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Renewable Energy Projects

Earl Howe asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Sainsbury of Turville: Renewables are an important element of the Government's strategy to meet our Kyoto targets, and we are committed to taking positive steps to encourage their development. The consultation paper--New and Renewable

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Energy--Prospects for the 21st Century--published on 30 March, invited comments on the issues surrounding the connection of embedded renewable generators to the electricity system. I am grateful to all those who responded--a summary of those responses was published on 30 July.

While the Government would like to see the full value of exported electricity being offered to consumers in order to encourage the uptake of smaller stand-alone renewable energy installations in the UK, there are a number of issues to be resolved concerning the valuation of the exported electricity. The Government are currently considering the various responses to the consultation paper and will make an announcement in due course.

Wind Generated Electricity

Earl Howe asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How they intend to treat electricity generated from wind energy under the current review of electricity trading arrangements.[HL4039]

Lord Sainsbury of Turville: We do not intend to require licence-exempt generating plants (i.e. those which have a capacity of below 50 megawatts, or a capacity of up to 100 megawatts of which less than 10 per cent. is exported) to participate directly in the new trading arrangements. All current wind generators would fall into this category. Exempt generating plants will still be exposed to imbalance charges, but only indirectly, through the suppliers with which they contract.

The Office of Gas and Electricity Markets published a consultation document The New Electricity Trading Arrangements on 31 July setting out detailed proposals for the new wholesale electricity trading arrangements in England and Wales. It contains further details about the proposed treatment of the generation of electricity from renewable sources.

EU Aid to Motor Vehicle Manufacturers

Lord Pearson of Rannoch asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Answer by the Lord McIntosh of Haringey on 30 June (H.L. Deb., col. 279), for each European Union Member State, cumulatively for the five-year period 1994-98, how much European Union Commission-approved aid governments paid or undertook to pay to car and commercial vehicle manufacturers in their respective countries.[HL4092]

Lord Sainsbury of Turville : The European Commission has authorised aid to the motor vehicle sector in the member states below. The figures are taken from the Commission's most recent survey (Seventh Survey on State aid in the Europoean Union in the manufacturing and certain other sectors), and cover the five-year period 1993-1997. Figures for 1998 are

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expected to be available in the next survey, due to be published in spring 2000.

The information available is not broken down to sub-sector level, such as car and commercial vehicle, but these are incorporated within the categories caught by the state aid rules on aid to the motor vehicle sector. The categories include motor vehicles, engines for motor vehicles, modules and sub-systems and first-tier component suppliers. The figures do not include cases below the level at which notification of such aid to the European Commission becomes necessary.

Cumulated aid to the Motor Industry 1993-1997

Member StateTotal (£m)

Export Credits to Former Soviet Dependencies

Lord Cocks of Hartcliffe asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is their policy on export credit finance in relation to former Soviet Union dependencies.[HL3897]

Lord Sainsbury of Turville: The Export Credits Guarantee Department (ECGD) provides export credits to support the export of capital/semi capital goods and services to those former Soviet Union dependencies which are judged to be acceptable risks. ECGD cover for this region is currently under review, the results of which are expected within the next few weeks.

ECGD Recommendations: Treasury Approval

Lord Cocks of Hartcliffe asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether British contractors are losing the opportunity to secure overseas construction projects and thus promote exports because HM Treasury has been withholding approvals of Export Credit Guarantee Department recommendations and applications over the last six months.[HL4078]

Lord Sainsbury of Turville: British contractors have been gaining opportunities to secure overseas construction projects as a result of the Government's success both in its domestic economic policies and in its contribution to international efforts to enhance the prospects for growth in the world economy.

We have no evidence that they have been losing the opportunity to secure projects in markets where the

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risks are deemed acceptable as a result of applying for export credit cover. The Government continues to have to balance its desire to promote UK exports with the potential costs to the UK economy of ECGD assuming long-term liabilities.

Tooth Whiteners

Lord Colwyn asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Why the Department of Trade and Industry and the Department of Health applied to the Court of Appeal to reverse the judgment of Mr. Justice Laws that tooth whiteners should be classified as medical devices.[HL4069]

Lord Sainsbury of Turville: The Department of Trade and Industry and the Department of Health appealed as both departments believed that his conclusion that tooth whitening products were medical devices which should bear a CE Marking and be regulated under the Medical Devices Regulations 1994 was incorrect. Both departments believe these products to be cosmetics and this view was upheld by a unanimous decision of the Court of Appeal.

Lord Colwyn asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What were the total costs involved in the judgment by the Court of Appeal in favour of the Department of Trade and Industry and the Department of Health against Optident; and what were the total amount of damages being sought by Optident against the Department of Trade and Industry and the Department of Health for alleged loss of sales whilst the legal status of tooth whitening agents was uncertain.[HL4070]

Lord Sainsbury of Turville: Legal costs have not been finalised. At present Treasury Solicitors costs are estimated to be in the region of £30,000. However, the Court of Appeal ordered Optident to pay the departments' costs and therefore the departments will hope to recover the majority of the legal costs incurred.

Optident have not quantified their claim for damages. The damages claim is unlikely to be quantified unless the decision of the Court of Appeal is overturned.

Lord Colwyn asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether it is in the public interest that, following the Department of Trade and Industry and Department of Health appeal, United Kingdom patients will now be denied the choice of a tooth whitening approach to discoloured teeth and obliged to consider options that are more expensive and destructive of tooth tissue.[HL4071]

Lord Sainsbury of Turville: The Department of Trade and Industry has a Community obligation to ensure that cosmetic products supplied in the UK comply with the Cosmetics Directive. This includes the duty to prohibit the sale of cosmetics which contain or emit concentrations of hydrogen peroxide in excess of the limits permitted by that directive.

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Lord McColl of Dulwich asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What advice has been given by the Department of Trade and Industry to the Trading Standards Department about tooth whiteners; and whether they intend to modify that advice.[HL3947]

Lord Sainsbury of Turville: All 202 Trading Standards Departments (TSDs) have been informed of the Court of Appeal's Judgment of 1 July 1999 regarding tooth whitening products.

The advice that has been given to TSDs, based upon the law as now stated by the Court of Appeal, is that tooth whitening products are cosmetics, regulated by the Cosmetic Products (Safety) Regulations 1996 and that it is irrelevant whether they bear the CE Marking under the Medical Devices Directive.

TSDs have also been advised that they may wish to seek their own legal advice on the implications of the Court of Appeal's judgment. The DTI have also suggested to TSDs that they should consider enforcement action, including prosecution, in any case where there is sufficient evidence of supply of tooth whitening products in contravention of the 1996 Regulations after the 1 July clarification of the law by the Court of Appeal.

As stated above, the department has modified its advice following the County Appeals Judgment on 1 July. The department does not intend to modify that advice further for the time being.

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