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Icelandic Trawlermen (Compensation)

Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many claims for compensation in the last five years for the loss of Icelandic fishing have been rejected; and how many remain to be processed. [61405]

Nigel Griffiths: Since October 2000, when the Compensation scheme for former Icelandic trawlermen began, a total of 2,872 applications (not including duplicates) have been rejected.

A total of 4,158 applications have been accepted to end May 2002.

All applications received have been processed though a number have been referred back to applicants for further information, are being reviewed by officials or are subject to an appeal to the independent adjudicator.

Tyres (Disposal)

Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many tyres were scrapped in each of the last five years in the UK; how many tonnes this was; and what proportion of the tyres were (a) disposed of in landfill sites, (b) illegally dumped and (c) fly-tipped. [60640]

Mr. Wilson: The following table provides a guide.

Tyres (million)Tonnes (000s)
199643484
199743490
199846431
199945427
200050450

Note:

Figures rounded to nearest million tyres or thousand tonnes.

Source:

Used Tyre Working Group.


Latest available figures are for 2000. The numbers of used tyres disposed of each year and their weight is estimated based on data supplied by tyre manufacturers and importers on replacement tyre sales, statistics from Customs and Excise on import and export trade in used tyre casings and information from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders on the numbers of end-of-life vehicles.

The method of compiling the statistics was refined in 1998 to improve their accuracy. Accordingly, figures from 1998 forward are not directly comparable with earlier years.

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The numbers of tyres landfilled over the period 1996–99 remained consistent at around 30 per cent. of all tyres disposed of. With the closure of the single largest facility for handling used tyres in 2000, around 37 per cent. of tyres were landfilled that year.

It is difficult to gather accurate information on the illegal disposal of tyres, with incidences widely dispersed geographically and affecting a variety of local authorities, businesses and individuals. Research undertaken by the Environment Agency indicates that most local authorities experience low levels of fly-tipping, but the cumulative effect can lead to significant total numbers. The Agency has estimated that tyre fly-tipping is collectively costing local authorities around £2 million per annum. There is also substantial local fly-tipping of tyres on agricultural land. Not all tyre fly-tipping is immediately obvious, with significant numbers of tyre retailers experiencing fly-tipping on their forecourts overnight, and subsequently picking up the costs for ensuring responsible disposal and recovery.

There are occasional large-scale deposits, which in extreme cases can amount to several tens of thousands of tyres. There are generally only one or two incidents of this magnitude each year. A recent survey by the Environment Agency estimated that there are around 21 million tyres in long-term storage. Not all of these will have been illegally deposited.

Business Links

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what her policy is towards the repayment of the (a) interest and (b) capital on loans made by Business Link to firms that subsequently suffered a severe loss of business as a result of the outbreak of foot and mouth disease. [61539]

Nigel Griffiths: Business Link Operators have not offered loans to businesses that suffered losses as a result of foot and mouth disease. However, some elements of the Rural Business Recovery Fund were used to assist businesses with interest relief on existing loans. The Small Firms Loan Guarantee Scheme (operated by high street banks) was extended to bring in scope businesses affected by foot and mouth disease. To date 40 new loans have been granted as a result of the extension. Repayment conditions are the same as loans normally offered under the scheme.

Brian Cotter: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many calls the Business Links Complaints Hotline has received since its inception. [61315]

Nigel Griffiths: Since the Business Link Feedback Line began in July 1998 it has received under 100 calls. The vast majority were complaints from clients of the Business Link Network who were unable to solve the problem at a local level.

I am informed that all the complaints received have been resolved apart from three which are currently being dealt with.

Computers

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many computers were replaced in her

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Department in each of the past three years; how the replaced units were disposed of and by which companies; and at what cost. [60752]

Ms Hewitt: In 1998 my Department HQ entered into a Private Finance Initiative partnership with a consortium led by ICL (now Fujitsu) in conjunction with CMG, known as UNITAS. This arrangement included the transfer of ownership of the vast majority of our computer assets to UNITAS and part of the contractual arrangements in place are that the responsibility for replacing equipment and its disposal when this is necessary lies with them. Part of our normal monthly service charge paid for the provision of our computers includes an element to meet any costs incurred by UNITAS in carrying out this disposal service.

