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Written Answers

Volume 450: debated on Monday 16 October 2006

Written Answers to Questions

Monday 16 October 2006

House of Commons Commission

Internet Access (Portcullis House)

To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission if the Commission will take steps to make wireless access to the internet available in Portcullis House and the Palace of Westminster. (92877)

An interim wireless solution has recently been installed in the atrium area of Portcullis House. This new service, which is currently being tested, will be publicised more widely in the next few weeks. The service will allow Members using centrally provided Dell laptops (running Windows XP) full access to the parliamentary network in the atrium area. We are planning a fuller solution to this requirement, which will extend wireless coverage to other suitable areas of the parliamentary estate and also provide "guest" access for users with non-centrally provided (Wintel) laptops.

Solicitor-General

Hate Crimes

To ask the Solicitor-General what steps the Crown Prosecution Service takes to ensure that the right casework decisions are made in cases of homophobic and transphobic crime. (93604)

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) regards homophobic and transphobic crimes as particularly serious and is determined to prosecute all hate crime robustly and rigorously. After extensive consultation in 2002, the CPS issued a public policy statement and related guidance for crown prosecutors explaining how such cases would be handled.

Each CPS area has at least one homophobic crime co-ordinator. These co-ordinators provide guidance to crown prosecutors and agents; work closely with the local police and other agencies on casework and operational issues; ensure consistency of aims and approach; advise on victim and witness care issues; and make links with local LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) communities. Annual conferences for the CPS area homophobic crime co-ordinators are held and good practice promulgated. Each area's performance on prosecuting cases of homophobic crime is monitored and reviewed each quarter.

Human Trafficking

To ask the Solicitor-General what guidelines his Department has issued to the Crown Prosecution Service on treatment of the victims of human trafficking. (93593)

As part of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) response to Operation Pentameter, updated guidance has been issued to specialist crown prosecutors in each CPS Area. This guidance focuses on trafficking for sexual exploitation and has been informed in part by the experiences of those who have handled trafficking cases and supported trafficked victims. It has also been taken from best practice gleaned from research from other jurisdictions.

The guidance emphasises the importance of adhering to the standards set out in the CPS Public Policy Statement on the Delivery of Service to Victims, which places the needs of victims at the heart of the criminal justice system. This emphasises the importance of obtaining the best evidence from the victim. To do this crown prosecutors have been advised to view the case from a victim's perspective, and not purely from a lawyer's perspective.

Further specific guidance for trafficking cases “Dealing with the Victim” has been issued to assist crown prosecutors in understanding the varied and complex needs of trafficked victims and the support required. This guidance has been developed for the police by CENTREX (the Police Training Organisation) in partnership with REFLEX (the Government's multi-agency response to organised immigration crime).

NHS Staff (Assaults)

To ask the Solicitor-General how many prosecutions were initiated in Northern Ireland in each of the last three years against people accused of (a) violent and (b) abusive behaviour towards NHS staff; and if he will make a statement. (93317)

The Public Prosecution Service does not record the employment of victims of violent or abusive behaviour and so the information is not available. I am informed that the police, who continue to prosecute in those areas of Northern Ireland which are not yet covered by the PPS, do not record such information either.

The PPS takes any attack on staff carrying out public duties seriously. The Code for Prosecutors, published by the PPS, specifically draws the attention of prosecutors to any instance

“where the offence was committed against a person serving the public, for example a doctor, nurse, member of the ambulance service, member of the fire service or a member of the police service”

as an important feature of any offence.

Witness Intimidation

To ask the Solicitor-General what steps the Crown Prosecution Service undertakes when a victim of anti-social behaviour crime decides to withdraw the case following witness intimidation; and what protocols are followed in these circumstances. (93615)

In such circumstances, a member of the prosecution team, normally the police officer in the case, will contact the victim to assess the reasons why they wish to withdraw from the prosecution process. The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and the police will then consider using a range of measures to re-engage the victim in the prosecution process, such as the police installing a panic alarm, clearing the public gallery at the trial, using screens or giving evidence via a video link.

The prosecution team works to the achieving best evidence guidance issued in 2002 which deals with the care of vulnerable and intimidated witnesses. The Office for Criminal Justice Reform is currently developing new guidance on witness intimidation and the CPS has participated in the development of this guidance.

Wales

Departmental Staff

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many people are employed in the Wales Office; and how many were employed in 1997-98. (94173)

The Wales Office publishes its staff numbers in its annual departmental report, which is available in the House Library and at www.walesoffice. gov.uk.

The Wales Office did not exist in 1997-98.

International Development

Amazonian Rainforest

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent discussions he has had with the Governments of (a) Brazil, (b) Ecuador and (c) Peru about the conservation of the Amazonian rainforest, with particular reference to (i) tackling illegal logging, (ii) managing farming in the forest and (iii) encouraging sustainable use of the forest. (92951)

The Government are working with Brazil, Ecuador, Peru and other countries to establish a policy framework for deforestation under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Ways of working towards sustainable forest management in the context of expansion of agriculture and illegal logging are the subject of debate in the United Nations Forum on Forests and elsewhere. Sustainable forest management will be one of the areas of collaboration under the UK-Brazil dialogue on sustainable development.

Botswana

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what discussions he has had with the government of Botswana about broadening its economic base. (92954)

The British High Commission in Gaborone leads on economic policy issues in Botswana, and has regular discussions with the Government of Botswana, including on economic growth and development strategy. These discussions have included the Government's plans for economic diversification. This was discussed during the International Development Committee's visit to Botswana in February 2006, when committee members, including the right hon. Member, met the President and other senior Government officials.

The Government of Botswana has prioritised the broadening of its economic base. In its “Vision 2016” document, launched in 1997, the Government recognised that Botswana needs to diversify its economy within the next 20 years. For this to happen, mining, agriculture, industry, manufacturing services and tourism all need to make a substantial contribution to the economy.

DFID no longer has a bilateral programme in Botswana. DFID Southern Africa's regional programmes in health, trade, and infrastructure will support the Government's plans for economic diversification.

Climate Change

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent assessment he has made of the impact of climate change and the destruction of the rainforest on sustainable development in the Amazon basin. (92959)

Research funded by the Government at the Hadley Centre suggests that climate change could lead to a drier climate in the Amazon basin. A less disturbed forest will better adapt to these conditions, a more fragmented one will be more vulnerable to fire and therefore less resilient. Most climate models agree that complete removal of the Amazonian forest would lead to a drying of the climate, because local rainfall depends on recycling of water via the forest. Removal of the Amazonian forest could also affect local climates in neighbouring regions through changes in atmospheric circulation. The effect on agriculture could be profound and research by Brazil's national meteorological service suggests that the rainfall in the La Plata basin (where much of Brazil's hydroelectric power is generated) depends on moisture transported via the atmosphere from Amazonia. In addition to these potential impacts on agricultural production and power generation, loss of forest as a result of climate change would result in significant reduction in biodiversity and access to forest products which contribute to local livelihoods. Conflicts related to access to natural resources would be exacerbated.

Departmental Expenditure

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much was spent by his Department on food and alcohol for its staff working out of office in each year since 2001-02. (91888)

It is not possible to disaggregate costs for food and alcohol for staff working out of office, without incurring a disproportionate cost. We are able to provide figures for travel and subsistence costs, which reflect all domestic and overseas travel for Ministers, advisers and officials and include costs for all travel, accommodation and subsistence. The figures are shown as follows:

£000

2001-02

2,358

2002-03

2,645

2003-04

10,677

2004-05

13,337

2005-06

12,646

In 2003-04, DFID introduced new procedures to draw together administration costs, including those travel and subsistence costs which had previously been recorded on the programme budget. These changes have increased transparency and have enabled DFID to manage administration costs more effectively. Figures for 2003-04 onwards now include travel and subsistence costs that were previously funded by country programmes and as a result are not comparable with earlier years.

All travel and subsistence costs are made in accordance with published departmental guidance on financial procedures and propriety, based on principles set out in Government Accounting.

Doha Trade Talks

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of the impact of the latest round of Doha trade talks upon sustainable development and poverty reduction. (92949)

The Doha Development Agenda (DDA) negotiations were suspended in July by the director general of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and WTO General Council. This was due to a failure by the G6 countries (US, EU, Japan, Brazil, India and Australia) to reach an agreement on the core triangle of issues at the heart of the talks: market opening in the agricultural sector; cuts in subsidies paid to farmers; and increased market opening for industrial goods. While this suspension is disappointing, we will continue to press for the negotiations to be restarted at the earliest opportunity and to seek an ambitious outcome to the DDA.

We are committed to seeking to ensure that the DDA negotiations achieve the best impact for sustainable development and poverty reduction, by unlocking the development potential of trade and giving developing countries the flexibility to sequence the opening of their markets in line with their own national development plans and poverty reduction strategies. To help achieve this, DFID has supported a number of activities to increase understanding of the impact of the DDA on development and poverty reduction and to inform negotiations. These have included a study on the impact on developing countries of the various scenarios of non-agricultural market access being discussed in the DDA negotiations, as well as a collection of expert papers on the impacts of the DDA on trade and poverty. DFID also supports a comprehensive research programme by the World Bank that covers a range of trade issues and is aimed at supporting developing countries in the context of trade negotiations.

Our assessment is that the DDA remains the best opportunity to make progress towards the UK's long-term vision: a world trading system that is fair as well as free, with greater prosperity for developing and developed countries, resulting in reduced levels of global poverty.

Ethiopia

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps are being taken by his Department to assist with the relief effort following flooding in southern Ethiopia. (92953)

DFID responded rapidly to the needs of the flood-affected communities in South Omo, Dire Dawa and other lowland areas of Ethiopia, with an allocation of £1 million in August, even before an international appeal was launched. This money was channelled through the Humanitarian Response Fund, which is overseen by the United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator and managed by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, and ensures that funds are available immediately as needed and in the event of further flooding.

