Select Committee on Trade and Industry Annxes to the Report

Follow-up Questions


The Committee looks forward to receiving a copy of the dissolver decision expected by mid-summer

  The public consultation raised a number of very different points of view. It has taken longer than expected to assess these, and the Department is therefore not yet in a position to announce a decision. A decision will be announced as soon as is practical.


The Committee looks forward to receiving a copy of the guidance on decommissioning referred to in (l)

  Draft guidance has been prepared and DTI is currently consulting other government departments on its content, including advice on the use of discount rates. A copy will be sent to the Committee on publication. The preparation of this draft guidance has had to proceed alongside the revision of the Treasury "Green book". The Green book is designed to help government departments and agencies appraise and evaluate their activities effectively. It is currently being revised by HM Treasury, and a new version is expected to be available by the end of the year.


It would be helpful to have information on the outcome of the HSE application for an additional 19 inspectors, and of the 14 job offers made

  We agree it is essential that HSE/NII is adequately resourced to enable it to undertake its full range of responsibilities. Decisions on resources for NII (as for HSE generally) are the responsibility of DETR Ministers and the Treasury. The HSE has explained the latest position to us as follows: The last recruitment campaign identified 9 successful candidates who accepted job offers. One more candidate is to be interviewed in the near future. This means that the NII currently forecast having 154 inspectors in post, against a cadre of 159 at 31 March 2001. HSE will be considering how further recruitment to an increased cadre might best be met during 2001-02, in light of the recent Spending Review settlement.

Proposed Public Private Partnership for BNFL, Ninth Report of 1999-2000, HC 404: Government Response, Ninth Special Report HC 307

  1.  When it became known in the autumn of 1998 that the Government had commissioned a report on the possibility of introducing a Public Private Partnership (PPP) into BNFL, the Committee decided to monitor proceedings, with a view to reporting to the House at a later stage. In July 1999 the Government announced its intention to proceed with a PPP by the end of the present Parliament. The Committee heard oral evidence as planned in the spring of 2000, by which time BNFL had suffered a series of setbacks which led to a delay being announced in the timetable. The Committee curtailed its evidence programme and reported in May 2000.

  2.  The Government replied in July 2000. The Committee's conclusions and recommendations have by and large been accepted, including its call for more challenging targets for BNFL, for tidying up contractual arrangements, and for the Government to become a more effective and intelligent shareholder. Some issues—such as foreign ownership—remain to be addressed. There remains controversy over the future of reprocessing; the Committee Report prompted the Government to re-affirm its support for efforts by BNFL to pursue new reprocessing contracts. A decision on the Sellafield Mox plant is still awaited. BNFL's US contracts are still uncertain.

  3.  The Report was debated in the House on 8 November 2000 for over four hours on an adjournment motion, in time given in lieu of a half Estimates day debate. The Committee continues to monitor progress, and may well report again to the House in due course.

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Prepared 18 January 2001