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Lord Drayson: The MRC does not hold information on the total number of research publications worldwide on induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS) or embryo-derived stem cells. To secure this information would require a detailed analysis of many hundreds of journals, and the costs would therefore be disproportionate.
The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change & Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): In the Pre-Budget Report, Ministers asked Ofgem to monitor price movements on a quarterly basis. Ofgem's first report was published on 1 March 2009. This showed that the wholesale costs of suppliers peaked only at the end of 2008 and then started falling. Internal DECC analysis suggests that the price cuts recently announced by suppliers are overall in proportion to this reduction in their costs to date.
Ofgem's analysis also shows that, based on current wholesale prices, wholesale costs of suppliers could be expected to fall further in 2009, in which case there may be scope for further price cuts later in the year. The Government want to see the full benefits of wholesale price reductions passed on to consumers and will continue to monitor this situation closely.
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath on 27 February (WA 112), whether the £5 billion to £6 billion cost per annum estimated for renewable heat and electricity technology subsidies in 2020 takes into account the cost of the expansion needed to reinforce the national grid network to accommodate the anticipated extra wind-generated energy. [HL2503]
The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change & Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): The estimate of subsidy costs given in the Written Answer of 27 February includes connection and transmission costs estimated at the time of the Renewable Energy Strategy Consultation, which are set out in the consultation document. We will be revisiting these costs estimates as part of the work for the Renewable Energy Strategy.
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath on 19 March (WA 7374), how the level of global nuclear generation in 2008 compared with that of 2004; how much new capacity is planned globally for the next decade; how much new capacity is anticipated by 2018 in addition to that already planned; and how long uranium reserves retrievable for £130 per kilogram will last at that projected capacity. [HL2664]
Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: According to the BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2008 (www.bp.com), the level of global nuclear electricity generation was 2,749 terawatt hours (TWh) in 2007 compared to 2,764 TWh in 2004 (data for 2008 are not yet available).
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) estimates that there are 436 nuclear power reactors in operation globally with a total net installed capacity of 370 GW. This compares to 364 GW in 2004. Globally, there are currently 44 nuclear reactors under construction with a total net capacity of 39 GW1.
The IAEA estimates that identified global uranium resources (with production costs of less than $130/kg, or £93/kg at current exchange rates) are around 5.5 million tonnes. Based on current annual requirements of 67,000 tonnes, these reserves will last 82 years. Including the entire conventional uranium resource base would significantly increase the number of years.
As set out in the White Paper on Nuclear Power (2008),the Government do not believe that uranium resources or the future price of uranium will be limiting factors for a new nuclear build programme in the UK.
1 Source: IAEA PRIS Database (available at www.iaea.org)
To ask Her Majesty's Government what guidance they issue to wind farm developers regarding the legitimacy of payments to interested parties, whether local or national, made with the purpose of influencing planning decisions. [HL2749]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Andrews): A toolkit developed for the Renewables Advisory Board and Department of Trade and Industry in 2006 provides practice guidance on community benefits and UK wind energy projects. The toolkit highlights the strict principle in the planning systems in all parts of the UK that a decision about a particular planning proposal should be based on planning issues.
The Planning System: General Principles, published by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister in 2005, provides a general description of the key elements of the planning system in England, including the relevant considerations in determining planning applications. This guidance explains that local planning authorities
20 Apr 2009 : Column WA332
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the guidance available to local planning authorities in respect of allocations from developers to site wind farms in National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty is fully covered by paragraphs 21 to 23 of Planning Policy Statement 7, and paragraphs 11 and 12 of Planning Policy Statement 22, or whether it has since been supplemented, modified or relaxed. [HL2750]
Baroness Andrews: Our planning policy statement (PPS) on climate change expects local planning authorities in developing their core strategy and development plan documents to provide a framework that promotes and encourages renewable energy, including wind farms. The PPS explains that, in doing so, planning authorities should ensure that any local approach to protecting landscape is consistent with the policies in PPS22, Renewable Energy, and does not preclude the supply of any type of renewable energy other than in the most exceptional circumstances.
PPS22 sets out the policies applicable to applications for renewable energy on sites with nationally recognised designations such as national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty. The key principles that local planning authorities should adhere to in their approach to planning for renewable energy, including in applying the policy guidance in paragraphs 11 and 12, are set out in paragraph 1.
Additionally, in last year's consultation document on the UK's renewable energy strategy, the Government underlined the vital role to be played by renewable energy, including wind power, in combating climate change and reducing the UK's dependency on oil and gas.