According to recent reports, the area is currently receiving sufficient assistance. A recent assessment indicates that flood waters are rapidly receding, in particular in the North Gonder zone of Amhara region. We await the results of needs assessments of other affected areas, including Somali and Gambela regions, which are currently being conducted by the Government of Ethiopia and partners. We will provide further support if necessary.

Family Planning

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what bilateral aid his Department provided to family planning programmes in 2005-06. (91564)

DFID does not collect figures on spend on family planning programmes per se. Our support to family planning programmes is captured within the broader category of reproductive health.

Figures for spending on reproductive health during 2005-06 are not available yet. They are being finalised and will be published in this year’s “Statistics for International Development” report at the end of this month; I will write to my hon. Friend once they are available.

Generic Medicines

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development pursuant to the Hong Kong ministerial agreement to allow pharmaceutical producing countries to manufacture generic copies of patented medicines for export to a non-producing country at that country’s request, how many such requests have been made. (92691)

India

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent assessment he has made of poverty and inequality in India. (92935)

DFID’s development programme in India is informed by assessments of poverty and inequality carried out by the Government of India and multilateral partners such as the World Bank. Individual DFID-funded programmes and projects also support poverty and inequality data gathering and analysis affecting smaller sections of the Indian population.

The Indian Government’s National Sample Survey provides the principal nationwide poverty data used to inform their activities and DFID’s programme. The last survey was undertaken during 2004-05, and its results are awaited. While previous surveys showed a rapid fall in the number of people below the poverty line, from 36 per cent. to 26 per cent. of the population, it is likely that the latest results will indicate a slower pace of poverty reduction.

DFID India’s Country Assistance Plan 2004-08 noted that inequality is widely accepted as “the most significant challenge for India” in eradicating poverty. Although the 2006 World Bank document, ‘Inclusive Growth and Service Delivery: Building on India’s Success’ notes India as having low inequality in income compared to other countries, India’s rapid economic growth since the early 1990s has brought with it increased inequality.

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps are being taken by his Department to reduce inequality in India. (92936)

DFID's programme in India operates in support of Government of India initiatives to reduce poverty and inequality. The Indian Government's tenth five-year plan (2002 to 2007) is the basis for development co-operation between the Indian Government and DFID, and is reflected in DFID's India Country Assistance Plan 2004 to 2008.

The tenth plan identifies equitable growth and social justice as an area of concern to be addressed through faster agricultural growth, more employment opportunities, and special programmes for the poorest groups. For agriculture, the plan focuses on food productivity, agricultural reform, investment in rural infrastructure, and incentives for crop diversification. The plan also sets targets for slow-developing states and stresses Government assistance for the poorest districts.

DFID's support for the Government of India's efforts to reduce inequality includes:

Rural livelihoods projects in three of DFID India's four focus states—Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Orissa—to improve and diversify agricultural incomes;

Support for governance reforms to improve the effectiveness of public expenditure management, leading to the allocation of further resources targeting the poorest;

Funding for the Poorest Areas Civil Society programme, targeting the 100 poorest districts in India;

Programmes to increase health and education outcomes, and livelihoods options, that particularly target women, scheduled castes and scheduled tribes; and

Partnerships with the United Nations' Children's Fund (UNICEF) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to achieve sustainable and equitable human development.

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what discussions he has had with the government of India about tackling HIV/AIDS. (93072)

DFID, through its India country office, has regular contact with the Government of India on progress in tackling the AIDS epidemic. DFID actively supports the Indian Government in its efforts to prevent HIV transmission and provide treatment and care for those infected.

India has an estimated 5.2 million people living with HIV, although prevalence is low at 0.91 per cent. The epidemic is concentrated in six high-prevalence states (Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Manipur, Nagaland and Tamil Nadu) and is mainly transmitted through unprotected sexual behaviour or injecting drug use.

DFID in India has committed £123 million over seven years (to March 2007) in support of India's National AIDS Control Programme. DFID's support funds prevention activities in the India programme's four focal states of Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Orissaand West Bengal, and in Bihar, Gujarat, Kerala and Uttar Pradesh. These targeted interventions are designed to reach out to the most vulnerable groups among whom the prevalence of disease is highest (sex workers, men having sex with men, injecting drug users), through innovative programmes to contain the spread of the disease. DFID also invests in improving governmental capacity to tackle AIDS, and in mass media campaigns by the BBC World Service Trust.

DFID is currently in discussion with the Government of India on support for the next phase of the National AIDS Control Programme.

Obstetric Fistula

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps are being taken by his Department to (a) reduce the incidence of and (b) repair the effects of obstetric fistula in the developing world. (92937)

The cornerstone of preventing obstetric fistula is prompt access to good quality health care when needed. DFID is committed to helping countries expand access to health care, including family planning, safe abortion services, antenatal and obstetric services, all of which are vital for preventing fistula. Meeting the existing demand for family planning services would reduce maternal deaths and injuries by over 20 per cent. DFID is the only major bilateral donor to have a strategy focused on reducing maternal mortality. Copies of the first progress report on the strategy can be found in the Library of the House.

The effects of fistula can be devastating for the lives of girls and women, whose babies often die. Rendered incontinent they are often rejected by their husbands, thrown out of their homes and excluded from community life. DFID is therefore committed to promoting the rights of girls and women, particularly their sexual and reproductive rights, and to the elimination of harmful practices such as early marriage and female genital mutilation, which can significantly increase the risk of fistula.

DFID targets some funding through NGOs to tackle obstetric fistula. For example, DFID has provided a grant of £558,000 to the EngenderHealth and Women’s Dignity Project to combat obstetric fistula in Tanzania and Uganda, and £140,000 to the Obstetric Fistulae in Africa Project. To compliment our country level support, DFID channels funds through the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). DFID provides £20 million a year core funding and in 2004 provided £10 million specifically for reproductive health supplies. DFID also provides an annual contribution of £19 million to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and £12.5 million to the World Health Organisation (WHO), whose programmes support work on women’s empowerment, maternal and reproductive health.

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent discussions he has had about obstetric fistula. (92938)

On 27 June 2006 the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) launched a high profile media campaign on obstetric fistula in the UK. DFID was engaged in discussions with UNFPA regarding the overall campaign and the UK was represented at the campaign launch press conference by Baroness Amos. UNFPA’s choice of the UK for the campaign was in recognition of the political commitment of the UK to addressing the Millennium Development Goal 5: ‘Improve maternal health’.

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of the impact of efforts to reduce the incidence and impact of obstetric fistula. (92939)

DFID draws on the analysis of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) for data regarding obstetric fistula and does not conduct its own assessments. WHO estimates that more than two million women and girls are living with fistula in developing countries, with 50,000 to 100,000 new cases occurring each year. However, these figures are based on the number of women seeking treatment and are likely to be gross underestimates. The full extent of the problem has never been mapped and reliable data on obstetric fistula is scarce. In 2004 UNFPA and EngenderHealth conducted a groundbreaking needs assessment study in nine African countries to provide the basis of our understanding on obstetric fistula in sub-Saharan Africa.

St. Helena

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will make a statement on the provision of an airport on the island of St Helena. (93249)

DFID remains firmly committed to the development of air access to St. Helena, subject to rigorous environmental impact assessment and acceptable contracts. In July, all the short-listed consortia responded to the invitation to tender by indicating that, while they were keen to work on the project, they would not bid against the tender as it stood.

We have reviewed the concerns raised and will shortly issue a new notice in the Official Journal of the European Union. In doing so, we shall ensure that DFID's interest in achieving value for money is preserved.

Work on identifying an airline to operate scheduled flights is continuing in parallel with the procurement of the airport contractor.

Sudan

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent estimate he has made of the death rate in Darfur. (92941)

UNICEF and the World Health Organisation are carrying out a nutritional survey which will provide an up to date estimate of death rates: preliminary results are due on 15 October. The best current estimates show that the average crude mortality rate in Darfur remains below the recognised emergency threshold of 1 death per 10,000 population per day.

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent estimate he has made of the number of people who have been (a) killed and (b) displaced as a result of the conflict in Darfur. (92942)

No reliable figures exist for the total number of people killed across Darfur since the conflict began and estimates vary widely.

But every death, casualty or rape in Sudan is a tragedy. That is why we are pressing the Government of Sudan and the rebel groups to stop the fighting; to agree to the deployment of a UN force in Darfur; to co-operate in bolstering the AU in the interim; to commit to and implement the Darfur Peace Agreement; and to ensure full humanitarian access for the UN and NGOs in Darfur.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) estimates that the current displaced population in Darfur is 1.9 million. This includes those in established IDP camps and those living in informal gatherings.

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of the humanitarian impact of the Government military offensive in Darfur; and if he will make a statement. (93203)

The Sudan Government’s recent military offensive has caused civilian displacement, predominantly in North Darfur, with approximately 20,000 new arrivals having been registered in the camps for internally displaced people there. Localised displacement is assumed to have taken place further north in North Darfur, but aid agency assessments have been hampered due to the ongoing conflict.

The World Food Programme estimates that 224,000 registered beneficiaries in north Darfur could not be accessed in September due to the offensive and other inter-factional fighting. There could be a sharp rise in malnutrition rates early in 2007 if access for humanitarian agencies continues to be hampered, and fighting prevents the remaining population from harvesting their crops

Trade (Africa)

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps are being taken by his Department to facilitate African trade. (92934)

Last month the Chancellor and I announced that we expect UK spending on aid for trade, including economic infrastructure, to increase to $750 million by 2010. A major proportion of this will flow to Africa, including funding for transport, energy, ports and communications, as well as capacity building for trade policy and trade facilitation.

