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Written Answers

Volume 449: debated on Monday 24 July 2006

Written Answers to Questions

Monday 24 July 2006

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Agricultural Support Sector

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent assessment his Department has made of the impact of the delay to single farm payments on the farm machinery business; and if he will make a statement. (84613)

UK tractor registrations, a broad indicator of the strength of the domestic market for agricultural equipment, have increased marginally in the first half of 2006. However, individual businesses may, to varying effects, have been affected in the short term by the cash flow issues faced by farmers as a result of the timing of payments under the 2005 single payment scheme (SPS).

Animal Freight

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many people were employed by his Department to carry out on-road inspections of transporters carrying vertebrate animals in each of the last five years. (86354)

The Department does not hold the information requested. Roadside checks are arranged by local authorities, to check compliance with a range of animal health and welfare rules. The state veterinary service liaises with local authorities so that emergency veterinary cover can be made available if needed.

Animal Health Strategy

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what funding the Government incorporates into its animal health strategy for the rescue and care of abandoned, wounded and homeless animals. (86871)

[holding answer 20 July 2006]: While the Government applaud the fine work undertaken by animal welfare charities in rescuing and caring for abandoned, wounded and homeless animals, we do not use public money to directly fund such work. However, we do have policies in place to increase the value of charitable gifts by generous tax concessions.

Aarhus Convention

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps his Department is taking to inform the public of their rights under the Aarhus Convention. (85491)

The Government recognise that the Aarhus Convention is an important statement, at international level, of the rights of the public to be involved in decisions which have significant environmental effects. The UK’s ratification of the convention, in February 2005, demonstrates our commitment to the importance of these principles. A comprehensive guide can be found on the DEFRA website at: http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/internat/aarhus/index.htm

In addition, DEFRA’s environmental information unit (EIU) provides advice on the convention and the Environmental Information Regulations. The EIU has produced leaflets and posters publicising peoples’ rights to access environmental information and provides detailed guidance on the DEFRA website at http://www.defra.gov.uk/corporate/opengov/eir/index. htm This also links to the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIRs), the code of practice and the Aarhus Convention.

The code of practice, (which was laid in Parliament in February 2005) and guidance have been revised to take responses to a public consultation into account.

Additionally, the unit offers support to Government Departments and public authorities on EIRs. This support includes workshops to discuss how they can raise awareness within their authorities and provides an opportunity to share good practice. In 2003-04, the Government’s sustainable development unit worked with the Department for Constitutional Affairs supporting the freedom of information (FOI) roadshows programme and gave talks to public authorities around the country explaining how to handle FOI and EIR requests.

Biomass Energy Crops

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what measures are in place to remove barriers to the market development of biomass energy crops; and what further measures are planned. (86116)

The Government provide support to help establish and develop supply chains, and create markets for biomass energy crops. The Government set up a Biomass Task Force in 2004 to identify the barriers to developing biomass energy and to recommend ways to overcome the problems.

The Government's response to the taskforce report was published in April 2006 and sets out 12 key initiatives and over 60 associated actions to help realise optimum use of biomass as a resource. These measures include a capital grant scheme for biomass boilers, the establishment of a new Biomass Energy Centre to provide expert information and advice, further grant support for biomass supply chains, and a commitment to consider using biomass in the Government estate. We also intend to publish a UK Biomass Strategy in the coming year.

Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many prosecutions have been brought by each local authority in England under section 3 of the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005 since the Act came into force. (86149)

Measures contained in section 3 of the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act, which concern exposing vehicles for sale on the road, commenced in June 2005.

Figures relating to the number of prosecutions brought under this section will not be available until autumn this year.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what representations he has received regarding the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005. (87766)

The Department has received a range of representations on the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act, in the form of letters, emails and parliamentary questions.

Commercial Kitchens

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what research his Department has conducted into (a) carbon emissions from commercial kitchens and (b) means to reduce such emissions; (84943)

(2) what plans his Department has to encourage the use of technology to reduce carbon emissions from commercial kitchens.

The information available on carbon emissions from commercial kitchens is currently very limited.

Two scoping studies have been carried out for DEFRA which indicate that carbon emissions from non-domestic cooking equipment are somewhere between 2.2 million and 6 million tonnes of carbon per annum. Further work is being carried out by the Government’s Market Transformation Programme (MTP) to refine these estimates. The MTP estimates that the refrigeration equipment used in commercial kitchens produces a further 1.4 million tonnes of carbon per annum.

The Government are working with industry, through the Carbon Trust and the MTP, to reduce these emissions. For example, the Hotel and Catering International Management Association manages a programme on behalf of the Carbon Trust which offers free energy saving advice to the sector.

We are also working to encourage manufacturers to improve the efficiency of their goods by developing agreed test methodologies, performance standards and benchmarks which will enable the relative energy efficiency of these appliances to be measured. This process is complete for commercial refrigeration equipment but is at an early stage for commercial ovens.

If all existing catering equipment were replaced by best practice1 equipment, we estimate that carbon emissions from commercial kitchens could be reduced by 18 per cent. Substantial additional carbon savings can be made through management and behavioural measures.

1 The top 10 per cent. of equipment, currently on the market, in terms of energy efficiency.

Departmental Publications

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will list in date order (a) Green and (b) White Papers produced by his Department since October 2005. (81295)

The following Command (“Green” and “White”) Papers have been produced by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, since October 2005.

Paper number

Title

Publication date

6692

Autumn Performance Report

21 December 2005

6764

UK Climate Change Programme 2006

28 March 2006

6845

UK Government Response to Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution's 25th Report: Turning the Tide—Addressing the Impact of Fisheries on the Marine Environment

24 May 2006

6827

Departmental Report

25 May 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will list the Unnumbered Command Papers produced by his Department in each Session since 1976; by what means (a) hon. Members and (b) members of the public can (i) inspect and (ii) obtain copies; and if he will make a statement. (81298)

Documents which are laid before Parliament as unnumbered Command Papers are generally restricted to explanatory notes to treaties, explanatory memorandums to statutory instruments and some Treasury minutes. All other documents are published in the Numbered Command Papers series.

A complete list of unnumbered Command Papers can only be produced at disproportionate cost.

Copies of all unnumbered Command Papers are made available via the Vote Office.

Environment Agency

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps the Environment Agency takes to ensure that its charging policy is fair and equitable across its user groups. (87032)

The Environment Agency complies with Her Majesty's Treasury's “Fees and Charges Guide”, applies the polluter (or beneficiary) should pay principle, attributes relevant costs to specific charging regimes, and recovers those costs through charges.

The Agency also takes account of guidance set out in the DEFRA Charging Handbook, which states that policy makers should be sensitive to the burden upon payers (and particular segments) and that this should be done though developing a Regulatory Impact Assessment on the proposed change in charge if it imposes a real increase in burden. In accordance with good Government practice the Agency routinely seeks the views of stakeholders, customer groups and individual charge payers on proposals for changes.

Environmental Directives

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which environmental directives have been agreed and published since May 1997; and what the date or expected date of transposition is of each. (84060)

DEFRA was formed in June 2001. Between 8 June 2001 and 30 June 2006, 30 EU environmental directives, for which the Department has responsibility for implementation, were adopted. These are shown in the following table.

Directive number

Directive name

Transposition deadline

Date UK transposition completed/or expected to be completed

2001/080/EC

Limitation of emissions of certain pollutants into the air from large combustion plants

27 November 2002

9 September 2003

2001/081/EC

National emission ceilings for certain atmospheric pollutants

1 March 2002

13 March 2003

2001/091/EC

Restrictions on the marketing and use of certain dangerous substances and preparations (hexachloroethane)

31 December 2002

30 June 2003

2002/003/EC

Relating to ozone in ambient air

9 September 2003

26 February 2004

2002/031/EC

Energy labelling of household air conditioners

1 January 2003

14 March 2003

2002/040/EC

Commission Directive 2002/040/EC implementing Council Directive 92/75/EEC with regard to energy labelling of household electric ovens

31 December 2002

14 March 2003

2002/045/EC

Relating to restrictions on the marketing and use of certain dangerous substances and preparations (short-chain chlorinated paraffins)

6 July 2003

23 December 2003

2002/049/EC

Assessment and management of environmental noise

18 July 2004

October 2006

2002/062/EC

Adapting to technical progress for the ninth time Annex I to Council Directive 76/769/EEC on the approximation of the laws of the Member States on marketing and use of (organostannic compounds)

