Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page


National Health Service: Doctors

Baroness Greengross asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Warner: There are no rules which require a doctor to work in the National Health Service after receiving state-funded medical education. Data from the Medical Careers Research Group show that over successive cohorts of doctors from 1974 onward, 89 per cent of home graduates were working in United Kingdom medicine after both five and 10 years.

Renewable Energy: Biodegradable Solid Waste

Baroness Byford asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Sainsbury of Turville): I understand that the figures referred to in the question relate to municipal solid waste (which includes both biodegradable and non-biodegradable waste). After 1 December 1996 most of the existing sites were closed because it was uneconomic to upgrade them to meet new regulations on incinerator emissions based on EU Directives. Since 1994, 11 facilities have been built or upgraded to meet the requirements of the directives, and there are at present 16 municipal solid waste incineration plant with a capacity of around 2.3 million tonnes per year—in capacity terms, this is similar to the level of the early 1990s. There are five plants under construction, due to be commissioned in 2005, with a total design capacity of around 0.5 million tonnes per year. The Government do not publish forecasts of the contributions made by particular fuel sources to heat generation.

5 Jan 2004 : Column WA23

Renewable Energy: Wind Farms

Lord Jones asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many individual wind-driven turbines there are in (a) Wales; (b) Scotland; (c) England; and (d) Northern Ireland; and[HL380]

    How many wind farms there are in (a) Wales; (b) Scotland; (c) England; and (d) Northern Ireland.[HL379]

Lord Sainsbury of Turville: There are 83* wind energy schemes currently generating electricity for the grid in the UK. These include single turbine installations, small clusters of turbines, and larger wind farms with 10 or more machines.

The number of projects and turbines by country is as follows.

ProjectsTurbines
Wales18394
Scotland18265
England37300
Northern Ireland10101

In addition to these projects, there are some commercial scale wind turbines installed to serve specific businesses rather than to generate electricity for the grid.

* British Wind Energy Association (BWEA) figures


Lord Jones asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the average cost of wind-driven turbines in United Kingdom wind farms; and [HL381]

    What is the estimated amount of investment in wind farms in (a) Wales; (b) Scotland; (c) England; and (d) Northern Ireland.[HL382]

Lord Sainsbury of Turville: It is difficult to make generalisations about the costs of wind turbines, as this technology is advancing rapidly, with different makes and models being bought to suit the particular site. Costs will vary, for example, according to whether the project is onshore or offshore, and according to wind-speeds at the site.

There will thus be differences between projects, but I understand that a rule of thumb in the wind energy industry is that new projects may currently cost an average of some £650,000 per megawatt of capacity installed, including the cost of the turbine, transport to the site, and erection and commissioning.

Making use of this rule of thumb, rough approximations can be made of the replacement cost of currently operational wind farm projects: some £150 million for Wales; some £130 million for Scotland; some £100 million for England and some £45 million for Northern Ireland.

Lord Jones asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What employment opportunities have emerged consequent upon the decision to build wind farms in the United Kingdom.[HL383]

5 Jan 2004 : Column WA24

Lord Sainsbury of Turville: The 2003 annual report of the Renewables Advisory Board includes an assessment of employment opportunities in the UK that could arise in the period to 2020, if wind energy and other renewables expand in accordance with energy White Paper aspirations. It is there estimated that by 2020 the renewable energy industry could sustain between 17,000 and 35,000 jobs, compared with some 7,700 jobs currently. A high proportion of these jobs would be in the wind energy sector.

Lord Jones asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What assessment they have made of noise pollution consequent upon the building of wind farms in the United Kingdom.[HL384]

Lord Sainsbury of Turville: An assessment of noise from wind farms was undertaken by the Working Group on Noise from Wind Turbines. The group's findings were published in the report entitled 'ETSU-R-97: The Assessment & Rating of Noise from Wind Farms'*.


    *Copies available from the British Library www.bl.uk/catalogues/blpclynne

End-of-Life Vehicles Regulations 2003

Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbotts asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Which body is responsible for commencing proceedings in Scotland for offences under the End-of-Life Vehicles Regulations 2003 (S.I. 2003/2635). [HL348]

Lord Sainsbury of Turville: In Scotland the Lord Advocate, as head of the criminal prosecution system, is responsible for the commencement of proceedings under the End-of-Life Vehicles Regulations 2003 (S.I. 2003/2635).

Information Technology Strategy and UK Rankings

The Earl of Northesk asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Why the United Kingdom has slipped from seventh in the World Economic Forum's networked readiness index rankings in 2002–03 to 15th in 2003–04; and what are the implications for their information technology strategy and policies. [HL370]

Lord Sainsbury of Turville: We welcome this piece of research by the World Economic Forum on the degree of a country's preparation to participate in and benefit from information and communication technology (ICT). However, it is difficult to draw many conclusions for policy development from a single piece of work such as this. The findings revealed by the networked readiness index need to be treated with care

5 Jan 2004 : Column WA25

because of the changing nature of the variables used for year-on-year comparison, the high level of attitudinal input and a significant reliance on data from 2001 or earlier.

The Government are aware of the challenge in making the UK a world leader in the use of ICT. By learning from the overall pool of evidence, to which the World Economic Forum report can contribute, we will continue to develop strategies and policies to provide a favourable environment for ICT usage in the UK.

The Earl of Northesk asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the figures from the World Economic Forum's Global Information Technology Report, which show that the United Kingdom is eighth in the rankings in terms of competition in the Internet service provider market but sixty-seventh in the affordability of Internet access, are satisfactory; and what implications this has for their information technology targets. [HL371]

Lord Sainsbury of Turville: The UK appears to perform relatively well on competition among Internet service providers, but the findings seem to be based solely on the opinion of executives. As regards the cost of Internet access, the findings of the Global Information Technology Report appear to be very much at odds with those of the more regular and focused Oftel benchmarking. According to Oftel, the United Kingdom is, on average, at least 25 per cent cheaper than France, Germany, Sweden and the United States for cost of access of residential Internet services.

The Government are aware of the challenge in making the UK a world leader in the use of ICT. By learning from the overall pool of evidence, to which the World Economic Forum report can contribute, we will continue to develop information technology policies to provide a favourable environment for ICT usage in the UK.

Employment Deductions

Viscount Astor asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether accommodation or other benefits can be taken into account for the purposes of determinations in relation to: (a) the National Minimum Wage Act 1998; (b) the Sex Discrimination Act 1975; and (c) the Equal Pay Act 1970.[HL494]

Lord Sainsbury of Turville: Under the National Minimum Wage Regulations 1999 (Amendment) Regulations 2003, where an employer provides accommodation to a worker, he may deduct up to £3.50 per day or £24.50 per week from the worker's salary. If an employer deducts more than this amount, the excess amount will not count towards minimum wage pay.

The Equal Pay Act gives men and women doing equal work the right to equality in the terms of their

5 Jan 2004 : Column WA26

contract of employment. This means it covers both pay and other benefits such as accommodation provided by the contract of employment. The Sex Discrimination Act covers non-contractual benefits, which could include accommodation.


Next Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page