DFID supports efforts to improve regional integration—key to facilitating African trade—at both pan-African (support to African Union—New Partnership for Africa’s Development and African Development Bank) and sub-regional levels. For example in southern Africa, DFID supports a regional trade facilitation programme and is also initiating two new programmes to facilitate trade: one to implement one stop border posts to make cross border trade easier, and a Regional Standards Programme to increase capacity of the region to produce goods of export quality. DFID is also developing an extensive programme to improve the state of transport infrastructure in southern Africa, to reduce transport costs and improve the logistics of moving freight across long distances.

DFID also provides support at national level. For example, DFID assists Lesotho’s labour-intensive garment sector to retain and build its market share in a time of global upheaval. DFID also funds large-scale programmes to help countries like Mozambique, Tanzania, Malawi and Rwanda reform their customs and facilitate trade.

DFID also supports regular meetings of the Boksburg Group, an informal group of experts, government officials and business representatives of developing countries coming together to discuss how best to achieve trade facilitation reform, including in the negotiations in the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

Finally, we continue to work hard towards an ambitious global, multilateral trade deal that will bring maximum benefits for Africa.

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Air Quality (Milton Keynes)

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of air quality in Milton Keynes in each year between 1997 and 2005. (91496)

Local authorities (LAs) have a duty under Part IV of the Environment Act 1995 to review and assess the current, and likely future air quality in their areas. The first step of the review and assessment process is an updating and screening assessment (USA), which is to be undertaken by all LAs, every three years, to identify those matters that have changed since the last round was completed. Where LAs consider that one or more of the nationally prescribed air quality objectives for each of the seven pollutants is unlikely to be met by the relevant deadline, they must declare an air quality management area (AQMA), covering the area where the problem is expected. These LAs must then take action, along with other agencies and organisations, to work towards meeting the air quality objectives.

When the local air quality management system was first introduced in December 1997, LAs were advised to complete the review and assessment process by December 1999. My Department assessed Milton Keynes' air quality report in December 1999. The report concluded that further investigation was needed in respect of nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter (PM10). Following monitoring and modelling, Milton Keynes concluded from the additional work that they did not need to declare an AQMA.

The second round of reviews and assessments started in 2003 and LAs had to submit USAs by the end of May 2003, and were expected to submit either a detailed assessment or a progress report by April 2004 and April 2005 respectively. Milton Keynes submitted their USA in July 2003 and a Progress Report in both July 2004 and July 2005. They concluded that there was no need to proceed to a detailed assessment or declare an AQMA.

The third round of review and assessments has now started and local authorities were asked to submit new USAs by the end of April 2006. We received Milton Keynes' report in May 2006. Our consultants have assessed the report and agreed that there is no need for Milton Keynes to carry out further work in respect of any of the pollutants.

Cattle

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the average market valuations used in cattle compensation tables have been over the last six months. (92338)

Since 1 February 2006, cattle compensation for bovine tuberculosis in England has been determined primarily using table valuations, based on average market prices for 47 pre-determined cattle categories. These are based on the animal's age, gender, type (dairy or beef) and status (for example, pedigree or non-pedigree). The table valuations are determined by using real sales prices achieved, at a large number and wide range of sources, for same category (but healthy) animals.

A complete list of monthly table valuations since February 2006 is available on the Defra website at: http://www.defra.gov.uk/animalh/tb/control/tablevaluations.htm.

Climate Change

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs where and when the bilateral Working Group on Climate Change with Brazil will start work. (93560)

The date and venue for the first high-level officials meeting of the UK-Brazil Working Group on Climate Change, under the UK-Brazil High Level Dialogue on Sustainable Development, has yet to be confirmed.

Gloucester-Sharpness Canal

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what consultation his Department has undertaken on the proposed changes to the opening of the Gloucester-Sharpness canal; and whether the changes have been precipitated by a reduction in funding to British Waterways. (93088)

This is an operational matter for British Waterways, which is consulting both users and trade unions. Its plans to change the operation of the locks and bridges on the Gloucester-Sharpness canal were in hand before any reduction in the 2006-07 grant was made.

Hazardous Waste

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) when the Environment Agency's technical guidance on hazardous waste definition will be updated to take into account version 8 of the Health and Safety Executive's Approved Supply List; (89879)

(2) if he will instruct the Environment Agency to update its technical guidance WM2 to include all compounds listed as hazardous in version 8 of the Health and Safety Executive's Approved Supply List.

The Environment Agency (EA) has already published its intention to revise the technical guidance on hazardous waste definition.

Guidance on the classification of hazardous waste is available from the EA's website and this also sets out its position regarding Approved Supply List 8. The advice can be found at: http://www.environment-agency.gov .uk/subjects/waste/1019330/1217981/1384307/1470188/?lang= e.

The advice states that the EA will not normally enforce the use of ASL version 8, in conjunction with WM2, until 1 November 2006. The EA intends to release a revised WM2 leading up to the 1 November 2006 deadline.

The EA has also produced a shorter guide to the classification of hazardous waste: “HWR01 What is a hazardous waste”. This document refers to ASL version 8 and is available from the EA's website at: http://publications.environment-agency.gov.uk/pdf/GEHO0506BKTR-e-e.pdf.

National Parks

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what progress has been made with the process of considering the establishment of a national park for the South Downs; when he expects to be able to announce a decision; and if he will make a statement. (93282)

The South Downs national park designation process is on hold, following the High Court judgment made last November on a challenge by Meyrick Estate Management Ltd. to the New Forest National Park Designation Order.

The judgment has implications for the proposed South Downs national park, as it potentially changes the way in which the statutory criteria for national park status have generally been understood and interpreted since the 1950s.

DEFRA’s appeal against the judgment is due to be heard by the Court of Appeal on 1-2 November. Only when that is resolved will the Secretary of State be able to decide how to re-start the South Downs process, including whether or not to invite further representations.

National Water Grid

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of the cost of establishing a national water grid to enable water to be piped across the UK to tackle different rainfall levels; and if he will make a statement. (93777)

The Environment Agency report “Do we need large-scale water transfers for south east England?” was published in September. It estimated that to build five pipelines carrying 1,100 megalitres of water per day from the northern Pennines to London would cost up to £15 billion, with a unit cost of £8-14 million per megalitre per day of supply capacity. This is at least four times the unit cost of building new reservoirs to increase supplies locally.

The report found no evidence for the need for such large scale transfers. These were considered to be more expensive and environmentally damaging than the measures already in the south east water companies' water resources plans.

Packaging

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps he is taking to encourage a reduction in the amount of packaging used by supermarkets. (91340)

Last year the Government launched the Courtauld commitment, a voluntary agreement between 13 major retailers and the waste and resources action programme (WRAP), to reduce packaging waste. There are three broad objectives to meet, which are:

i. to design out packaging waste growth by 2008;

ii. to deliver absolute reductions in packaging waste by March 2010; and

iii. to identify ways to tackle the problem of food waste.

I will shortly be meeting with the retailers and WRAP to assess progress against these objectives, and to agree next steps. I am also meeting retailers on 12 October to discuss ways in which we can take action to reduce the amount of plastic bags offered at the point of sale and encourage their reuse.

There are also two sets of regulations in place which address the environmental impact of packaging in the UK; both of which encourage producers (including retailers) to minimise packaging. The Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations 2005 are intended to increase the recovery and recycling of packaging waste. The amount of packaging waste producers have to recover and recycle, and the cost of doing so, is determined, in part, by the amount of packaging they handle. Therefore businesses can save money if they reduce the amount of packaging they deal with.

The Packaging (Essential Requirements) Regulations 2003 (as amended) place a number of requirements on all packaging placed on the market in the UK, including a requirement that packaging should be manufactured so that the volume and weight are limited to the minimum adequate amount to maintain the necessary level of safety, hygiene and acceptance for the packed product and for the consumer.

Both regulations have led to decreases in packaging used around products. However, more still needs to be done to reduce the amount of packaging that is produced. We have asked the Advisory Committee on Packaging to work with industry to find solutions to this problem and recommend ways of encouraging businesses to further reduce the amount of packaging they use.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans his Department has for (a) encouraging and (b) compelling (i) manufacturers and (ii) retailers to use less packaging. (92683)

Recycling

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate his Department has made of the amount of commercial plastic used in England which could be recycled but that is currently not; what plans his Department has for the recycling of plastic other than bottles in England; and if he will make a statement. (92394)

According to the British Plastics Federation, an estimated 19-21 per cent. of the total plastics consumed in the UK in 2005-06 were recycled. The Government are taking action to support the reduction of plastic packaging in the waste stream and the recycling of plastics more generally.

There are numerous different types of plastics in use, which would require separate collection (or separation after collection) and treatment facilities to recycle. It inevitably takes time for that capacity to develop. Local authorities have understandably tended to focus their attention on waste streams that make a greater contribution to their targets and for which recycling infrastructure and markets are more developed. However, with targets for household waste recycling and composting becoming ever more demanding, all local authorities will have to start tackling the more difficult waste streams like plastics.

The waste and resources action programme (WRAP) is working to further develop efficient markets for recycled materials. WRAP'S targets for 2004-06 are to work with the plastics industry to increase the acceptance of recycled plastic throughout the supply chain, to deliver an additional 20,000 tonnes of domestic plastic bottle recycling capacity, and to ensure that an additional 11,000 tonnes of non-bottle plastics are recycled.

The Packaging Regulations set targets for recovery and recycling of packaging waste to be met by obligated businesses each year so that the UK can meet the relevant EU directive targets by the specified deadline. The directive requires the UK to recycle 22.5 per cent. of the plastic packaging waste entering the UK waste stream by 2008. Currently around 20 per cent. of plastic packaging is recycled in the UK.

Defra is working closely with the devolved administrations, WRAP, SWAG (Scottish Waste Awareness Group) and businesses to promote reusable bags and reduce the number of plastic bags entering the waste stream. More information is available on the Defra website at:

http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/localenv/plasticbags/index.htm.

