Skip to main content

Written Answers

Volume 406: debated on Monday 9 June 2003

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

Written Answers To Questions

Monday 9 June 2003

Prime Minister

Iraq

To ask the Prime Minister what assessment he has made of the impact on the risk from al-Qaeda terrorist attacks on the UK of the Coalition invasion of Iraq. [115566]

The terrorist threat remains real and serious. As recent events have shown, no country is immune from attack, and it is simply not possible to guarantee against more attacks in the future. However, the Government remain resolute in their determination to defeat terrorism regardless of its source.

To ask the Prime Minister what guarantees will be offered to serving members of the intelligence services wishing to give evidence to the Intelligence and Security Committee inquiry into the Government's conduct and preparation for the war in Iraq that legal or disciplinary action will not be instituted against them as a consequence of their submissions. [117921]

It is for the Intelligence and Security Committee, in accordance with section 10(4) and Schedule 3 of the Intelligence Services Act 1994, to establish the procedures and operation of their inquiry. I anticipate that the Committee will be taking evidence from members of the intelligence and security agencies in their normal way.

Solicitor-General

Overseas Trips

To ask the Solicitor General if she will list each of the overseas trips made by herself and other members of her ministerial team in 2002; and what the (a) purpose and (b) cost of each trip was. [101839]

[holding answer 12 March 2003]: Since 1999 this Government have published an annual list of all visits overseas undertaken by Cabinet Ministers costing £500 or more during each financial year. The Government have also published on an annual basis the cost of all Ministers' visits overseas. Copies of the lists are available in the Libraries of the House.Information for 1997–98 was included in the 1999 list. The overall cost of Ministers' visits for the years 1995–96 and 1996–97 was most recently provided with the 2001 list. The information for 2002–03 will be published as soon as possible after the end of the financial year.All travel is undertaken fully in accordance with the rules set out in the Ministerial Code and Travel by Ministers, copies of which are available in the Libraries of the House.

Sickness Absence

To ask the Solicitor General how many staff in the Department were on long term sick leave in each of the last five years. [109262]

[holding answer 28 April 2003]: The information requested is as follows.

Crown Prosecution Service

The numbers of staff in the Crown Prosecution Service who have had periods of long-term sick leave (20 calendar days or more) in each of the last five years are listed in the table.

Year

Number
of people

Total number
of employees

Percentage
of employees

199857260668.7
1999762613912.4
2000855622013.7
2001886621614.3
2002915675913.5

Serious Fraud Office

The number of staff in the Serious Fraud Office who have had periods of long term sick leave in each of the last three years are listed in the table.

Number of staff absent

Year

due to long term sick leave

20028
20013
20005

It is not possible to provide information on long term sick absences in 1998 and 1999 without incurring disproportionate cost, as the requested information is not readily available for these years. In calculating the above figures, 'long term' is defined as being a continuous spell of sick absences lasting 4 weeks or more.

The number of staff taking long term sick leave in the Treasury Solicitor's Department (defined as one month or more) in each of the last five years was:

Number

1998–9924
1999–200030
2000–0141
2001–0247
2002–0346

These figures include Legal Secretariat to the Law Officers staff.

HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate

Since HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate was established as a separate unit in 2000 only four members of staff have taken long term sick leave of more than four weeks.

Special Advisers

To ask the Solicitor General what the salary bill was for special advisers in her Department in 2002–03; and what it is expected to be in 2003–04. [108494]

[holding answer 14 April 2003]: None of the Departments for which the Attorney-General holds ministerial responsibility employs special advisers.

Church Commissioners

Senior Clergy (Freehold Status)

To ask the hon. Member for Middlesbrough, representing the Church Commissioners, what plans the Church Commissioners have to review the status of the freehold in terms of senior clergy. [118187]

As the hon. Gentleman knows, the Archbishops' Council has set up a group to review clergy terms of service. The first task of the group is to consider ways of improving security for those clergy who do not have freehold of office or employment contracts. The subsequent task, as defined by the terms of reference, is to consider the future of the freehold, irrespective of seniority.

Environment, Food And Rural Affairs

Abandoned Cars

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what effect the charge on the disposal of cars no longer licensed has had on the number of abandoned cars. [115930]

Local authorities have the power to charge the person who they consider has abandoned a vehicle—for removal, storage and disposal costs—irrespective of whether a vehicle is licensed or not.Local authorities have, however, had increasing difficulty in enforcing these charges because of the ease with which vehicles can fall out of the current UK vehicles register. New measures being introduced in January 2004, including an automatic £80 fine for failure to re-license a vehicle on time, should help remedy this problem by ensuring that a vehicle has a traceable keeper. If local authorities can enforce charges against those who abandon cars, this should act as a deterrent to their doing so.

Action Energy

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions she has had with (a) the Carbon Trust and (b) Action Energy about changes imposed by a private company in the contracts with consultants to bring business to Action Energy. [114705]

The Carbon Trust is a private company created in April 2001 to take the lead on energy efficiency in the business and public sectors, and to support the development of the low carbon sector in the UK.Action Energy is the UK's main energy efficiency information, advice and outreach programme for non-domestic organisations in the public and private sectors.My Department, and the Devolved Administrations, provide the Carbon Trust with grant funding, subject to an agreed business plan for the Carbon Trust and its programmes (including Action Energy). The Business Plan, agreed with my Department and the Devolved Administrations, describes how the Carbon Trust intends to improve service delivery of Action Energy, in particular updated delivery targets. The management of Action Energy and on-going contractual arrangements are a matter for the Carbon Trust.

Air Quality

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what representations she has received concerning her Department's publication of report on the Review of the National Air Quality Strategy. [117532]

A summary of responses to the report on the Review of the National Air Quality Strategy was published in the Air Quality Strategy for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland: A consultation document, issued in August 1999 by the then Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions. The Government's current Air Quality Strategy was published in January 2000. Following a review of three of the pollutants in the Strategy, my Department published a consultation document in September 2001 on proposals for tighter air quality objectives for particles, benzene, carbon monoxide and a new objective for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. A summary of responses to these proposals was published on the Department's website in August last year when we announced the adoption of the new objectives. These were formally incorporated into the Air Quality Strategy by an Addendum published in February this year.Copies of these documents can be found on my Department's website at http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/airqualitv/index.htm

Asbestos

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether a licence to operate a hazardous waste site includes permission (a) to store and (b) to process asbestos waste. [116201]

Waste management licences are site specific and are subject to individual conditions regulating the activity in question. Whether a licence for a hazardous waste site includes permission to store and process asbestos waste will depend on

  • (a) what has been applied for in respect of that site; and
  • (b) what the Agency has permitted in that particular case.
  • This will depend on whether the land in question has the benefit of the necessary planning permission.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how asbestos at waste disposal sites is classified; and if she will make a statement. [116206]

    All asbestos waste is classified as hazardous waste for the purposes of disposal and should go to landfill, either to a designated hazardous waste site or to a stabilised cell for non-reactive hazardous wastes within a non-hazardous waste site.For the purposes of classification, landfill sites in England and Wales are regulated by the Landfill (England and Wales) Regulations 2002. In those Regulations, "hazardous waste" is defined as any waste as defined in Article 1(4) of the Hazardous Waste Directive (Directive 91/689/EEC).

    To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will list the addresses of waste disposal and recycling sites in the United Kingdom licensed by the Environment Agency to accept bonded asbestos. [116207]

    The Environment Agency has provided a list of sites which are specifically licensed to accept bonded asbestos. A copy of this has been placed in the Library of the House.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what monitoring of bonded asbestos at waste disposal sites other than operator pollution risk appraisals is carried out by the Environment Agency. [116209]

    There is no specific monitoring required of bonded asbestos at waste disposal sites.Each case will be considered using risk assessment methodology and any necessary arrangements put in place accordingly.

    Cotswold Conservation Board

    To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps she is taking to ensure that parish representation on the proposed Cotswold Conservation Board accurately reflects the geographical spread of parishes within the area of outstanding natural beauty. [117610]

    The Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 requires at least 20 per cent. of the total membership of an AONB Conservation Board to be drawn from the constituent parishes for that area.This Department is currently considering the responses to an informal consultation on a draft Establishment Order for a Cotswolds Conservation Board, which would include eight parish members. The draft Order provides for a single parish member to be elected from each of eight groupings of parishes so as to provide the widest possible geographical representation. These proposals take account of discussions with the Cotswold Partnership and each parish in the Cotswolds has been consulted on them.

