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Written Answers

Volume 708: debated on Friday 27 February 2009

Written Answers

Friday 27 February 2009

Asylum Seekers

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the average length of time that an asylum seeker remains on (a) Border and Immigration Agency Asylum Section 4 support; and (b) Section 95 support. [HL1364]

The way that the UK Border Agency records data on support under Section 95 and Section 4 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 does not enable the collation of the average length of time individuals spend on either of these forms of support without an examination of individual case records at disproportionate cost.

Energy: Carbon Capture and Storage

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of developments in knowledge of and experiments on carbon capture storage in the United Kingdom and offshore since the Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic (the OSPAR Convention) was concluded in 1992. [HL1525]

The Government's policy on carbon capture and storage was most recently set out in the energy White Paper, 2007, and the carbon abatement technology (CAT) strategy for fossil fuel use in the UK, 2005. These policies were underpinned by a number of studies and reports, some specifically commissioned by the Government, such as:

Review on carbon dioxide capture and storage (CCS), 2003: www.berr.gov.uk/files/file21887.pdf.

The Role of Fossil Fuel Carbon Abatement Technologies (CATs) in a Low Carbon Energy System—A Report on Analysis Undertaken to Advise on DTI's CAT Strategy, 2005: www.berr.gov.uk/files/file19834.pdf.

Industrial Carbon Dioxide Emissions and Carbon Dioxide Storage Potential in the UK, 2006: www.berr.gov.uk/files/file35684.pdf.

The Government also take account of the work of others such as the: IEA Energy Technology Perspectives: www.iea.org/Textbase/techno/etp/index.asp;

European Technology Platform for Zero Emission Fossil Fuel Plants—CO2 capture and storage (CCS) matrix of technologies;

Advanced Power Generation Technology Forum.

Most recently, the Advisory Committee on Carbon Abatement Technologies (ACCAT) has set out its views on how the Government should review its CAT strategy in its advisory document on Accelerating the Deployment of Carbon Abatement Technologies with Special Focus on Carbon Capture and Storage, 2009: www.berr.gov.uk/files/file50028.pdf.

The Government will be taking this into account as they develop their future policies on CCS.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government following recent decommissioning programmes, how many power plants in the United Kingdom now receive carbon capture and storage treatment applications. [HL1530]

Energy: Efficiency

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have taken recent measurements of United Kingdom household energy efficiencies; if so, how such figures compare with statistics for Germany and Sweden; and what conclusions they have drawn. [HL1529]

The Government have up-to-date data on domestic energy consumption published by DECC in Energy Trends and in the Digest of UK Energy Statistics (Dukes). However, these energy data are not themselves a measure of household energy efficiency. Indeed, it is difficult to talk of an absolute value of energy efficiency for an economic sector, although this can be done for specific energy-converting technologies or processes (for example, it is possible to quote the efficiency of electricity generation from a power station). It may, however, be possible to define improvements in energy efficiency for economic sectors. Generally, such improvements cannot be measured directly but must be calculated from a variety of other information.

The Government are updating their indicators of household energy efficiency using a combination of statistics on energy consumption and numbers of different technical efficiency measures installed, such as cavity wall insulation or high-efficiency boilers. These statistics are analysed using scientifically justified assumptions of energy savings of individual measures, together with mathematical modelling of energy use in typical homes. Using such analyses, the Government hope to publish their progress in improving the energy efficiency of the housing stock soon. But we do know that some 5 million homes have received insulation and that over 200 million energy efficient lights have been distributed.

Any international comparisons in the residential sector should be also be made on improvements in energy efficiency. The UK does contribute to an EU project (ODYSSEE, led by the French environment and energy management agency, ADEME), which has attempted these. However, the latest statistics from this project go only to 2005, so it is not yet possible to make up-to-date comparisons.

Energy: Nuclear Waste Disposal

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how they envisage that local authorities will express an interest in hosting a geological waste disposal facility when the area in question has a two-tier authority; and which tier will be the decision-making authority within the meaning of that expression as used in the Government's White Papers on nuclear policy. [HL1440]

As set out in the White Paper Managing Radioactive Waste Safely: A Framework for Implementing Geological Disposal, there is no reason why two or more local authorities should not submit a combined expression of interest in hosting a geological disposal facility as, in practice, the initial area of investigation could cross local authority boundaries or involve two tiers of local government.

