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Energy Memorandum of Understanding (US)

Mr. Sayeed: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what action has been taken as a result of her Department's Memorandum of Understanding with the United States Department of Energy in relation to new and renewable energy technologies. [35389]

Mr. Wilson: The Memorandum of Understanding between the DTI and the US Department of Energy (US DoE) came into force in November 2000. It aims to encourage collaboration in energy research and development. Some activities have already begun, eg on cleaner coal technologies. In the field of renewable energy, we await the response from the US DoE to a recent DTI proposal for a joint workshop on biomass to be held in UK later this year. This workshop would be supported by a series of site visits to show US experts what we are doing in the UK.

My officials are also in discussion with US DoE on the possibilities of a workshop on distributed generation. Such a workshop would bring together experts from both sides of the Atlantic to discuss issues critical to the market penetration of renewable energy, with a view to possibly developing collaborative research and development projects.

Local Shops

Mr. Lazarowicz: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what measures she is taking to promote the economic viability of local shops in the vicinity of supermarkets. [35712]

Nigel Griffiths: I fully recognise the economic and social role that local retailing plays. Access to a local shop is an important service, and one which can help in the regeneration of our high streets, and in the rejuvenation of urban and rural communities.

Our goal is the sustainability of a vibrant and diverse retail sector which can serve the needs of all social groups. It is not, however, our role artificially to keep businesses afloat through subsidies or to interfere in the commercial decisions of supermarkets operating in accordance with local planning regulations, but to help local shops become more sustainable through innovation, the adoption of new technologies and best practice.

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The DTI is holding a seminar on 15 February as part of its work on supporting small retailers. The seminar's objective is to encourage local organisations in England to help sustain retail businesses through promoting good practice initiatives, encouraging long term sharing of best practice among participants and promoting awareness of new projects. A signposting guide containing information and advice for small and medium sized retail enterprises in England on the schemes and support available will be launched at the event.

The Small Business Service is also working with a number of intermediaries such as the Rural Shops Alliance, Association of Convenience Stores and the British Retail Consortium on issues to help small shops' competitiveness.

Bristol, East

Jean Corston: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will set out, with statistical information relating as directly as possible to the Bristol, East constituency, the effects on Bristol of her Department's policies and actions (a) from 5 May 1994 to 2 May 1997, (b) from 2 May 1997 to 7 May 1998, and (c) since 7 May 1998. [35596]

Alan Johnson: The South West of England Regional Development Agency (SW RDA), is applying a considerable proportion of its resources to help improve the physical, social and environmental conditions of the Bristol, East constituency. The Agency works in partnership with Bristol city council and Barton Hill Community at Heart (New Deal for Communities) to identify, prioritise and manage its activities. The first year of operation was 1999–2000. Since then the agency, through either its own or inherited projects, has invested some £22.7 million in nine projects, which range from small community development buildings, through environmental improvement schemes, to Temple Quay—a major inner-city mixed-use development scheme. Seven additional future projects are at feasibility stage which are likely to attract agency investment of c. £10 million.

The nine projects are:

Business Link West and the Small Business Service continue to support business start up and development of existing businesses. The national Phoenix Fund, designed to encourage entrepreneurship in disadvantaged areas and launched in 1999, has made awards to two schemes in Bristol, East: the Bristol Area Community Enterprise Network (BACEN) and Bristol East Side Traders.

Five wards in Bristol (Ashley, Easton, Lawrence Hill, Windmill Hill and Filwood) will benefit from the South West of England Objective 2 programme, launched on 13 March 2001, with total European funding of

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£118 million. The approved projects to date include £1.9 million European funding for Bristol Means Business, led by Business Link West.

In November 2000 Brunel Training Group Ltd. based in St. George, participated in a Trade Partners UK sponsored Trade Mission to the Caribbean, organised by Business Link West and Bristol Chamber of Commerce. Prior to that visit the company commissioned a Tailored Market Information Report from the British High Commission in Barbados. As a direct result of that report and following their visit the company has started to train managers and customer care workers in Barbados. The company has plans to run the course on 11 West Indies islands. Barbados Government Ministers were among the first delegates at the first course.

Energy Consumption (Scotland)

John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much (a) coal, (b) gas and (c) oil she estimates was consumed in Scotland in the last year for which figures area available, broken down by local authority or by the nearest appropriate division. [35784]

Mr. Wilson: Oil consumption in Scotland in 2000 (as measured by deliveries of products for energy and non-energy uses to final consumers) was 6.8 million tonnes.

Sales of gas to customers in Scotland receiving gas via the national transmission system amounted to 45,638 GWh in 2000.

Data for oil and gas consumption are not available at a lower geographical level of disaggregation. 2000 is the latest year for which figures are available.

Coal consumption data for Scotland alone are not readily available as consumption data are based on disposals from collieries and from coal imports, neither of which are separated by country of destination.

Corus (Redundancies)

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how the aid package that was announced in May 2001 to provide support to communities affected by Corus redundancies has been spent. [35303]

Mr. Wilson: The majority of the £48 million package of regeneration measures for areas in England affected by the closures announced by Corus in May 2001 consisted of major infrastructure projects funded by the Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions. Projects of this kind are necessarily slow moving, and little money is spent in the early stages. Progress on the projects is as follows:

Durham University Stockton Campus (budget £19.4 million)—discussions are continuing with Environment Agency and Highways Agency on the impact of the development. Site reclamation work will commence once this is concluded. No significant expenditure to date.

Phase 2 of the Middlehaven scheme—One NorthEast is planning to spend some £16 million on Phase 2 which includes a contribution to a new junction on the A66 to access the site. Design work on the junction has been

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started and it should be built by March 2003. Development of the Phase 2 site, which will involve the private sector, is planned to start in the spring.

New Tees crossing feasibility study (budget £250,000)—£118,520 committed to be spent in financial year 2001–02, the remainder in early 2002–03.

Teesside Light Rapid Transit system feasibility study (budget £250,000)—£93,525 committed to be spent in financial year 2001–02, the remainder in early 2002–03.

A66 Longnewton Junction improvements (budget £4.7 million)—the project is included in the Highways Agency budget and work programme. The agency expects to have identified a detailed work programme in the next two months.

Broadband communications in Teesside and North Lincolnshire (budget £500,000 in each)—proposals from Regional Development Agencies are under consideration by DTI as part of the £30 million fund for the roll-out of broadband communications across the UK. An announcement of the work programme is expected shortly.

Enterprise Grants in Scunthorpe (budget of up to £500,000)—expenditure is dependent on applications from companies wishing to expand. No expenditure has yet been made.

The remainder of the package announced on 3 May consisted of an extension of the Job Transition Service to the areas affected by the closures, and is a matter for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions. Expenditure on the regeneration package for Wales also announced on that day is a matter for the National Assembly for Wales.

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