As a consequence of the Agricultural Waste Regulations coming into force, which ban agricultural plastics from being burnt or buried on farms, the Government are developing producer responsibility regulations for the collection and recovery of non-packaging farm plastics. It is envisaged that any collection scheme developed will collect both packaging and non-packaging farm plastics. The Secretary of State has allocated £1 million of the business resource efficiency and waste (BREW) funding to research this and other issues; provide recommendations on the most economical way to collect plastic waste from farms; and how best to implement producer responsibility for non-packaging farm plastics.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the level of recycling by businesses. (93163)

Waste is a devolved matter and, in Wales, it is dealt with by the National Assembly. However, recycling by UK businesses, according to the most recent Environment Agency report, showed waste recovery rates were at record levels in 2002, with 45 per cent. of all business waste recycled or re-used.

The landfill tax escalator gives businesses a strong financial incentive to re-use or recycle their waste. Revenue from the landfill tax escalator is recycled to businesses through the business resource efficiency and waste (BREW) programme, which provides funding to organisations who can offer support and advice to businesses who wish to improve their resource efficiency.

The revised Waste Strategy for England, which we will publish this winter, will outline what steps are being taken, and what more needs to be done, to reduce the amount of waste that is sent to landfill. The public, businesses and Government all have roles to play in following more sustainable waste management practices.

Refuse Disposal

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans he has to reorganise refuse disposal in Greater Manchester; and if he will make a statement. (94196)

The Government have no plans to reorganise refuse disposal in Greater Manchester. The Greater Manchester Waste Disposal Authority is responsible for waste disposal in the area. The authority is currently undertaking a procurement process for a new waste contract that will help them increase recycling and meet their landfill allowance trading scheme obligations.

Rivers/Waterways

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will assess the viability of a policy of open access to rivers and waterways in England and Wales. (93150)

The Government have already assessed the viability of a policy of open access to rivers and waterways in England. We have no plans to provide a statutory right of access to water since research has shown that overall supply is roughly in balance with demand.

However, we recognise that there is some unmet demand for white water canoeing and canoe touring. Therefore, we are supporting the Environment Agency in its work with other stakeholders to develop regional strategies for water-related sport and recreation with the aim of identifying exactly what is needed and where. Plans for two pilot regions will be in place in 2007-08.

In addition, Defra commissioned the Environment Agency to pilot four demonstration projects to develop best practice access agreements for canoeists on key stretches of English water. This not only improves access in the areas in question but also provides a template that can be used elsewhere.

Promoting recreation, including access to rivers, is a devolved matter and, in Wales, is the responsibility of the National Assembly.

Rural Enterprise Scheme

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many Rural Enterprise Scheme applications from the South West were (a) received and (b) granted in each of the last 18 months; and what the value of payments made to applicants from the South West was in (i) each of the last 18 months and (ii) over the life of the scheme. (92742)

The following table shows the number of applications received and approved in each month from April 2005 to September 2006, and the value of payments made under the Rural Enterprise Scheme for the same period.

It is important to note that there is no direct correlation between the number of applications received and approved in a particular month, due to the detailed appraisal process. Furthermore, as claims can be spread over months or years, the payments do not relate specifically to the applications listed in previous columns.

The total value of payments made over the life of the Rural Enterprise Scheme is £20,129,666.76.

Rural Enterprise Scheme Information, April 2005 to September 2006

Applications received

Applications approved

Value of payments made (£)

2005

April

14

5

561,661.73

May

12

3

385,611.87

June

8

5

769,115.20

July

20

13

733,939.84

August

17

6

421,322.20

September

24

11

431,185.14

October

20

4

457,161.12

November

16

15

846,693.23

December

21

16

338,624.10

2006

January

18

3

669,925.35

February

17

17

549,341.05

March

33

13

828,194.06

April

24

7

743,530.08

May

26

0

641,962.35

June

21

0

896,142.54

July

n/a

31

569,050.55

August

n/a

1

672,517.04

September

n/a

0

755,665.22

Sewage

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on how many occasions raw sewage has been found on or near the English coastline since 2001; in how many cases a prosecution was brought in respect thereof; and if he will make a statement. (93246)

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given on 9 October 2006, Official Report, Column 192W.

Exact figures on the number of prosecutions in respect of raw sewage pollution on or near the English coastline are not held centrally.

Waste Management

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what his Department's total expenditure to date has been on the new technologies element of the waste implementation programme; what the projected total budget is for the programme; and how many new technology plants it is estimated will be funded. (93130)

[holding answer 12 October 2006]: The waste implementation programme's new technologies workstream has a budget of £42 million over five years. To date, the expenditure has been £6.74 million.

It is expected that nine technology plants will be built under the Demonstrator programme.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what reports his Department has commissioned in the last two years relating to waste management in London; and at what cost. (91959)

In October 2005, KPMG was appointed to deliver reports on options analysis for waste management and waste planning in London, contracts and assets relating to waste management and an overarching report. Defra contributed a total of £165,844.50 including value added tax (VAT) and expenses. The Department for Communities and Local Government contributed a further £23,500 including VAT, and the Government Office for London contributed £13,806.25 including VAT.

In February 2006, SLR was appointed to undertake an analysis of responses, concerning waste, to the consultation on “The Greater London Authority: The Government's proposals for additional powers and responsibilities for the Mayor and Assembly”. Defra contributed £36,953.75 including VAT and expenses.

In early 2005, Mott MacDonald was jointly commissioned by Defra and the Greater London Authority to undertake a report on “Opportunities for efficiency gains in waste management services; London Pilot Study”. Defra contributed a total of £190,556.45 excluding VAT plus expenses.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what resources he is making available for the dedicated London waste infrastructure development programme announced in July in “The Greater London Authority: The Government's Final Proposals for Additional Powers and Responsibilities for the Mayor and Assembly.” (91960)

The waste infrastructure development programme (WIDP) was announced in May 2006 and will work nationally with local authorities and the regions to accelerate the building of new waste diversion infrastructure. The Mayor of London and the Government will work together closely on the London component of the programme.

The WIDP is not an additional allocation of funding to a region, but an opportunity to provide extra specialist support to London authorities. The purpose of the WIDP is to ensure that where major infrastructure is required, additional expertise will be targeted at key points in the planning and procurement process, including operational reviews, to help authorities deliver that infrastructure. This will be a welcome additional resource nationally, where specialist skills are often lacking in this sector, as identified in the recent Second Kelly Market Review. The WIDP will dedicate a senior and experienced member of its team to develop and expedite projects in London, with specialist support available from the national team when required.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if his specific proposals for waste management in London announced in July were one of the options in the original consultation document on new powers for the Greater London Authority; and if so, who supported them. (91961)

The Government announced, on 13 July, a package of measures on waste that will help London improve its performance without change to current structures.

A number of broad proposals on the future powers and responsibilities of the Mayor of London and the Greater London Authority (GLA) were put forward in the public consultation carried out by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) between November 2005 and February 2006. These included an option where the current structure for waste management would remain the same. Consultees were also asked whether there were any additional powers that could be given to the GLA that would enable the current structure to work better.

A summary of consultation responses is available from the DCLG's website at http://www.communities. gov.uk/index.asp?id=1501733.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in what ways the package of measures for waste management set out in the Government's policy statement “The Greater London Authority: The Government's final proposals for additional powers and responsibilities for the Mayor and the Assembly” promotes (a) the use of hydrogen as a transport or stationary fuel source and (b) the use of new technologies to provide renewable sources of hydrogen from waste. (93243)

[holding answer 12 October 2006]: The package of measures set out by the Government provides the Mayor with increased powers and responsibility to deliver his municipal waste management strategy and spatial development strategy for London. The Mayor sets out policies relating to new technologies and renewable energy, which may include hydrogen production, in his municipal waste management strategy. The enhancement of his powers to require waste authorities to deliver services in general conformity with his strategy, along with his existing power of direction, will help ensure the strategic vision the Mayor sets out for London is delivered on the ground.

The waste and recycling forum announced as part of the package will be led by the Mayor to co-ordinate activity across different sectors and address the key strategic issues facing London. The waste and recycling fund is associated with this and should be used to link waste with other London priorities such as transport and climate change. The Mayor leads on the London Hydrogen Partnership, which has just released a report on hydrogen as the bus fuel of the future, where he is working to introduce 70 hydrogen vehicles. I will be interested to see how he takes this forward and links it with waste.

In addition, there will be a dedicated London element to the waste infrastructure development programme (WIDP), which was announced in May 2006, providing a strong role for the Mayor in working with local authorities and the regions to accelerate the building of new waste diversion infrastructure. These revised arrangements should enable the Mayor, boroughs and central Government together to consider more strategically the role of new technologies for treating London's waste, including the scope for hydrogen generation.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will publish the consultancy reports which have been commissioned by (a) his Department and (b) the Government Office for London on the review of waste management arrangements in London. (93244)

[holding answer 12 October 2006]: The relevant reports by KPMG have been published on the Defra website at: http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/waste/localauth/.

The Government intend to publish shortly the SLR report on the analysis of responses concerning waste to the consultation on “The Greater London Authority: The Government's proposals for additional powers and responsibilities for the Mayor and Assembly”. This report will also be made available on the Defra website.

The Mott MacDonald report, jointly commissioned by Defra and the Greater London Authority (GLA), “Opportunities for efficiency gains in waste management services; London Pilot Study”, has been published on the GLA's website: http://www.london. gov.uk/mayor/environment/waste/lswa/index.isp

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the conclusions of the panel report on the early alterations to the London plan relating to new technologies for waste. (93245)

[holding answer 12 October 2006]: The Government do not have a formal role in commenting on the panel report, but we welcome its publication and have noted its conclusions. We await the Mayor's revised policies in his “Intend to Publish” version of the plan.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many responses there were on the subject of waste management from (a) London boroughs, London waste disposal authorities and other borough groupings, (b) community and voluntary sector organisations, (c) regions, regional assemblies and the Environment Agency, (d) waste management companies, (e) trade unions and (f) others to the Government's consultation entitled, “The Government's proposals for additional powers and responsibilities for the Mayor and Assembly”, broken down by those who favoured (i) a changed governance structure but did not specify which option, (ii) option 1, (iii) option 2, (iv) option 3, (v) option 4 and (vi) his Department's preferred option announced in July. (93567)

The Government published a summary of responses to their consultation on proposals for additional powers for the Greater London Authority on 13 July. A copy was placed in the Library of the House. That document gives details of the organisations and individuals who responded to the consultation exercise. The summary of consultation responses is also available on the Department for Communities and Local Government's website at the following address: http://www.communities.gov.uk/glapowers.