    Emissions

    To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps her Department is taking to ensure the compatibility of the new EU emissions trading scheme with the Energy Efficiency Commitment introduced in April 2002. [116172]

    This Department has the lead responsibility in Government for the EU emissions Trading scheme. The Government will take into account all existing policies, including the first Energy Efficiency Commitment, that affect emissions of sectors that will come into the EU emission trading scheme in preparing the draft of the UK's national allocation plan. We will also incorporate estimates of the impact on emissions from forthcoming policies in determining the allocation of allowances.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what progress has been made by her Department towards meeting the target of reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 60 per cent. by 2050; and what representations she has received. [116180]

    The Energy White Paper accepted the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution's (RCEP) recommendation that the UK should put itself on a path towards a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions of some 60 per cent. from current levels by about 2050. The Energy White Paper sets out a long term strategic vision for energy policy, setting out long-term strategies and shorter-term policies to put us on this path. A cross-governmental network, the Sustainable Energy Policy Network, will ensure that the aims set out in the Energy White Paper are delivered. The network will report annually on the progress being made towards these aims.Provisional data for carbon dioxide emissions are now available for 2002. This data shows emissions fell by an estimated 8 to 9 per cent. between 1990 and 2002, which demonstrates that the Government are making progress towards the domestic goal to reduce carbon dioxide emissions to 20 per cent. below 1990 levels by 2010.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what representations she has received concerning progress being made towards the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 12 per cent. by 2012. [116181]

    The UK's target under the Kyoto Protocol is to reduce emissions of a basket of six greenhouse gases to 12.5 per cent. below base year levels by 2008–2012.Data for emissions of the basket of six greenhouse gases for 2001, submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in April 2003, show that emissions fell by 12.3 per cent. between the base year and 2001.Our latest projections also indicate that we are well on course to meet our Kyoto commitment. This conclusion is supported by two recent, independent assessments.The Secretariat of the UNFCCC, in its report on the in-depth review of the UK's Third National Communication (3NC) report, published in May 2003, stated that the UK has put in place a diverse and innovative spectrum of measures to tackle climate change and is on course to meet its Kyoto greenhouse gas emissions target.The Sustainable Development Commission also found, in its audit of the UK Climate Change Programme published in February 2003, that the UK appears very likely to achieve its Kyoto commitment.

    Energy Efficiency

    To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what timetable has been established by her Department for the publication of an implementation plan setting out how the Defra strategy for domestic energy efficiency improvements, as outlined in the Energy White Paper, will be delivered; and if she will make a statement. [114682]

    [holding answer 22 May 2003]: The implementation plan for the energy efficiency strategy set out in the Energy White Paper will be published within a year of the publication of the White Paper. Within the framework of the virtual Sustainable Energy Policy Network, an energy efficiency workstream has been established and this group will be responsible for drawing up this implementation plan.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what targets her Department has for improving energy efficiency; and how she intends to achieve these targets. [116654]

    All departments currently have an interim target of 1 per cent. per annum reductions in (weather-corrected) CO2 emissions from their estate, relative to the base-year 1999–2000. Defra will agree new targets for 2010, based on benchmarking the performance of individual buildings where possible, by the end of this year.This approach should also provide departmental energy managers with an effective management tool to identify the best opportunities for efficiency improvements. Detailed measures will be a matter for individual circumstances.

    Environmental Information

    To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps are being taken by her Department to improve public access to information on (a) air quality and (b) water quality in England and Wales. [117480]

    Defra actively publishes and releases information according to the Freedom of Information Act 2000. Its Publication Scheme can be viewed at www.defra.qov.uk/corporate/opengov/accessinfo.htm. The Information Commissioner has approved the scheme. Defra will also release information on request wherever possible.Policy related air quality information, including the Air Quality Strategy is available on the Defra website (www.defra.qov.uk/environment/airqualitv/). Comprehensive information on past and present air quality and health is published through the Air Quality Information Service on the National Air Quality Information Archive website (www.airqualitv.co.uk), Teletext (page 156) and a freephone helpline (0800 556677). The information is updated hourly. Air Quality is also included in the Government's headline quality of life indicators, which are published annually and announced by means of a press notice. Information is also included in leaflets and reports produced by and on behalf of Defra and the Devolved Administrations.Defra actively reviews and develops the air quality information it publishes. For example, the Archive was relaunched in May 2002 following improvements to the user friendliness of the pages.The Environment Agency is the main provider of environmental information in England under the Environmental Information Regulations. The results of the Agency's General Water Quality Assessment scheme are reported annually and are included in the Government's headline quality of life indicators, which are published annually and announced by means of a press notice. The national and regional results are also published on the Agency's website (www.environmentagency.gov.uk) and in fact sheets and reports, as well as on the Defra website (www.defra.co.uk/news/2002/ 0210Q3a.htm), and the Agency answers an estimated 350,000 queries annually, many of which are related to water quality.As part of the Agency's Freedom of Information Act publication scheme, the water quality grades for each river stretch are included on the Agency's website under 'What's in Your Backyard'. This site is designed to provide easy access for the public to information about their local environment. Water quality sample results are also placed on the agency public registers and available for inspection in every area office.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what representations she has received concerning measures required to improve the quantity and quality of public information on (a) air quality and (b) water quality, broken down by region in England and Wales. [117481]

    As a devolved matter, this answer relates to England.The Department issued a consultation document in January 2001 on the air quality public information bulletin. A summary of the responses to this document are available on http://www.defra.gsi.gov.uk/environment/consult/airpoll/response.htm. The Department is not aware of any other representations concerning access to air quality information in England, which is freely available.

    Hedgerows

    To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many miles of hedgerows there are on the Isle of Wight (a) in total and (b) protected by the Hedgerows Regulations 1997. [105946]

    We have no figures for the total length of hedgerows on the Isle of Wight, nor do we have actual figures for the length of hedgerows protected by the Hedgerows Regulations 1997. However, research carried out in 1999 indicated that more than 70 per cent. of countryside hedgerows may be protected by the Regulations by virtue of the fact that they form an integral part of a pre-1845 field system—a criterion that, when met, allows local planning authorities to refuse applications for removal. As the Regulations also lay down other criteria that can be used to prevent removal, the proportion protected may well be greater than 70 per cent., across the country as a whole.

    Ingram Works

    To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent estimate the Environment Agency has made of the amount of waste tonnage being disposed of weekly at the waste disposal and landfill site operated by Harry Sanders Ltd. at Ingram Works in Leeds. [116328]

    The most recent waste return submitted by the operator to the Environment Agency indicates that the site received 1,370.5 tonnes of waste in the period from 1 January 2003 to 31 March 2003. This equates to a weekly input of 114.2 tonnes.

    International Whaling Commission

    To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the outcomes of the annual International Whaling Commission meeting in Japan. [117101]

    The outcomes of the 54th annual meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC), held in Japan in May 2002. were detailed in my letter of 10 July 2002 to hon. Members of the House. Copies of the letter were placed in the Library of the House.

    Ospar Commission

    To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how often the countries which belong to the OSPAR Commission have met since July 1998 on matters within its auspices; what subjects they discussed; and what issues or matters were implemented. [116124]

    The OSPAR Commission, comprising representatives of each of the contracting parties, meets annually. It is supported by six committees (hazardous substances, biodiversity, eutrophication, radioactive substances, offshore oil and gas production, and assessment and monitoring) and a number of sub-committees, each of which also meets annually. The Commission has discussed progress on each of the six issues each year, and has agreed Decisions, Recommendation, guidelines and joint work programmes as appropriate in order to implement the OSPAR strategies. The Summary Records produced after each meeting provide a publicly available account of issues discussed and measures agreed—they may be found at: www.ospar.org

    To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps have been taken by the countries forming the OSPAR Commission to agree a baseline from which to measure whether reductions in radioactive discharges have taken place. [116125]

    [holding answer 3 June 2003]: In 2001, OSPAR's Radioactive Substances Committee set up working groups to recommend baselines for discharges, concentrations and dose. The final reports of the working groups were considered by the Committee at its meeting in February 2003. The Committee has been unable to reach agreement on the discharges baseline. It is expected that the issue will be resolved at the OSPAR Commission meeting in June this year.

    Waste Management

    To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what total weight of waste she estimates will be (a) recycled, (b) landfilled, (c) incinerated and (d) treated in other ways in the year 2010; and what percentage change on current figures this represents for each of the options. [114254]

    No estimates have yet been made of what weight of waste will be dealt with in each of the ways listed in 2010. The amount of waste treated under the different waste management options will depend on the actions of householders, waste disposal and collection authorities, business and others, in response to the measures Government have, or intend to, put in place including the targets listed below, to reduce waste growth and increase levels of re-use and recycling.The Landfill Directive requires reductions in the landfill of bio-degradable municipal waste to 75 per cent. of the total amount of bio-degradable municipal waste produced in 1995 by 2010, equivalent to 11.2 million tonnes (including the four year derogation that the UK has indicated that it intends to use).By 2010, the Government's target is to recycle or compost 30 per cent. of householdwaste.The Government's target for commercial and industrial waste is to reduce the amount landfilled in 2005 to 85 per cent. of 1998 levels.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the cost was for external consultants to assist the Environment Agency with the production and guidance relating to waste management in the years 1998 to 2002; and what proportion this expenditure represented of the Environment Agency's total budget for waste management. [115772]

    The Agency spend on external consultants for the production of waste regulation related guidance in each of the years 1998–2002 is approximately £1.5 million per annum. This represents 2.0 per cent. of the Agency's total budget for waste management in the 2002–03 year.

    YearTotal Budget (£m)Proportion (per cent.)
    1998–9965.92.3
    1999–200069.52.2
    2000–0172.82.0
    2001–0273.92.0
    2002–0376.82.0

    To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what plans she has to set (a) commercial waste reduction and (b) commercial waste recycling targets for (i) local authorities and (ii) industrial sectors; [115941](2) what steps are being taken by her Department to encourage the commercial sector to minimise waste and increase recycling rates; [115943](3) what measures her Department is planning to assist local authorities to encourage the commercial sector to

    (a) minimise commercial waste at source, (b) increase recycling and (c) achieve a reduction in commercial waste levels. [115942]

    The Government have set a target to reduce, by 2005–06, the amount of commercial and industrial waste going to landfill to 85 per cent. of 1998 levels. Current estimates suggest that we are on course to meet this target.