31 October 2002

14 March 2003

2003/002/EC

Relating to restrictions on the marketing and use of arsenic

30 June 2003

23 December 2003

2003/004/EC

On public access to environmental information and repealing 90/31 3/EEC

14 February 2005

04 January 2006

2003/011/EC

Relating to restrictions on the marketing and use of certain dangerous substances and preparations (pentabromodiphenyl ether octabromodiphenyl ether)

15 February 2004

22 March 2004

2003/035/EC

Providing for public participation in respect of the drawing up of certain plans and programmes relating to the environment

25 June 2005

October 2007

2003/066/EC

Energy labelling of household electric refrigerators, freezers and their combinations

30 June 2004

1 July 2004

2003/087/EC

Establishing a scheme for greenhouse gas emission allowance trading within the Community

31 December 2003

23 December 2004

2004/008/EC

On the promotion of cogeneration based on a useful heat demand in the internal energy market

21 February 2006

September 2006

2004/012/EC

Packaging and packaging waste

18 August 2005

September 2006

2004/035/EC

Environmental liability with regard to the prevention and remedying of environmental damage

30 April 2007

April 2007

2004/042/EC

Limitation of emissions of volatile organic compounds due to use of organic solvents in certain paints and varnishes and vehicle refinishing products

30 October 2005

25 October 2005

2004/098/EC

Restrictions on the marketing and use of pentabromodiphenyl ether in aircraft emergency evacuation systems

1 January 2005

22 December 2004

2004/101/EC

A scheme for greenhouse gas emission allowance trading within the Community

13 November 2005

September 2006

2004/107/EC

Relating to arsenic, cadmium, mercury, nickel and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in ambient air

15 February 2007

February 2007

2005/032/EC

Establishing a framework for setting ecodesign requirements for energy-using products

11 August 2007

August 2007

2005/033/EC

The sulphur content of marine fuels

11 August 2006

August 2006

2005/059/EC

Restrictions on marketing and use of certain dangerous substances (Toluene and Trichlorobenzene)

15 December 2006

December 2006

2005/069/EC

Marketing and use of certain dangerous substances and preparations

29 December 2006

December 2006

2006/007/EC

Bathing water quality

24 March 2008

March 2008

2006/011/EC

Pollution caused by dangerous substances discharged into the aquatic environment of the community (codified version)

n/a

n/a

2006/012/EC

Waste (codified version)

n/a

n/a

2006/032/EC

Energy end-use efficiency and energy services

17 May 2008

May 2008

I am placing in the Library of the House a list which itemises the directives adopted together with:

(a) the EU deadline for transposition into domestic legislation.

(b) where, appropriate, the final or expected United Kingdom transposition date.

Details of all Directives in force can be found on the Eur-Lex database available on the European Union’s website at: http://europa.eu.int/eur-lex.

Environmental Management

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether his Department (a) is committed to the achievement of environmental management to ISO 14001 standard and (b) has been externally certified as in compliance with that standard; and if he will make a statement. (81183)

DEFRA is firmly committed to the achievement of environmental management systems ISO 14001 standard in its buildings. A programme of independent accreditation to that standard is under way. The priority is for our larger sites to achieve accreditation and at the end of June, a total of 27 sites (offices and laboratories), covering 78 per cent. of staff in the Department and its Executive Agencies, were accredited to ISO 14001. Three further sites covering eight per cent. of staff in the Department have environmental management systems in place, which are yet to be independently certified to the standard.

DEFRA has submitted data relevant to this question (including external certification) for annual Sustainable Development in Government Reports. The last Report published by the Sustainable Development Commission in December 2005, covering the reporting period April 2004 to March 2005, is available at: http://www.sd-commission.org.uk/watchdog.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will commit the Government to compliance with the ISO 14001 Environmental Management Standard. (85982)

On 12 June the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs announced new sustainable operations targets for the Government estate. Environmental management systems (EMS) are a key enabler in supporting improvements in operational performance on the estate, particularly in areas such as energy, water and waste. Therefore, the new targets included a commitment that all Government Departments should have an EMS in place, based, or modelled upon, a recognised system (such as ISO 14001, or the European regulation EMAS).

Departmental performance against EMS estate targets has been published in annual Sustainable Development in Government Reports. The last report published by the Sustainable Development Commission, the independent watchdog, was in December 2005. It covered the reporting period April 2004 to March 2005 and is available at: http://www.sd-commission.org.uk/watchdog

Farm Subsidies

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer of 18 April 2006 to the hon. Member for Winchester (Mr. Oaten), Official Report, column 24W, on farm subsidies, whether the former Chief Executive of the Rural Payments Agency remains on paid leave of absence; when a decision on his future will be made; and if he will make a statement. (73215)

As a priority, DEFRA appointed an interim Chief Executive of the RPA to lead the organisation through the next period, and work has already begun to strengthen the senior management team. The former CEO of the RPA is currently on paid leave and we are in the process of resolving his employment issues through the proper legal procedures in line with the Department’s HR good practice.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when he expects the Single Payment Scheme funds for the period between December 2005 and February 2006 to be paid. (85413)

The EU regulatory payment window for 2005 Single Payment Scheme ran from 1 December 2005 to 30 June 2006. The Rural Payments Agency began to make payments to English farmers in February 2006 and by 30 June over £1.438 billion (94.9 per cent. of total estimated expenditure) had been disbursed. The remaining sums will be paid as soon as possible.

Fisheries

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what share of the EU Fisheries Fund agreed on 19 June will be allocated to (a) the UK and (b) each other EU member state. (86469)

The European Fisheries Fund, which will replace the current Financial Instrument for Fisheries Guidance (FIFG) from 1 January 2007, will run for seven years with a total budget of €3.849 billion. We anticipate that the UK will be allocated about €122 million. However, the Council regulation has not completed its formal procedures so the figure is subject to confirmation. Therefore the Department does not yet hold specific information relating to other member states.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer of 4 May 2006, Official Report, columns 1729-30W, what report his Department has made to the European Commission on by-catch monitoring under the obligations of Council Regulation (EC) 812/2004. (87342)

The UK Government’s report to the European Commission, on by-catch monitoring, is available on the DEFRA website at: http://www.defra. gov.uk/fish/sea/conserve/regulation.htm.

Flood and Coastal Defences

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when the full updating of the National Flood and Coastal Defence database will be completed. (86366)

The National Flood and Coastal Defence database has been developed in a number of phases. The latest development means that it can now hold data on structures that help control coastal erosion as well as flood defences, and it is now live and available to staff in both the Environment Agency and the operating authorities. Further development will be planned to meet evolving needs.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what his Department's expenditure has been on flood defences in 2006-07; and if he will make a statement. (86075)

The Environment Agency (EA) is the principal operating authority with responsibility for flood risk management in England. DEFRA has provided £141 million to the EA in grant in aid in 2006-07 up to the end of July. This supports capital improvement projects, maintenance and operation of existing infrastructure, and associated activities such as flood warning, public awareness of flood risk and advising planning authorities with respect to development in areas at risk of flooding.

Local authority expenditure on flood risk management other than capital projects is supported through the Department for Communities and Local Government Revenue Support Grant mechanism.

Capital projects to manage coastal erosion risk often also provide significant benefit in terms of reducing risk of flooding from the sea but expenditure on these is routed directly to local authorities by DEFRA, and is not included in EA grant in aid. It would not be possible to identify the proportion resulting in flood risk benefit without incurring disproportionate cost.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment the Environment Agency has made of the flood defence systems in Robertsbridge, East Sussex; and if he will make a statement. (86887)

The Environment Agency’s current assessment of the Robertsbridge flood defence systems is that they are in very good condition and able to function in accordance with the design.

However, modifications, which will improve the Agency’s response time during a flood incident, are to be made to the road crossing defences this summer in time for the start of the flood season.

GM Crops

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what genetically modified crops are licensed to be grown in the UK. (87519)

Only one type of genetically modified (GM) maize seed, Monsanto's MON 810, is currently approved and being made available for commercial cultivation in the European Union. MON 810 is not suitable for UK growing conditions.

Greyhound Racing Industry

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what representations he has received from animal welfare organisations on the decision by the greyhound racing industry to pursue self-regulation; and if he will make a statement. (86535)

The Department has received representations from a number of animal welfare organisations about regulating greyhound racing.