SLR were appointed to undertake an analysis of responses concerning waste to the consultation on “The Greater London Authority: The Government's proposals for additional powers and responsibilities for the Mayor and Assembly”. The SLR report provides a breakdown on the requested categories and will be published on the Defra website by 20 October.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what proportion of London's waste is managed within the capital. (93719)

It is estimated that London currently deals with approximately 60 per cent. of all its waste within its own administrative boundaries.

The Mayor has set a target for London to manage 85 per cent. of its total waste within its administrative boundaries by 2020 (80 per cent. for municipal solid waste).

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what proportion of London's waste authorities did not meet their statutory household waste recycling targets in 2005-06; and what measures within the Government's policy statement “The Greater London Authority: The Government's final proposals for additional powers and responsibilities for the Mayor and the Assembly” are designed to improve the level of performance. (93720)

Data on local authority household waste recycling and composting performance in 2005-06 should be available later this year.

Analysis based on un-audited data estimates that, in 2005-06, local authorities in England recycled and composted about 27 per cent. of household waste, thus provisionally exceeding our public service agreement target of 25 per cent.

The London-wide waste and recycling forum, which was announced in “The Government's Final Proposals for Additional Powers and Responsibilities for the Mayor and Assembly”, will bring together key interested parties, including London waste authorities, to improve waste minimisation and recycling. The waste and recycling fund is associated with this and should be used to link waste with other London priorities such as transport and climate change.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which of the package of measures for waste management set out in the Government’s Policy Statement “The Greater London Authority: The Government’s final proposals for additional powers and responsibilities for the Mayor and the Assembly” are intended (a) to increase London’s recycling and recovering capacity for its municipal waste and (b) to ensure the most effective use of London’s blue ribbon network to transport waste within London. (93721)

The London-wide waste and recycling forum, announced in “The Government’s Final Proposals for Additional Powers and Responsibilities for the Mayor and Assembly”, will bring together key interested parties, including London waste authorities, to improve waste minimisation and recycling, promote collaborative action and link waste with other London priorities around climate change, transport and employment.

In addition, there will be a dedicated London element to the waste infrastructure development programme (WIDP), announced in May 2006, providing a strong role for the Mayor in working with local authorities to accelerate the building of new waste diversion infrastructure, allowing London to manage more of its waste within the city.

The Mayor has also gained increased powers and responsibility to deliver his municipal waste management strategy and spatial development strategy for London. In his waste strategy, the Mayor sets out a number of policies and proposals relating to the transportation of waste, including the use of rivers and canals, which form part of the blue ribbon network. The enhancement of his powers to require waste authorities to deliver services in general conformity with his strategy, along with his existing power of direction, will help ensure the strategic vision the Mayor sets out for London is delivered on the ground.

Further information is available on the Department for Communities and Local Government’s website at http://www.communities.gov.uk/index.asp?id=1500896

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) when the Government plan to complete and publish its major review of waste strategy; (91633)

(2) when his Department will publish the findings of the waste strategy review;

(3) when the waste strategy review will be published.

On 2 August this year, Defra published a summary of the responses to the consultation on the review of England's waste strategy. The summary can be viewed at the following website address: http://www.defra.gov.uk/corporate/consult/wastestratreview/index.htm

We are carefully considering all responses to the consultation while developing our policies for the revised strategy. We intend to publish the revised waste strategy for England in the new year.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps he is taking to support new waste technologies in London. (92964)

The new technologies workstream of Defra's waste implementation programme focuses on the biodegradable element of municipal waste in England. It aims to overcome the barriers to the successful development and take-up of proven and near-market waste technologies by providing a comprehensive package of support to local authorities and other interested parties. This is being done through the following programmes:

(i) the Supporter Programme provides impartial information, advice and training to local authorities, including those in London, on a variety of aspects related to new and emerging waste management technologies;

(ii) the Education and Training Programme provides opportunities for those working in the waste industry to gain formal qualifications in sustainable waste management and new waste management technologies;

(iii) the Technology Research and Innovation Fund provides funding for Research and Development projects into innovative new technologies which will help England's obligations to reduce the amount of BMW going to landfill; and

(iv) the Demonstrator Programme provides £30 million of assistance to establish new waste treatment technology demonstration projects.

The waste and recycling forum was announced on 13 July as part of the package of measures which provides the Mayor with increased powers and responsibility to deliver his municipal waste management strategy and spatial development strategy for London. It will be led by the Mayor to co-ordinate activity across different sectors and address the key strategic issues facing London. The waste and recycling fund is associated with this and should be used to link waste with other London priorities such as transport and climate change. This is likely to include looking at the role of renewable energy and new technologies in treating London's waste.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps his Department is taking to improve the co-ordination of the management of (a) municipal and (b) other waste streams in London; and if he will make a statement. (92966)

On 13 July this year, the Government announced the outcome of their review of the powers and responsibilities of the Mayor of London and the Greater London Authority. As part of this, the Government announced a package of measures which provides the Mayor with increased powers and responsibility to deliver his municipal waste management strategy and spatial development strategy for London. The enhancement of his powers to require waste authorities to deliver services in general conformity with his strategy, along with his existing power of direction, will help ensure the strategic vision the Mayor sets out for London is delivered on the ground.

As part of the proposals, the Mayor will lead a London-wide waste and recycling forum to co-ordinate activity across different sectors and address the key strategic issues facing London. The waste and recycling fund is associated with this and should be used to link waste with other London priorities such as economic development, transport and climate change. Other improvements, such as providing stronger powers for the Mayor to determine strategic waste planning applications and the London component of the waste infrastructure development programme, will also help establish facilities and infrastructure necessary to co-ordinate the management of municipal and other waste streams within London.

The Mayor is producing a wider waste strategy for London that will be looking at non-municipal waste streams and I look forward to seeing this when it is released for consultation.

Wildlife Database

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs with which organisations his Department’s global wildlife division shares information from its database; on what basis the information is shared; and whether information is shared routinely with any organisations. (94361)

In April 2006, internal changes within DEFRA resulted in the work of the global wildlife division being divided between two new divisions: the wildlife habitats and biodiversity division and the wildlife species conservation division. These divisions hold numerous databases and share information with several different organisations as requested. All such requests meet our obligations under the Data Protection Act 1998.

Transport

A27 Cophall Roundabout

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many traffic surveys assessing the Cophall roundabout on the A27 at Polegate were undertaken (a) before and (b) after the service station development at the Cophall roundabout was built. (94369)

The information is as follows:

(a) A traffic impact assessment of the effect of the service area on the Cophall roundabout was carried out by the developer prior to planning consent being given. At that stage the roundabout had not been completed, surveys of actual traffic flows could not be carried out. The impact assessment relied on forecast traffic flows.

(b) The Highways Agency is currently undertaking a traffic count to collect ‘live’ traffic data in order to update and verify the impact assessment.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport on how many occasions control computer malfunctions have occurred at the Cophall roundabout on the A27 at Polegate; and on how many of these occasions severe congestion ensued. (94371)

There has been only one control computer malfunction which became apparent after the traffic lights were switched on in May 2006. This resulted in traffic congestion on the roundabout and its approaches.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what factors underpinned the decision of the Highways Agency to switch off the traffic lights at the Cophall roundabout on the A27 at Polegate in May 2006; and if he will make a statement. (94372)

After the traffic lights were switched on in May 2006 a validation of the system was carried out and this identified a problem of a malfunctioning chip. The lights were switched off and the chip was replaced. It was decided not to switch the traffic lights back on until further traffic survey work is completed.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he estimates that the traffic lights at the Cophall roundabout on the A27 at Polegate will be switched back on. (94373)

Once the further traffic count is complete, the Highways Agency needs to evaluate the findings and design any changes that are considered necessary. We expect this to be before December 2006. The traffic lights will only be switched back on if the new traffic survey data indicates a need for them at this stage.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what timetable he has established for clarification of the road markings at the Cophall roundabout on the A27 at Polegate. (94374)

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much has been spent since the opening of the Cophall roundabout on the A27 at Polegate on dealing with consequential problems related to the roundabout. (94375)

The cost for the installation of traffic signals was approximately £600,000. This work has been funded by the developer of the service area as a planning condition of that development.

A630 Sheffield (Subsidence)

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when (a) the subsidence on the A630 between Sheffield and the M1 motorway will be rectified and (b) the road will be resurfaced. (92917)

Sections of the A630 Sheffield Parkway and A57 Mosborough Parkway have been affected by expansion of the material used to construct the sub-base layers of the road. This has produced surface deformation and characteristics not dissimilar to those caused by subsidence.

The Department has provided an additional £4.3 million to Sheffield city council for remedial work on both sections of road. Works on the A57 Mosborough Parkway are complete and works on the A630 Sheffield Parkway are due to start in the summer of 2007. The works involve removing the affected material and a total reconstruction of the carriageway, which will of course include resurfacing.

Airline Security

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions he has had with his European counterparts in relation to security arrangements for flights into the United Kingdom. (93008)

Transport Ministers have in recent weeks discussed aviation security issues, not confined to the question of inbound flights, with several of their European counterparts. These issues were also on the agenda of the Transport Council on 12 October, at which the Minister of State for Department for Transport represented the UK.