    The Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations 1997 (as amended) set targets for the recovery and recycling of packaging waste and provide incentives to minimise the amount of packaging handled. Between 1999 and 2002, the amount of packaging waste sent to landfill fell from 5.7 to 4.4 million tonnes, although the 2002 figure is still provisional at this stage.

    The Government have entered into a voluntary agreement with the newspaper industry, which has seen recycled content of newspapers increase to well over the target of 60 per cent. last year. The Government are looking to enter into more agreements of this kind.

    The Government fund Envirowise, a business support programme dedicated to making businesses more resource efficient, saving money by minimising waste. Last year alone, Envirowise helped UK businesses to achieve annual cost savings of over £175 million, with a reduction of 1.6 million tonnes of solid waste. They also fund the Sustainable Technologies Initiative that provides funding for research and development projects aimed at minimising waste at source.

    There are no plans to set local authority targets for commercial waste, since they have no statutory duty to collect commercial waste unless asked to do so by the business.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps her Department is planning to take to enable local authorities to refuse to dispose of waste that has been imported from other authorities to be landfilled within their areas of responsibility; and if she will make a statement. [115945]

    There are no plans to enable local authorities to refuse to dispose of waste imported from other authorities. The Government have issued guidance to local authorities on preparing municipal waste management strategies, Guidance on Municipal Waste Management Strategies (DETR March 2001); http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/waste/management/guidance/mwms/index.htm and on preparing waste local plans, Planning and Policy Guidance Note 10 on 'Planning and Waste Management'. Under that guidance, local authorities must take account of the proximity principle—which suggests that waste should generally be disposed of as near to its place of production as possible—in determining the Best Practicable Environmental Option for managing waste.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what materials are classified as hazardous waste for the purposes of licensing waste disposal and landfill sites. [116202]

    Landfill sites in England and Wales are regulated by the Landfill (England and Wales) Regulations 2002. In those Regulations, "hazardous waste" is defined as any waste as defined in Article 1(4) of the Hazardous Waste Directive (Directive 91/689/ EEC). For most licensed waste disposal sites other than landfill in the UK the term special waste would be used as defined in Regulation 2 of the Special Waste Regulations 1996. The Government are currently reviewing the Special Waste Regulations in order to bring the terms special and hazardous into line.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many prosecutions have been brought by the Environment Agency for breaking conditions of management site licences in each year since the Agency was established; and how many were successful. [116203]

    The Environment Agency's National Enforcement Database (NEDS) was inaugurated on 1 April 1999. The Agency is able to provide national data on enforcement actions from that date, as follows:

    Total number per calendar year of prosecutions for contravening

    the conditions of a waste management licence contrary to section

    33 (6) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990
    Number
    1999 (from 1 April)17
    200023
    200125
    200228
    2003 (to date)9
    All prosecutions were successful with the exception of one acquittal in 2002.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the difference between special waste and hazardous waste is for the purpose of licensing waste disposal sites. [116329]

    Special waste is the term used in the UK for hazardous waste and is defined in Regulation 2 of the Special Waste Regulations 1996. Hazardous waste is the term defined in the Hazardous Waste Directive (91/ 689/EEC) as a waste featuring on the European hazardous waste list. This list was recently revised and the European Commission brought the new list into force on 1 January 2002. At present, the Special Waste Regulations are still extant in Great Britain and the term "special" waste is still used in many waste management licences. However, some legislation such as the landfill regulations, already refer to "hazardous" waste as defined in the Hazardous Waste Directive. This means that some wastes not defined as special wastes in UK legislation would still have to dealt with in accordance with the requirements for "hazardous" wastes if disposed of to landfill. The Government are also reviewing the Special Waste Regulations and as part of the review the intention is to replace the term "special" with "hazardous", and to transpose the revised hazardous waste list.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many modifications to waste management site licences since 1997 have been regularisation of existing practices at waste disposal and landfill sites. [116332]

    The Environment Agency carry out initiated modifications without a fee from the licensee and they are usually for the purpose of bringing sites into line with new or existing regulatory standards, e.g. Financial Provision, record keeping.

    On this basis, figures are available but only back as far as 1999–2000:

    • 1999–2000—1,463
    • 2000–01—379
    • 2001–02—265
    • 2002–03—211

    Transport

    Biofuels

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport which Department is responsible for co-ordinating Government policy on the development of the use of biofuels. [117542]

    The Department for Transport is responsible for co-ordinating overall Government policy on the use of biofuels in the transport sector. The Chancellor of the Exchequer is, however, responsible for policy on all taxation issues, including duty incentives for biofuels.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what preparations his Department is making for the introduction of the Biofuels Directive later this year; and if he will make a statement. [117543]

    The United Kingdom and other European Union member states are required, under the terms of the recently agreed Directive on the Promotion of Biofuels and other Renewable Fuels for Road Transport, to set their own indicative targets for the use of biofuels and other renewable fuels in their areas. Member states are required to set indicative targets to be met in the years 2005 and 2010, and to notify the European Commission of these targets by July 2005 and July 2006 respectively. The Government will consult key stakeholders in due course on possible indicative targets for biofuels sales and sales of other renewable fuels in the UK, as well as on the most appropriate ways of meeting these targets. Regulations will then be laid before the House in advance of the Directive's transposition date of 31 December 2004.The Government have already put in place a number of measures to incentivise the production and use of biofuels in the UK. These include a 20 pence per litre fuel duty incentive for biodiesel, which came into effect in July 2002. Sales of biodiesel in the UK have increased significantly as a result of this, and are now getting on for a million litres a month. Budget 2003 announced that a similar duty incentive in favour of bioethanol would come into effect in January 2005. It also indicated that the Government are considering how best to give further support to bioethanol produced from lignocellulosic feedstocks, which potentially offers even greater environmental benefits.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport which Minister in his Department is responsible for developing transport policy on the use of biofuels. [117589]

    The Secretary of State for Transport has overall responsibility for developing all transport policies, including policies on biofuels. He is supported in this by myself and by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will take steps to investigate the basis on which car manufacturers impose a lower limit for the use of biofuels in the UK than in the rest of the EU for the purposes of the engine warranty. [117593]

    Almost all new diesel cars can run on biodiesel without any problems and without invalidating the manufacturer's engine warranty, provided that the biodiesel is blended into mineral diesel at a ratio of no more than 5 per cent. biodiesel to 95 per cent. mineral diesel, and provided that the biodiesel itself is of good quality. Higher rates of biodiesel in blends could cause performance problems and engine damage in some vehicles and would currently invalidate most vehicle manufacturer's vehicle warranties, both in the UK and elsewhere.The suitability of any diesel vehicle to run on blends consisting of more than 5 per cent. biodiesel is dependent upon the make and model of the car, rather than the country in which it is sold and used. For example, new Volkswagen diesel cars are warranted to run on 100 per cent. biodiesel anywhere in the EU. Supplies of 100 per cent. biodiesel are not widely available in the UK, however, and studies show that a greater environmental benefit can be achieved by using the available fuel in blends with mineral diesel than by using it as 100 per cent. biodiesel.Bioethanol, which can be used as a blend in petrol cars, is not yet on sale in the UK. Budget 2003 announced that a duty incentive for bioethanol of 20 pence per litre would be introduced in January 2005. Ford has developed a 'flex-fuel' petrol-engined vehicle, which can run on blends of up to 85 per cent. bioethanol, and which is already on sale in some other European countries (notably Sweden). Once bioethanol becomes available in the UK, it is likely that similar vehicles will be sold here, with similar warranties.

    Air Transport Consultation

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many responses his Department has received to the Future of Air Transport-Scotland Consultation document, broken down by local authority area. [118252]

    We have not broken down the number of responses by local authority area. However by 1 June 2003 we had received over 1,500 responses concerning Scotland.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many Future of Air Transport-Scotland consultation documents have been (a) sent out and (b) downloaded. [117093]

    By 1 June over 29,000 paper copies of the Scottish consultation documents had been despatched and 32,000 documents were successfully downloaded from our website.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many consultation forms had been returned from the Midlands Region Airport proposals by 1 June 2003. [117386]

    By 1 June 2003, we received just over 21,000 completed Midlands' questionnaires in response to the consultation.