The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change & Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): A 60-64 MW tidal barrage in the Wyre Estuary was covered in the Sustainable Development Commission's Turning the Tide report in October 2007. Officials from the Department of Energy and Climate Change
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To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the new helpline structure proposed by the Equality and Human Rights Commission will improve the advice service for the most vulnerable groups during the recession. [HL2525]
The Lord President of the Council (Baroness Royall of Blaisdon): The commission believes the proposed structure will provide a better experience for callers to the helpline and lead to a higher quality advice and information service. The commission is also ensuring that the restructure maintains a sufficient level of resource at adviser level to handle any increase in calls owing to the recession.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many of the permanent and non-permanent staff working for the Equality and Human Rights Commission previously worked for (a) the Commission for Racial Equality, (b) the Equal Opportunities Commission and (c) the Disability Rights Commission. [HL2526]
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many of the staff of (a) the Commission for Racial Equality, (b) the Equal Opportunities Commission, and (c) the Disability Rights Commission did not join the staff of the Equality and Human Rights Commission on 1 October 2007. [HL2527]
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many of the staff working for the Equality and Human Rights Commission who have left since 1 October 2007 previously worked for (a) the Commission for Racial Equality, (b) the Equal Opportunities Commission, and (c) the Disability Rights Commission. [HL2528]
The Lord President of the Council (Baroness Royall of Blaisdon): We are committed to increasing the diversity on boards and support the annual publication of the Female FTSE report which acts as a benchmark on progress for women and ethnic minorities holding directorships. We also support initiatives like the FTSE 100 cross company mentoring programme which is backed by 33 chairmen and CEOs who are crucial in getting women into directorships. We established the Ethnic Minority Employment Task Force, which is working to improve employment outcomes for ethnic minorities. It is working with employers, via representative bodies such as the CBI, to encourage greater diversity at senior levels in business. We are also taking measures in the Equality Bill to broaden the range of positive action measures that can be taken by employers or service providers to the full extent allowed by European law. In addition, the EHRC is conducting formal inquiries into the financial services sector and construction sector, as there is evidence that women and ethnic minorities are not fairly represented within these sectors. We will consider the results of these reviews carefully to see if further government action is needed.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will accept the offer from the European Union to extend the length of the regional programmes to allow them to benefit during the current recession. [HL2304]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Andrews): I refer my noble friend to the Written Ministerial Statement made by my right honourable friend the Minister for Local Government (John Healey) on 30 March 2009, Official Report, Commons, cols 37-38WS.
Late last year, the European Commission offered member states the possibility of extending the 2000-06 programmes for a further six months until June 2009. The offer did not mean that there was any new money being offered by the EC. It was simply an offer of more time for those projects that had slipped against the previously planned schedule or those that had capacity to continue spending to produce additional outputs. There was little additional flexibility and it would have been unlikely that any new projects could be commissioned that met the requirements of the programmes and delivered in the timeframe available. The European Commission recently offered us the opportunity to review this decision. We have done so carefully but there remains no advantage in England accepting this.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): The UK through police channels is one of the contributors of content to the developing Check the Web portal, and continues to support its development and encourage participation by other member states.
Baroness Thornton: The number of reverse female circumcision operations that have been carried out by the National Health Service in each of the past six years is not held centrally. There are over 12 specialist clinics in the NHS that treat women and girls who have been mutilated. All the clinics have trained and culturally sensitive staff who offer a range of healthcare services for women and girls, including reversal surgery (deinfibulation).
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many people were (a) killed, and (b) injured, by an illegal firearm in the United Kingdom in (1) 1997, and (2) the most recent year for which figures are available. [HL2547]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): Available data relate only to currently recorded homcides by police forces in England and Wales during the 2007-08 financial year. Two of the 53 shooting homicides involved licensed firearms, though it is not possible to determine from the homicide index whether or not the certificate was held by the person suspected of committing the offence. Unlicensed firearms (those not held on certificate) were used in 21 of the homicides. In the remaining 30 cases, it was not known whether or not the firearm was held on certificate.
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Darzi of Denham on 18 March (WA 40), whether the Answer recognised that (a) the York report on water fluoridation stated under 8.5 in the main body of the report that the meta-regression of bone fracture studies should be interpreted with extreme caution in its pooled estimate suggesting no effect; (b) a finding of no clear association is not the same as no evidence of risk; and (c) the York report contained some studies providing evidence of possible risks to health in Chapter 8 (bone health), Chapter 9 (cancer), and Chapter 10 (infant mortality, congenital defects and IQ) which indicated a need for further high quality research (12.3). [HL2704]
Baroness Thornton: Yes, we did take this into account. It is now nearly 10 years since the University of York conducted its review and the results of other research studies have been published. In a review published in 2007, the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council found that people who drink fluoridated water have no higher or lower risk of bone fractures than those who drink non-fluoridated water and there is nothing to support claims of harm in relation to deaths from coronary heart disease, stillbirths, Down's syndrome, neural tube defects, clefts and kidney stones. The report is available at: www.nhmrc.gov.au/publications/synopses/eh4lsyn.htm.
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