§ Mr. Hanley
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what response he has had to his invitation to apply for onshore exploration licences in the second round which he announced on 21 July.
§ Mr. Peter Morrison
The second onshore round closed on 28 October and I am pleased to report that 78 applications were received from a total of 79 companies either as individual applicants or members of a group of applicants. This response underlines the continuing interest in onshore exploration in Great Britain. The results of the round, which I hope to announce early next year, should help to maintain the momentum generated by the first round.