    Blue Lamp Vehicles

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list classes of vehicles that have an entitlement to use blue lamps; and if he will list regulations that are in force that control the use of blue lamps on vehicles. [117757]

    The Road Vehicles Lighting Regulations 1989 restrict the fitting of blue warning beacons or special warning lamps to emergency vehicles. The meaning of an emergency vehicle in these regulations is defined as a motor vehicle of any of the following descriptions

    (a) a vehicle used for fire brigade, ambulance or police purposes;
    (b) an ambulance, being a vehicle (other than an invalid carriage) which is constructed or adapted for the purposes of conveying sick, injured or disabled persons and which is used for such purposes;
    (c) a vehicle owned by a body formed primarily for the purposes of fire salvage and used for those or similar purposes;
    (d) a vehicle owned by the Forestry Commission or by a local authority and used from time to time for the purposes of fighting fires;
    (e) a vehicle owned by the Secretary of State for Defence and used
  • (i) for the purposes of the disposal of bombs or explosives,
  • (ii) by the Naval Emergency Monitoring Organisation for the purposes of a nuclear accident or an incident involving radioactivity,
  • (iii) by the Royal Air Force Mountain Rescue Service for the purposes of rescue operations or any other emergencies, or
  • (iv) by the Royal Air Force Armament Support Unit;
  • (f) a vehicle primarily used for the purposes of the Blood Transfusion Service provided under the National Health Service Act 1977(a) or under the National Health Service (Scotland) Act 1978(b);
    (g) a vehicle used by Her Majesty's Coastguard or Coastguard Auxiliary Service for the purposes of giving aid to persons in danger or vessels in distress on or near the coast;
    (h) a vehicle owned by the British Coal Corporation and used for the purposes of rescue operations at mines;
    (i) a vehicle owned by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution and used for the purposes of launching lifeboats; and
    (j) a vehicle primarily used for the purposes of conveying any human tissue for transplanting or similar purposes.
    Regulation 27 of the same regulations prohibits the use of warning beacons emitting blue light and special warning lamps by emergency vehicles except (i) at the scene of an emergency (ii) or when it is necessary or desirable either to indicate to persons using the road the urgency of the purpose for which the vehicle is being used, or to warn persons of the presence of the vehicle or hazard on the road.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list the legal instruments that (a) control the behaviour of drivers in vehicles using blue lamps and (b) exempt drivers in vehicles attending emergency incidents from observing speed limits. [117758]

    Regulations on the use of blue lights do not in themselves provide any special privileges for drivers.There are, however, certain relaxations often associated with the use of blue lights. Section 87 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 exempts drivers of vehicles used for fire brigade, ambulance or police purposes from speed limits in an emergency. The Zebra, Pelican and Puffin Pedestrian Crossings Regulations 1997 give qualified exemptions from signals at Pelican and Puffin crossings to vehicles being used for fire brigade, ambulance, national blood service and police purposes. The Traffic Signs Regulations 2002 give similar qualified exemptions from other red light signals and keep right/left arrows to vehicles being used for fire brigade, ambulance, bomb or explosive disposal, national blood service or police purposes.

    British Transport Police

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has to amend the jurisdiction of the British Transport Police in respect of matters outside their immediate operating areas. [117730]

    The current railways jurisdiction of the BTP is provided by the British Transport Commission Act 1949 that allows their officers to act as constables on certain railway property, in the vicinity of this property and elsewhere in matters connected with the railways. This jurisdiction will be replaced by proposals in the Railways and Transport Safety Bill, currently before Parliament, which provides for an officer of the BTP to have all the powers and privileges of a constable on key pieces of railway infrastructure and throughout Great Britain for a purpose connected to a railway or to anything occurring on or in relation to a railway.The Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 provides BTP officers with the powers and privileges of a constable outside the railways in certain urgent circumstances not related to the railways.

    Buses

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will amend the regulations on the passenger capacity of buses to recognise passengers' baggage as a restricting factor. [118033]

    I have no plans to amend the Public Service Vehicles Carrying Capacity Regulations to recognise passenger's baggage as a restricting factor. It would be impracticable to do this as luggage can vary so much in terms of size, weight and shape.The driver of a bus is responsible to ensure the safely of passengers on their vehicle and is permitted to limit the number of passengers and their baggage that may be carried if they believe that it would become a danger.

    Carbon Dioxide Emissions

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to his answer of 4 April 2003, Official Report, column 879W, on CO2 emissions, if he will break down the figures for road transport to show cars and light vans. [117722]

    Annual carbon dioxide (CO2) and other emissions from the transport sector are published each year in the National Atmospheric Emissions Inventory, which is available at www.naei.org.uk, and in Transport Statistics Great Britain, which is available via my Department's website at www.dft.gov.uk. Ratified data are available up to the year 2000. Detailed CO2 emissions for cars and light goods vehicles since 1990 are set out in the following table (all figures are given as megatonnes of carbon equivalents).

    CarsLGV
    199018.763.43
    199118.683.54
    199219.023.60
    199319.133.67
    199418.693.76
    199518.303.86
    199618.934.11
    199719.054.15
    199818.814.32
    199919.064.32
    200018.934.34

    Note:

    Figures given in this table are emissions "by source" and do not include emissions from the production of transport fuels and electricity. "Other transport" includes railways, domestic aviation and military aircraft, shipping, naval vessels and off-road sources. For further details, please see the explanatory notes in the National Atmospheric Emissions Inventory and in Transport Statistic Great Britain.

    Channel Tunnel

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what representations he has made to the French Government in respect of the losses suffered by Road Track Ltd. as a result of the closure by SNCF of the Channel Tunnel and criminal damage committed in French freight yards; and if he will make a statement. [118212]

    Throughout the period of major disruption to freight services from Calais Frethun, the Government made repeated and strenuous representations to the French Government about the effects on UK and foreign businesses and the need for urgent action by the French authorities to restore normal service. The Government have made clear that it is for the individual companies concerned to seek compensation from the French authorities or the railway operator, as some are now doing.

    Community Transport Schemes

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what financial support his Department has given to community transport schemes in each year since 1997. [117528]

    A wide range of community transport services have since 1 May last year been eligible for the first time to receive Bus Service Operators Grant from my Department. 800 community transport organisations have already been accepted as eligible under this scheme. Expenditure in the scheme's first financial year, 2002–03, was £0.6 million and is expected to rise to £3 million this year.Community transport has also benefited significantly since 1998 from support of projects submitted successfully by local authorities to our Rural and Urban Bus Challenge competitions. We estimate that around one-third of the 400 projects supported under these schemes have a community transport element. In total over £120 million has been awarded in Challenge grants to local authorities. However, it is not possible to identify separately the proportion of this total paid by authorities to community transport bodies.In addition, my Department has since 1994 supported the Community Transport Association's Information and Advice Service. Until 2000–01 this grant was £70,000 annually and has been £100,000 annually since then.

    Concessionary Travel

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what percentage of pensioners use the concessionary travel scheme that operates within the Greater London area. [117151]

    While figures for the actual usage of freedom passes are not available, in 2002, 83 per cent.of women over 60 and men over 65 obtained a freedom pass.As men aged 60 to 64 have only been eligible for a freedom pass on age grounds alone since 1 April 2003, there are no reliable figures for this age group.

    Croxley Rail Link

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on the progress of the Croxley Rail Link project. [117407]

    My officials are working with the local authority promoters to develop the case for this scheme in order that it can be assessed within this year's local transport capital settlement.

    Cycles

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether the new requirement for the fitting of a bell for pedal cycles for sale includes a requirement on the owner to have a working bell or other warning device fitted to the machine when it is being ridden. [117387]

    The Pedal Bicycles (Safety) Regulations 2003, which will introduce a requirement for a bell for all new pedal cycles, only covers their supply. There will be no requirement for the owner to have a bell or other warning device when the cycle is in use.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) if he will make it a requirement for the owners of pedal cycles to have working front and rear lights and a rear reflector fitted to the machine; [117404](2) if he will make it a requirement for manufacturers, distributors and retailers of pedal cycles to fit front and rear lights and a rear reflector. [117405]

    The Road Vehicles Lighting Regulations 1989 already require pedal cycles in use on the roads between sunset and sunrise to be fitted with and use front and rear lamps and a rear retro reflector. Lamps and reflectors must be in good working order and lamps must be clean.The Pedal Bicycles (Safety) Regulations 1984 already require a rear reflector to be supplied on all new cycles. As many pedal cycles are never used after dark, the Government have no plans to extend this requirement to include front and rear lamps or to require owners of pedal cycles to have lamps fitted and working at all times.

    Deep Vein Thrombosis

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has to issue guidance to airlines flying to and from the UK to inform passengers of the risks of deep vein thrombosis. [118071]

    The Department of Health issued advice in November 2001 to UK and other airlines flying to and from this country on the risks of deep vein thrombosis. One of the tasks of the new Aviation Health Unit we are setting up within the Civil Aviation Authority will be to advise on keeping guidance such as this up to date.

    Departmental Expenditure

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list departmental expenditure for each year since 1997 and the administration costs limits set for 2003–04. [117733]

    My Department came into existence in May 2002. However, comparative figures for the financial years 1998–99 onwards are available in the Department's Annual Report 2003 (Cm 5907), copies of which have been placed in the Libraries of the House.Total public spending for the financial years 1998–99 to 2001–02, estimated total public spending for 2002–03, and planned total public spending for 2003–04 to 2005–06 is shown in Table Al of the Report. Expenditure against administration costs limits from 1998–99 to 2001–02, estimated outturn for 2002–03 and the administration costs limits set for 2003–04 to 2005–06 are shown in Table A5.Information for 1997–98 is not available on a comparable basis.

    Equal Treatment And Non-Discrimination Directive

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment has been made of the effect upon (a) the recruitment of foreign seafarers and (b) the UK Ships Register of implementing the EU Directive on equal treatment and non-discrimination. [118282]

    A Regulatory Impact Analysis was completed when the implementation of the EU Article 13 Race Directive was under consideration.

