§ Mr. Hardy
To ask the President of the Board of Trade (1) what action he will take to recover the levy paid to Nuclear Electric in the current financial year following the publication of the most recent figures regarding the cost of decommissioning nuclear power stations;
(2) what assessment he has made of the effect on costs of decommissioning power stations recently published by the nuclear industry on the validity of the estimates on which the fossil fuel levy was based; and what plans he has to reduce or end the levy.
§ Mr. Eggar
The fossil fuel levy enables the full costs of nuclear generation in England and Wales, including making provision for the costs of decommissioning Nuclear Electric's stations, to be met. The suMs to be raised by the levy over the period 1990–1998 were determined in 1990 in the light of Nuclear Electric's best estimates at that time of the full costs of its stations and in the light of reductions in these costs which Nuclear Electric aimed to achieve. This is reflected in the fact that the amount raised for Nuclear Electric from the levy is schedule to decline in real terms up to 1998, providing the company with an incentive to reduce its costs. The levy arrangements in respect of nuclear power are due to end in 1998.
The House of Commons Trade and Industry Committee made certain recommendations in respect of the levy in its report "British Energy Policy and the Market for Coal" (HC 237). The Government will take account of these recommendations in their review of the future prospects for nuclear power.