Local government will be responsible for the key local decisions in the siting process based on advice and recommendations from a local community siting partnership. For participating areas that cross local authority boundaries or have two-tier local government, the Government will require clarity about which local authorities will take decisions about partnership recommendations.

The Government believe it to be desirable that, in areas where there are a number of local authorities involved, they work constructively together to take forward expressions of interest.

Energy: Ofgem Remit

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they intend to place kerosene or liquefied petroleum gas within the remit of Ofgem. [HL1201]

The Government continue to believe that the consumer is best served by the operation of open competition between companies and has no current plans to place kerosene (heating oil) or LPG within the remit of Ofgem.

Energy: Renewables

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answers by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath on 12 November 2008 (WA 134–35), what is the anticipated annual subsidy to the development of renewable energy if the planned installation of wind turbines and other renewable energy sources is fully implemented between 2009 and 2019. [HL1241]

The renewable energy strategy consultation document set out scenarios for deployment of renewable energy needed to meet the UK's share of the EU renewable energy target. It gave estimates of the build rates for renewable technologies to meet 15 per cent renewable energy by 2020, and discussed financial instruments that would be needed to provide an incentive for the use of these technologies. The estimated cost of subsidies for renewable heat and electricity technologies consistent with the renewable energy scenario presented in the renewable energy strategy consultation is in the region of £5 billion to £6 billion per annum in 2020. These figures are at 2008 prices, discounted. Work is ongoing to refine these figures.

Food: Pork and Bacon

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government why the Home Office would incur disproportionate costs in supplying data about the proportion of British pork and bacon it purchased when other departments have supplied this information. [HL1551]

The Home Department does not feature among departments which are responsible for the four main sectors of public expenditure on food and catering. The department does not contract directly for food supplies but procures catering services through wider facilities management (FM) or operational service contractors. The department's caterers are not contractually required to have systems in place to monitor and provide detailed reports across the wide range of food which they purchase. To introduce contractual obligations for caterers to set up complex reporting regimes would lead to additional expenditure and disproportionate cost.

When placing a contract with FM or operational services contractors, government guidance on sustainable food and farming is incorporated in appropriate terms and conditions with regards to the procurement of food. Purchasing policy is reviewed frequently to incorporate new policy initiatives.

Housing: Inflation

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what the current rates of inflation are for owner occupiers and for council tenants. [HL1279]

The CLG monthly house-price index covers house-price inflation and deflation. House prices in December 2008 were 10.2 per cent lower than the previous year. The latest available data are for April 2008. The average rent paid by local authority (council) tenants for England at the end of April 2008 was £64.12 per week. The average rent paid by local authority tenants for England at end of April 2007 was £61.49 per week. This equates to a 4.3 per cent annual increase in average rent. The 2008 rent figure is provisional and subject to change.

Immigration: Detention

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the budgeted cost of immigration and asylum detention in (a) 2008-09; and (b) 2009-10. [HL1179]

The UK Border Agency's budgeted direct cost of detention, excluding any non-cash costs, for 2008-09 is £96 million and for 2009-10 is £107.1 million.

Nuclear Decommissioning Authority

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government when they expect the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority to appoint a new chief executive in succession to Mr Ian Roxburgh. [HL1005]

Petitions

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many petitions the Department for Communities and Local Government received in 2007 and 2008; whether they have publicised them; and, if not, whether they will put the text of the petitions received and the number of signatures in the Library of the House. [HL1495]

To ask Her Majesty's Government what the Department for Communities and Local Government's procedure is for receiving, acknowledging, dealing with and responding to petitions that it receives from members of the public. [HL1496]

Petitions are received, acknowledged, dealt with and responded to in the same way as other correspondence received by the department. A letter is also normally sent to the originator of the petition confirming receipt. Although the department records the number of letters it receives, we do not count the numbers of petitions separately. The text of petitions and the number of signatures could only be provided at disproportionate cost, again because they are not stored separately from other forms of correspondence.

Sport: Funding

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to improve the funding systems for sports and leisure projects to reduce administration and maximise the resources available to them. [HL1328]

The Government are committed to constant improvement of the systems in place for the funding of sport in order to reduce administration and maximise the impact of the £480 million we will be putting into sport to provide a lasting grass-roots legacy for London 2012.

Over the next three years, Sport England will reduce spend on administration costs by £20 million in order to achieve this. The savings will be delivered through measures such as centralising and streamlining the grant-making process and strengthened procurement.