    Ferry Passengers

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will estimate the current percentage of passenger traffic using ferry links from UK ports who arrive at each point by public transport. [118339]

    Highways Infrastructure (Depreciation)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what account is taken within the Strategic Planning Framework for Highways Maintenance Expenditure for depreciation of highways infrastructure; and how much such expenditure was in the latest year for which figures are available. [118097]

    For 2001–02, the latest year for which figures are available, the Highways Agency allowed £175,333,000 for depreciation of the trunk road network in England. This figure relates almost entirely to bridges and tunnels, as the roads themselves are depreciated on a renewals accounting basis; that is, the level of expenditure on maintenance is treated as a proxy for the depreciation charge on the asset. Further details are available in the Agency's Annual Report and Accounts 2001–02, copies of which are available in the Libraries of the House.Local highway authorities in England are not currently required to value their road assets nor to establish a basis on which to depreciate them. The total provision for local highway maintenance in the 10-Year-Plan is £30.5 billion, of which £9.2 billion is capital funding and £21.3 billion is revenue funding. This is linked to the Plan target of eliminating the backlogs in road maintenance by the end of the Plan period.

    Licence Plates

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the number of cloned vehicle licence plates on UK roads; and if he will make a statement. [117666]

    Statistics on the number of cloned vehicles in use on UK roads are not available. However, evidence from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency's Automated Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) systems suggests that cloning is being used by a small minority of motorists to evade fines and charges.

    Motor Cycles

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will introduce a compulsory registration scheme for off road motorcycles. [117408]

    There are no plans to do so. Off road motorcycling causes nuisance from time to time, but is not a major problem. It does not warrant a national registration scheme, which would be costly to set up and administer, and difficult to enforce.

    Oil Tanker Safety

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions have taken place with other EU member states regarding oil tanker safety since the wreck of the Prestige. [118281]

    At the Transport Council in December 2002, 20 Conclusions on oil tanker safety were agreed. Since then we have worked closely with our colleagues in other Member States to take forward the measures set out in the Conclusions.

    Rail Services

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what duties (a) Network Rail and (b) the Strategic Rail Authority have taken over from train operating companies which have signed new franchise extensions of less than 10 years' duration. [116102]

    Road Safety

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list the regulations regarding the siting of (a) roundabouts and (b) traffic lights. [118567]

    The appropriate method of regulating conflicting traffic movements at junctions, or providing crossing facilities for pedestrians and cyclists, is a matter for the engineering judgment of the traffic authority in the light of local circumstances. The Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2002 (SI 3113) specify the appearance of traffic signals, and of signs and markings associated with signals and roundabouts, and the circumstances in which traffic signs and signals may be placed.

    Sea Vision Uk

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much funding has been allocated to Sea Vision UK; and what steps have been taken since 1997 to increase public awareness of the role of the sea to the UK. [118278]

    We provided Sea Vision UK with £800 funding towards the cost of producing a publication to promote awareness of maritime careers in 2002 and have committed to providing funding for another such

    DateTramKerb guided bus
    1999London: Docklands Light Railway Lewisham extension opened

    November
    0
    West Midlands: Midland Metro line 1 (Birmingham to

    Wolverhampton) opened in May
    2000London: Croydon Tramlink opened in May0
    2001West Yorkshire: East Leeds Quality Bus Scheme opened in

    November
    2002Tyne and Wear: Tyne and Wear Metro extension to Sunderland

    and South Hylton opened in March
    West Yorkshire: Bradford-A641 Manchester Road opened

    January 2002

    Walking/Cycling

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps he is taking to encourage walking and cycling as alternatives to road transport; and if he will make a statement. [118149]

    publication in 2003. No other formal requests for funding have been received, but we fully support the initiative.

    Merchant Navy Day was launched in September 2000 to highlight the vital contribution to the nation of the UK shipping industry, and the need to encourage young people to consider a career at sea via the associated programme of events, Our Ships—Your Future.

    The Support for Maritime Training (SMarT) scheme has been running since April 1998 and provides support for the training of officers and ratings, covering around 50 per cent. of training costs.

    Seafarer Training

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assistance has been given to the British shipping sector to train and employ British seafarers. [118279]

    The Government's Support for Maritime Training (SMarT) scheme has been running since April 1998 and provides support for the training of officers and ratings. Following a review in 2000 and receipt of EU State Aids clearance in 2001, additional courses were included and the levels of funding increased to cover around 50 per cent. of the costs of training.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the OECD report on Availability and Training of Seafarers; and if he will make a statement. [118266]

    I welcome the OECD report as a valuable contribution to the debate on means of increasing the training and employment of seafarers. In particular, I note the support for measures such as tonnage taxes, initiatives to promote maritime careers, and the need to ensure training for future jobs ashore normally filled by ex-seafarers. These accord with United Kingdom policy.

    Trams

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list, broken down by city, (a) tram and (b) guided bus systems that have been opened for each year since 1997. [117732]

    The Government are committed to increasing walking and cycling journeys to help tackle local congestion and improve public health. We have established the National Cycling Strategy Board for England and engaged a team of regional cycling advocates to assist local authorities and organisations in increasing cycling. We intend within the next month to issue a consultation paper on encouraging more walking and improving conditions for pedestrians. This will build on discussions at a round of regional seminars on walking sponsored by my Department last year.Improved facilities for cyclists and pedestrians are largely funded through Local Transport Plans. Highway authorities are asked to develop local strategies to support and encourage cycling and walking as part of these plans. These must identify gaps in the local infrastructure and plans for delivering improvements.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps are being taken to develop a national walking strategy; and if he will make a statement. [118430]

    We intend to publish a consultation paper on encouraging walking and improving conditions for pedestrians within the next month.

    Cabinet Office

    Terrorism (Emergency Planning)

    To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office if he will list the sources of information that are available on emergency planning in the event of a terrorist attack for members of the public who (a) are unable to access the internet and (b) are visually impaired; and if he will make a statement. [117277]

    The main source of information for the public in the event of a terrorist attack will be through the broadcasters and their full range of services.This includes TV (with sign language or subtitles as necessary), Radio including minority language broadcasts, Teletext, Ceefax and through websites. These will provide a range of accessible options for users with hearing or sight impairments. Such arrangements are appropriate to existing and anticipated threat levels.The core advice to the public is to "Go in, stay in, tune in" and follow the advice from the emergency services who will be best placed to decide the appropriate response.While many people do not have access to the Internet at home, through the People's Network programme (part of the UK online initiative) the technology is available in most public libraries together with trained staff to help new users of any age or ability.The Home Office website, www.homeoffice.gov.uk/terrorism, has details about the nature of any threat, general guidance on sensible precautions to take for a civil emergency, and detailed information about how Government work behind the scenes to protect the public. More sources of information can be found on www.ukresilience.info.

    Treasury

    Bank Regulation

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will set out the timetable for the introduction of legislation to empower the Office of Fair Trading to regulate the bank clearing system; and if he will make a statement. [117717]

    The Government are closely monitoring developments in payment systems and will introduce legislation to give the Office of Fair Trading new powers to promote effective competition in payment systems as soon as parliamentary time allows.

    Leisure/Hospitality Sectors

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the rate was of new job creation in the leisure and hospitality sector in the last 12 months. [117000]

    The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician. I have asked him to reply.

    Letter from Len Cook to Mr. Gardiner, dated 9 June 2003:

    As National Statistician I have been asked to reply to your recent question about the rate of new job creation in the Leisure and Hospitality sectors in the last 12 months. (117000)

    There are no figures for jobs created but an indication can be obtained by comparing the annual surveys of employee jobs. The Annual Business Inquiry (ABI) gives an estimate of the number of employee jobs in Great Britain in December of each year.

    The latest year for which figures are available is 2001 and so a comparison can be made with 2000.

    Between 2000 and 2001 the ABI data shows net increases in the number of employee jobs in the 2 specified sectors of:

  • (a) Leisure: 34,200
  • (b) Hospitality: 45,900
  • Employment data are produced according to the internationally agreed Standard Industrial Classification (SJC92). The classes which best fit the categories for which data have been asked are:

    Leisure—Division 92 'Recreational, Cultural and Sporting Activities' but excluding Sporting Activities (92 less 92.6)

    Hospitality—Sector H. This includes all short-term accommodation, restaurants, pubs and other licensed premises and other catering (all of Division 55)

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people are employed in the (a) sport, (b) leisure and (c) hospitality sectors. [117003]

    The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician. I have asked him to reply.

    Letter from Len Cook to Mr. Gardiner, dated 9 June 2003:

    As National Statistician I have been asked to reply to your recent question asking how many people are employed in the (a) Sports, (b) Leisure and (c) Hospitality sectors. (117003)

    The Annual Business Inquiry (ABI) gives an estimate of the number of employee jobs in Great Britain in December of each year.

    The latest year for which figures are available is 2001.

    For 2001 the ABI data shows the number of employee jobs in the 3 specified sectors of:

  • (a) Sport: 335,600
  • (b) Leisure: 436,000
  • (c) Hospitality: 1,656,800
  • Employment data are produced according to the internationally agreed Standard Industrial Classification (S1C92). The classes which best fit the categories for which data have been asked are:

    Sport—Sporting Activities (92.6), Manufacture of Sport goods (36.4), Sale of sports goods (52.48/5), Hire of Sports Goods (71.40/1) and Physical Well-being activities (93.04)

    Leisure—Division 92 'Recreational, Cultural and Sporting Activities' but excluding Sporting Activities (92 less 92.6)

    Hospitality—Sector H. This includes all short-term accommodation, restaurants, pubs and other licensed premises and other catering (all of Division 55)

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what tax revenues were generated by the leisure and hospitality sector in the UK in each of the last five years; and what percentage of total tax revenues this represents. [117002]

    It is estimated that in 2000–01 tax receipts from valued added tax, income tax and national insurance contributions collected under PAYE, business rates and corporation tax relating to the leisure and hospitality sector amounted to around £25 billion, just under 7 per cent. of total Government receipts. This includes all receipts from betting and alcohol duty. This is a broad and partial estimate as information is not available on all types of tax revenues from the sector and there are also issues of classification and definition of a business with more than one principal activity, with many encompassing a wide range of activities.