Boatmasters Licence

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the implications of the new national boatmasters’ licence on the operation of the Watermans’ Acts in Portsmouth harbour. (93563)

The boatmasters’ licence will become the national statutory qualification required for the operation of domestic commercial vessels in all inland waters and on limited coastal operations. Anyone holding a relevant BML will not ‘also’ be required to hold a locally issued licence for the same purpose.

The new regulations will therefore make the Watermans’ Acts obsolete, and we are discussing with the Gosport and Portsmouth Joint Board the revocation of those Acts.

Chevron Markings

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the effect of the introduction of chevron markings on motorways on driving standards; and if he will make a statement. (92878)

Chevron markings were trialled on the M1 motorway in the early 1990s. A 15 per cent. reduction in the number of drivers following too close to the vehicle in front was observed in the lanes that were marked. Improvements in close-following were also observed in the unmarked, outside lane. Following the trial, advice and guidance about the use of chevron markings was published. Monitoring is continuing but no further assessment has been made of the effect of chevron markings on driving standards.

Dial-a-Ride Service

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate he has made of the number of pensioners in Gloucestershire who use the Dial-a-Ride service; and if he will make a statement. (93565)

In 2005-06 Community Transport operators across Gloucestershire carried approximately 235,000 passengers, of which the majority (nearly 97 per cent.) were pensioners.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will take steps to allow dial-a-ride services to qualify for concessionary fares remuneration; and if he will make a statement. (93566)

Local authorities already have the discretion to vary their concessionary fare schemes to include other modes. Some authorities choose to include dial-a-ride services in their local schemes, such decisions being based on their judgment of local need and their overall financial priorities.

European New Car Assessment Programme

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent discussions (a) Ministers and (b) officials have had with the European New Car Assessment Programme; what issues were discussed; and if he will make a statement. (93219)

In 2005 I spoke at the 10 year Anniversary Conference that celebrated the contribution Euro NCAP had made to improving the safety of new passenger cars. The conference also identified the continuing challenges for road safety and the role of the automotive industry in delivering new safety technologies.

Officials from the Department attend the Euro NCAP management meetings that take place three times each year in addition to routine technical level discussion on an ad-hoc basis.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what funding his Department provided to the European New Car Assessment Programme in each of the last two years; for what purposes the funding was provided; and if he will make a statement. (93220)

The United Kingdom contributed £214,533 to Euro NCAP in 2004-05 and £130,430 in 2005-06. We anticipate a similar contribution as made in 2005-06 for this financial year.

These figures are broken down in the following table:

£

2004-05

2005-06

Euro NCAP Membership and Administration Fees

40,898

36,722

Euro NCAP Car Purchases

11,991

40,360

Euro NCAP Test Fees

161,644

53,348

Fuel Efficiency

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment his Department has made of the effectiveness of fuel additives in extending the miles per gallon achieved by vehicles. (93901)

The Department has not conducted its own testing on the effectiveness of fuel additives. However, there is a substantial amount of evidence demonstrating the benefits of detergent additives. These reduce build-up of deposits within the fuel system, fuel injectors and cylinders and are effective at reducing deterioration in fuel economy over time. A 1995 automotive and fuel industry review suggested that use of detergent additives delivered fuel economy benefits of around 2 per cent. for diesel vehicles and 4 per cent. for petrol vehicles.

Practically all UK road fuel contains detergents, with some companies offering speciality fuels with particularly high doses of detergent additives marketed on their engine protection, power and fuel economy benefits.

Fewer data are available on other types of fuel additives.

Horse-drawn Public Transport

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport which body is responsible for regulating horse-drawn public transport. (91453)

Horse-drawn omnibuses and horse-drawn hackney carriages are licensed by local authorities (district or borough councils or unitary authorities). Any byelaws made by local licensing authorities to regulate horse-drawn omnibuses or hackney carriages must be confirmed by the Secretary of State before they can come into force. It is for local authorities to enforce any byelaws which they make.

Jet Skis

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has to introduce (a) permits, (b) compulsory insurance and (c) a minimum age for jet ski users. (93491)

Officials from the Department and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency are currently considering the options available for ensuring that all personal water craft, including jet skis, are operated safely.

M18 (Pipe and Cable Laying)

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport for what reason a pipe and cables are being laid alongside the north bound carriageway of the M18 motorway between junctions 3 and 4; and why such excavation has not taken place at a sufficient distance from the motorway to allow later carriageway widening without future disruption. (92988)

Works to lay pipes alongside the northbound carriageway of the M18 motorway between junctions 3 and 4, is being carried out outside of the Highways Agency boundary by Yorkshire Water for the expansion of Nutwell waste water treatment plant.

There are no current proposals to widen the M18 motorway, however the position of the pipes, approximately 15 metres from the boundary, would not have an adverse impact should there be any future widening schemes.

M62

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when the M62 motorway between junctions 35 and 34 will be resurfaced; and what lane closures will be required. (92927)

The Highways Agency has no plans to carry out major resurfacing works on the M62 between junctions 35 and 34 in the near future. The following minor resurfacing works, to maintain the section in a safe condition, will be undertaken during November 2006:

Patching work to the westbound carriageway near Whitley Bridge requiring a lane 1, 2 and 3 closure with hard shoulder running. Work commencing 20 November.

Patching work to the westbound carriageway at Wynn Railway Bridge near Junction 35 Langham Interchange requiring a lane 1, 2 and 3 closure with hard shoulder running. Work commencing 6 November.

A 400-metre stretch of resurfacing in Lane 1 westbound, west of Junction 35 Langham Interchange requiring lane 1 and 2 closure. Work commencing 6 November.

All works will be carried out overnight between 8pm and 6am.

Off-road Bikes

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate he has made of the cost to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency of registering and licensing off-road bikes. (93962)

My Department has not estimated the cost to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency of registering and licensing off-road bikes.

Pollution-cutting Technology

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what (a) assessment he has made of the effectiveness and (b) estimate he has made of the cost of introducing pavements utilising titanium dioxide to reduce pollution in cities; if he will encourage local authorities to utilise pollution-cutting technology as an alternative to existing measures; and if he will make a statement. (93710)

No assessment has been made of the effectiveness or cost of using titanium dioxide to reduce pollution in cities. We are watching with interest the trials of the technology, such as that under way in the City of Westminster. Minimising the impact of transport on the environment is a priority, and we will consider in what ways it would be appropriate to encourage local authorities to take up this technology when the overall costs and benefits are clear. In particular, we will want to ensure that the environmental costs of concrete manufacture do not nullify any prospective gains.

Railways

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many passengers travelled on the west coast main line in each of the last five years; and what the total number of passenger miles travelled was in that period. (93591)

Statistics on passenger rail journeys are published by the Office of Rail Regulation in National Rail Trends. The 2005-06 yearbook edition covers passenger journeys on each train operator, including Virgin West Coast, but figures are not available for the whole of the west coast main line.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what total amount of freight was moved by rail in each of the last 20 years. (93657)

Statistics relating to the amount of rail freight moved in the years from 1986 to 2004 are published in the Transport Statistics Great Britain document which is available on the Department for Transport’s website (www.dft.gov.uk). The equivalent information for 2005 is available in the rail trends document that the Office of Rail Regulation publishes on its website: www.rail-reg.gov.uk. Copies of both documents are held in the House Library.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many miles of rail track have been replaced in each of the last 20 years. (93659)

This is an operational matter for Network Rail, as the owner and operator of the national rail network. The hon. Gentleman should contact Network Rail’s chief executive at the following address for a response to his question.

John Armitt

Chief Executive

Network Rail

40 Melton Street

London NW1 2EE

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the total (a) private and (b) Government expenditure has been made on rail services in each of the last 20 years. (93667)

Details of historic Government and private expenditure on rail are contained in National Rail Trends (NRT) copies of which are in the Library of the House. NRT is also available on the Office of Rail Regulation’s website at http://www.rail-reg.gov.uk/server/show/nav.129

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many passenger rail journeys were made in each of the last 30 years. (93676)

Statistics on passenger rail journeys are published by the Office of Rail Regulation in National Rail Trends. Longer time series are available in the Department’s publication Transport Statistics Great Britain. Both publications are available in the House Library.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what Government spending on British Rail was in the last full year before privatisation; and what the most recent full year's subsidy was of (a) the privatised rail companies and (b) Network Rail or its predecessor. (93681)

Details of historical Government expenditure on rail are contained in National Rail Trends (NRT) copies of which are in the Library of the House. NRT is also available on the Office of Rail Regulation's website at http://www.rail-reg.gov.uk/server/show/nav.129

Road Building

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what length of roads has been built in each year since 1979. (94276)

The Secretary of State has responsibility for motorways and trunk roads in England only. I refer the hon. Member to my answers of 19 December 2005, Official Report, column 2321W and 27 June 2005, Official Report, columns 1263-66W, for the information between 1997 and 2005. The total length of schemes completed on the trunk road network in England between 19 December 2005 and 12 October 2006 was 29.6 miles.

Information for other roads is not available, except at a disproportionate cost.

Road Noise

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what action the Government have taken to ensure the rural proofing of the policy on reducing noise problems from the trunk road network; and if he will make a statement. (93320)

No action has been taken on “rural proofing” the policy on reducing noise problems from the strategic road network. Where severe noise problems have been identified at locations alongside the existing network, resources have been targeted at addressing those locations where the noise levels are greatest and where greatest number of people would benefit from measures taken.