I recently received a joint letter from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the Dogs Trust and the League Against Cruel Sports outlining their concerns on the self-regulation of greyhound racing. These organisations are represented on DEFRA’s Greyhound Working Group—set up to examine the welfare aspects of greyhound racing and to offer advice to Ministers and officials on future regulations and a code of practice. This group has yet to make any recommendations.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will reconsider the decision not to include proposals for statutory provision for greyhound racing in the Animal Welfare Bill. (87343)

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps are being taken to promote the welfare of retired greyhounds. (87137)

The Animal Welfare Bill, currently before Parliament, will introduce an offence of failing to provide for the welfare needs of an animal. This will apply to owners and keepers of all animals, including racing and retired greyhounds. In addition, we are considering making specific regulations under the Animal Welfare Bill in relation to the welfare of racing greyhounds. We consider that these regulations are better contained in secondary legislation rather than on the face of the Bill.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many racing greyhounds were killed at the end of their working lives in each of the last five years. (87402)

H7N3 Virus (Norfolk)

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what compensation is available for Norfolk poultry farmers whose poultry has been culled as a consequence of the outbreak of the H7N3 virus. (68649)

[holding answer 8 May 2006]: Under the Animal Health Act 1981, compensation is payable for all healthy birds culled for disease control purposes; the amount is the value of the bird immediately before slaughter. This applies to all birds suffering from any strain of avian influenza, regardless of whether it is of high or low pathogenicity. We also provide compensation for eggs or other property that is destroyed.

In the recent cases of H7N3 in Norfolk, the affected poultry owners will receive compensation for all birds slaughtered because the mortality rate was low and slaughter was conducted on suspicion of disease.

Landscape Management

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what research he has (a) conducted and (b) commissioned into (i) the capability of farmers to continue to manage the landscape and (ii) possible further changes to the Single Farm Payment to encourage this. (85120)

The Government are committed to conserving and enhancing the countryside and biodiversity and recognise the key role played by farmers and other land managers. The introduction of Environmental Stewardship (ES) in 2005 was recognition of the benefits that can be delivered by farming and provides funding to farmers and other land managers in England who deliver effective environmental management on their land. Together with the introduction of cross-compliance conditions under the Single Payment Scheme (SPS), this will ensure that the English landscape continues to be protected and enhanced. It will also encourage the retention, if not expansion, of countryside management skills.

Past research has considered implications of common agricultural policy Reform on land management, including the take-up of agri-environment schemes. A new research programme was set up last year to monitor the impacts of the introduction of the SPS on farm level change and the environment under the Agricultural Change and Environment Observatory Programme, details of which are at: http://www.defra.gov.uk/farm/policy/observatory/index.htm. The results of that programme will help inform the UK negotiating position in future EU discussions on both the SPS rules and wider CAP reform.

Environmental Stewardship has also an evaluation strategy, available at http://www.defra.gov.uk/erdp/pdfs/es/ES-EvaluationPlan-Feb06.pdf, and is supported by research and monitoring programmes. The projects under these ES programmes tend to focus on issues such as ‘effectiveness’, ‘efficiency’ and ‘improvements’ relating to the management options of the scheme. The ‘capability of farmers’ is not investigated independently but is a factor that can influence the outputs of these projects.

Methane

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps are being taken (a) in England and (b) internationally to reduce the effects of methane emissions. (84239)

UK methane emissions between 1990 and 2004 fell by an estimated 50 per cent., mainly as a consequence of reductions in sectors such as waste, agriculture, coal mining and natural gas distribution.

More recycling, helped by the introduction of the landfill tax, and an increase in the capture of landfill gas for energy recovery, has led to an estimated 63 per cent. fall in landfill emissions since 1990. There has been a 40 per cent. decrease in landfill emissions since 1999, when the Government increased the landfill tax to £10 per tonne of waste. Agriculture accounts for around 41 per cent. of UK methane emissions, and emissions from this sector have fallen by an estimated 13 per cent. since 1990.

We are currently reviewing our approach to anaerobic digestion, which can help to capture and utilise emissions from manures and slurries, as part of the Government’s response to the Biomass Taskforce Report. Additionally we are continuing to fund research on options to reduce direct emissions from ruminants.

Methane emissions from coal mining fell by more than 70 per cent. between 1990 and 2004 due to the closure of coal mines as a consequence of fuel switching in the energy supply industry and UK Coal participation in the UK Emissions Trading Scheme. Methane gas extracted from mines and used as fuel has been exempt from the climate change levy since 2003. This exemption encourages the owners of mining facilities and decommissioned mines to invest in systems that capture methane that would otherwise be released into the atmosphere.

Fugitive emissions from natural gas have fallen by about 39 per cent. between 1990 and 2004. National Grid Gas, which owns and maintains the UK gas distribution network, is continuing to improve the UK gas network. Internationally, the UK is taking an active role in the international Methane to Markets Partnership, and will co-chair a new Agriculture Sub-Committee with Argentina. This will examine the scope for capturing methane from animal wastes in a cost-effective way.

Nanotechnology Products

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when he plans to publish details of the Government’s timetable for the introduction of mandatory regulations for nanotechnology products; and whether they will apply retrospectively for those products already on the market in the UK. (83267)

From a review the Department has undertaken and has published on the DEFRA website, I am assured that much of our current legislation addresses risks from materials regardless of their size. DEFRA has responsibility for the possible environmental risks from nanomaterials. If there are environmental risks which need controlling, irrespective of whether the cause of the risk is already marketed or not, they will be appropriately controlled and emergency powers are available if needed.

I am aware that very small materials may pose new risks and it is with that in mind that the UK are moving towards a framework of appropriate control. We are therefore currently gathering evidence to see if these types of products represent a hazard or risk to the environment that would require additional control. Our evidence-gathering phase, working across the UK Government, is scheduled to cover the next two years, at which point it is intended that there will be a fundamental review of the need for control. Given this, there are no plans for the mandatory regulation of nanotechnology products and hence no plans for publication.

DEFRA recently consulted on this approach. The consultation period ended on 23 June but information is still available on the DEFRA website: http://www.defra.gov.uk/corporate/consult/nanotech-vrs/index.htm

Natural England

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether any of the current functions of (a) English Nature and (b) the Countryside Agency will be discarded in the transfer of responsibilities to Natural England. (87072)

[holding answer 20 July 2006]: None of the current functions of English Nature or the Countryside Agency will be discarded in the transfer of responsibilities to Natural England, although some of the Countryside Agency’s responsibilities will transfer to the Commission for Rural Communities rather than to Natural England. We took the opportunity in the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006 to consolidate and simplify the way in which the roles of these bodies have been described in legislation since the 1940s. However the statutory purpose of Natural England is deliberately drawn widely to encompass everything which the predecessor bodies were able to do. It will, of course, be a matter for the Board of Natural England, in consultation with Ministers, to decide how to distribute its resources between its various functions.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what progress has been made in amalgamating English Nature and the Countryside Agency to form Natural England. (87074)

[holding answer 20 July 2006]: Significant progress has been made towards establishing Natural England. For over a year, the constituent bodies that are to form the new agency have been operating as a confederation of partners working together under a common overarching vision and purpose. In May this year we established Natural England as a “skeleton body”, with Chair, members and senior officers, to undertake preparatory work. In June, this skeleton body published a document setting out its “Strategic Direction”. Work is well under way on the remaining arrangements for Natural England to take on its full statutory functions on 1 October.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what new responsibilities Natural England will have in addition to those arising from the transfer of tasks from the Countryside Agency and English Nature. (87075)

[holding answer 20 July 2006]: In addition to the transfer of responsibilities from the Countryside Agency and English Nature, Natural England will also assume responsibility for the majority of the functions which are currently undertaken by DEFRA’s Rural Development Service. Principal among these is the administration of agri-environment schemes. The functions will be formally set out in an agreement, under part 8 of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006, between the Secretary of State and Natural England.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how Natural England will co-ordinate its activities with other Government bodies with responsibilities for the natural environment, with particular reference to the Environment Agency. (87076)

[holding answer 20 July 2006]: Natural England will need to work effectively with a wide range of stakeholders at both the national and the regional level. Our Rural Strategy 2004 confirmed the particular importance we attach to the need for Natural England, the Forestry Commission and the Environment Agency to work closely together. A Memorandum of Understanding was agreed in September 2005 setting out how this could be achieved and it was a subject of lively debate during the passage of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Bill. The first major collaborative project between Natural England and the Environment Agency, on catchment sensitive farming, has begun.

Official Visits

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on how many occasions he has visited each region in an official capacity in the last 12 months. (83974)

Since his appointment my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has visited the South East three times, and the North West, the South West, and the West Midlands each once. In addition he has undertaken numerous engagements in London.