    Microsoft

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer which Government Departments have signed contracts with Microsoft; how much each contract is worth; how long each contract agreement is for; how many of the contracts require the signing of a non-disclosure agreement regarding the source code of programmes installed; and how much it would cost to terminate each of the contracts before the completion date. [116657]

    Most Departments license some desktop software from Microsoft. In February 2002, the Office of Government Commerce entered into an agreement with Microsoft under which Microsoft software was offered to Government departments at discounts reflecting the overall level of Government purchasing. The details of individual contracts between Microsoft and departments are not held centrally. However the total value of spend by departments through the central GCAT contract amounted to £29.2 million in 2002–03.Most purchasing of Microsoft software is by outright purchase of perpetual licenses, with payment sometimes phased over a three year period. Disclosure of Microsoft source code is not a standard feature of these agreements.

    Suicides

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many suicides of (a) 16-year olds, (b) 17-year olds and (c) 18-year olds there were in each year since 1997. [117577]

    The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician. I have asked him to reply.

    Letter from Colin Mowl to Mr. Paul Marsden, dated 9 June 2003:

    The National Statistician has been asked to reply to your recent question concerning how many suicides have been recorded for (a) 16-year olds, (b) 17-year olds and (c) 18-year olds in each year since 1997. I am replying in his absence. (117577)

    The most recent available mortality data are for the calendar year 2001. Figures for each year from 1997 to 2001 are given in the following table:

    Number of deaths from suicide and injury undetermined whether
    accidentally or purposely inflicted 1, persons aged 16,17 and 18,
    England and Wales, 1997 to 20012

    Number of deaths by individual year of age

    16-year olds

    17-year olds

    18-year olds

    1997272842
    1998194146
    1999203757
    2000104348
    2001172945

    1 The cause of death was defined using the International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision (1 CD-9) codes E950-E959 and E980-E989 excluding E988.8 for the years 1997 to 2000, and, for the year 2001, the International Classifications of Diseases, Tenth Revision (1 CD-10) codes X60-X84 and Y 10-Y34 excluding Y33.9 where the Coroner's verdict was pending.

    2 Figures are for deaths occurring in each calendar year.

    Aviation Industry

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will repeal the aviation industry's exemption from fuel duty and VAT. [116952]

    The Chicago Convention prohibits the imposition of taxes or charges on fuel kept on board aircraft and consumed on international flights. The UK is also bound by bilateral air service agreements, which impose further restrictions. Although air fares, in common with all public transport fares, are zero-rated for VAT, air travel is subject to a separate tax, air passenger duty, which is charged at rates from £5 to £40 per flight, depending on the country of destination and the class of travel.The 2002 pre-Budget Report announced that the Government would discuss with stakeholders the most effective economic instruments for ensuring that the industry is encouraged to take account of, and where appropriate reduce, its contribution to global warming, local air and noise pollution.These discussions will be used to inform the Government's views, which will be set out in its Air Transport White Paper later this year.

    Biofuels

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer which of the Government Departments for which he is accountable is responsible for developing tax policy on the use of biofuels. [117592]

    HM Customs and Excise and HM Treasury work closely together on developing the taxation policy for biofuels.HM Customs take the lead on providing policy advice while HM Treasury has strategic responsibility for taxation matters.

    Customs And Excise

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the establishment figure for Customs and Excise officers was in 1995; and what the latest available figure is. [118046]

    Customs and Excise employed the full time equivalent of 24,132 officers in April 1995. The latest published figure is for April 2002 when Customs had 22,120 full time equivalent employees.

    Insurance Discrimination

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps he is taking to ensure that teenagers and children who have had cancer treatment are not excluded from access to financial services later in their lives. [118167]

    I refer my hon. Friend to the Written answer I gave the hon. Member for Macclesfield (Sir Nicholas Winterton) on 10 February 2003, Official Report, column 603W.

    Regional Pay

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations he has received from (a) trades unions and (b) other bodies concerning his plans to introduce a stronger local and regional element to pay in the public sector. [116941]

    The Chancellor of the Exchequer regularly receives representations from trade union leaders and others concerning a wide range of issues including public sector pay.

    Tax Credits

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what information he has collated on the take up rate of working family tax credits in the Borough of Islington in each of the past five years and the applicant rate for tax credits in the current year, the number paid out, the value outstanding and the number of complaints. [117809]

    Working Families' Tax Credit (WFTC) was introduced in October 1999. The number of recipients in Islington at each quarter since May 2001 appears in "Working Families' and Disabled Person's Tax Credit Statistics. Geographical analyses". Estimates based on sample data appear for earlier quarters back to May 2000 in "Working Families' Tax Credit Statistics. Quarterly Enquiry". All these documents are available on the Inland Revenue web site, inlandrevenue.gov.uk, under "National Statistics".National estimates of WFTC take up rates appear in "Working Families' Tax Credit. Estimates of Take-up rates in 2000–01", which can be found on the Inland Revenue web site under "National Statistics". No estimates are available at local authority level. I regret that the other figures requested are not available, or not available at the local authority level. Statistics on awards of the Child and Working Tax Credits will be published in August.

    Uk Tax Regime

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what amendments to the draft EU constitution he will propose in order to protect the rights of the UK Government to determine its own tax regime. [117081]

    Any changes to the provisions of the existing EU Treaties require the unanimous agreement of all member states. The Government have made it clear that they will not accept any changes that move away from unanimity on tax matters.

    Education And Skills

    Autism

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills pursuant to his Answer of 8 April 2003, Official Report, column 133W, on autism, what consultations have been held on, and what definition will be used for, the collection of special educational needs data from schools and Local Education Authorities. [114503]

    On 29 November draft guidance, including a draft set of descriptions of each of the types of SEN we will be collecting, was sent out to a sample of 50 schools, 30 LEAs and 50 voluntary organisations for consultation. At the same time the information was placed on the DfES Consultation website. Comments were requested on both the accuracy and the clarity of the descriptions and respondents were also asked to make general comments. The consultation closed on 6 March 2003 and 120 responses were received. Amendments to the guidance have now been made in the light of the responses received.A final version will be sent to LEAs and published on the DIES SEN website in the near future and a copy will be placed in the Library.

    Further Education Allowance

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what research he has commissioned on the effects of introducing further education allowance to support 19 to 30-year-olds in returning to education. [116585]

    My Department has not commissioned specific research on the effects of introducing a further education allowance for 19 to 30-year-olds. The key statistical and research evidence underpinning work to develop the National Skills Strategy to be launched later this month was summarised in the Evidence Paper we published on 26 March this year.

    Higher Education

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what measures he plans to introduce to widen participation in higher education for (a) ethnic minorities, (b) people with disabilities and (c) those of working class backgrounds. [108270]

    We are committed to widening participation in higher education for under-represented groups. While ethnic minorities are generally well represented in higher education, we recognise that there are pockets of under-representation. The Higher Education Funding Council (HEFCE) and the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service are looking to see what data are available for monitoring purposes.Through amendments to the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, which came into effect in September 2002, we have made it unlawful for institutions to discriminate against disabled students in their admissions procedures. HEFCE has, since last year, included benchmark figures for participation by disabled students in its performance indicators for higher education. We have improved the assessment of Disabled Students Allowances, which are now being completed well before the start of the course, giving disabled students confidence about the level and nature of support.In order to widen participation to those from working class backgrounds, we need to raise levels of attainment, raise aspirations and encourage more applications. Our Aimhigher programme helps universities, colleges and schools to work together to achieve this, and we have recently announced an extension of this programme into 86 new areas over the next three years. The Office for Fair Access will encourage further improvements to widening access through access agreements, which will set out the universities' plans to offer bursaries and other financial support, encourage more applicants from less advantaged backgrounds, and which will include their own ambitions. If there are any particular issues around specific groups relating to any one university, we would expect that university to have plans to address the problem.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will make a statement on the funding of higher education after the introduction of top-up fees. [116586]

    As set out in the White Paper 'The future of higher education' (Cm 5735), the funding for higher education will increase by over 6 per cent. a year in each of the three years to 2005–06 as a result of the 2002 Spending Review settlement, so that total spending in England in that year will be almost £10 billion. The funding in 2006–07 will be determined through the forthcoming Spending Review, and will be supplemented by additional income generated through the introduction of a graduate contribution scheme for differential fees. The White Paper also made clear, however, that in order to meet the challenges of the future, universities need to develop other non-governmental funding streams. Therefore, in addition to the Graduate Contribution Scheme, the White Paper set out proposals in connection with the development of endowments and maximising donations from alumni.

    Physics

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what discussions he has held with the Institution of Physics on the involvement of women in physics. [116618]

    My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has not held any discussions with the Institute of Physics on the involvement of women in physics. However officials of the Department have met with the Institute to discuss this issue and the Institute's new programme to support women in physics, with a view to working together in this area.

