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Written Parliamentary Questions: 7th February 2006

Predictive Diallers (DoH)

Q: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many calls were made from call centres in her Department in 2004–05 using predictive diallers; how many such calls resulted in contact being made with the recipient without a Government agent available to talk to them; and what assessment she has made of the likely impact of Ofcom's policy on silent calls on the use of predictive diallers in departmental call centres.(John Hemming)
A:The Department has a single call centre, part of a customer service directorate. This centre does not use predictive dialling. (Jane Kennedy, Minister of State (Quality and Patient Safety), Department of Health)

Fuel Duty

Q: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the level of fuel duty for a liquid fuel produced from (a) biomass and (b) waste cooking oil that is (i) diesel quality and (ii) not diesel quality. (John Hemming)
A:I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave him on 15 December 2005, Official Report, column 2265W. (John Healey, Financial Secretary, HM Treasury)

Energy Imports

Q: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the peak import rate of gas into the United Kingdom via the Bacton Interconnector has been to date in winter 2005–06; and what the average rate was for the 10 highest days.(John Hemming)
A:In the period 1 October 2005 to 24 January 2006, the highest daily import of natural gas through the Bacton-Zeebrugge Interconnector was 379 GWh; this occurred on 9 January. The average rate for the ten highest consecutive days was 310 GWh per day (359 GWh per day based on absolute days). (Malcolm Wicks, Minister for Energy, Department of Trade and Industry)

Biodiesel (Environmental Impact)

Q: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what environmental impact assessment has been carried out into the process that converts vegetable oils into biodiesel of diesel quality.(John Hemming)
A:The most common process for converting vegetable oil into biodiesel is trans-esterification. This process is well known from years of use in the oleochemical sector. However, the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership will be looking at the specific environmental impacts of biodiesel processing as part of their work on developing draft environmental standards for biofuels. The impacts in terms of pollution to air, land and water are controlled by the Environment Agency. A pollution prevention control permit is required where biodiesel is being produced for own-use by six or more people or for commercial operations producing more than 5,000 litres a year. The processing of biodiesel from waste cooking oil and tallow is also subject to waste management controls. Various studies have assessed the greenhouse gas impact across the whole production process from raw material to finished biodiesel. UK-produced biodiesel typically gives greenhouse gas savings of around 55 per cent. compared to fossil diesel. (Elliot Morley, Minister of State (Climate Change and Environment), Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

Independent Sector Treatment Centres

Q: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment she has made of the impact of independent sector treatment centres (ISTCs) on the morale of NHS staff; and whether her Department has conducted a survey of the opinion of NHS staff on the effectiveness of ISTCs. (John Hemming)
A:No such assessments or surveys have been undertaken. (Liam Byrne, Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department of Health)

Private Finance Initiative Schemes

Q: To ask the Secretary of State for Health

(1) what sign offs are required before a guarantee can be provided by her Department for private finance initiative schemes for NHS foundation trusts;

(2) how much has been guaranteed by her Department for the University Hospital Birmingham NHS Trust private finance initiative scheme;

(3) what the current status is of the proposed University Hospital Birmingham private finance initiative rebuild; and if she will make a statement.
(John Hemming)
A:The trust's full business case (FBC) has been submitted to the Department for approval; the trust is currently clarifying a number of points which have been raised by the Department. Subject to approval by the Department, the FBC will be forwarded to HM Treasury for approval by officials and Ministers.

In common with other foundation trust private finance initiative (PFI) schemes with a capital value in excess of £0 million, the Secretary of State for Health, the PFI consortium and its funders will sign a deed of safeguard prior to financial close. The effect of the deed of safeguard is to make the Secretary of State liable should the trust be unable to meet its payments to the operator of the PFI scheme.(Liam Byrne, Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department of Health)

Crime Prevention

Q: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what research he has commissioned on the effects on recidivism of the use of cautions for crimes of robbery.(John Hemming)
A:No research has been commissioned which directly addresses this issue. (Fiona Mactaggart, Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Home Office)

Nuclear Energy

Q: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what proportion of electricity used in the UK was produced from nuclear energy in the latest year for which figures are available. (John Hemming)
A:In 2004, the latest full year for which data are available, 19 per cent. of the electricity supplied to customers in the UK was from nuclear sources. (Malcolm Wicks, Minister for energy, Department of Trade and Industry)

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