Onshore Windfarms

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of the levels of carbon emissions relating to onshore windfarms. (86888)

I have been asked to reply.

Once a windfarm has been commissioned it produces no carbon emission.

Of the carbon used in the development of a windfarm, the Sustainable Development Commission’s report published November 2005 makes clear that “the energy pay back for a windfarm is 3-10 months.”

A copy of the full report can be downloaded from their website. http://www.sd-commission.org.uk

Orang-utans

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps his Department is taking to prevent the habitat of the orang-utan being destroyed in (a) Malaysia, (b) Indonesia and (c) other countries by the increased use of palm oil. (83595)

The Government are very conscious that increasing consumption of goods and services in the UK can have environmental and social consequences overseas. DEFRA is commissioning research on the environmental impacts of internationally sourced commodity production, and palm oil is one of the commodities being investigated. The results of the research will inform future policy development in the UK and abroad.

We are also working hard in a number of areas to tackle the important issue of natural habitat loss that might affect the orang-utan.

For example, the UK Government have been the major financial supporter of the Great Apes Survival Project (GRASP) run by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the UN Educational, Science and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). More information is available at: http://www.unep.org/grasp.

In October 2005, EU Agriculture Ministers finalised new legislation on Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) that will allow the EU to enter into agreements with developing countries to provide them with assistance to tackle illegal logging.

The Government are also seeking to address concerns regarding the use of palm oil for transport bio-fuel production. We are proposing to develop a carbon and sustainability assurance scheme to ensure that the best transport bio-fuels are used in the UK. The Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership is looking to define the principal environmental criteria required to protect sensitive eco-systems and will prepare a draft environmental standard to apply to all fuels, including imports.

Organic Food

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent estimate he has made of the percentage of organic food sold in the UK which was produced in the UK; what powers the UK has to check the authenticity of organic food imported from abroad; and if he will make a statement. (85947)

It is estimated that overall the percentage of organic food sold in the UK which was produced in the UK increased from 30 per cent. in 2002, to 44 per cent. in 2005. For food which can be produced in the UK the estimate for 2005 is 62 per cent. The Soil Association1 estimates that in 2005, 66 per cent. of the organic primary produce sold by multiple retailers was sourced in the UK

Council Regulation (EEC) No. 2092/91 requires organic food imported from outside the EU to be produced to EU standards for organic production. The European Commission has recognised certain third countries as having equivalent systems of production and control. Otherwise decisions on equivalence are taken by the member states in response to requests from individual importers for the authorisations required for importing organic produce from third countries not recognised by the European Commission for this purpose.

1 Source :

Organic Market Report 2006—published by the Soil Association—data collected by Soil Association from Tesco, Sainsburys and the Co-op.

Pet Cemeteries

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what agreement he has reached with the Environment Agency on landfill licensing fees for small pet cemeteries; and if he will make a statement. (86594)

[holding answer 19 July 2006]: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given on 25 May 2006, Official Report, column 1915W.

DEFRA officials, working with the Environment Agency, have now completed their investigation into the scope for taking an alternative approach to the permitting of pet cemeteries. We expect to announce a proposal very shortly.

Recreational Boaters

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs why the Environment Agency proposes to increase its charges to recreational boaters. (86295)

The Environment Agency has a significant backlog of work on its waterways assets. Over the past year it has made considerable capital investment towards reducing the backlog but in order for waterways to remain sustainable in the future, boaters will need to pay a fair and proportionate contribution towards their upkeep.

Recycling in Schools

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what recycling targets his Department has set for schools; and if he will make a statement; (86133)

(2) how much funding has been allocated for school recycling projects in England; and if he will make a statement;

(3) what discussions he has had with schools on (a) increasing the provision of recycling facilities and (b) promoting recycling awareness in schools.

No recycling targets have been specifically set by the Government for schools. However, DEFRA does provide financial support for the operation of Eco-Schools, an international programme developed by the Foundation of Environmental Education (FEE) and managed in England by Environmental Campaigns (ENCAMS). Eco-Schools promotes environmental awareness around nine main themes, one of which is waste minimisation and recycling.

Eco-Schools involves the whole school (pupils, teachers, non-teaching employees and governors) together with members of the local community (parents, the local authority, the media and local businesses). The scheme enables schools to enter for an internationally recognised award, the highest level of which is the Green Flag, with intermediary awards of bronze and silver. Over 3,000 schools are currently registered, including 500 schools that have achieved Green Flag status.

DEFRA will be providing £40,000 of funding for Eco-Schools in 2006-07. £100,000 is also provided from non-grant sources, mainly from other sponsorship.

In addition, from April 2006 the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) will be carrying out work with schools, including continuation of the Cycler assemblies, as part of their waste awareness programme. Many local authorities are involved with waste education work, both independently and with WRAP. The Environment Action Fund also funds some projects that work with young people on issues around sustainable consumption.

Sakhalin Island (Pipelines)

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment the Government have made of the monitoring of the construction of onshore oil and gas pipelines on Sakhalin Island to ensure that it meets environmental standards; and how the information is verified. (87576)

The Government have been closely involved in the Sakhalin project from both an environmental and social viewpoint. There has been close monitoring of the onshore construction of oil and gas pipelines by the potential lender group, including the Export Credit Guarantee Department (ECGD) and the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). Officials from both ECGD and the Department for International Development have visited the island and some of the construction sites.

Additionally, environmental consultants acting on behalf of the potential lenders are carrying out regular monitoring and verification of the project's performance.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what information his Department has received on how many rivers on Sakhalin Island were crossed with oil and gas pipelines as part of the Sakhalin II project outside the designated winter period detailed in the River Crossing Strategy. (87577)

The designated winter period for crossing rivers as part of the Sakhalin II project is 1 December to 30 April.

Dates on which the rivers were crossed with oil and gas pipelines are available at the Sakhalin Energy website at:

http://www.sakhalinenergy.com/en/proiect.asp?p=rc_list.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what measures his Department has taken to ensure that there are sufficient safeguards in place to prevent a net loss of salmon spawning area on Sakhalin Island as a result of construction activities by the Sakhalin II consortium; and if he will make a statement. (87578)

The Department has gathered information to ensure there are safeguards in place to prevent a net loss of salmon spawning area on Sakhalin Island. Information gathered on the effect of the Sakhalin II project on salmon spawning habitats includes:

Official and ministerial meetings with Shell;

Information included in Sakhalin Energy's River Crossing Strategy;

Monitoring information published by Sakhalin Energy on its website;

Information gathered during site visits carried out by Export Credits Guarantee Department (ECGD) and other potential lenders and their independent consultants.

Sakhalin Energy has committed itself to ensuring no net loss of habitat. DEFRA will be monitoring performance through its close working relationships with the relevant departments such as ECGD, who, together with other agencies such as the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), have commissioned independent monitoring of the project.

Sewage Sludge in Agriculture Regulations

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on what date the Sewage Sludge in Agriculture Regulations will be implemented. (86560)

The Sludge (Use in Agriculture) Regulations came into force in 1989. We have consulted on proposed revisions and are currently seeking views from stakeholders before making recommendations on how best to proceed.

Six-day Movement Rule

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when he made the last assessment of the six-day movement rule; and if he will make a statement. (87002)

[holding answer 20 July 2006]: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given on 1 February 2006, Official Report, column 525W.

I subsequently announced, on 7 February 2006, an independent review of the livestock movements rules. When announcing the review I made it clear that the length of the movement standstills applicable to any species was out of scope. I expect to receive the report shortly.

Slow Food

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps his Department is taking to promote slow food. (84734)

Under DEFRA's regional food strategy we have, since 2003, been providing an additional £1 million per year to support the quality regional food sector in England. Food from Britain (FFB) take the lead in the delivery of a national programme of activity that supports producers in the sector. In taking forward this programme of activities, which focuses on trade development, consumer awareness and business competitiveness, FFB work together with a range of organisations, including Slow Food UK.

A good example of this is ensuring a strong British presence at Slow Food's biennial Salone del Gusto food show held in Turin. Both organisations have worked well together for the last two shows in recruiting quality regional food producers for the event and in providing the necessary logistical support at the show. This close co-operation is continuing this year in preparation for the 2006 Salone del Gusto taking place in October.

Timber

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether members of his Department with responsibility for the Central Point of Expertise on Timber (a) have visited and (b) have plans to visit (i) Malaysia, (ii) Finland and (iii) Tasmania; and if he will make a statement. (85505)

An official from the Department with responsibility for the Central Point of Expertise on Timber has visited Finland and Malaysia on official business. There are currently no arrangements for a visit to Tasmania.

