HC Deb 10 January 2000 vol 342 cc9-10W
Mr. Wigley

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will reply to the letter of 18 October sent by Nigel Petrie on behalf of Edison Mission Energy to Mr. L. Jaero of his Department; and if he will make a statement on how this issue has been handled by his Department. [103737]

Ms Armstrong

The letter concerned the rateable value to be prescribed for pumped-storage energy schemes as part of the current revaluation of non-domestic rates. There are no pumped-storage schemes in England. The values of the plants at Dinorwig and Ffestiniog, which were the subject of Edison Mission Energy's letter, will be prescribed by the National Assembly for Wales.

The letter followed a series of meetings between electricity producers and officials from the Department, the Scottish Executive, the National Assembly for Wales and the Valuation Office Agency.

The Department copied the Company's letter to the Valuation Office Agency, who advise both the Department and the National Assembly for Wales on rating matters. However, officials mistakenly thought that Edison Mission Energy was aware of the constitutional position and that they had written separately to the National Assembly. The letter was not, therefore, forwarded to the Assembly and no reply was sent to the Company.

I regret this misunderstanding, which came to light when the Company wrote again to the Department on 17 December. The Department replied on 20 December and copied both the letters of 17 December and 18 October to officials in the National Assembly for Wales and the Scottish Executive.