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Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much funding from her Department has been allocated to help start small businesses in Chorley in each of the last five years. 
Mr. Wilson: The Engineering and Technology Board (ETB) has been set up to be responsive to the needs of the "wider engineering and technology community" and reflect the interests of key stakeholder groups, including business and industry, registered engineers, professional institutions, academia and the rapidly developing technology sector. It is based on extensive preparatory work undertaken by The Hawley Group and an ETB 'Shadow Board'.
10 Dec 2001 : Column: 662W
The ETB starts work formally in the new year and high on the ETB's list of priorities will be issues such as: skills; the importance and attractiveness of engineering and technology-based careers; and the needs of the rapidly growing technology sector.
The first chairman of the Engineering and Technology Board is Dr. Robert Hawley, who also chaired the shadow ETB and the Engineering Council. On 1 January 2002 Sir Peter Williams will replace him as ETB chair.
A second organisation, the Engineering Council (UK) (ECUK) took over the former Engineering Council's regulatory functions at the close of the 6 December Engineering Council Senate meeting. Professor Patrick Dowling was named as the first EC(UK) chair.
Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many times since November 2000 Ministers from her Department have visited (a) the Teesside area and (b) Middlesbrough, South and Cleveland, East constituency to meet with locally based businesses. 
Ms Hewitt: On 3 November 2000 the then Secretary of State for Trade and Industry attended a lunch with local business people at Gisborough Hall in Guisbourough and visited Tetley Teas in Eaglescliffe near Stockton-on-Tees that same afternoon.
Mr. Wilson [holding answer 3 December 2001]: SDA Protec Ltd. in the UK is a Government approved security company that has carried out work across the nuclear industry, including UKAEA, BNFL and British Energy. It is not appropriate for me to comment on individual commercial contracts.
Mr. Paul Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) if she will make a statement on what discussions her Department has had with oil companies regarding oil exploration projects in central Asia in the last 12 months; 
(3) if she will make a statement on what discussions her Department has had with representatives of BP in the last 12 months. 
Mr. Wilson: Over any 12-month period, there are numerous discussions between DTI and Trade Partners UK (TPUK) ministers and officials, and representatives of all UK oil companies, including BP and Shell. These discussions take place in the UK, and in our overseas posts around the world.
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Central Asia, in particular Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan, is currently a major region for international oil company investment. Many of the DTI and TPUK discussions with UK oil companies over the last 12 months will have covered their activities in, and plans for, this part of the world.
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment she has made of the impact of the current trading status of Enron on utilities in the UK; and if she will make a statement. 
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Mr. Wilson: Under the Department's Sustainable Energy Programme, we have 24 projects in place into energy production from agricultural products. The total value of these projects is £4.7 million of which the Department is contributing £2.6 million. A list of the projects follows.
|Project title||Contract start date||Contract end date|
|Call-Off Contract for Advice on Energy Grasses||16 February 2000||16 February 2002|
|Trial of the Suitability of Switchgrass and Reed Canary Grasses as Biofuel Crops under UK Conditions||1 August 2000||31 March 2005|
|Evaluating Grasses as a Long Term Energy Resource||5 January 2001||4 January 2003|
|Development of a Prototype Specialist Shuttle Vehicle for Chipped Woodfuel||1 November 2001||30 April 2003|
|Coppice EstablishmentConsultancy||1 July 1998||31 October 2002|
|Evaluation of Low-cost Establishment Systems for Short Rotation Coppice||1 January 1999||30 June 2003|
|MiscanthusPractical Aspects of Biofuel Development||9 April 1999||8 April 2003|
|Yield Models for Energy Coppice of Poplar and WillowPhase IV||1 June 1999||31 May 2005|
|Short Rotation Coppice (Task 1)||17 April 2000||16 April 2002|
|Short Rotation Coppice (Tasks 3 and 4)||17 April 2000||16 April 2002|
|Short Rotation Coppice (Task 5)||17 April 2000||16 April 2002|
|Maintenance of First Generation Coppice Plots- Phase 2||1 March 2000||28 February 2003|
|Negotiation of Land Use Agreements for Mature Coppice Plots||29 February 2000||31 January 2003|
|Development of an Integrated Wood Fuel Supply System to Deliver SRC from Field to Power Station||15 March 2000||31 March 2002|
|Storage of Forest Residues and Short Rotation Coppice in Compressed Fiberlogs||1 May 2001||31 January 2003|
|Identification and Characterisation of Factors Affecting Losses in the Large-scale, Non-ventilated Bulk Storage of Wood Chips and Development of Best Storage Practices||5 February 2001||5 August 2002|
|A Further Evaluation of Herbicides for Post Emergence Use in Short Rotation Coppice||7 June 2001||7 April 2002|
|An Evaluation of the Optimum Timing for Planting Short Rotation Coppice||9 March 2001||1 May 2004|
|Investigation of Single Stem Tree Plantations for Bioenergy||1 April 2001||30 June 2002|
|Investigation of Low-till Systems for the Establishment of Willow Coppice in Grassland||1 January 2001||28 February 2003|
|The Effects on Flora and Fauna of Converting Grassland to Short Rotation Coppice||1 April 2001||31 December 2005|
|Willow Varietal Interactions in Mixtures, Contributing to Optimum Sustainability||1 November 2001||31 October 2004|
|Adding Value to Wood Fuelled Heating in Commercial Glasshouses||1 July 2001||31 December 2002|
|Improving Willow Breeding Efficiency||1 November 1998||30 September 2002|
Mr. Denis Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many (a) interim payments and (b) final payments have been made to former miners and their estates under the chronic emphysema and bronchitis compensation scheme in (a) the Wansbeck constituency, (b) Northumberland and (c) the UK. 
|Region||Interim payments||Full and final payments||Total damages paid (£ million)|
|(a) Wansbeck constituency||569||215||3.29|
(38) Northumberland as defined by the areas denoted by the following postcodes: NE 15, 1820, 2326, 4149, 6171 and TD 12, 15
Mr. Denis Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many compensation claims have been made to date in respect of chronic bronchitis and emphysema in (a) the Wansbeck constituency, (b) Northumberland and (c) the UK. 
|Region||Number of claims registered|
|(a) Wansbeck constituency||2,564|
(39) Northumberland as defined by the areas denoted by the following postcodes: NE 15, 1820, 2326, 4149, 6171 and TD 12, 15
10 Dec 2001 : Column: 665W
Mr. Denis Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what is the average length of time taken between receipt of a claim under the chronic bronchitis and emphysema compensation scheme and an offer being made to the claimant in (a) the Wansbeck constituency, (b) Northumberland and (c) the UK. 
Mr. Wilson: Claims are not all processed at the same rate. Claims are being handled, as set out in the handling agreement, agreed with the claimants' solicitors, whereby the most elderly and ill claimants are prioritised. Widows are also being dealt with first, wherever possible and are given priority over estates' claims. The time taken to settle a claim will therefore depend on the number of priority points allocated to it. The problems there have been getting the scheme up and running also affected the time taken to deal with claims.
The Department is unable to provide the average length of time between receipt of a claim for compensation for respiratory disease and an offer being made to the claimant. There is, however, no discrimination on where the claimant lives.
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