Warm Front

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many households in England are eligible for assistance under the Warm Front programme; and how the overall number of eligible households has changed as a result of revisions to qualifying benefits in each year since 2000. (82896)

According to the eligibility criteria for 2004-05, around 2.8 million households in the private sector were eligible for Warm Front.

Approximately 40 per cent. of these households were in receipt of disability benefits only. The eligibility criteria have stayed broadly the same since 2000, with major changes only occurring because of changes to the benefits or tax credit system, for example the replacement of income support for those of pension age with pension credit, and the replacement of working families and disabled persons tax credit with working and child tax credits. These changes had a minimal impact on the overall number of eligible households.

Water

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what work has been carried out to establish the background levels of fluoxetine in the aquatic environment; and what estimate he has made of the amount of residues from (a) antidepressant and (b) other drugs in the (i) livers, (ii) brains and (iii) muscle of fish. (84064)

The Environment Agency has developed analytical methods for the detection of fluoxetine to levels of 0.002 microgrammes per litre (g/l) and norfluoxetine to 0.005 g/l. Monitoring was undertaken during 2005 downstream of a number of sewage works across England and Wales and fluoxetine (including norfluoxetine) was detected in 90 per cent. of the 39 samples. The average concentration detected was 0.017 g/l. An Environment Agency briefing on fluoxetine is available at: http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/commondata/acrobat/fluoextine_1068996.pdf

As a follow-up to studies commissioned by the Environment Agency, the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS) has investigated the presence of pharmaceutical products, including the antidepressant Lofepramine, in the liver and muscles of a small number of pike in the Grand Union Canal. Pike are predatory fish and thus exhibit the highest levels of any residues likely to enter the food chain. Lofepramine was not detected in any of the samples.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent assessment he has made of (a) levels of pre-tax profits and (b) increases in water charges imposed by water companies. (80614)

Water companies made profits of £2.1 billion in 2004-05. The Government recognise that companies have to pay a return on their capital. However, water companies can only increase their profits by becoming more efficient and delivering all their services at less cost. These savings are also passed to customers in lower bills when the next price limits are set.

Average water and sewerage bills for household customers in England and Wales increased by 5.5 per cent. (including inflation) in April 2006. Customers' bills rose by an average of £15, from £279 to £294. The increases are in line with the price limits set by the Water Services Regulation Authority (Ofwat) for 2005-10 and will contribute towards a total capital investment programme of £16.8 billion for environmental and service improvements.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much water on average was consumed by each person in England in the last year for which figures are available, broken down by water company. (84126)

Ofwat provides the Government with water consumption figures for England and Wales via the annual security of supply, leakage and the efficient use of water report. Household water consumption is expressed in litres per head per day.

The following table provides company estimates of average household consumption for 2004-05.

2004-05

Water and sewerage companies (WaSC)

Anglian

143

Dwr Cymru

151

Northumbrian North

146

Northumbrian South

158

Severn Trent

132

SouthWest

161

Southern

157

Thames

159

United Utilities

142

Wessex

146

Yorkshire

145

WaSC Average

147

Water only companies (WoC)

Bournemouth and West Hampshire

167

Bristol

153

Cambridge

148

Dee Valley

145

Folkestone and Dover

159

Mid Kent

167

Portsmouth

159

South East

173

South Staffordshire

146

Sutton and East Surrey

173

Tendring Hundred

125

Three Valleys

178

WoC Average

165

Industry Average

150

Notes: 1. Averages are weighted by population of unmeasured households. 2. Excludes underground supply pipe leakage. 3. The 2004-05 report can be accessed on the Ofwat website at: http://www.ofwat.gov.uk/aptrix/ofwat/publish.nsf/AttachmentsBy Title/leakage04-05.pdf/$FILE/leakage_04-05.pdf

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much water consumption per head of population was planned by each water company in 2005-06. (84954)

All water companies in England and Wales prepared new water resources plans in 2004. The plans provided forecasts of per capita consumption (pcc) from 2005-06 to 2029-30. The following table shows pcc forecasts for 2005-06. These represent the theoretical average demand for water in a dry year, excluding the impact of any restrictions on water use. These numbers have been calculated from water companies’ forecasts of measured and unmeasured pcc.

Water company

Forecast pcc in 2005-06 (litres/head/day)

Anglian Water

147

Bournemouth and West Hampshire Water

171

Bristol Water

149

Cambridge Water

152

Cholderton and District Water

171

Dee Valley Water

158

Dwr Cymru Welsh Water

166

Essex and Suffolk Water

165

Folkestone and Dover Water

169

Mid Kent Water

170

Northumbrian Water

150

Portsmouth Water

169

Severn Trent Water

137

South East Water

185

South Staffordshire Water

155

South West Water

163

Southern Water

168

Sutton and East Surrey Water

187

Tendring Hundred Water

131

Thames Water

168

Three Valleys Water

183

United Utilities

154

Wessex Water

147

Yorkshire Water

150

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much water was lost as a result of water leaks in London in each year since 1997. (87724)

Ofwat is the economic regulator for the water and sewerage industry in England and Wales. It collects leakage information from companies on their performance against these targets. This information is published annually in Ofwat’s ‘Security of supply, leakage and the efficient use of water report’.

Thames Water is the water supply company for the majority of customers in London. Some customers are supplied by Three Valleys Water, Essex and Suffolk Water, or Sutton and East Surrey Water. Ofwat collects leakage on the basis of company supply area only. Specific figures relating to London are not available.

Wildlife Sites

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what progress has been made towards bringing 95 per cent. of all nationally important wildlife sites into favourable condition by 2010. (85460)

As of 3 July 2006, 72.7 per cent. of the area of England covered by sites of special scientific interest (SSSI) was in favourable or recovering condition, compared with 56.9 per cent. in March 2003. This is good progress towards England’s public service agreement target for SSSIs and in line with our trajectory to achieve 95 per cent. by 2010.

Leader of the House

Divisions

To ask the Leader of the House how many divisions were called off in each of the last three sessions due to failure to provide tellers; what the (a) date and (b) subject under discussion was in each case; and if he will make a statement. (87222)

The Journal Office of the House of Commons has supplied the following information for the last three Sessions, and for the current Session to date:

Session

Date

Business

2002-03

20 May 2003

Criminal Justice Bill (Report stage)

2003-04

None

2004-05

None

2005-061

31 January 2006

Racial and Religious Hatred Bill (Programme) (No. 2)

1 To 18 July 2006.

Early-day motions (E-tabling)

To ask the Leader of the House whether he has examined the merits of enabling e-tabling of Early Day Motions; and if he will make a statement. (87730)

This is essentially a matter for the House. The Government are however aware of concerns about the principle of electronic tabling for parliamentary proceedings without strong safeguards to ensure that any new system is not open to abuse, and that the Member concerned is personally responsible at each stage. I understand that the Procedure Committee is currently examining matters relating to EDMs, including the procedures for their tabling. I look forward to the Committee's recommendations.

Parliamentary Questions

To ask the Leader of the House what steps he is taking to ensure that ministerial answers to parliamentary questions address the terms of the questions being asked. (87753)

In answering parliamentary questions, as in other areas, Ministers are subject to the obligations set out in the Ministerial Code, which states that:

“It is of paramount importance that Ministers give accurate and truthful information to Parliament… Ministers should be as open as possible with Parliament and the public, refusing to provide information only when disclosure would not be in the public interest”.

Ministerial answers should reflect the terms of the questions asked.

As I have already indicated to the House, I have raised the answering of parliamentary questions directly with ministerial colleagues. This covered the issue of content as well as the issue of timeliness.

To ask the Leader of the House if he will ask the Modernisation Committee to examine the degree to which the quality of replies to parliamentary questions enables Ministers to be held accountable by hon. Members. (88280)

I have no plans to do so. I understand that the Procedure Committee may be considering an inquiry into parliamentary questions later this year. The Public Administration Select Committee (and its predecessor the Public Service Committee) has conducted regular inquiries since 1995-96 into aspects of the answers to parliamentary questions.

I also refer the hon. Member to the adjournment debate on written parliamentary questions of 28 June 2006, Official Report, columns 344-60, in which the role of parliamentary questions in contributing to ministerial accountability was discussed, including the pressure being placed on the system by the quantity of questions being tabled.

