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Waste Incineration

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what estimate she has made of the amount of energy generated from waste incineration in the Buckingham constituency in each of the last five years. [30042]

Mr. Wilson: Statistics of energy generation from renewables and wastes are not available at a level below that of Government office region, but I am not aware of any waste incineration facility within the hon. Gentleman's constituency.

Respiratory Diseases Claimants

Mr. Woodward: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many (a) interim and (b) final payments were made between (i) 1 January and 1 July 2001 and (ii) 2 July 2001 and 1 January 2002 to respiratory diseases claimants in St. Helens, South. [29832]

Ms Hewitt [holding answer 24 January 2002]: IRISC, the Department's claims handlers, have made the following payments in the St. Helens, South constituency in relation to compensation for respiratory disease. In total the Department has paid over £819,000 in this region to date.

Number of interim paymentsNumber of full and final payments
Period 1
1 January to 1 July 2001329
Period 2
2 July 2001 and 1 January 20023217

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Mr. Hepburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the status is of the Department's research into nanotechnology. [30331]

Mr. Wilson: The Department has put in place an initiative to establish a national strategy for nanotechnology.

An advisory group on nanotechnology, comprising experts from industry and academia and chaired by the Director General of Research Councils, Dr. John Taylor, has been established to advise on the actions needed to ensure that the UK is well positioned to exploit the nanotechnology revolution. A report commissioned by the advisory group on the opportunities for the UK is due to be published in the near future. Copies will be placed in the House Library.

The Government are already making a significant investment in nanotechnology research and exploitation. As part of this, DTI is providing £7.2 million over three years to support a University Innovation Centre (UIC) in Microsystems and Nanotechnology in the north-east of England.

Glass Industry

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what her policy is on European legislation affecting the glass industry. [30226]

Mr. Wilson: The glass and glazing industry covers a wide spectrum of DTI interests ranging from glass tableware to construction materials. The Government therefore consider each proposed item of European legislation and the transposition and implementation of adopted EU legislation on its merits and consults widely with interested parties. Legislation and regulations are implemented with a light touch and in a way that maintains a broadly level playing field with other member states. The Government are particularly concerned that extra costs should not be loaded onto UK businesses.

Combined Cycle Gas Turbine Power Stations

Mr. Grogan: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the capability is for holding stocks of back-up fuels at each of the combined cycle gas turbine power stations commissioned since 1990 in days of use at full levels of generation. [30195]

Mr. Wilson: We do not keep such statistics. It is for the owners of those power stations to ensure adequate stocks of back-up fuels to meet their contractual and contingency liabilities.

Energy Contingency Planning

Mr. Grogan: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, pursuant to her answer of 17 December 2001, Official Report, column 109W, on energy contingency planning, if she will give details of (a) the contingency plans developed by the Gas Industry Emergency Committee and (b) the recent exercises, and their impacts on (i) gas and (ii) electricity customers. [30284]

Mr. Wilson: The Gas Industry Emergency Committee's work is not yet finished but I shall ensure that copies of the plans are placed in the Libraries of the

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House as soon as they are ready. I hope this will be in early April. The plans will supplement existing and well rehearsed emergency arrangements including Transco's Network Gas Supply Emergency Procedures. Copies of Transco's plans are already held in the Libraries of the House.

GIEC's aim is to dovetail those existing plans with wider Government and regulatory emergency powers and procedures to protect, as far as is possible, consumers from supply failures, and, should consumers be affected, to ensure that all available support is delivered speedily and effectively.

There have been two major exercises carried out in the last four months. The first was part of a regular test carried out under the Gas Safety (Management) Regulations. It was organised by the Health and Safety Executive. Among other things it tested the links between Transco, the Department for Trade and Industry and the National Grid Company (managers of the high-voltage electricity transmission system). It gave us a greater understanding of how the gas and electricity systems and markets would operate in an emergency.

The second exercise was broader and looked at the communications and roles and responsibilities across Government and other agencies (including the police and local authorities) in the event of terrorist action.

The results of both these exercises are being taken into account, not just in the development of the gas plans, but also in other emergency procedures, including those for electricity.

Mineworkers' Pensions

Jeff Ennis: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many former miners in Barnsley, East and Mexborough on low mineworkers' pensions will benefit from the one-off lump sum payments she recently announced. [30523R]

Mr. Wilson: This information is not kept on a constituency basis and can be identified only at a disproportionate cost.

However, we estimate around 15,000 members in Yorkshire will benefit from this one-off lump sum payment, including those living in my hon. Friend's constituency of Barnsley, East and Mexborough.

Retail Petrol Stations

Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many retail petrol stations closed in (a) 1999, (b) 2000 and (c) 2001. [30216]

Mr. Wilson [holding answer 25 January 2002]: The Institute of Petroleum's (IP) annual "UK Retail Marketing Survey" (last published in March 2001) provides data on the total number of petrol retail outlets in operation in the UK.

The table, using the IP data, shows the number of petrol retail outlets in operation in the UK at the end of 1998, 1999 and 2000. The data for the end of 2001 will not be published until March of this year.

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Miners' Compensation

Mr. Hepburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the target time is for a miner's compensation cheque (a) to be sent to a claimant after he has accepted an offer and (b) to be paid following the acceptance of an offer being met. [30332]

Mr. Wilson: The Handling agreement for compensation for respiratory disease specifies that a payment is made to the claimant's solicitor within 14 days of acceptance of an offer. In relation to vibration white finger, VWF, a payment should be made within 42 days. However, offers of compensation are usually paid by IRISC, the Department's claims handlers, within 10 days of receiving confirmation from a claimant's solicitor that their client's offer is being accepted. This is subject to IRISC being in receipt of the correct documentation, such as Grant of Probate in deceased cases.

Payment by the claimant's solicitor to the claimant is not specified in the Handling agreement. The Department's opinion is that payment should be made as soon as a cheque has been received.

Ian Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much was paid by the Government from January to December 2001 in (a) Wales and (b) England, pursuant to the Miners' Compensation Scheme as (i) damages to claimants, (ii) legal costs for claimants' lawyers and (iii) medical costs incurred by the claimants. [30740]

Mr. Wilson: Between January and December 2001 the Department has paid out £392.7 million to respiratory disease and Vibration White Finger claimants in Wales and England in relation to damages payments and legal costs, broken down as follows:

£ million

DamagesLegal costs
Respiratory Disease

The cost of medical examinations is normally borne by the Department. Where, exceptionally, claimant's have incurred medical costs the Department has paid out £64,434 broken down as follows:

Medical costs (£ million)
Respiratory Disease

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