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Sue Doughty: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent discussions she has had with (a) the European Commission, (b) the Environment Agency, (c) local authorities, (d) industry and (e) others on building developments on former landfill sites; and if she will make a statement. 
The Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions published planning guidance that included building on former landfill sites in Planning Policy Guidance Note (PPG) 14 "Development on unstable land" Annex 2 "Subsidence and planning" and in the Consultation document on draft planning technical advice on land affected by contamination in February 2002.
In addition, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister is currently revising Part C "Site preparation and resistance to moisture" of the Building Regulations 2000, which includes the precautions to be taken to avoid danger to health and safety caused by substances found on or in the ground to be covered by the building.
Sue Doughty: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what (a) guidance (i) has been given and (ii) is planned from her Department to local authorities and (b) legislation (1) is in place and (2) is planned regarding the environmental implications of developments through the Public Finance Initiative; and if she will make a statement. 
Local government PFI projects seeking central government support are required to indicate how they promote sustainable development, by demonstrating an integrated approach to the social, environmental and
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economic well-being of the area served, now and for future generations. They should also reflect the objectives of any Local Agenda 21 strategy for the area. Advice on enhancing environmental benefits is available in the context of design quality in the OGC guidance "How to achieve Design Quality in PFI Projects" and the 4ps "Achieving Quality in Local Authority PFI Building Projects" and authorities are expected to take account of this. This department plans to issue guidance on 'Green Public Private Partnerships' shortly. No legislation specifically concerning PFI is in place or planned.
Miss Melanie Johnson: The review, which started in January 2002, was recently completed and the subsequent report produced by our consultants was extremely positive about both NACAB and the CAB Service. The report concluded that NACAB is an organisation that represents significant value for money, has made real improvements in its governance and organisation since the last review and is making a very useful contribution in terms of the modernisation and e-Government agendas.
The review demonstrates that, in all areas, both NACAB and the CAB Service make a significant and positive contribution, to individuals and Government at both a local and national level, are performing well and the report gives some useful examples of this.
I am arranging for a comprehensive summary of the report, its findings and recommendations to be made available on the DTI website. Copies of the full report will be placed in the Libraries of the House.
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Nigel Griffiths: I have today placed in the Libraries of the House figures for the United Kingdom's national holdings of civil plutonium and uranium as at 31 December 2001. In accordance with our commitment under the "Guidelines for the Management of Plutonium", I have today also sent the figures to the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, who will be circulating them to member states in due course.
Ms Hewitt: The Government is today publishing "Investing in Innovation: a strategy for science, engineering and technology". This document sets out the Government's strategy for science, underpinned by the substantial new investment in science announced on 15 July by my right hon. Friend the Member for Dunfermline, East (Mr. Brown).
It sets out what the Government proposes to do, in partnership with other stakeholders, to ensure the long-term sustainability of our university research base. It provides details of how the Government intends to implement the recommendations of the Roberts Review. It makes clear the Government's commitment to continuing to expand our research base by strengthening existing research programmes through the Research Councils and allowing for research into exciting and promising new areas of science.
The document shows how Government will further encourage collaboration between universities and the business sector through increased investment in knowledge transfer activities, and in particular, through an expansion of the Higher Education Innovation Fund. It also sets out how the DTI will increase the diffusion of advances in science and technology in the economy.
Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what measures her Department will implement to solicit public involvement in the development of energy policy; and if she will make a statement. 
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Mr. Wilson: The Government launched a consultation on energy policy on 14 May with a view to publishing a White Paper around the turn of the year. The consultation paper has been sent to a wide range of stakeholders and is also available on the Department's website. A series of conferences and seminars associated with the consultation paper are being conducted.
In addition, we are undertaking an innovative programme of events to engage members of the general public, including a stand at the Tomorrow's World Live Roadshows where the public can feed in their views on energy policy via a questionnaire which is also on the Department's website. We are also using focus groups and interactive workshops as a way to explore public views and understanding in more depth.
Mr. Wilson: The DTI does not make formal or detailed assessments of CHP and renewable generators' exposure to the imbalance prices that exist as part of the New Electricity Trading Arrangements (NETA). This is a commercial matter for generators.
On 4 April 2002 the Government published its response to the consultation on NETA and smaller generators of 1 November 2001 http://www2.dti.gov.uk/ energy/domesticmarkets/electricitytrading/netaresp.pdf. This identified the following actions that would be taken:
(i) work with OFGEM to look at whether so-called "embedded benefits" could or should be made directly available to smaller generators;
(ii) address some of the administrative burdens faced by smaller generators;
(iii) ask OFGEM to ensure that imbalance prices are genuinely cost-reflective; and
(iv) allow all generators to notify their predicted output closer to "real time".
Ann McKechin: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what estimate her Department has made of the number of sub-post offices that are expected to close in the next year in (a) the UK and (b) Scotland. 
Mr. Timms: The programme to restructure the urban post office network has not yet started and I am advised by Post Office Ltd. that, until it does, there are no specific plans for post office closures in the UK or in Scotland. When the programme starts it will be taken forward
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in consultation with individual sub-postmasters, the community, local stakeholders and Postwatch. Under the Code of Practice, Post Office Ltd. is required to consult Postwatch on individual changes and is briefing it on the process envisaged for reaching decisions.
The objective of the urban network restructuring programme is to provide modernised and improved facilities which meet customers' needs and expectations and are in the right location for the local community.
Ann McKechin: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment she had made of the effect of the closure of sub-post offices on the provision of universal banking in (a) the UK and (b) Scotland. 
Mr. Timms: The Performance and Innovation Unit recommended a programme of modernisation and restructuring designed to ensure that urban sub-post offices can operate as viable businesses for their owners and offer improved services from the right locations to serve their communities. The programme to restructure the urban post office network will be taken forward in consultation with individual sub-postmasters.
In some urban areas, there are too many post offices in very close proximity to each other for them all to be viable, regardless of the provision of universal banking services at the Post Office, Universal Banking Services are due to be introduced in 2003 when migration of benefit payments to automated credit transfer (ACT) is scheduled to begin.
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