Safety Camera Partnerships

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many safety camera partnerships hold pre-driver education programmes; what the cost is of these programmes in each case; and what the names of the partnerships are. (92918)

Safety camera partnerships, as part of their annual operational case, inform the Department of plans they have for communications, which includes, education, training and publicity. Three safety camera partnerships are involved in pre-driver programmes, which are compliant with the netting off rules and guidance. These are:

£

Warwickshire

62,700

North Wales

4,500

Nottinghamshire

20,000

Many if not all safety camera partnerships are involved in pre-driver training/education in an ad hoc way working with their partners, such as road safety officers within local authorities and the police as part of their communications strategy. The Department does not hold detailed information on this.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport under what legal authority and for what reason safety camera partnerships hold pre-driver education programmes; what legal remit they have to undertake such work; and from which part of his Department funding for the programmes came. (92919)

Safety camera partnerships are not a legal entity, but complement existing local authority and police statutory responsibilities and powers in respect of road safety. Communications activity is an important part of the safety camera programme and in order to help bring about a change in driver behaviour, Partnerships are encouraged to work with local agencies involved in road safety and to support wider road safety activities including driver education programmes. However, under the netting-off funding arrangements the Handbook of Rules and Guidance for the National Safety Camera Programme for England and Wales for 2006-07 permits only those costs directly linked to speed, red light running and/or safety camera enforcement to be reclaimed.

Speed Limits

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what responses he has received from the police to the Setting Local Speed Limits circular published in August 2006; and if he will make a statement. (93963)

The Department has received no response from the police to its new guidance on setting local speed limits.

As explained in the Department's decision letter following public consultation, published in conjunction with the guidance, the Association of Chief Police Officers was represented on a stakeholder group which assisted the Department in compiling the new guidance. A summary of the police responses to the public consultation draft of the guidance is provided in section 8 of the Department’s decision letter.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether he plans to make changes to the national speed limit, with particular reference to newly qualified drivers. (93683)

There are no plans to make changes to the national speed limit, nor are there plans for newly qualified drivers to be subject to maximum speeds below the national speed limits.

Sussex Coastal Services

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what opportunity for journey time reductions for Sussex Coastal Services he assesses that the Brighton mainline utilisation strategy may afford. (93787)

The DfT published a consultation document on 29 September 2006 which set out four options for implementation of the Brighton main line route utilisation strategy [RUS]. The principal focus of the RUS is on delivery of increased capacity to relieve crowding on peak London commuting services and improved operational performance. However, all the options are also expected to deliver an improvement in journey times between Sussex coast stations and London termini due to the provision of separate services to and from the east and west coastway routes in place of the present combined services. Elimination of the time penalty when trains split or join at Haywards Heath is expected to reduce the overall journey time of these trains by between three and seven minutes, though this is subject to confirmation as the details of the new timetable are developed.

Untaxed Vehicles

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what measures are being taken to improve the detection rate of vehicles using British roads without a valid tax disc; and if he will make a statement. (93464)

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) operate a fleet of automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras which are an integral part of the agency’s commitment to the reduction of vehicle excise duty (VED) evasion. These mobile systems can be used night or day to target potential unlicensed evaders. They are used in conjunction in combined operations with the police, and other agencies. Such operations can also contribute to road safety as many unlicensed vehicles have mechanical defects, which are identified, and the appropriate action taken against the driver.

The DVLA ANPR units also operate independently throughout the country and will continue to be used as a high visibility deterrent against unlicensed offenders for the foreseeable future.

In addition and of increasing benefit is the initiative to enforce VED collection through a data match of vehicles on our record with the record of VED paid. This “enforcement from the record” is backed up by penalty notices and wheel clamping and has made a significant contribution to our success in reducing evasion of VED to 3.6 per cent. by 2005.

The DVLA also undertake with their partners NCR wide ranging wheelclamping operations targeting unlicensed vehicles. DVLA have enforcement field officers based around the country who also target unlicensed vehicles.

Vehicle Insurance

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answer of 18 September 2006, Official Report, column 2524W, on vehicle insurance, if he will take steps to collect information on uninsured vehicles on a regional basis. (93552)

The Motor Insurers Bureau collects detailed information on uninsured drivers on a regional basis and this is made available to us and to the police whenever required.

Deputy Prime Minister

Key Workers

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many (a) officials and (b) others working for him have key-worker status; and what percentage this represents in each category. (93820)

Education and Skills

Capital Funding

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) how much capital funding has been allocated to (a) Hull local education authority and (b) East Riding of Yorkshire local education authority in each year since 1997; and if he will make a statement; (91880)

(2) which schools in (a) Hull local education authority and (b) East Riding of Yorkshire local education authority have received funding for capital projects in each year since 1997; how much was allocated, and for what purpose, in each case; and if he will make a statement.

This information is not held centrally in the form requested. Much of the Department’s capital resources have been allocated to schools and local authorities by needs related formulae, so that investment decisions could be taken locally in accordance with locally prepared asset management plans. Capital allocations since 1997 for these local authorities and their schools are set out as follows:

£ million

Kingston-upon-Hull1

East Riding of Yorkshire1

1996-97

0.9

0.5

1997-98

25.4

1.3

1998-99

2.6

5.2

1999-2000

6.3

337.0

2000-01

9.5

16.2

2001-02

14.4

11.2

2002-03

13.6

16.2

2003-04

10.7

20.4

2004-05

10.9

21.6

2005-06

8.4

17.0

2006-07

6.5

26.3

2007-08

6.7

14.8

1 Annual fluctuations are largely due to some programmes, such as the Private Finance Initiative and the Targeted Capital Fund, recording the value of projects in the year the project began, while actual payments are phased over a longer period.

2 Includes PFI project of £3.9 million in 1997-98.

3 Includes PFI project of £26 million in 1999-2000.

In addition to the above investment, Kingston-upon-Hull local authority joined the Building Schools for the Future programme in wave two. East Riding of Yorkshire is currently due to join the programme in one of the waves seven, eight or nine. Building Schools for the Future aims to renew or remodel all secondary school provision over the lifetime of the programme. The programme is expected to have 15 waves, with wave one starting in 2005-06.

City Academies

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what criteria and guidelines are used when choosing sponsors for city academies. (92496)

Academies are established with the involvement of sponsors from the voluntary, private or faith sectors. Sponsors must be able to show a commitment to providing the highest standard of education for all pupils and to provide £2 million towards the cost of each academy, or £1.5 million where they have sponsored three previous academies.

Independent consultants carry out a thorough due diligence check on all potential sponsors during the pre-feasibility stage, and Ministers apply a public interest test to sponsors on a case-by-case basis to ensure that the funding is from an appropriate source. We give preference to British or foreign sponsors with business interests in the UK; who are long standing UK residents; or who have businesses interests in jurisdictions with effective and open business governance where it is easier to assess risk against the guidance.

Sponsorship is purely philanthropic. Sponsors cannot make a profit and the schools cannot charge fees. Sponsors, like all academy trustees, are bound by charitable law to act in the best interests of their academies. Parents are consulted about academy projects and potential sponsors during feasibility.

Community Libraries (Buckinghamshire)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills when announcements on arrangements for (a) community libraries and (b) family learning will be made in relation to applications from Buckinghamshire. (93712)

I have been asked to reply.

The community libraries programme was launched on 9 October 2006 and the family learning programme was launched on 19 September 2006. Both programmes are available throughout England.

Community Libraries is open to all local authority library services through a competitive application process.

Family learning grants will be awarded through a competitive application process which is open to statutory, voluntary and private sector organisations (statutory and private sector applicants must apply in partnership with a voluntary sector organisation).

The Big Lottery Fund expect to be in a position to make the first grant awards under the family learning programme in the first half of 2007 and under the community libraries programme in the second half of 2007.

Curriculum Online

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills on what date work on the Curriculum Online website began; and on what date it received its first hit. (91366)

Work began on the Curriculum Online website in May 2002. The site received its first hit in December 2002 when it was previewed by a controlled group of 50,000 users (teachers and suppliers) and was officially launched by my right hon. Friend the Member for Norwich, South (Mr. Charles Clarke) at the BETT show on January 9 2003.

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what contracts and sub-contracts were awarded to set up and maintain Curriculum Online; and what the (a) value and (b) duration was in each case. (91367)

Over 100 individual contracts have been awarded over the last four years to support all the different aspects of Curriculum Online such as website design, infrastructure, portal development, hosting and distribution, eLearning Credits payment system, metadata schema, tagging tool, vocabularies, application support, technical standards, helpdesks, evaluation, user testing, consultancy support, registration and compliance, legal services, marketing and communications, copywriting/pr/web, design/creative, print/production, advertising, sponsorship/promotion, display materials, promotional video, exhibitions/events and so on.

Due to the scope of the request, we are unable to reply on the grounds of costs. We estimate that the cost of processing the request exceeds the disproportionate cost threshold (DCT) of £700.

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the (a) set up costs were and (b) maintenance costs are of Curriculum Online. (91368)

The following table gives a detailed breakdown of both set up and running costs for Curriculum Online and eLearning Credits (eLCs) from 2002 to the present.

£ million

2002-03

2003-04

2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

eLCs

30

100

100

100

1100

Set up costs

5 over two years2

n/a

n/a

n/a

Running costs

n/a

n/a

2.5

32.85

1.7

1 Of which £75 million ring fenced.

2 Includes running costs.

3 Includes £350,000 for independent product evaluations

Education Costs

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the (a) mean and (b) median costs were of educating a child who was (i) in local authority care and (ii) in prison in the last year for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement. (89493)

Emotional and Behavioural Disorders

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) what guidance is offered to (a) local education authorities and (b) head teachers on dealing with children with emotional and behavioural disorders; (92233)

(2) what measures are in place to ensure children with emotional and behavioural disorders are taught in an environment suitable for their condition.

DfES guidance relating to children with behavioural, emotional and social difficulties (BESD) is directed to both local authorities and head teachers. This includes the SEN Code of Practice (2001), and Promoting Children's Mental Health within Early Years and School Settings (2001). With the Department's BESD Working Group, which includes head teachers, leaders of pupil referral units, educational psychologists, representatives from CAMHS and key voluntary and professional organisations, we are currently considering further, targeted guidance for schools.