Transport

A13

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans his Department has for improving the A13; what improvements were made to the A13 between Basildon and Southend-on-Sea during 2005; and if he will make a statement. (87256)

The A13 is the responsibility of the Secretary of State only between its junctions with the A1306 and A1089. We have no plans at present for improvements to this section of road. The remainder of the A13 is the responsibility of Southend on Sea borough council and Essex county council. Improvements to these sections of the road are therefore matters for these authorities. In his announcement of 6 July about Regional Funding Allocations, the Secretary of State approved entry into the programme of a scheme promoted by Essex county council for the improvement of the junction of the A13 with the A130 at Sadler’s Farm.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many (a) minor and (b) serious accidents occurred on the A13 between the A405 and the M25 in each of the last 10 years for which figures are available. (87258)

I presume the hon. Member means the A406. The number of serious and slight personal injury road accidents reported to the police on the A13 between the A406 and the M25 from 1996 to 2005 is given in the table.

Accidents occurring on A13 between A406 and M25:1996-2005

Serious

Slight

1996

41

189

1997

52

194

1998

33

188

1999

12

100

2000

27

153

2001

22

119

2002

17

107

2003

30

91

2004

28

122

2005

12

92

A21

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much has been spent on properties purchased by the Highways Agency under compulsory purchase orders along the proposed A21 upgrade route. (86739)

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the environmental consequences of the proposed A21 upgrade. (87925)

The environmental consequences of the proposed A21 upgrade schemes are being assessed in accordance with the prescribed methodology set out in Volume 11 of the Design Manual for Roads and Bridges.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions he has had with residents in East Sussex regarding the proposed A21 upgrade. (87926)

The Highways Agency has had discussions with residents in East Sussex, regarding the proposed A21 upgrade, as part of public consultation undertaken from November 2002 onwards.

Discussions will continue with individuals and representative and statutory bodies on the issues raised by the proposals.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what role (a) Rother district council and (b) East Sussex county council have played in the proposed A21 upgrade. (87929)

Rother district council and East Sussex county council have participated in the A21 upgrade consultation processes that have taken place both prior to and following the publication of the Access to Hastings Multi Modal Study.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much the Highways Agency has spent on consultation fees while assessing the proposed A21 upgrade. (87930)

The Highways Agency spent £8,181.44 (ex-VAT) on the A21 upgrade consultation process that took place following the Access to Hastings Multi Modal Study.

These costs were incurred between April 2002 and February 2005 prior to Preferred Route announcements for the Kippings Cross to Lamberhurst improvement and the Flimwell to Robertsbridge improvement.

Accident Statistics

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many (a) fatal and (b) non-fatal traffic accidents there were in each London borough in each year since 1997. (87498)

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many pedestrians have been (a) killed and (b) injured by vehicles in each of the last 10 years. (87123)

The number of pedestrians killed in personal injury road accidents reported to the police for the years up to 2004 is published in Table 2 of Road Casualties Great Britain: 2004. Pedestrian fatalities for 2005 are published in Table 1 of Road Casualties Great Britain: Main Results: 2005.

The number of pedestrian injured in personal injury road accidents reported to the police over the last 10 years up to 2004 can be obtained from the in Table 5c of Road Casualties Great Britain: 2004 and Road Casualties Great Britain: 2002. The number of pedestrians injured in 2005 can be obtained from Table 1 of Road Casualties Great Britain: Main Results: 2005.

Copies of these publications are in the Library.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many road traffic accidents occurred on or near pedestrian crossings in each year since 1997; and how many of these accidents involved the (a) death and (b) injury of pedestrians. (87124)

The number of personal injury road accidents reported to the police that occurred on or within 50 m of a pedestrian crossing facility, and those that involved a pedestrian death or injury are given in the table.

Accidents on or within 50 m of a pedestrian crossing facility: 1997-2005

All accidents

Accidents involving pedestrian death

Accidents involving pedestrian injury

1997

34,881

247

10,889

1998

35,679

229

11,007

1999

35,455

225

10,706

2000

34,835

213

10,433

2001

33,979

195

10,188

2002

33,999

206

9,948

2003

33,018

232

9,582

2004

30,824

181

9,171

2005

29,610

183

8,844

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many hit-and-run incidents there have been in each London borough in each of the last five years. (86772)

The number of personal injury road accidents reported to the police which involved one or more hit and run drivers or riders for the years 2001-05, in each London borough is given in the table.

Number of personal injury accidents involving one or more hit and run drivers/riders by London borough: 2001-05

Number of accidents

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

Barking

65

83

78

89

81

Barnet

169

217

191

178

153

Bexley

86

86

81

65

70

Brent

209

234

199

195

142

Bromley

102

153

95

97

106

Camden

255

237

212

161

103

City of London

72

53

35

51

33

Croydon

187

193

183

177

158

Ealing

163

225

217

175

169

Enfield

183

253

225

215

146

Greenwich

126

189

153

119

129

Hackney

265

292

235

224

187

Hammersmith

116

142

136

111

124

Haringey

232

252

237

176

120

Harrow

75

83

73

76

63

Havering

72

93

103

95

59

Hillingdon

113

131

130

101

91

Hounslow

186

154

184

137

105

Islington

244

252

195

143

114

Kensington and Chelsea

83

124

108

75

88

Kingston upon Thames

48

41

34

42

37

Lambeth

297

304

305

203

161

Lewisham

201

206

202

160

136

Merton

72

88

88

53

52

Newham

249

254

202

143

195

Redbridge

194

166

215

162

157

Richmond upon Thames

91

69

69

54

45

Southwark

293

294

271

170

171

Sutton

67

49

56

46

42

Tower Hamlets

228

209

208

164

151

Waltham Forest

177

184

195

161

157

Wandsworth

134

201

141

137

106

Westminster

326

335

317

231

200

Source:

Transport for London

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many traffic accidents there were involving (a) pedestrians, (b) buses, (c) trams and (d) cyclists in London in each year since 1997. (87499)

The numbers of personal injury accidents reported to the police involving (a) pedestrian casualties, (b) buses, (c) trams and (d) cyclists in London in each year since 1997 are given in the following table.

Personal injury accidents by vehicle type: London: 1997-2005

Number of accidents

With pedestrian casualties

Involving a bus or coach

Involving a tram1

Involving pedal cycles

1997

8,919

2,776

4,482

1998

8,778

2,957

4,359

1999

8,748

3,083

2

4,251

2000

8,351

3,188

9

3,586

2001

7,903

3,153

3

3,379

2002

7,238

2,862

6

3,104

2003

6,905

3,098

9

3,129

2004

6,206

2,939

10

3,021

2005

5,852

2,658

6

2,979

1 Data for accidents involving trams are only available from 1999 onwards

Source:

Transport for London

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many sleep-related traffic accidents occurred on motorways in each of the past three years; how many (a) deaths and (b) serious injuries were incurred; and what steps his Department is taking to reduce the incidence of such accidents. (87584)

I refer to my answers to my hon. Friend the Member for South Swindon (Anne Snelgrove) of 28 November 2005, Official Report, column 153W and to the hon. Member for Southend, West (Mr. Amess) of 3 July 2006, Official Report, column 740W.

Bicycle Bells

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will introduce legislation to make it a requirement for all bicycles to be fitted with bells at all times whilst being ridden. (87358)

Bells are currently required to be fitted at the point of sale of a bicycle, but there is no obligation to retain the bell when the cycle is in use, or indeed for the bell to be used.

New harmonised European construction standards for bicycles come into force in November this year. Although they do not cover bicycle bells, the introduction of these standards makes this a sensible moment to review our current policies on cycle construction, including the question of bells.

I would of course undertake a public consultation before making any proposal to amend regulations.

Boat Collisions (River Thames)

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many collisions of boats there were on the River Thames in each of the last five years. (87786)

For each of the five years from 2001 to 2005 the total numbers of collisions involving all types of craft in the Thames area recorded by the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) are:

Number

2001

1

2002

2

2003

3

2004

3

2005

6

Boat Licences

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many boat licences were granted in each London borough in each year since 1997. (87501)

Bus Driver Tests

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the pass rate was in each of the last three financial years for driving tests conducted by the Driving Standards Agency examiners on bus driver candidates; and how many bus driver candidates passed in each year. (87858)

The following table shows PCV (bus) tests conducted, number of passes and the pass rate for the last three financial years. Only tests conducted by DSA examiners are included.

