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Energy: Electricity Generation

Lord Taylor of Holbeach asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change & Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): A Sustainable Development Commission (SDC) study, Turning the Tide—Tidal Power in the UK, funded by the Government and published in October 2007, identified the main tidal stream sites with the potential for electricity generation using tidal power. These included sites in the Pentland Firth, Alderney and the north channel. Further assessments on these and other tidal stream sites are outlined in an annexe to the SDC study “Tidal Power in the UK—Research Report 1—Tidal Resource Assessment” at www.sd-commission.org.uk/publications/downloads/TidalPowerUK1-Tidal_resource_assessment.pdf. Further detail on the tidal power resource in the UK can also be found in the UK Marine Renewable Energy Atlas, with the tidal power resource estimates available at www.renewables-atlas.info/.

Lord Taylor of Holbeach asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: The cross-government Severn Tidal Power Feasibility Study, launched in January 2008, is looking at a range of options for generating electricity from the tidal range resource of the Severn estuary. All these options offer potential flood defence benefits, with the most significant being large barrages and land-connected lagoons. A short list of options that will be examined in more detail in phase 2 of the study, if a decision is taken to proceed, will be the subject of a public consultation early in the new year.

Energy: Geothermal Projects

Lord Judd asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change & Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): The consultation on a new UK renewable energy strategy, published in June 2008, explored what more could be done, above and beyond current policies, to increase renewable energy. The Government recognise that deep geothermal power could emerge as a source of renewable

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electricity and renewable heat in the medium to long term. The finalised renewable energy strategy will be published in spring 2009.

The Government have already put in place the renewables obligation (RO) to incentivise the production of renewable electricity, and under the proposed banding of the RO innovative renewable technologies such as deep geothermal would be eligible for double the normal rate of financial support per unit of electricity produced. An amendment to the Energy Bill to establish powers to create a renewable heat incentive was laid on 29 October 2008, and heat from deep geothermal plants would be eligible for support under that instrument when and if it is deployed.

Energy: Infrastructure

Lord Jenkin of Roding asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change & Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): Lawful and peaceful protest is a democratic right but the Government are equally committed to the rule of law in a democratic society and to tackling illegal activity.

There are a number of measures in place to deal with conduct of this or a similar kind including the Criminal Damage Act 1971 and the offence of aggravated trespass under the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994. The Government keep the adequacy of the criminal law under review in the light of changing circumstances and any particular issues that arise.

Energy: Lithuania

Lord Teverson asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change & Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): We have been informed of the concerns of the Government of Lithuania, which have highlighted Lithuania's dependence on Russia for gas and electricity, the lack

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of interconnection between the Baltic states and the rest of the EU, plus the consequences of shutting down the remaining reactor at Ignalina given the long-term nature of Lithuania's intentions for new nuclear build and projects to increase electricity and gas links with neighbouring countries.

We recognise the improvements that have been made to nuclear safety at Ignalina to allow short-term continued electricity generation until 2009, financed through the EU TACIS programme and the UK's Nuclear Safety Programme. The UK also contributed to the Ignalina International Decommissioning Support Fund—managed by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development—and delivered a separate UK programme to address the social and economic consequences of nuclear power plant closure. While the agreed timing of the closure of the two reactors at Ignalina was part of a package of pre-EU accession treaty considerations agreed by the Government of Lithuania, we support the view of the EU Commission and other member states that Lithuania should stand by this obligation, freely entered into. However, we also believe that the EU should look sympathetically at the options for mitigating the short-term consequences of closure. The energy security concerns of Lithuania and the other Baltic states would be most appropriately addressed by a combination of an increased focus on renewable energy and energy efficiency and by increased interconnection with the rest of the European Union. We anticipate that the European Commission's upcoming second strategic EU energy review will include proposals on how to help to address the energy isolation of Lithuania and the other Baltic states.

Energy: Severn Barrage

Lord Rowe-Beddoe asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change & Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): Subject to internal review, interim findings from the feasibility study will be published in the new year with the full report being published in the first half of 2010.

The feasibility study will consider the impact on security of electricity supply as part of the wider assessment of options.

Food: Pork and Bacon

Baroness Byford asked Her Majesty's Government:



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The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change & Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): The information requested could be provided only at disproportionate cost. I refer the noble Baroness to the report published on the Public Sector Food Procurement Initiative, which is available on Defra's website.

Defra again proposes to publish data by the end of 2008 on the proportion of domestically produced food purchased by departments.

