 November, which I attended.

Lord Alton of Liverpool asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Malloch-Brown: During the recent fighting, UN observers reported that shots had been fired across the border between the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Rwanda. Conflicting reports indicated that the shooting had originated from both sides. We are trying to establish the facts on the ground.

24 Nov 2008 : Column WA235

We continue to monitor events in eastern DRC closely and encourage the Governments of the two states to co-operate to resolve threats to regional security. We continue to have a frank dialogue with the Government of Rwanda on regional stability within the context of the agreement on a Memorandum of Understanding.

Lord Alton of Liverpool asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Malloch-Brown: My right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary met President Kagame on 1 November with his French counterpart, when he urged President Kagame to back efforts to find a political solution to the problems in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). I offered UK support for the political process to resolve the crisis at the regional summit in Nairobi on 7 November, which President Kagame attended. I met President Kagame in Kigali on 20 November and had an extensive discussion on Congolese-Rwandan relations.

The Government are supporting the Government of the DRC in becoming a full member of the extractive industries transparency initiative (EITI). This will help DRC gain better control of its mineral wealth and use revenues for the population’s benefit.

The Government are also working in partnership with the provincial government of Katanga and carefully selected mining companies to improve the governance, transparency and regulation of the mining sector and support the Government of the DRC’s health and education priorities. This will help drive up standards in the mining sector and provide a platform for helping ensure mineral wealth benefits the poor.

Lord Alton of Liverpool asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Malloch-Brown: Transforming the military, police and justice sectors into professional, competent and accountable institutions capable of delivering security and justice for Congolese citizens is a key priority. On security sector reform, the UK has focused its support on the police and justice systems. This included a £9 million support package for elections security, of which £4 million went to the UN Development Programme basket fund for training and equipping the police to provide security for the elections and £5 million to the South African Police Service to provide a nationwide radio network for the police.

24 Nov 2008 : Column WA236

In the defence sector, we have supported international efforts on the disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration of Congolese security forces as part of a wider security reform programme. Key areas of support include improving the basic living conditions of soldiers and their families in integrated brigades, delivering human rights training and supporting measures to ensure the delivery of pay (£7,200,000 overall between 2006 and 2008). The Department for International Development has also supported key justice sector reforms providing both legislative and technical assistance. In the longer term, we have initiated the design of a five-year security sector accountability and police programme (£80 million), which will be taken forward in partnership with Congolese stakeholders and international partners. We are working closely with Congolese stakeholders to take this programme forward and have agreed to put in place a high-level steering committee (including senior senate, national assembly and government representatives) to oversee implementation and act as a forum for high-level dialogue on key issues.

Lord Alton of Liverpool asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Malloch-Brown: The UK Government have been fully supportive of the proposed appointment of a special adviser on human rights for eastern Democratic Republic of Congo to monitor commitments made under Article 3 of the Goma agreement. Officials have been pressing the Amani programme co-ordinator’s office to present a proposal for this appointment, prior to considering funding arrangements with partners.

For the special adviser’s position to have legitimacy and be successful, both with the Government of DRC and armed groups in the region, it needs to be embedded in the Amani peace process and be owned by the Congolese. This process is currently on hold, awaiting re-engagement on the part of the armed groups. We are hoping that, as the Amani process resumes, the special adviser role can be taken forward.

Energy: Biofuels

Lord Taylor of Holbeach asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Financial Services Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Myners): The 2,500 litre per annum biodiesel registration threshold was introduced in July 2007 as part of a package of measures aimed at reducing administrative and compliance costs and regulatory burdens.

24 Nov 2008 : Column WA237

HMRC estimates that there are now between 1,000 and 1,250 own-use producers, compared with 800 when the threshold was introduced.

Energy: Nuclear

Lord Dykes asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): No discussions have taken place with the French European Union presidency on the reclassification of nuclear energy. We have never argued that nuclear power is a renewable form of energy and do not believe it to be so.

Energy: Wind Farms

Lord Taylor of Holbeach asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change & Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): The total capacity and actual annual output figures for UK wind farms with more than two turbines for the years 2005-07 are set out in the tables below. Information relating to individual wind farms is, however, commercial in confidence and cannot be released.

Onshore wind farms with two turbines or more
No of sitesInstalled capacity (MW)Actual Generation (GWh)













Offshore wind farms with two turbines or more
No of sitesInstalled capacity (MW)Actual Generation (GWh)













Information on the expected maintenance time and downtime for other reasons is a commercial matter for the developers. However, for the purposes of our offshore wind capital grants scheme, all developers of

24 Nov 2008 : Column WA238

round 1 demonstration projects are required to submit operations and maintenance reports for three consecutive years following commissioning of the wind farm. Each report details the efficiency and availability of the turbines, including information on downtime. There are currently four offshore wind farms in operation which have produced annual reports—North Hoyle, Scroby Sands, Kentish Flats and Barrow. Annual reports for the first operational year for the other offshore wind farms will be published in 2009. The reports can be found on the BERR publications website at

There are no formal requirements to publish this information for onshore wind farms. However, aggregated data on load factors are available in the Digest of UK Energy Statistics (DUKES) 2008 at 18513.html.

