§ Mr. Barron
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy when the final report of the coal task force is to be published; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Heathcoat-Amory
The report of the coal task force about the way forward for coal research development and demonstration in the United Kingdom was published in August as a consultation document. This has led to a substantial number of comments from United Kingdom industry and overseas organisations. The great majority of the comments we have received acknowledged the thoroughness of the work undertaken by the coal task force. The Department is in the process of reviewing the comments and in some cases we may need to seek further clarification concerning the technical issues raised by the consultation. The Department intends to publish the results of the consultation process and its response next year.
The completion of this review is not holding up the initiation of new coal R and D projects. In partnership with United Kingdom industry, British Coal and overseas agencies we have recently launched five new clean coal projects with a contract value of £20 million. A number of further projects are at the planning stage for which announcements will be made in due course.