    School Budgets

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills pursuant to his Written Ministerial Statement of 15 May 2003, Official Report, column 13WS, on school budgets, what plans he has to issue guidance to local education authorities in connection with those obligations (a) to meet requirements under health and safety legislation and (b) to meet Special Educational Needs and Disability Act 2000 requirements in respect of (i) the minimum education of children and (ii) to meet SENDA requirements in respect of physical access to premises. [115180]

    We have no plans to issue further guidance in these areas.My Department has worked closely with LEAs to ensure that they are aware of their health and safety responsibilities, including giving talks to LEA staff, sending the publication "Health & Safety: Responsibilities and Powers" to all LEAs and schools in England in December 2001 and more recently creating a health and safety section on the Teachernet website http://www.teachernet. gov.uk/healthandsafety.There is a requirement for schools to meet for a minimum of 380 half day sessions per year and recommended guidelines on the amount of teaching time have been published as follows:

    17.30–20 hours for pupils at Key Stage 1 (Recommended by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority)
    19.10–22.30 hours for pupils at Key Stage 2 (Recommended by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority)
    21.30 hours for pupils at Key Stage 3 (Recommended by the Key State 3 National Strategy)
    24 hours for pupils at Key Stage 4 (DfES Circular 7/90)
    The guidance for Key Stages 1 and 2 can be found on the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority's website: http://www.qca.org.uk/ca/5–14/learnmg_prim curr.asp
    The Key Stage 3 guidelines can be found at: http://www. standards. dfes. gov. uk/keystage3/publications

    In July 2002 my Department issued guidance for local education authorities and schools on carrying out their disability planning duties under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (as amended by the SEN and Disability Act 2001). These duties require them to plan strategically to increase access to schools for disabled pupils over time. The duty covers physical access to premises, access to information in alternative formats, and access to the curriculum. The guidance—"Accessible Schools—Planning to increase access to schools for disabled pupils" can be found at http:// www.dfes.gov.uk/sen

    School Exclusions

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many school children are

    Number of permanent exclusions by type of school 2001–02 (provisional estimates)1by local education authority area in London
    Primary2Secondary2Special3Total
    Number of

    permanent

    exclusions
    Percentage

    of the school

    population
    4
    Number of

    permanent

    exclusions
    Percentage

    of the school

    population
    4
    Number of

    permanent

    exclusions
    Percentage

    of the school

    population
    4
    Number of

    permanent

    exclusions
    Percentage

    of the school

    population
    4
    England1,4510.037,7410.243430.369,5350.12
    London2050.031,1960.29550.451,4560.14
    Inner London800.033860.30230.504890.13
    Camden20.02240.2220.68280.12
    City of London00.00555555
    Hackney90.05210.2630.80330.12
    Hammersmith and Fulham20.02340.4710.32370.22
    Haringey50.02340.4710.32370.22
    Haringey50.02270.2400.00320.09
    Islington00.00120.1600.00120.05
    Kensington and Chelsea30.0490.2511.32130.12
    Lambeth90.05290.4000.00380.14
    Lewisham130.06510.4420.38660.19
    Newham120.04370.2111.39500.10
    Southwark140.06310.2951.05500.14
    Tower Hamlets10.00360.2610.25380.10
    Wandsworth90.05490.4970.96650.23
    Westminster10.01260.3200.00270.14
    Outer London1250.038100.29320.439670.14
    Barking and Dagenham100.05140.1200.00240.08
    Barnet30.01510.2400.00540.11
    Bexley110.05450.2541.00600.15
    Brent30.01340.2310.25380.10
    Bromley60.02790.3700.00850.18
    Croydon250.081100.62101.791450.29
    Baling40.01590.3810.21640.15
    Enfield60.02640.3120.39720.15
    Greenwich180.09310.2220.35510.14
    Harrow50.03630.7000.00680.24
    Havering20.01420.2610.42450.12
    Hillingdon80.03350.2100.00430.10
    Hounslow70.04500.3120.52590.16
    Kingston upon Thames10.0120.0200.0030.01
    Merton30.02180.2420.78230.10
    Redbridge20.01300.1600.00320.07
    Richmond upon Thames30.02250.3431.99310.16
    Sutton10.01340.2300.00350.12
    Waltham Forest70.03240.1840.59350.10
    1 19 LEAs in England have yet to confirm the data for their schools. Based on data as at 29 May 2003.
    2 Includes middle schools as deemed.
    3 Includes maintained and non-maintained special schools.
    4 The number of permanent exclusions expressed as a percentage of the number (headcount) pupils in primary, secondary and special

    schools, excluding dually registered pupils in special schools in January 2002.
    5 Not applicable (no schools of this type)
    Source:
    Annual Schools' Census

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) how many appeals against fixed term exclusions from secondary schools have been made in the last 12 months; [116939](2) how many fixed term exclusions have been issued in secondary schools in the last 12 months. [116940]

    Information on fixed term exclusions and associated appeals is not collected centrally.Following a review of data collected on exclusions, the Department is collecting information from Local Education Authorities on both fixed term and permanent exclusions on a termly basis from this summer.

    permanently excluded from schools in the Greater London area. [116707]

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) how many excluded children have received education through (a) pupil referral units, (b) home tuition, (c) emotional and behavioural disorder day units, (d) emotional and behavioural disorder residential units and (e) other provision for excluded children in each year since 1995; [116632](2) how many children have been excluded from mainstream education in each year since 1995. [116634]

    [holding answer 3 June 2003]: Information on the provision made for permanently excluded pupils was first collected in March 2001 via the Education of Permanently Excluded Pupils (EPEP) Survey and was updated in September 2001. The available figures are shown in the table.

    All local education authorities were committed to offering a full timetable to permanently excluded pupils from September 2002. In targeted schools in 34 local authorities, provision is also being made for those excluded on a temporary basis. These arrangements will be extended to a further 27 local authorities in the coming year.

    Distribution of mode of provision of education for excluded
    pupils—England, March and September 2001

    Provision of permanently excluded pupils

    March 2001

    1

    September 2001

    2

    Number of
    excluded pupils by
    mode of
    provision

    Percentage
    distribution
    of mode of
    provision

    Number of
    excluded pupils by
    mode of
    provision

    Percentage
    distribution
    of mode of
    provision

    PRU4,17641.03,79347.6
    Home tuition1,70616.81,12414.1
    Voluntary Sector510.5951.2
    FE college6266.26738.4
    Work related2122.12703.4
    Mixed provision1,24812.35256.6
    Other provision9018.96608.3
    No provision1,25412.383010.4
    Total10,174100.07,970100.0

    1 Based on replies from 144 out of 150 local education authorities

    2 Based on replies from 146 out of 150 local education authorities

    Source:

    EPEP Survey.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many and what percentage of excluded children in pupil referral units were regularly truanting in each year since 1995. [116633]

    [holding answer 3 June 2003]: The information requested is not collected centrally.Information on pupil truancy is derived from Absence in Schools Survey returns made each year by schools to the Department. This survey is not completed by Pupil Referral Units.

    Sixth Forms

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the Government's strategy is towards small school sixth forms. [117675]

    We have said many times in the House that we have no intention of closing small school sixth forms where they are successful and popular and meet the needs of their communities. Indeed such sixth forms are an important part of the pattern of provision. They should be supported to build on their success where, in collaboration with others, they continue to offer a range of high quality learning opportunities.

    Special Educational Needs

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will list the percentage of children with special educational needs in each local education authority. [115025]

    The information requested has been placed in the House of Commons Library.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what funding has been received by Sefton metropolitan borough council to support educational services for children and people with learning difficulties, disabilities and other special educational needs in the current financial year. [116279]

    The calculation of Sefton MBC's Education Formula Spending Share (FSS) takes account of the estimated number of children between the ages of 3 and 16 with high levels of educational need. Sefton's overall FSS determines the general funding received through the authority through Revenue Support Grant. The authority decides how much of this funding is used to support spending on educational services for children and people with learning difficulties, disabilities and other special educational needs—it is not possible to identify a separate funding allocation for these services.The authority also receives funding from the Learning and Skills Council for students over the age of 16 with special educational needs. In 2003–04 this totalled £890,508. There is also support for children and people with learning difficulties through the Standards Fund: the authority's grant for SEN for 2003–04 is £519,437. There is capital funding available: the authority's School Access Initiative, to help make schools more accessible for children with disabilities, is worth £650,000 in Basic Credit Approvals for 2003–04.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills which (a) attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and (b) dyslexia projects received funding from the (i) Special Educational Needs Small Programme Fund and (ii) Training and Development Fund; and how much each project received. [116904]

    In the financial year 2003–04, three projects related to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or dyslexia are receiving funding under the Special Educational Needs Small Programmes Fund. These are;

    £45,000 to the NSPCC for their "Attention Difficulties: Developing a whole school approach" project. Among the partners involved in this project are the North East Special Educational Needs Regional Partnership and Durham University.
    £49,966 to The Dyslexia Institute for their "Bury Local Education Authority Dyslexia Friendly Schools initiative". This work is being done alongside the Bury Local Education Authority Special Educational Needs Support Service Team.
    £50,000 to The Dyslexia Institute for their "Effective Strategies to meet Specific needs of Pupils with Specific Learning Difficulties/Dyslexia in the Classroom". This is taking place at the Roebuck Primary School in Stevenage, Hertfordshire and the consortium includes the Regional Partnership and the Local Education Authority.
    Funding for the Training and Development Fund was available in financial year 2002–03. £81,400 was awarded to the Institute of Education, Manchester Metropolitan University, for their project 'Raising the Achievement of Dyslexia Pupils: Dyslexia Friendly Teaching'. Among its partnership organisations was the British Dyslexia Association.

