1 Feb 2001 : Column: 251W

Written Answers to Questions

Thursday 1 February 2001


Departmental Surveys

Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will list for (a) 1992-93, (b) 1993-94, (c) 1994-95, (d) 1995-96, (e) 1996-97, (f) 1997-98, (g) 1998-99, (h) 1999-2000 and (i) 2000-01, (I) his Department's total spending on quantitative and qualitative surveys of policy issues by focus groups, opinion polling, task forces or other means and (II) the cost of each individual project. [146582]

Dr. Howells: The information is not held centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Information on task forces, including reports produced, is updated and published every six months.

Employment Agency Regulations

Mr. Hope: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when he will publish a revised draft of the Employment Agency Regulations. [148636]

Mr. Alan Johnson: I have today released a final draft of the Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Business Regulations and will be consulting representative bodies. Copies have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses, and also on my Department's website www.dti.gov.uk. I have invited comments to be made by 16 March.

Car Industry (Government Assistance)

Sir David Madel: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what Government assistance has been provided to (a) General Motors and (b) Vauxhall Motors in the UK in the past five years. [148142]

Mr. Alan Johnson: (a) No Government assistance has been provided to General Motors in the last five years.

(b) Vauxhall Motors have received a total of £10 million Regional Selective Assistance. This was a single offer in support of a project to modernise the Ellesmere Port plant and introduce the new Astra model in 1997. All the grant has been fully drawn down by the company.

Miners (Compensation)

Mr. Salmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many ex-miners from (a) Scotland and (b) the UK claiming compensation for chronic bronchitis and emphysema have died before their claims were fully processed; and how many claims have been fully processed to date. [148211]

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Mr. Hain: The Department's claim handling agents, IRISC, have registered a total of 6,802 claims by former miners who have died and where the date of death is after the date of claim. Of these 656 were Scottish claimants. In all these cases the claims will be continued by the claimant's widow or dependants. In addition, where the claimant's death certificate shows that one of the respiratory diseases for which British Coal were found liable either caused or materially contributed to the death, the Department will also make bereavement or loss of society awards. The Department has made 4,650 bereavement or loss of society awards, totalling £38.7 million. Of these 258, totalling £2 million, were Scottish claimants.

The Department has settled some 7,080 claims in full, with payments totalling £25 million. Of these some 585 settlements, totalling £1.6 million, were to Scottish claimants. In addition the Department has made some 25,000 interim settlements, totalling £83.5 million, with some 2,000 payments, totalling £5.5 million, made to Scottish claimants.

In total the Department paid out £21.6 million in coal mining compensation to Scottish respiratory and vibration white finger claimants.

Judy Mallaber: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many former miners in Amber Valley have (a) claimed and (b) received payments in compensation for chronic bronchitis and emphysema. [147389]

Mr. Hain: The Department's claim handling agents, IRISC, have registered 1,945 claims in respect of chronic bronchitis and emphysema from claimants in Amber Valley. As at 24 January the Department had settled 106 claims in full, and made a further 219 interim settlements. In total the Department has paid out nearly £1 million in respect of chronic bronchitis and emphysema related compensation in Amber Valley.

Arms Exports

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement on the process of indirect offset with regard to arms export licences. [147594]

Dr. Moonie [holding answer 29 January 2001]: I have been asked to reply.

Offset (both direct and indirect) is a matter between the customer and the supplier. For the criteria for export licensing, I refer the hon. Member to the answer which my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs gave on 26 October 2000, Official Report, columns 199-203W, to my hon. Friend the Member for Crawley (Laura Moffatt).


Homes and Leasehold Reform Bills

Mr. Green: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions on which dates the Minister for the Environment attended departmental meetings to discuss (a) the Homes Bill and (b) the Leasehold Reform Bill. [147444]

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Mr. Robert Ainsworth: Information about internal meetings and advice is not disclosed under Exemption 2 of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information.

Waste Disposal

Mr. Temple-Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions on how many occasions municipal solid waste incinerators have been found to be operating in breach of conditions on their operation imposed by (a) planning consents and (b) pollution control consents in each of the last five years; and what assessment was made of the potential damage to the health of local residents in each case. [147506]

Mr. Meacher: Planning Consents: The Department does not keep a central record of breaches of planning consent conditions. It is the responsibility of the local planning authority that imposed the planning conditions to assess the effect of any that are breached and to take any necessary action.

Pollution Control Consents: Within the UK, municipal solid waste incinerators (MSWIs) are regulated under part 1 of the Environment Protection Act 1990 by the Environment Agency, the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency, the Environment and Heritage Service in Northern Ireland and local authorities. In England and Wales, the Environment Agency is responsible for regulating MSWIs with a capacity of one tonne per hour or more under the Integrated Pollution Control (IPC) regime.

The table summarises the numbers of breaches of emission limits to air from MSWIs currently operating in England and Wales under the IPC regime. The table does not include breaches of limits in the period 1 January to 1 December 1996 for MSWIs that closed following the implementation of the Council Directive on the reduction of air pollution from existing municipal waste incineration plants.

All operators of MSWIs are required by their authorisations to inform the Agency of any breaches of emission limit values or failures of equipment that could result in a breach. On receipt of these notifications the Agency assesses the cause and the potential effect on the environment and health. Where enforcement action is necessary the Agency follows its Enforcement and Prosecution Policy. I understand that to date there have been no breaches of limits that have warranted a detailed study of the impact on health, as the Agency has determined that the potential impact would be negligible. However, should an emission limit be exceeded in the future to the extent that the impact is not likely to be negligible, the Agency has assured me that it would take appropriate enforcement action and study the potential effects.

Numbers of breaches of emission limit values for MSWIs between January and December for the period 1996-2000

Air1996-98 (annual average)19992000
HCl302 (101)14260
SO211 (4)4213
NOx34 (12)2927
CO65 (22)10741
Particulate matter16 (6)35
HF1 (0.3)00

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Countryside and Rights of Way Act

Mr. Kidney: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what length of time he will allow for the completion of the mapping exercises required by the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000. [147702]

Mr. Meacher: My Department has a Public Service Agreement target to open up public access to mountain, moor, heath, down and registered common land by the end of 2005. The Countryside Agency has a duty under the Act to prepare and consult on statutory maps of open country and registered common land in England. This is a major task. The Agency plans to map region by region and aims to complete the mapping process by September 2004.

We are considering with the Agency the possibility of early commencement of the right, either on a region-by-region basis, or for mountains over 600 m and registered common land.

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