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Volume 403: debated on Monday 7 April 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on the latest situation regarding the future of ARBRE. [107036]

Officials are in discussion with the Liquidator, who is speaking further with the preferred bidder. An announcement on the outcome of these discussions is expected soon.The Government will work with the successful bidder to build on the early successes of ARBRE and ensure the long-term future of the project. The Government will consider proposals to reduce the technical risk of taking the project through to commercial operation.Many lessons have already been learnt as a result of ARBRE that can be applied to future high efficiency biomass plant, which are likely to be required if dedicated biomass plant are to be available in the medium term.