§ Mr. Ainger
To ask the President of the Board of Trade what criteria he used in deciding to exclude from the 14th licensing round 35 blocks identified as highly sensitive but nominated for inclusion by the oil industry; and if he will list the blocks.
§ Mr. Eggar
Decisions on whether to offer environmentally sensitive blocks for licence in the 14th Round were taken on the basis of the following criteriawhether the environmental sensitivities identified could be protected by imposing strict conditions on any licences awarded;whether there were objections to the licensing of the block from other Government Departments and the combination of restrictions would have made exploration impractical; and the degree of company interest in the blocks.
Since other Departments' objections were provided in confidence, I am unable to list the blocks.