Where equipment becomes surplus to requirement UNITAS always tries to re-cycle it and, accordingly, the number of PCs disposed of by UNITAS in the last three years has been negligible. Their environmental policy also dictates that any disposals are done in an environmentally friendly manner and appropriate security measures are applied to ensure hard discs are always erased before disposal. Where disposal is necessary UNITAS use a company known as STARS.

I understand that this question has also been put to the Minister for the Cabinet Office and that the answer to that question will include any replacement and disposal details for DTI staff working in Government Offices in the regions.

Minimum Wage

Mr. Kirkwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what discussions she has had about extending minimum wage protection to 16 to 17-year- olds; and what plans she has to do so. [62151]

Alan Johnson: We have no plans to extend the minimum wage to 16 to 17-year-olds. However, I recently announced new terms of reference for the Low Pay Commission and will of course carefully consider any recommendations made on this issue in their next report.

Sub-post Offices

Mr. Peter Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many sub-post offices in Scotland have reduced their opening hours in each of the last five years. [62416]

Mr. Timms: I refer to the answer given to the hon. Member by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry on 6 February 2002, Official Report, column 967W.

Sustainable Development

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on the Government's policy on sustainable development. [60049]

Mr. Wilson [holding answer 13 June 2002]: The Government set out its policy on sustainable development in the White Paper "A better quality of life: A strategy for sustainable development for the UK" [Cm 4345] published in May 1999. The Government's Sustainable

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Development Strategy will inform the proposed Energy White Paper which the Government plans to publish around the turn of the year.

Energy White Policy

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if the forthcoming White Paper on energy policy will include a cost benefit analysis. [60054]

Mr. Wilson [holding answer 13 June 2002]: Energy policy is necessarily concerned with developments over long time periods. The analysis in the White Paper will include an assessment of costs and benefits across a range of impacts, recognising the risks and the inherent uncertainties of such estimation.

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) how many chartered engineers are part of the Energy Strategy Unit tasked with producing the White Paper on the future energy policy; [60047]

Mr. Wilson [holding answer 13 June 2002]: The Energy Strategy Unit is the team tasked with undertaking the consultation on energy policy, following publication earlier this year of the Energy Review and with drafting the energy White Paper which the Government propose to publish around the turn of the year.

It is composed of a team drawn from DTI, DEFRA, and elsewhere and its work is overseen by a senior cross- departmental group including members from DTI, DEFRA, DoT, HMT and others. Rob Wright, currently Director of Coal Policy in the DTI, has been appointed head of the Energy Strategy Unit. Within the DTI reporting structure, Rob Wright reports to Joan MacNaughton, Director General, Energy.

The Unit currently has five staff at senior management level, all of whom have first or second degrees in science, engineering, economics or mathematics. In addition, the team draws on a much wider range of experts in similar fields from within and outside Government including the Energy Advisory Panel.

The Unit is working closely with officials in the FCO, the DTI, DEFRA and other Departments who liaise directly with the European Commission and other member states.

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what definition she uses of a low carbon economy; and what the Government's policy is on a low carbon economy. [60050]

Mr. Wilson [holding answer 13 June 2002]: The UK's Climate Change Programme, issued in November 2000, sets out the Government's approach to the challenge. It is estimated that the proposals in the programme could reduce UK greenhouse gas emissions to about 23 per cent. below 1990 levels in 2010. This is well beyond the Kyoto target. Longer term, the Government believe that global emissions of greenhouse gases may need to be reduced by

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60 per cent. to 70 per cent. if we are to avoid dangerous climate change. This will require a major transformation in the way we generate and use energy—essentially a move away from the substantial use of fossil fuels emitting greenhouse gases into the atmosphere to a low carbon economy.

The possible nature of such an economy and the means for achieving it was one of the issues considered in the Performance and Innovation Unit's Energy Review report to Government. The Government are currently consulting on the Energy Review and the responses to the consultation will help to shape an energy White Paper, by around the turn of the year.


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