In addition to guidance, specialist training materials and opportunities for accreditation have been made available for some 500 staff across the country who have particular responsibilities for BESD.

Our guidance on exclusion from school also makes it clear that schools must do their best to ensure that the necessary provision is made for pupils with special educational needs and that, other than in the most exceptional circumstances, schools should avoid permanently excluding pupils with statements. We will be revising our guidance on school behaviour policies to strengthen advice on making reasonable adjustments for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities.

On suitable environments for children with BESD, the SEN Code of Practice requires all local authorities to provide appropriate settings, either through mainstream schools, BESD special schools, or PRUs, with a flexible continuum of provision to meet the particular needs of children with BESD. Where a child has complex needs the statutory framework makes clear the need for children to be assessed individually and for authorities to take into consideration the views of parents.

Further details on the Government's programme for BESD will shortly be announced in our response to the House of Commons Education and Skills Committee SEN Third Report of Session 2005-06.

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) how many children in each local education authority area, diagnosed with emotional and behavioural disorders were being taught in a mainstream educational facility in the last period for which figures are available; (92235)

(2) how many places in each local education authority area were available for children with emotional and behaviour disorders in England in the last period for which figures are available.

Information on the number of places available for children with behaviour, emotional and social difficulties is not collected centrally.

Information was collected from schools on pupils who are supported at School Action Plus and those pupils with a statement of special educational needs (SEN) about their main or primary need and, if appropriate, their secondary need for the first time in 2004.

There are a number of sensitivities about categorising pupils in this way. It is important that anyone using the data should be aware of the concerns and also understand the limitations of the data’s reliability and validity. There are a range of factors which may affect the data recorded, including:

Local interpretation of definitions

Classification of children with multiple needs

Differences in diagnoses between education and health professionals

Availability of special school provisions in Authorities

A table showing information on the number of pupils being taught in a maintained mainstream school who have statements of special educational needs or are supported at School Action Plus and who have behaviour, emotional and social difficulties as their primary need has been placed in the House Library.

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how much funding was made available in each local education authority area, for each child at facilities for those with emotional and behavioural disorders in England in the last period for which figures are available. (92236)

Excluded Children

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what recent estimate he has made of the number of children (a) excluded from school and (b) in local authority care who (i) become prostitutes and (ii) go into prison. (90088)

At 30 September 2005 there were 44,700 children who had been looked after continuously for at least 20 months by English local authorities. 34,800 of these children were of school age and of these 310 (or 1 per cent.) received a permanent exclusion.

Information on the number of these children who become prostitutes or go into prison is not collected centrally.

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many black (a) male and (b) female pupils were excluded (i) temporarily and (ii) permanently from a maintained secondary school in each of the last five years. (91747)

The available information is given in the table.

Maintained secondary schools: Number of exclusions by black ethnic origin and gender1 2000-01 to 2004-05, England

Maintained secondary schools, pupils of black ethnic origin 2, 3

Permanent exclusions1

Fixed period exclusions

Boys

Girls

Total

Boys

Girls

Total

2000-01

490

150

640

2001-024

370

140

510

2002-034

370

110

470

2003-044

430

120

550

9,780

4,140

13,920

2004-054

390

110

490

11,380

4,530

15,920

1 The number of permanent exclusions are known to have been under-reported by schools in each year since 2000-01. The numbers shown here for permanent exclusions are as reported by schools. The data are unconfirmed and known to be incomplete.

2 Includes pupils aged 5 and over.

3 Includes pupils of Black Caribbean, Black African and Black Other ethnic origin.

4 A new ethnic coding framework was introduced in the 2002 and 2003 Census'. The new ethnic coding frameworks included a new category for pupils of Mixed ethnic origin. In 2001-02 and 2002-03 both the old and the new ethnic codesets were used. This could have caused some disruption to timeseries data.

.. Not available, 2003-04 is the first full year for which fixed period exclusions data are available Note: Numbers have been rounded to the nearest 10. There may be discrepancies between the sum of constituent items and totals as shown.

Source: Schools’ Census and Termly Exclusions Survey

Foreign Languages

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what percentage of students at age 14 have taken up a foreign language at Putteridge high school in Luton. (91658)

Data on the number of pupils who have taken up a foreign language at age 14 is not collected by the Department. Therefore the information requested is not available.

Foreign Students

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many foreign students of (a) primary and (b) secondary school age are in maintained schools in (i) Ruislip-Northwood constituency, (ii) each London borough and (iii) England. (92816)

Information on the number of foreign pupils in schools is not collected centrally.

A table showing the number of pupils whose first language is known or believed to be other than English follows.

Maintained primary and secondary schools1: number and percentage of pupils whose first language is known or believed to be other than English as at January 2006

Pupils of compulsory school age and above2, 3

Primary schools

Secondary schools

Number of pupils whose first language is known or believed to be other than English

Percentage of pupils whose first language is known or believed to be other than English4

Number of pupils whose first language is known or believed to be other than English

Percentage of pupils whose first language is known or believed to be other than English4

England5

419,600

12.5

314,950

9.5

London5

189,890

39.1

141,780

33.5

Inner London5

90,780

52.3

60,540

47.4

202

Camden

5,039

57.8

4,120

41.4

201

City of London

117

65.4

n/a

n/a

204

Hackney

7,282

53.7

3,359

48.1

205

Hammersmith and Fulham

3,188

44.0

2,529

36.9

309

Haringey

8,910

53.5

5,349

45.9

206

Islington

4,527

41.0

3,645

45.2

207

Kensington and Chelsea

2,830

51.7

1,512

43.0

208

Lambeth

7,052

46.5

3,174

39.4

209

Lewisham

4,985

29.6

2,737

24.9

316

Newham

16,346

71.0

11,488

62.9

210

Southwark

6,927

39.6

4,637

45.3

211

Tower Hamlets

12,627

75.5

9,461

65.9

212

Wandsworth

5,119

39.1

3,779

36.2

213

Westminster

5,835

69.3

4,751

56.6

Outer London5

99,100

31.8

81,240

27.5

301

Barking and Dagenham

3,366

24.0

2,358

18.7

302

Barnet

8,001

39.2

6,621

33.9

303

Bexley

1,385

8.4

1,491

8.1

304

Brent

10,441

58.2

9,019

54.9

305

Bromley

1,187

5.9

1,129

5.0

306

Croydon

5,320

22.6

3,414

18.3

307

Ealing

10,551

53.6

7,367

48.5

308

Enfield

8,538

39.5

7,783

35.1

203

Greenwich

4,819

30.1

3,777

26.0

310

Harrow

7,675

47.3

4,019

44.5

311

Havering

814

5.0

623

3.8

312

Hillingdon

5,264

28.8

4,319

25.3

313

Hounslow

7,058

49.1

8,587

51.8

314

Kingston upon Thames

2,111

23.4

1,935

20.2

315

Merton

3,290

30.4

2,053

23.9

317

Redbridge

9,409

50.5

9,196

44.5

318

Richmond upon Thames

1,579

15.3

976

13.6

319

Sutton

1,323

11.4

1,736

10.7

320

Waltham Forest

6,972

42.4

4,832

34.3

Ruislip-Northwood parliamentary constituency

789

13.9

693

12.5

n/a = not applicable–no schools of this type.

1 Includes middle schools as deemed.

2 Pupils aged 5 and over are classified according to whether their first language is known or believed to be English or other than English.

3 Excludes dually registered pupils4.

4 The number of pupils whose first language is known or believed to be other than English expressed as a percentage of all pupils aged five and over.

5 National and regional totals have been rounded to the nearest 10.

Source:

Schools’ Census

Free Nursery Places

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assessment his Department has made of the impact on private and independent nursery providers of the new code of practice on the funding of free nursery places for three and four-year-olds. (93496)

The single substantive change to the delivery of the free early education entitlement made in the 2006 code of practice was the extension of the free entitlement from 33 to 38 weeks. We conducted a full public consultation on the 2006 code from June to October 2005, to which 585 responses were received, the majority from private providers who were generally content with the proposed extension to 38 weeks. A summary of responses is available at:

http://www.dfes.gov.uk/consultations/conResults.cfm? consultationld=1329

Additional funding of £82 million in financial years 2006-07 and 2007-08 has been made available to local authorities to deliver the additional weeks and a number of measures were included in the code of practice to aid the transition, to support parental choice and to reflect provider circumstances. These included: allowing that the 38 weeks provision could be delivered by a single provider or by providers in cooperation; indicating that where a parent decided explicitly that they wanted to take their provision with a provider offering only 33 weeks they could do so and the provider would be paid for that period; and recommending that the transition be phased over a year.

GCSE

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what steps the Government are taking to ensure that more pupils achieve grade C or above in English and mathematics at GCSE level. (91876)

We are committed to increasing the number of pupils achieving grade C or above at GCSE level. Over 365,000 pupils are achieving grade C or above in English, and nearly 329,000 are doing so in mathematics. Compared to 1997, around 52,000 more pupils are now achieving five or more A*-C GCSEs including English and mathematics. For the first time, in 2008, local authorities and schools will be required to set targets for the proportion of pupils achieving five A*-C GCSEs, including English and mathematics.

Throughout all key stages we have made efforts to ensure that standards of attainment in English and mathematics continue to rise. We know from experience that children who achieve level 4 (the expected level for their age) or above in English and mathematics at the end of key stage 2 tests are more likely to achieve grade C or above in their English and mathematics GCSEs. The reforms we are pushing through at primary level, particularly the renewed primary framework for literacy and mathematics, will play an important part in helping children achieve more at GCSE.

The secondary national strategy is improving the quality of teaching and learning in the classroom by providing a comprehensive professional development programme for teachers, including training, materials and support from local consultants who are experts in their field. Support is also available to help teachers deliver effective tailored interventions for pupils who have fallen behind, particularly in English and mathem