Government: IT Equipment

Lord Taylor of Holbeach asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Financial Services Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Myners): It is for government departments to plan their future spending requirements, including spending on major information technology equipment. The Government expect departments to plan their spending, including spending on information technology, in a way that ensures it is affordable within existing budgets.

Hong Kong

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): We have no records of any British nationals (overseas) ever being refused entry to Hong Kong. Hong Kong’s immigration department has told us that it does not keep such figures. In any case, all BN(O) passport holders hold Hong Kong identity cards, and would normally use those to enter Hong Kong.

India: Dalits

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:



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The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): The Government have not responded to the reports that Lord Hylton mentions. However, the FCO is in the process of studying them. The UK raised the issue of discrimination against Dalits at the last EU-India Human Rights Dialogue and will continue to raise it on 15 February.

We frequently raise concerns about minority rights including recently with the Indian Government through the EU presidency. India is one of the priority countries for the FCO Human Rights and Democracy Programme. We support projects locally aimed at addressing the structural causes of discrimination against women, ethnic and national minorities and disabled people (and their participation in public and political life).

The FCO has met different organisations that promote the rights of Dalits and has undertaken to support their request to the UN Human Rights Council to publish the special rapporteurs' report on discrimination based on work and descent.

Iraq and Afghanistan: Friendly Fire

Lord Dykes asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): UK forces are operating in Iraq and Afghanistan as part of multinational efforts in support of UN Security Council resolutions. We constantly review operational issues with those nations deployed alongside UK forces, including the US. The safety of our service personnel, and those of our allies, is of paramount importance and we take all available measures to minimise the risk of friendly fire incidents, but no foolproof means exists to prevent the misidentification of units in a highly complex and stressful battlefield environment.

Maritime Strategy

Lord Selsdon asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Lord Adonis): Our strategy remains fundamentally as set out in British Shipping: Charting a New Course. We continue to work with the UK shipping industry and maritime trade unions in pursuit of policies aimed at increasing skills, encouraging employment and training, and maintaining the UK's attractiveness as a quality centre of shipping excellence. We also work with EU member states and others within the International Maritime Organisation to secure the highest achievable levels of maritime safety and pollution prevention.



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Nairobi International Convention on the Removal of Wrecks 2007

Lord MacKenzie of Culkein asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Lord Adonis): Her Majesty's Government support ratification and early entry into force of the Nairobi International Convention on the Removal of Wrecks 2007, and the implementing provisions to allow the UK to ratify the convention were included in the draft marine navigation Bill, which recently underwent parliamentary scrutiny.

Subject to parliamentary time being available the Government intend to introduce legislation to implement the convention which will allow it to be ratified as soon as possible.

Should the UK ratify the convention, the Government intend to make use of the option to extend its scope to include our territory and territorial sea and to inform the secretary-general of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) accordingly.

The convention will only enter into force 12 months after the 10th state has deposited an instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession with the secretary-general of the IMO. To date only one state has deposited an instrument of ratification of this convention.

Niger

Viscount Waverley asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): The UK continues to offer its political support for Nigerian-led initiatives to address the conflict in the Niger Delta. Solutions to the delta must include an inclusive peace process which respects the rights and interests of all stakeholders, improvements to the security situation in the short term, and commitment by federal and state Governments to improve governance and the livelihoods of local populations. My right honourable friend the Prime Minister made clear to President Yar'Adua when he visited the UK in July that we stood ready to support the Nigerian Government in their peace initiatives. My honourable friend Malcolm Wicks, Minister of State at the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, and I reiterated UK support during our visits to Nigeria in August and September respectively.

The Government fund a number of projects to promote development and participatory governance in Nigeria and specifically in the delta. As agreed with President Yar'Adua during his visit, the Government

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have offered training and advisory support to help improve Nigerian military capability to provide security for the people of the delta. The Government are the biggest supporter of the Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI). We work with international partners to promote the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights Initiative in Nigeria and to support the Gulf of Guinea Energy Security Strategy, a Nigerian-led forum for discussion on how to address security and sustainable development in the delta. The UK actively encourages the Nigerian Government to work closely with international oil companies to find a mutually acceptable timeframe for ending the practice of gas flaring, one of the main causes of environmental degradation in the delta region. The UK funds research into oil-fingerprinting in response to a Nigerian request for international assistance to combat oil bunkering.

Parades: Northern Ireland

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: I refer the noble Lord to the Answer given on 22 July 2008 (Official Report, col. WA276).

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: I refer the noble Lord to the Answer given on 21 July 2008 (Official Report, col. WA 220).


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