Number tests

Number passes

Pass rate (percentage)

2003-04

10,083

4,591

45.5

2004-05

12,251

5,369

43.8

2005-06

11,648

5,175

44.4

Cargo Transfers

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to his Answer of 27 June 2006, Official Report, column 258W, on cargo transfers, what guidance his Department has issued to harbour authorities on applying for (a) Harbour Revision Orders and (b) other orders under the Harbours Act 1964; and whether such guidance applies only in England and Wales. (87808)

The Department has published advice on the procedures for obtaining Harbour Orders on the Department's website at http://www.dft.gov.uk/stellent/groups/dft_shipping/documents/page/dft_shipping_ 611467.hcsp.

The guidance applies only to England and Wales.

Crossrail

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what studies he has undertaken on the likely impact of Crossrail on the Heathrow Express. (86265)

[holding answer 18 July 2006]: The report of the Crossrail Timetable Working Group, published on 22 June 2006, considers the impact of Crossrail services on existing rail services and future services allowing for growth, including Heathrow Express. A copy of the report can be found on my Department’s website: http://www.dft.gov.uk/stellent/groups/dft_railways/documents/page/dft_railways_ 611918.pdf

Cycling Accidents

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many (a) fatal, (b) serious and (c) slight injuries suffered by cyclists on (i) urban roads and (ii) rural roads in each year since 2003 resulted from collisions involving (A) at least one motor vehicle, (B) no motor vehicles and (C) powered two-wheel vehicles. (87211)

The information requested is given in the table. The figures relate to casualties in personal injury road accidents reported to the police.

Cyclist Casualties on Urban and Rural Roads, by Vehicle Involved in an Accident: 2003-05

Accidents involving:

2003

2004

2005

Motor vehicle

Urban

Fatal

58

67

65

Serious

1,644

1,537

1,628

Slight

12,041

11,877

11,787

Rural

Fatal

46

52

65

Serious

479

477

432

Slight

2,170

2,063

2,083

No motor vehicle

Urban

Fatal

60

73

73

Serious

1,739

1,635

1,728

Slight

12,352

12,186

12,023

Rural

Fatal

54

61

75

Serious

552

538

484

Slight

2,258

2,138

2,173

Two-wheeled motor vehicle

Urban

Fatal

2

2

2

Serious

37

41

30

Slight

234

225

217

Rural

Fatal

0

0

3

Serious

8

14

13

Slight

56

38

47

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many people have (a) died and (b) received serious head injuries as a result of a cycling accident in each of the last 10 years. (87212)

The number of fatalities in personal injury road accidents reported to the police involving cyclists is given in the table.

Fatalities in accidents involving a cyclist, Great Britain, 1996-2005

Number

1996

209

1997

192

1998

164

1999

184

2000

138

2001

141

2002

138

2003

120

2004

139

2005

157

The Department does not collect information on the type of injuries sustained during personal injury road accidents, and cannot identify serious head injuries.

Delegated Examiners

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what arrangements for conducting tests and keeping proper records have to be in place before he will grant his approval to the appointment of delegated examiners. (87836)

Before an organisation is approved to use delegated examiners it is visited by the local Supervising Driving Examiner. This is to confirm that all the necessary arrangements are in place to ensure that driving tests are conducted fairly and properly and under similar conditions to those conducted by DSA’s own examiners.

Delegated examiners are required to submit monthly returns to DSA including pass and fail statistics and the number of pass certificates and driving test reports issued. They are also required to notify the Agency if they have not conducted any tests during the month.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether the Driver Standards Agency has a dedicated team of people who supervise the operations of Passenger Carrying Vehicle delegated examiners. (87844)

The Driving Standards Agency's (DSA) sector managers are responsible for supervising delegated examiners. All sector managers are supervising driving examiners who undertake this quality assurance work as part of their general standards maintenance duties. DSA has 38 sector managers in post.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many staff in the Driver Standards Agency work solely on conducting supervised Passenger Carrying Vehicle delegated examiner check tests. (87845)

None. The 38 sector managers in the Driving Standards Agency undertake this quality assurance work as part of their general standards maintenance duties.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether research has been undertaken by his Department into the effectiveness and safety of Passenger Carrying Vehicle delegated examiners conducting tests. (87851)

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when passenger carrying vehicle delegated examiners were first introduced. (87852)

Delegated examiners for the passenger carrying transport industry were introduced by a predecessor to the Department for Transport at least 30 years ago. Responsibility for the scheme passed to the Driving Standards Agency when the Agency was established in September 1990.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what fee is charged by the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) to train a passenger carrying vehicle (PCV) delegated examiner; and what income DSA has earned from training PCV delegated examiners in each of the last three financial years. (87853)

The charge for each full four-week course is £4,000 per trainee. Trainees who need to repeat only part of the course pay a proportional fee.

The income generated from delegated PCV examiner training fees in each of the last three financial years was:

£

2003-04

29,000

2004-05

34,000

2005-06

49,000

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many actual supervised (check) driving tests the Driving Standards Agency undertook on passenger carrying vehicle delegated examiners in each the last three financial years; and how many tests were cancelled in each year. (87855)

78 supervisory tests were conducted during the period 2005-06. No data about supervisory tests were collected before that time.

No supervisory tests have been cancelled.

Driver Numbers

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate he has made of the number of drivers aged (a) 18 to 21 and (b) over 60 years in (i) 1980, (ii) 1990 and (iii) 2005 expressed (A) as a number and (B) as a proportion of the driving population. (87361)

The following table gives the number of people aged 18 to 21 and over 60 who hold a full driving licence and the proportion of the total number of licence holders in these age groups in 1985-86, 1989-91 and 2004, based on data from the National Travel Survey.

No survey was undertaken in 1980. Only aggregated information is available for 1989-91. Figures for 2005 are not yet available.

Number of full driving licence holders and proportion of total licence holders aged 18 to 21 years and over 60 years

1985-86

1989-91

2004

Estimated number of licence holders (million)

18-21

1.6

1.9

1.1

Over 60

4.1

4.9

7.0

Percentage of total number of licence holders

18-21

7

7

3

Over 60

17

18

22

Driving Licence Directive

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what representations his Department has received on the second EC Directive on driving licences, 91/439/EEC. (85986)

The second EC Directive on driving licences, 91/439/EEC, which was implemented in Great Britain on 1 January 1997, covers a very wide range of subjects relating to driving licensing matters. The Department for Transport receives many enquiries and representations on matters relating to the provisions of this directive.

Driving Safety Forward

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the cost to date is of the Driving Standards Agency’s Driving Safety Forward agenda. (87838)

Cost to date of the Driving Safety Forward project is £349,978.70 (excluding VAT) paid to the Agency’s consultants, Symbia.

This excludes costs for staff time which have not been apportioned specifically to the project.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport why there was no competitive tender for the contract for the Driving Safety Forward agenda; and how EU procurement rules were complied with in this instance. (87839)

Competitive tenders for the organisational review consultancy were invited from “OGC Buying.Solutions’” framework contractors. Seven tenders were received.

“OGC Buying.Solutions’” framework contracts have already been advertised and awarded in accordance with EU Procurement Directives.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the end date is for the contract with Symbia Ltd. for the Driver Standards Agency's Driving Safety Forward agenda. (87840)

In accordance with the latest contract variation, the end date of the contract with Symbia Ltd. is 29 September 2006.

Driving Standards Agency

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what (a) consultants and (b) contractors have been employed by the Driving Standards Agency in each of the last three financial years; what type of work each carried out; and how much was spent on each in each year. (87837)

A table has been placed in the Library which shows information about consultants employed by the Driving Standards Agency in the last three financial years.

Providing the requested information about contractors employed by the Driving Standards Agency would entail disproportionate costs and so is not included.

Driving Tests

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the average waiting time for a driving test was (a) in England and (b) broken down by (i) region and (ii) test centre in each of the last five years. (85810)

Available figures for number of weeks waiting time nationally, and in each DSA region, in each of the last five years are as follows:

Number of weeks

2001-02

2002-03

2003-04

2004-05

2005-06

London

7.5

11.5

11.0

7.3

Midlands

8.6

10.2

8.8

5.8

Northern

8.4

10.1

7.8

5.3

Scotland

6.7

6.0

5.6

6.2

Wales

6.7

7.7

6.5

5.8

National

6.8

7.8

9.6

8.4

6.0

Figures broken down by DSA region in 2001-02 are not available. Such figures, average waiting times for England as a whole, and for individual test centres, could be provided only at disproportionate cost. However, sets of tables showing waiting times at each centre during the same week in late March of each of the last five years have been placed in the Library.

