§ Mr. Clapham
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what discussions he has had about extending the domestic gas supply network in the United Kingdom; and what proposals there are for such extensions. 
§ Mr. Battle
This is a matter for the Director General of Gas Supply (DGSS) who has duties under the Gas Act 1986 (as amended) to exercise his relevant functions to ensure that reasonable demands for gas conveyed through pipes are met where it is economical, and that there is effective competition in the conveyance of gas to new areas. There are now some seven Public Gas Transporters (PGTs). A consumer seeking a gas connection can either seek a connection from a PGT; purchase and lay the pipe himself, or his PGT can use the system of supplemental charges whereby the cost of the connection is recovered over a protracted period of time through an additional charge on each unit of gas used. I understand that a number of PGTs continue to be granted geographical extensions to their licences and that a growing number of premises is being connected to the main gas system.