Information on capacity rating and monthly output for individual wind farms is available on the Ofgem website at

Further statistical information on wind farms and other sources of renewable energy in the UK can be found in chapter 7 of DUKES 2008 at http://stats.

EU: Lisbon Treaty

Lord Pearson of Rannoch asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): The Government believe that the Lisbon treaty is good for the UK and good for Europe. Parliament has approved the legislation to implement the Lisbon treaty in the UK.

We do not support either renegotiating the Lisbon treaty or cherry-picking parts of it and implementing them by a different route.

Forced Marriage

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

24 Nov 2008 : Column WA239

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Bach): The Forced Marriage (Civil Protection) Act 2007 enables anyone to apply for a forced marriage protection order on behalf of a victim to protect them from forced marriage with the court’s permission. The Act also enables the Lord Chancellor to make an order specifying a relevant third party (RTP) to make applications on behalf of a victim of forced marriage without the requirement to obtain the court's permission. It does not specify who should act as a relevant third party, when they should act or what safeguards might be needed for a victim of forced marriage.

Relevant third parties take on a significant responsibility for making an application on behalf of a victim of forced marriage in the absence of judicial scrutiny, so it is important that only appropriate and competent persons or organisations act. The Government therefore consulted to establish what need there was for relevant third parties, what type of people or organisations should act and what safeguards were needed. The response to this consultation was published on 13 November 2008.

The response to consultation showed that generally respondents favoured local authorities as a relevant third party for both adults and children. There was also some support for voluntary sector organisations to act as relevant third party for adults, although no voluntary organisation nominated itself. Respondents recognised that the absence of a leave process could place a victim at significant risk of harm. Therefore, it was seen as important that safeguards were in place to ensure that the victim was protected from possible misuse and that the applicant always acted in the victim's best interests.

The response outlined the Government's decision to specify local authorities as relevant third parties. This will complement the existing role that local authorities have to protect children and vulnerable adults and will ensure that all victims, no matter where they live, have access to a local relevant third party.

The response also outlined the Government's view that local authorities should actively seek advice from and work with voluntary organisations where possible and that a multi-agency approach could be used to support the victim. This will help to ensure an integrated and holistic approach to providing support for victims and recognises the different and complementary types of support that the public sector and voluntary sector provide. As outlined in the response, the work to prepare local authorities to become a relevant third party will look at defining the role of the relevant third party, when it should act, establishing what knowledge it requires to make an informed judgment and look at existing systems of accountability to ensure that applications are made in the best interests of the victim.

24 Nov 2008 : Column WA240

The Government recognise the role that the voluntary sector plays in supporting victims of forced marriage. The success of the independent domestic violence advisers (IDVAs) has shown how the voluntary sector can play a key role in a multi-agency-based response to domestic violence with the victim at the heart of the process. Most IDVAs currently operate in the criminal magistrates' court, where there are specialist domestic violence courts (SDVCs), and many already have expertise in dealing with issues like forced marriage and are experienced multi-agency workers. Their work is carried out in accordance with recognised national standards and an accredited training programme. Services are subject to a monitoring and evaluation process, along with other agencies in the SDVC partnership, but specifically those receiving funding from this department towards the IDVA service are required to submit annual data about their workload. The response therefore outlined that there will be a pilot using a local existing IDVA service as an RTP.

Broadly, we anticipate that concurrent schemes will run to assess the effectiveness of local authorities and IDVA services to act as a relevant third party. Appropriate safeguards will be built in to the process for each agency. We estimate it will require nine to 12 months, working together across government and with local government and the voluntary sector, to ensure everyone involved has the necessary guidance and information to act appropriately and effectively as a relevant third party. In the mean time, we will monitor the use of the Act in court and use any emerging information to shape and develop the RTP pilot.

We intend to carry out a formal evaluation after a year of the provisions of the relevant third party coming into force. If this proves successful, we would look at extending the RTP provisions more widely across IDVAs as well as other voluntary sector organisations. There has been no decision taken as yet on which IDVA service will take part in the pilot scheme.

It is important to emphasise that, pending the development and operation of the pilot, it will be possible for anyone, including local authorities and IDVAs, to apply for a protection order on behalf of a victim if they obtain the court’s permission. This will ensure that victims of forced marriage can obtain the protection of the court where they cannot apply for a forced marriage protection order themselves. The court’s scrutiny of an application for permission to apply for an order will ensure that the victim's best interests are safeguarded.

Next Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page