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Written Statements

Volume 711: debated on Wednesday 17 June 2009

Written Statements

Wednesday 17 June 2009

Coal and Carbon Capture and Storage

Statement

My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change (Ed Miliband) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

I am today publishing a consultation on coal and carbon capture and storage entitled A Framework for the Development of Clean Coal.

In April, the Budget announced financing for up to four CCS demonstration projects in the UK and, the following day, I outlined proposals for a new regulatory regime for new coal-fired power stations. Following the statutory strategic environmental assessment, this consultation document sets out the Government’s proposals in more detail.

The aims of our proposals are to drive the decarbonisation of our energy supply, to safeguard our energy security and to get the best deal for consumers and businesses. The conditions on new coal proposed in this document are the most environmentally ambitious of any country in the world, requiring the demonstration of CCS on a substantial proportion of any new power station and the 100 per cent retrofit of CCS when it is proven.

The document also sets out for consultation the process for funding and taking forward the demonstration projects which will enable us to maintain coal as part of our energy mix, supporting diversity and therefore security of supply.

By acting early, we will ensure that jobs will also be created as Britain develops the expertise in what could be a major new industry, with CCS projects offering the potential to form the hubs for clusters of low-carbon industries.

By driving the development of CCS in this country, we are also, as a country, playing an essential role in tackling climate change. Coal is already widely used in developed and developing countries and its use is expected to grow further: 70 to 80 per cent of the predicted growth in emissions in the coming decades will come from developing countries unless we find a route to low-carbon growth

Copies of the consultation have been placed in the Library and it is available from www.decc.gov.uk.

EU: Telecoms Council

Statement

Further to the Written Statement concerning the positions that HMG intended to take at the Telecommunications Council, held on 11 June 2009, I am pleased to be able to report back on the main conclusions and topics of discussion.

The Telecommunications Council took place on 11 June 2009 under the chair of the Czech presidency. Andy Lebrecht, the deputy permanent representative in Brussels, represented the United Kingdom. Much of the discussion was taken up by two main items, an informal and off-the-agenda discourse on the review of the EU regulatory framework from electronic communications networks and services and a formal table-round on European network and information security policy.

On the review after an introduction by the presidency (in which it regretted that it had been unable to preside over a final agreement), Commissioner Reding suggested that, while she understood the concerns of member states over the introduction of Amendment 138 (the clause that would make any internet disconnection subject to judicial review), she was more worried about a delay in the adoption of the framework that would occur if the council decided on a conciliation process. In response, the vast majority of member states said that they could not accept the EP amendment, some noting that it potentially interfered with national competencies. The UK noted that the amendment was unacceptable both in legal and policy terms, noting how it could constrain future decisions of the Government. In terms of a future conciliation process, the vast majority of member states (including the UK) indicated their wish to see discussion limited to Amendment 138 with other (agreed) issues not being reopened. Most member states were also happy to leave the question as to whether council should reject the whole package or just the better regulation directive, which contains Amendment 138, to the presidency.

The presidency concluded that, while a majority of member states wanted the framework adopted quickly, there was a strong majority that rejected Amendment 138 and so the next step would be conciliation.

On the formal discussion on European network and information security policy, Commissioner Reding introduced the Commission’s communication by noting that a breakdown in the critical telecoms infrastructure in the next five years was more likely now as a result of security flaws. She asked member states to take the threat seriously and to reflect on the role that the European Network and Information Security Agency (ENISA) may need to take. She noted the Commission’s intention to publish proposals concerning the reform of the ENISA mandate by April 2010.

Following this, during a wide-ranging exchange of views, the majority of member states endorsed the need for a pan-EU (or even global) approach to information security and for enhanced co-operation between member states. All that spoke, with the exception of the UK and Hungary, also called for ENISA’s term and remit to be automatically extended. The UK, while also welcoming the Commission’s approach, noted that a future role for ENISA should be discussed within the context of an overall policy discussion on information and security and critical infrastructure protection.

The council then moved on to three items under any other business, the first of which was on “Internet of Things—An Action Plan for Europe—Information from the Commission”, where the Commission noted that it would shortly be issuing a communication on the matter; a report from the presidency on the ministerial conference entitled Safer Internet for Children (Prague, 20 April 2009), where the Commissioner thanked the presidency for an important conference; and “Internet Governance: The Next Steps”, where, Commissioner Reding noted the imminent publication of a communication addressing, among other issues, the future of ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers).

Scottish and Northern Ireland Banknotes

Statement

My honourable friend the Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury (Kitty Ussher) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

Today I am publishing a consultation document on secondary legislation made under Part 6 of the Banking Act 2009, regarding arrangements underpinning the commercial issuance of Scottish and Northern Ireland banknotes. Copies of the document, entitled The Banking Act 2009 (Scottish and Northern Ireland Banknotes) Regulations 2009: A Consultation, have been deposited in the Library of the House and the Vote Office and will be available on the HM Treasury website.

Terrorism Act

Statement

My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for the Home Department (Alan Johnson) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

I am pleased to say that Lord Carlile of Berriew QC has completed his report on the operation of the Terrorism Act 2000 and Part 1 of the Terrorism Act 2006 in 2008, which will be laid before the House today.

I am grateful to Lord Carlile for his detailed report and have considered his recommendations fully. Following consultation within my department and with other relevant departments and agencies, I am also pleased to lay before the House today my response to Lord Carlile’s recommendations.

Copies of both Lord Carlile’s report and the response will be available in the Vote Office.

UK Trade and Investment

Statement

With my right honourable friend, the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, I am pleased to inform the House that in these difficult times for the global economy, the UK is maintaining its status as a world-class business destination.

UK Trade and Investment has announced today, in its launch of UK Inward Investment Results 2008-09, that there were 1,744 direct investments in the UK by foreign-owned companies between 1 April 2008 and 31 March 2009, as reported by UK Trade and Investment and its partner agencies in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the English regional development agencies. This is an increase of 11 per cent on the year before and confirms that international business has continued to select the UK as the preferred investment location in Europe, second only globally to the United States of America. Through this foreign direct investment, 78,540 new and safeguarded jobs have been delivered to the UK.

At a time of global economic downturn, inward investment is a long-term decision for any company seeking to grow internationally. In the current climate, more investors are seeking to locate in the UK than anywhere else in Europe, helping to underpin the long-term economic prospects of the UK’s business environment. The number of new projects has increased by 26 per cent from 653 in 2007-08 to 827 in 2008-09 and there were 460 expansions by existing investors, up by 5 per cent from 436 the previous year. In line with reduced global market liquidity, the number of acquisitions, joint ventures and mergers taking place is down 6 per cent from 484 in 2007-08 to 457 in 2008-09.

Companies are seeking to invest internationally earlier in their life cycles than at any time previously to fund their growth. The UK has positioned itself as a springboard for global growth for companies seeking to grow both in the UK and internationally from a UK base. UK Trade and Investment is the government organisation leading support for such companies in the international business environment.

I am arranging for a copy of the UK inward investment report 2008-09 to be placed in the Library of the House.