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6 Nov 2002 : Column 386Wcontinued
Mr. Alan Reid: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, what the maximum time is that Consignia can take to deliver a parcel to an address within the United Kingdom without being in breach of its targets. 
Mr. Timms: Targets for scheduled services and standards are set in the licence issued by the Postal Services Commission and agreed between Royal Mail Group plc and the Consumer Council for Postal Services.
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I understand from Royal Mail that the current target for delivery of standard parcels under the terms of their licence is 90 per cent. within 3 working days after posting, including Saturday. 99.9 per cent. of parcels are targeted to be delivered within 7 working days and 100 per cent. within 15 days of posting.
I also understand from the company that parcels of unlimited weight may be sent first class and parcels of up to 750g in weight, second class. The targets for these are 92.5 per cent. within 1 day of posting for first class, 98.5 per cent. for second class and 99.9 per cent. within 3 days and 100 per cent. within 15 days for both first and second class postage.
Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, what investigations she has made into the fluctuations in power in homes in Gloucestershire following the restored supplies; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Wilson [holding answer 4 November 2002]: In view of the scale of the disruptions to the electricity network operated by Aquila Network Services (which supplies the Midlands area including Gloucestershire) the company has been seeking to restore supply to all customers before addressing any outstanding voltage problems, such as voltage fluctuations or low volts.
All supplies to Gloucestershire were restored by midnight on 31 October 2002. As of midday on 1 November 2002 only a few isolated customers supplied by Aquila remained off supply. Outstanding voltage problems in Gloucestershire will be resolved soon.
On 29 October 2002, I announced that a study will be commissioned to review how the electricity companies handled the emergency commencing on 27 October 2002. The response of Aquila Network Services, including resolution of follow-up problems such as voltage complaints, will be included in the study.
Mr. Wilson [holding answer 4 November 2002]: I have been advised that 130,000 customers in Aquila's network (formerly Midlands Electricity's network) were affected by interruptions caused by the storm. By midday on 30 October 2002 supplies had been restored to 97.3 per cent. of these customers. Supplies to all customers in Gloucestershire were restored by midnight on 31 October 2002. I advised that Aquila recruited 200 linesmen and craftsmen from other electricity companies to assist with restoration of supplies.
On 29 October 2002 I announced that a study will be commissioned to review how the electricity companies handled the emergency commencing on 27 October 2002. The response of Aquila Network Services to the widespread disruption caused by the storm will be included in the study.
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potential problem of cuts in power supply to homes in Gloucestershire, following gale warnings; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Wilson [holding answer 4 November 2002]: Earlier this year I commissioned a study into the resilience of the electricity transmission and distribution systems in Great Britain. The study focussed on the measures that are in place to reduce the risk of an emergency from major supply interruptions and the ability to manage the restoration of supplies in the event of widespread disruption. One conclusion arising from the report was that the electricity companies are generally better prepared and equipped to handle emergencies than was the case a decade ago.
On 29 October 2002 I announced that another study will be commissioned to review how the electricity companies handled the emergency commencing on 27 October 2002. The preparation for the storm and response of Aquila Network Services, which distributes electricity to homes in Gloucestershire, will be included in the study.
Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, what assessment she has made of the contribution street markets make to the United Kingdom economy; how many people are (a) directly and (b) indirectly employed in such markets in the United Kingdom; and what assistance she gives to help protect and expand street markets in the United Kingdom. 
Miss Melanie Johnson: There are 6,215 enterprises with employees in the retail sales not in stores sector, which includes stalls and markets as well as mail order houses and other non-store retail. Total employment in these enterprises is around 100,000 and total turnover is around #11,000 million.
These enterprises account for 4 per cent. of all retail sales employers and employment and 5 per cent. of turnover. They account for half a per cent. of all employers, turnover and employment in the UK.
Gareth Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, which recruitment consultants her Department uses for assistance in recruiting people to the Board of Ofgem; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Wilson: My Department has operated a call-off contract with five companies to assist when appropriate in the making of public appointments. We have used Saxton Bampfylde Hever plc in the making of appointments to the Gas and Electricity Markets Authority.
Mr. Todd: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, what steps she is taking to encourage the development of (a) combined electric and petrol engine and (b) hydrogen fuel cell-powered vehicles. 
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Mr. Wilson: My Department, together with DfT, DEFRA and HMT, published the Powering Future Vehicles Strategy on 31 July. This declares Government targets for the introduction of low-carbon vehicles. The strategy not only seeks to achieve environmental improvements, but to engage UK industry in the development of new technologies and products such as hybrid and fuel cell vehicles. As part of the process, my department is supporting the creation of the Low Carbon Vehicles Partnership (LowCVP), with Professor Jim Skea of the Policy Studies Institute as Launch Director.
One of the first tasks of the LowCVP will be to advise on the role and remit of a new Centre of Excellence for ''Low Carbon and Fuel Cell Technologies'', to implement one of the recommendations of the Automotive Innovation and Growth Team, which reported earlier this year. My Department has announced #15 million support over 5 years for this and the other proposed Centre of Excellence on transport telematics. In addition the Department's Foresight Vehicle and Advanced Fuel Cells Programmes support the development of enabling technologies for alternative fuel vehicles.
Mr. Wilson: The Government do not have a list of sites suitable for the construction of wind powered electricity generators. It is for developers to bring proposals forward. Government information that may assist developers in considering potential locations includes the UK Windspeed Database and the document ''Assessing the Potential of Wind Energy Projects: Notes for Developers,'' both available on the DTI website.
Mr. Wilson: The Liquid Petroleum Gas Association (LPGA) inform the Department that there is currently a total of 108 Scottish Autogas public refuelling stations, of which 52 are located at petrol stations.
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|City of Edinburgh||||2||Argyll & Bute||||1|
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