2010

574 – Biofuels – 7 June 2010

Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what her policy is on increasing the number of anaerobic digestion facilities for the production of biogas. [574]

Richard Benyon: We will introduce measures to promote a large increase in energy from waste through anaerobic digestion. Central to this will be work to facilitate an increase in the number of anaerobic digestion facilities producing biogas from waste.

2546 – Renewable Energy – 15 June 2010

Michael Fallon: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what his plans are for the future of the Renewable Heat Incentive Scheme; and if he will make a statement.[2546]

Gregory Barker: The Government are committed to increasing the amount of renewable heat in the UK; this is a crucial part of ensuring we meet our renewables targets, cutting carbon and ensuring energy security.

We are currently looking at the renewable heat incentive (RHI) proposals. Clearly there are benefits to the scheme, but we must also consider the impact of the costs, particularly given the financial constraints we must work within and the potential impact that funding options could have on vulnerable people.

We are aware that there is uncertainty in the renewable heating industry and want to provide certainty and clarity as quickly as possible, but must make sure that we make the right decision.

We will look to make an announcement on the future of the proposed scheme as soon as possible.

HL974 – Energy: Power Stations – 7 July 2010

Lord Jenkin of Roding: To ask Her Majesty’s Government , in view of the recommendations of the Renewables Advisory Board, when they will announce their policy on future methods of support for existing and new-build biomass power stations.[HL974]

Lord Marland (The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change): The consultation on grandfathering support for dedicated biomass, anaerobic digestion and energy from waste under the renewables obligation closed on 28 May and we are currently considering the responses. I expect to announce the outcome shortly.

7119 – Renewable Energy: Heating – 13 July 2010

Stephen Mosley: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what steps he is taking to encourage the take-up of renewable heating systems. [7119]

Gregory Barker: The Government are committed to an ambitious agenda on renewable heat. Analysis by DECC has suggested that under one scenario in which the UK meets its target for 15% of total energy to come from renewable sources by 2020, around 12% of UK heat demand could be met by renewable heat. As of 2007 only around 1.1 % of UK heat demand was met from renewable sources.

The Government are therefore committed to tackling the financial and non-financial barriers faced by the renewable heat sector. In particular we are currently looking closely at the renewable heat incentive (RHI) proposals. We will look to make an announcement on the future of the proposed RHI scheme as soon as possible.

20778 & 20779 – Forests – 2 November 2010

Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions she has had with the Forestry Commission on sales from the public forest estate. [20778]

Mr Paice: The Forestry Commission is a non-ministerial Government Department that reports to the DEFRA Secretary of State; The Forestry Commission has been closely involved in discussions on the new approach to ownership and management of woodlands and forests.

Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what plans she has for the sale of the public forest estate in (a) the Forest of Dean, (b) the New Forest and (c) Sherwood Forest; [20779]

(2) what plans she has for sales from the public forest estate; [20780]

(3) how many hectares of the public forest estate the Forestry Commission plans to sell. [20781]

Mr Paice: DEFRA and the Forestry Commission will consult the public on proposals regarding the public forest estate. We will invite views from a wide range of potential private and civil society partners on a number of new ownership options while protecting public benefits. I envisage a managed programme of reform to further develop a competitive, thriving and resilient forestry sector that includes many sustainably managed woods operating as parts of viable land-based businesses. No decisions have been made in relation to any individual sites.

21095 – Renewables Obligation: Parliamentary Scrutiny – 2 November 2010

James Wharton: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change if he will bring forward proposals to establish a mechanism for parliamentary scrutiny of the administration of the renewables obligation. [21095]

Gregory Barker: The Electricity Act 1989 as amended by the Energy Act 2008 places a duty on Ofgem to administer the renewables obligation, requiring it to ensure compliance of, and make payments from the buyout fund to, those licensed suppliers upon whom the obligation falls.

The accounting officer for Gas and Electricity Markets Authority is accountable to Parliament for the actions of Ofgem. Parliament votes Ofgem’s estimate, which includes appropriating in aid the renewables obligation administration costs. Through the estimates process and select committees, Parliament has the opportunity to scrutinise all of Ofgem’s running costs, including the administration of the renewables obligation. Ofgem also publishes annual reports setting out details of its administration of the renewables obligation, these are publicly available and made available to Parliament.

25390 – Biofuels – 22 November 2010

Chris Williamson: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change if he will commission a study of the global warming potential of (a) black carbon emitted in the UK and (b) black carbon emitted by biomass plants in the UK. [25390]

Gregory Barker: The Department has no current plans to commission a study specifically on the global warming potential of black carbon emitted in the UK or from UK biomass plant but the need for this is under review. However, the Department is currently funding as part of the Met Office Hadley Centre Climate Programme a number of important studies on the climate impacts of black carbon more generally.

21380 – Renewables Obligation – 23 November 2010

Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of the renewables obligation in each year (a) between 2002-03 and 2010-11 and (b) of the 2010 spending review period. [21380]

Justine Greening: I have been asked to reply.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has classified the renewables obligation as involving imputed tax and spending. The ONS’s estimates of the historic tax and spend through the renewables obligation can be found in Table 11.1 of the 2010 Blue Book. This can be found at:

http://www.statistics.gov.uk/downloads/theme_economy/bluebook2010.pdf

Forecasts are the responsibility of the Independent Office of Budget Responsibility.

25379 & 25380 – Biofuels – 23 November 2010

Chris Williamson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what information she has on the emissions of (a) particulates, (b) volatile organic compounds and (c) nitrogen oxide arising from the thermal treatment of biomass in the process of making it suitable for combustion. [25379]

Richard Benyon: DEFRA does not hold information on the emission of these pollutants from the treatment of biomass in the process of making it suitable for combustion.

Chris Williamson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what reports she has received on the incidence of blue haze arising from thermal treatment of biomass in the process of making it suitable for combustion within the UK. [25380]

Richard Benyon: DEFRA is not aware of any reports on the incidence of blue haze arising from thermal treatment of biomass in the process of making it suitable for combustion from within the UK.

25377 – Air Pollution: Biomass – 23 November 2010

Chris Williamson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate he has made of the effects on (a) mortality and (b) morbidity of air quality pollutants emitted by biomass plants in the UK. [25377]

Richard Benyon: I have been asked to reply.

Biomass plants emit, in particular, fine particles (PM2.5) and nitrogen oxides. No estimates of current mortality, or morbidity, specifically resulting from emissions from these plants in the UK, have been made.

A general assessment of the health impacts of PM2.5, based on 2008 air quality data, estimated that man made emissions of PM2.5 reduced the average life expectancy of people living in the UK by 6 months at an annual cost of £15 billion within the range of £8 to £17 billion. Biomass combustion in 2008 was estimated to emit 7.6% of the UK total PM2.5 emissions.

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