EU Directives

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) how many full-time equivalent staff are working on implementing and administering EU directives, regulations and policies in his Department; (86758)

(2) what the cost to his Department was of implementing and administering EU directives, regulations and policies in 2005-06.

Implementation and administration of EU directives, regulations and policies is an important part of the work of the Department for Transport and we seek to do this in a timely and efficient way consistent with the principles of better regulation. Implementation and administration of EU policy is generally carried out by staff as part of their wider work and activity is not broken down in this way. The information requested could therefore be provided only at disproportionate cost.

First Capital Connect (Cheap Day Returns)

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he was first informed of the plans of First Capital Connect to prevent use of cheap day return tickets on former Thameslink services serving Hertfordshire; what representations he made to First Capital Connect about these plans; and whether he took these plans into account in his decision to award the relevant franchise to First Capital Connect. (83563)

The First Capital Connect bid included a proposal to restrict the use of day return fares during the evening peak on certain routes. Day returns are fares that are not regulated and it is for operators to decide whether to offer them, at what price and with what restrictions.

All proposals in franchise bids are assessed in their deliverability and their compatibility with current fares policy.

Foreign Officers (Competency Certificates)

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps he is taking to ensure that there are adequate controls on issuing certificates of equivalent competency for foreign officers serving on UK ships. (87548)

I have asked the Chief Executive of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency to establish a working group, including representatives from the shipping industry and trade unions, to examine these issues.

Free Bus Travel

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much funding the Government are providing to West Lancashire district council to provide free bus travel for (a) older and (b) disabled persons; and whether it plans to use all of this funding to provide free travel. (83466)

The funding for concessionary fares is provided through revenue support grant which is unhypothecated; therefore the funding for concessionary fares is not separately identified. It is for local authorities to deicide on their overall funding priorities based on their judgment of local need and circumstances.

Pensioners and disabled people in England have had an entitlement to free off-peak local bus travel, from April 2006, which will be extended in April 2008 to free off-peak bus travel across the country.

Government Car and Despatch Agency

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what percentage of cars owned by the Government Car and Despatch Agency come with air conditioning as standard. (87932)

99.04 per cent. of the Government Car and Despatch Agency’s car fleet has air conditioning as standard.

Great Barford By-pass

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the original estimate of cost was for the Great Barford by-pass; and what the anticipated outturn of expenditure is. (87431)

The original estimated cost of the scheme at TPI entry in 1998 was £25 million and excluded VAT, ‘optimism bias’ projected inflation and revising costs in line with the road construction price index.

Following the application of these Treasury Green Book principles in April 2003, the costs of schemes submitted for TPI entry approval have been reported including the above items. The estimated cost for the A421 was then adjusted to £37 million. A budget increase to £58 million was approved by Ministers prior to start of works.

Highways Expenditure

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the total expenditure on highways in Haltemprice and Howden constituency was in each of the last two financial years; and what the average figure was per constituency in each year. (88592)

Expenditure on highways (both by local authorities and the Highways Agency) cannot be disaggregated to constituency level except at disproportionate cost.

Illegal Drugs (Driving)

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many motorists killed in road accidents in each of the last five years had traces of illegal drugs in their bodies. (87485)

This information is not available. A study of fatal accident victims during the period 1996-2000 showed that in a sample of 779 drivers and riders killed, 17 per cent. had traces of illegal drugs. In 8 per cent. of the sample the drug detected was cannabis, traces of which remain detectable in the body long after consumption.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate he has made of the number of motorists who drove with illegal drugs in their bodies in the last 12 months. (87486)

No such estimate is made by the Department. A 2004 European Commission study “Impaired motorists: methods of roadside testing and assessment for licensing” co-funded by member states, examined the prevalence of illegal drugs in drivers. The summary of the results of the UK element of that study are at www.dft.gov.uk/stellent/groups/dft_rdsafety/documents/page/dft_rdsafety_611649-03.hcsp#P58_ 5194. The full report is at www.immortal.or.at/

Light Rail Procurement

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he intends to publish the Government's guidance on light rail procurement. (87434)

London Underground

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of safety measures on the London Underground network in relation to protection against the threat of terrorism. (85257)

[holding answer 17 July 2006]: The Department for Transport keeps the preventative transport security measures we require under regular review. Industry implementation of the measures is subject to an ongoing programme of compliance monitoring and enforcement by DFT inspectors.

M25

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when the concrete surface of the M25 between junctions 8 and 9 is to be replaced with quieter surfacing. (87082)

The M25 between junctions 8 and 9 will not require resurfacing for maintenance needs within the period of the Agency’s current five year forward programme. However when it does need to be resurfaced a quieter surfacing will be used as a matter of course.

Major Roads Projects

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what the forecast costs are of each Highways Agency major roads project; (88133)

(2) what steps he is taking to tackle the effects of increasing construction material and energy prices on major transport projects.

The Chief Executive of the Highways Agency wrote to the Transport Select Committee in April 2006 with information on the latest ministerially approved budgets for major road schemes. I have placed the same data in the Library. Since April the following changes have been approved:

£ million

Previous approved budget cost

Latest approved budget cost

M25 J12-15 Widening

120

127

A47 Thorney Bypass

27

28

A66 Temple Sowerby and Improvement at Winderwath

39

40

M40/A404 Handy Cross Junction Improvement

14

13

A66 Greta Bridge to Stephen Bank Improvement

9

10

A66 Long Newton Junction

8

12

A57/A628 Mottram-Tintwistle Bypass

103

106

A590 High and Low Newton Bypass

22

35

A2 Bean-Cobham Phase 2

101

120

A2/A282 Dartford Improvement

72

122

In addition, on 20 July the Secretary of State’s announcement on the Inspector’s Report and scheme orders for the A3 Hindhead Improvement noted that the latest estimate for that scheme is £370.9 million.

The Chief Executive noted in his letter to the Select Committee that the cost estimates were being reviewed, principally to take account of construction inflation.

The Secretary of State has now asked Mike Nichols, Chairman of the Nichols Group, to review the Highways Agency approach to cost estimating and project management, and to make recommendations, including on how the agency should best assess, monitor and report on risks to its cost estimates. He will report in the autumn.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate his Department has made of the economic effects of the implementation of the published scheme for improvements to the A303 Stonehenge in the first year after construction. (88240)

The Highways Agency's economic analysis of the A303 Stonehenge scheme is based on an assumed start of construction in 2008. On this assumption, it is estimated that in the first year after construction (2013) of the published scheme there would be travel time savings of between £3.495 million at low growth and £6.317 million at high growth. In addition, there would be safety benefits (resulting from a reduction in accidents) of between £2.035 million at low growth and £2.211 million at high growth.

Motorway Service Areas

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he will publish a consultation document on regulations governing motorway service areas. (87583)

I have asked the Highways Agency to undertake a review of policy on roadside facilities, including motorway service areas. As part of the review process we shall be carrying out a public consultation exercise. It is anticipated that this consultation will commence shortly.

Oil Handling Facilities

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what mechanism is used to grant consent to new oil handling facilities (a) within harbour authority areas and (b) elsewhere in UK internal and territorial waters. (87809)

There is no single mechanism for the granting of consent to new oil handling facilities. There are a range of possible consent regimes for such facilities, dependant upon where they are, whether there are new works involved and the extent to which there are existing powers available to the authorities involved.

Oil Spills (Contingency Plans)

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many of the comments received in response to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency’s consultation on oil spill contingency plans covering ship-to-ship transfers of oil in the Firth of Forth were categorised as not relevant; what proportion of such comments related to the effects of oil spill plan amendments in combination with effects of the proposed transfers; whether these comments will be made available to Forth Ports to assist them in assessing the transfer proposals under regulation 3 of the Conservation (Natural Habitats etc) Regulations 1994; and whether these comments will be published. (86736)

This information was placed on the Maritime and Coastguard Agency website on the 14 July 2006 in the form of a Responses Consultation Table and a Summary Analysis of Consultee Responses. The website address for these documents is: http://www.mcga.gov.uk/c4mca/mcga-guidance-requlation/mcga-consultations/mcga-current_consultations/mcga-consultations-sts_forth/mcga-consultations-sts_outcome.htm

All comments relevant to the consultation process have been included in these documents.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the timetable is for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency to report to him following its consultation on (a) the implications for European wildlife sites of the proposed changes to Forth Ports oil contingency plans and (b) the other documents on which comment was invited in connection with ship-to-ship transfers of oil in the Firth of Forth; and what mechanism is proposed for making the findings public. (86737)