    Student Finance

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many higher education students in Suffolk pay all or part of the annual fee charged for university tuition. [114390]

    [holding answer 20 May 2003]: Student support data on the levels of contribution to tuition are collected from local education authorities (LEAs) through a voluntary survey. However, due to poor response rates and quality of responses from a number of LEAs, the data are only robust enough to be published at the national level.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) how much was raised through tuition fees from students in the London Borough of Havering in (a) 1998, (b) 1999, (c) 2000, (d) 2001 and (e) 2002; [115341](2) how many students from the London Borough of Havering are exempt from tuition fees. [115345]

    Student support data on the levels of contribution to tuition are collected from local education authorities (LEAs) through a voluntary survey. However, due to poor response rates and quality of responses from a number of LEAs, the data are only robust enough to be published at the national level.

    Culture, Media And Sport

    Sports Tourism

    To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what the value was of sports tourism to the UK economy in each of the previous five years. [116998]

    The Office for National Statistics collected statistics on sports tourism in 2001 and 2002. Figures for 2001 show that 650,000 overseas visitors to the UK either watched a sporting event or participated in amateur sport as the main purpose of their visit, and they spent an estimated £369 million. Figures for 2002 will be available in August.

    Asbestos

    To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will list the actions her Department, its agencies and non-departmental public bodies are taking to comply with the requirements of the Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations 2002; whether she has made an estimate of the cost of compliance; and if she will make a statement. [117700]

    The DCMS has in place an asbestos register in respect of buildings on the estate. The audit and assessment of any asbestos still in situ in buildings is a three yearly occurrence in addition to any risk assessment that would he necessary prior to any works which might disturb asbestos in the structure of the buildings. The same applies to the Royal Parks Agency. Non-departmental public bodies, of which the Department has 60, are autonomous in respect of management of their estate, much of which is minority leased holdings in commercial buildings.

    Energy Efficiency

    To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what targets her Department has for improving energy efficiency; and how she intends to achieve these targets. [116645]

    Details of environmental policies and targets are posted on the Department's website. In common with all Government Departments DCMS has an interim target of 1 per cent. reduction in (weather-corrected) CO2 emissions from the estate, relative to a base year of 1999–2000. New cross-government targets will be agreed, based on benchmark ing the performance of individual buildings, where possible by the end of this year. An established Environmental Management System will enable the Department to identify best options and methods for seeking a continual improvement (reduction) in energy use and emissions.

    Protection Of Cultural Property

    To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what plans the Government has to ratify the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the event of armed conflict; and if she will make a statement. [116321]

    We remain fully committed to the protection of cultural property in time of armed conflict in accordance with international law and are currently giving active consideration, with other interested departments, to the ratification of the 1954 Hague Convention.

    Radio Stations

    To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what Government assistance is available to the BBC to cover the whole of the Bridgwater constituency by local radio. [115614]

    This is a matter for the BBC. The BBC is funded by the licence fee and the Governors are responsible for ensuring that the funds are spent in the public interest. I understand that the BBC currently has a local FM service across parts of Somerset in the form of BBC Radio Bristol, and the Corporation has no plans for further FM developments in this area.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will grant the BBC an FM frequency in Somerset. [115615]

    This is a matter for the BBC. FM spectrum is a scarce resource and it is for the BBC to determine how their spectrum allocation is planned to deliver local radio services. I understand that the BBC currently has a local FM service across parts of Somerset in the form of BBC Radio Bristol, and the Corporation has no plans for further FM developments in this area.

    S4c

    To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what the departmental budget allocations were for the S4C Channel each year since 1995; and if she will make a statement. [117744]

    S4C's statutory grant entitlement is for the calendar year but the Department for Culture, Media and Sport operates on an April to March financial year. The Department's budget allocations for the relevant period may therefore differ from the Welsh Authority's grant entitlement for the corresponding calendar year, but were as follows.

    £ millions
    Departmental allocation
    1995–9668.486
    1996–9772.310
    1997–98118.414
    1998–9975.127
    1999–200075.127
    2000–0175.127
    2001–0276.817
    2002–0380.217
    2003–0485.217
    1 From January 1998, under the new funding formula introduced by the Broadcasting Act 1996 S4C's annual grant ceased to be paid in full in January each year and became payable in instalments. The budget alloction for 1997–98 therefore covered

    the period January to March 1998 only.

    International Development

    Afghanistan

    To ask the Minister of State. Department for International Development if she will make a statement on the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan. [117163]

    The humanitarian situation in Afghanistan has improved over the last year. This winter passed without serious problems. But poverty is endemic and vulnerable sections of the population (WFP estimates about 5.9 million people out of a population of approximately 25 million) continue to require direct assistance.The security situation in the South is hampering assessment missions as well as food distributions causing some NGOs to suspend or curtail their programmes. In cities, programmes are operating normally but restrictions placed on travel because of security risks have resulted in many NGOs scaling down or postponing operations until the situation improves.In the North East there have been floods because of heavy rain and UNHCR and WFP are providing temporary accommodation and food.More than 100,000 Afghan refugees have returned home so far this year, primarily from Pakistan (65,000) and Iran (35,000), and within Afghanistan, more than 25,000 internally displaced people have gone home this year. DFID will continue to support UN agencies to help meet essential needs of refugees and returnees.

    To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development how much money was promised by the UK Government to Afghanistan in aid contributions at the Tokyo Summit. [117912]

    At the Ministerial Conference in Tokyo (January 2002), we provided £75 million including £12.7 million to help clear Afghanistan's arrears to the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank. For this financial year, DFID is willing to increase our Tokyo commitment of £40 million per year to £50 million, linked to progress on civil service reform. The joint FCO-DFID-MOD Global Conflict Prevention Pool will provide a further £16.8 million this year, in addition, DFID will contribute an estimated £40 million through multilateral channels (EC, IDA).

    Aid

    To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development what funds were available through the Department for aid expressed as a percentage of GDP in each of the last three years for which figures are available. [117877]

    The ratio of total aid to Gross National Income (GNI), which is the statistic normally used to measure aid performance, has been as follows over the last three years:

    percentage
    200020012002 (provisional)
    0.320.320.30
    An average of around 90 per cent. of this aid is provided through DFID. The low figure in 2002 was due to the lack of any contribution to IDA in that year, caused by delay in completing negotiation and ratification of the thirteenth replenishment.

    Energy Efficiency

    To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development what targets the Department has for improving energy efficiency; and how he intends to achieve these targets. [116653]

    All Departments currently have an interim target of 1 per cent. per annum a reductions in (weather-corrected) CO2 emissions from their estate, relative to the base-year 1999–2000. DEFRA will agree new targets for 2010, based on benchmarking the performance of individual buildings where possible, by the end of the year. In the meantime, we are monitoring consumption figures on a regular basis and compiling the necessary baseline data in order to carry out an Energy Performance Benchmarking exercise in accordance with DETR guidelines.The refurbishment of our main London building, which took place in 2001, and the works currently under way at our East Kilbride office, include a wide range of energy efficiency measures. The design for the latest works on our East Kilbride building have received an "excellent" rating under the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Methodology (BREEAM) rating system. We have also commenced testing to establish the feasibility of installing a wind turbine.Energy Efficiency is now a significant feature of the new contracts with our two respective specialist building maintenance contractors, with regular meetings being held to consider, inter alia, implementation of additional savings measures.

    Iraq

    To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development what efforts are being taken to ensure that Clause 20 of UN Security Council Resolution 1483 can be met by the interim Iraqi administration. [117028]

    Discussions are taking place among Coalition partners on the establishment of the Development Fund for Iraq within the terms set out in UNSCR 1483.

    To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development which Government Department will be responsible for the administration of the Oil For Food programme when the US and UK Governments take over responsibility for the programme as set out in UN Security Council Resolution 1483. [117029]

    The Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) will take over responsibility for activities currently carried out under Oil For Food programme. Responsibility for the Government's policy towards the CPA is co-ordinated among several Whitehall Departments, including DFID.

    To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development if his Department will work with the United Nations to help draw up a nationwide, cross-sectoral needs assessment in Iraq. [117031]

    World Bank and International Monetary Fund economic and social needs assessments will begin in the coming weeks, in co-ordination with work already being undertaken by the UN and Coalition Provisional Authority. DFID's future engagement in Iraq will reflect the needs highlighted in these assessments.

    To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development whether an assessment has been made of the damage caused to Iraq's infrastructure by recent military action in Iraq. [117035]

    We are not aware of any comprehensive assessment of the damage done to infrastructure in Iraq as a direct result of military action. Many of the current problems relating to infrastructure are a result of its poor state of repair from years of neglect before the conflict, and subsequent acts of sabotage and looting.

    To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development whether the WFP food lifts into Iraq will be extended to September. [117040]

    Under the World Food Programme's (WFP) current plans, their food lifts will continue to the end of September. DFID has provided £33 million to assist WFP with their work in Iraq.

    To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development whether courts are operating in (a) Baghdad and (b) Basra. [117041]

    Hilary Benn