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Geraldine Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what volume of mail was handled by Consignia and its predecessor in (a) 1996, (b) 1997, (c) 1998, (d) 1999 and (e) 2000. [13744]

Mr. Alexander: This is an operational issue for Consignia.

The company has provided the following information, which can be obtained in its report and accounts.


Total inland letters (first and second class)(5)International letters (number of letters posted)(6)

(5) The basis of calculation for inland letter volumes has been changed for 2000–01. Previous years' figures have been restated to reflect this change.

(6) Items are outbound from the UK only. For 2000–01 the basis of calculation for international letter volumes has been changed. Previous years' figures have been restated to reflect this change.

Nuisance Calls

Kevin Brennan: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what consultation she has had with (a) Oftel, (b) the Information Commissioner's Office, (c) BT's nuisance calls bureau, (d) NTL's nuisance calls bureau and (e) the Direct Marketing Association about providing telephone users with protection from silent calls by power diallers; and if she will make a statement. [13176]

Mr. Alexander: Oftel and the Information Commissioner's Office both have responsibilities for the consumer protection safeguards that are in place relating to silent calls by power diallers. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry does not have an enforcement role in this area. However, DTI officials are in regular contact with Oftel, the ICO, and the DMA over policy in this area, and recently participated in a working group meeting set up by the DMA to tackle the problems caused by power dialling systems. My officials have consulted with Oftel, the Information Commissioner's Office and the Direct Marketing Association, together with representatives from operators' nuisance call bureaux, to ensure that consumers continue to benefit from the right level of protection.

Retail Petrol Market

Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will list by (a) grade and (b) number the officials employed in her Department monitoring the retail petrol market in Scotland. [12690]

Mr. Wilson [holding answer 8 November 2001]: A number of my officials have responsibility for monitoring energy markets generally, including the petrol retail market throughout the United Kingdom.

13 Nov 2001 : Column: 648W

Post Office

Mr. Chaytor: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many (a) thefts and (b) unexplained losses of (i) letters and (ii) parcels were recorded by the Post Office and how much compensation was paid by the Post Office in each case in each of the last five years; and if he will make a statement. [12465]

Mr. Alexander [holding answer 12 November 2001]: This is an operational issue for Consignia.

I understand that Consignia is currently working with Postwatch on a system for measuring the loss and theft of mail and parcels.

Consignia holds figures on the number of complaints made with regards to alleged loss and theft for the previous two financial years.

Complaints on loss2000–011999–2000
UK standard retail parcels26,50825,295
International standard retail parcels18,51016,031

Compensation paid (£k)2000–011999–2000
UK standard retail parcels234n/a

Caravan Parks

Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will publish a regulatory impact assessment of the effect on holiday caravan parks of the proposal by Ofgem to change the arrangements under which caravan parks can pass on electricity charges to their customers. [R] [12764]

Mr. Wilson: This is a matter for Ofgem. I understand that they have issued two consultation documents on this subject and are presently seeking further views from interested parties prior to issuing their final proposals.

End of Vehicle Life Directive

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what her policy is on the application of the End of Vehicle Life Directive to manufacturers whose market share has grown significantly since the introduction of those vehicles which will be affected by the Directive after its introduction. [12742]

Mr. Wilson: No decision has yet been taken on the precise method of transposing and implementing the options in the End of Life Vehicles Directive. The period for responding to the DTI Consultation Paper on options closed on 2 November, and responses are now being assessed. Consideration is being given to the potential impacts on all vehicle manufacturers.

Renewable Energy

Mr. Hepburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what plans she has to increase investment in renewable energy. [13209]

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Mr. Wilson: The Government have put in place a robust policy to increase investment in the development of renewable energy. The single most important mechanism, the new Renewables Obligation (RO) to be introduced next year and lasting right through until 2027, will drive forward investment in renewables. The RO is expected to create long-term support for renewables, worth over £1 billion per year, by 2010. The introduction of the Obligation will be underpinned by direct Government funding for renewables worth over £260 million between 2001 and 2004. This includes the Government's current sustainable energy research and development programme, worth £55.5 million over the next three years.

Other components to this strategy, which will increase investment in the renewable energy sector, include:

Government policy is bringing about a much more positive approach to supporting renewable energy projects. Taking all these measures together, the Government believe the industry is well placed to attract and retain a significant level of investment.

Mr. Key: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what plans she has to increase the target of energy generated from green sources. [10649]

Mr. Wilson [holding answer 30 October 2001]: The Department of Trade and Industry attaches great importance to green forms of energy and has set ambitious targets. The new Renewables Obligation as well as Scottish R. O. will create a long-term market for renewables which will be worth over £1 billion per year by 2010. The Obligation will be the main mechanism by which we will meet our renewables targets and will be underpinned by direct Government funding worth over £260 million between 2001 and 2004. This will include an extensive capital grants programme for the early development of offshore wind and energy crops, the initial stage of a major photovoltaics demonstration programme and a boost for research and development.

Our target is that by 2010, just over 10 per cent. of electricity sales by licensed suppliers will come from sources eligible for the Renewables Obligation. As set out in our recent statutory consultation document, we have proposed that the level of Obligation will increase from year to year as follows.

13 Nov 2001 : Column: 650W

Estimated sales by licensed suppliers in GBTotal obligation (GB)Total obligation as percentage of sales (GB)

The Obligation will remain in place until 31 March 2027, although to date we have not made any proposals for increasing the target after 2010. This will, however, be reviewed throughout the lifetime of the Obligation in the light of available information on climate change. The target may increase after this time, and this would be effected through an amendment to the Renewables Obligation Order which we aim to put before the House later this year.

While this is a description of the current position the question of the contribution to be made by renewables is part of the PIU's Remit of Energy Policy. If it appears feasible to achieve even more ambitious targets on renewables, I will closely examine the means of doing so.

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