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Written Answers

Volume 454: debated on Tuesday 5 December 2006

Written Answers toQuestions

Tuesday 5 December 2006

Leader of the House

Parliamentary Questions

To ask the Leader of the House what percentage of questions tabled by hon. Members remained unanswered after a month in the last period for which figures are available, broken down by Department. (106834)

This information is not collected centrally. My Office monitors the performance of Departments in answering questions, but does not hold detailed statistics on a comparable basis. Individual Departments are responsible for keeping their own records on the timeliness of answers and providing this information to the House when requested by the Public Administration Select Committee or through Members’ questions.

The last available figures for my Office relate to the whole of the last session. These show that 100 per cent. of the 188 ordinary written questions tabled were answered within a working week and 100 per cent. of the 71 named day questions tabled were answered on the date specified. No questions remained unanswered after a month.

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Animal Welfare

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will take steps to ensure that the England Rural Development Programme 2007-13 promotes higher animal welfare standards; and if he will make a statement. (106728)

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given on 23 November 2006, Official Report, column 156W.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what status in potential court actions the proposed codes relating to welfare of animal species will have under the Animal Welfare Bill.[R] (106853)

The proposed codes relating to welfare of animal species under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 are intended primarily to help animal owners and keepers understand the welfare needs of their animals. Failure to comply with a code will not, in itself, constitute an offence. However, evidence of non-compliance with a code may be used by the courts in deciding whether a person has committed an offence under the other provisions of the Act. Similarly, a code could be used by the defence to support any claim of compliance with the Act.

Batteries

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what his most recent estimate is of (a) the number of batteries used by UK households and (b) the number of batteries collected for recycling from UK households in each year since 1997, broken down by battery type; and if he will make a statement; (106425)

(2) what requirements are made of local authorities to provide facilities for the recycling of batteries; and if he will make a statement.

Recent consultancy work, carried out on behalf of DEFRA, estimates that 24,850 tonnes of household batteries were sold in the UK in 2003. The great majority of these were alkaline manganese and zinc carbon varieties. There has been no legislative requirement for waste household batteries to be separately collected and detailed statistics have not therefore been kept. However, we estimate that various local voluntary schemes have resulted in a capture rate of less than 2 per cent.

The Batteries and Accumulators Directive (2006/66/EC) came into force on 26 September 2006. Member states have two years to transpose this measure into national law. This is a “producer responsibility” directive and, as such, the onus on collection and recycling will fall on battery producers in the first instance. However, local authorities are also likely to play a role given their current involvement in the collection of household waste. The exact form this may take will not be decided until the completion of formal domestic consultation with all parties concerned.

The Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) is currently working in partnership with a range of local authorities and not-for-profit organisations which already run recycling collection services on a number of pilot battery collection schemes.

Bovine Emissions

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what percentage of greenhouse gas emissions came from cows in the last period for which figures are available; and what plans he has to reduce such emissions. (106300)

Agriculture as a whole contributes 7 per cent. of all UK greenhouse gas emissions and 14 per cent. globally. The sector accounts for 36 per cent. of methane and 67 per cent. of nitrous oxide emissions in the UK, but only 1 per cent. of carbon dioxide. About 80 per cent. of this methane comes from enteric fermentation in the digestive system of animals (sheep, pigs and bovines), and 20 per cent. from animal waste. Methane emissions from agriculture have declined by 12 per cent. since 1990.

Recent research suggests that substantial methane reductions could be achieved by changes to feed regimes. Improving the longevity of dairy cows will also result in decreased methane production as a result of a reduction in the total number of animals needed to produce the same quantity of milk.

Defra is exploring the role of anaerobic digestion in reducing methane emissions in agriculture, both domestically and internationally. For example, we are taking a leading role in the Methane to Markets Partnership, an international initiative that advances cost-effective, near-term methane recovery and its use as a clean energy source.

Carbon Emissions

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps the Government are taking through the EU to address the carbon outputs of (a) Luxembourg, (b) Spain and (c) Portugal. (107118)

The UK works closely with the European Commission and other member states to ensure that we are on target to meet our Kyoto Protocol targets.

The Commission recently announced decisions on the National Allocation Plans for phase II of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme of 10 member states. A number of member states were asked to undertake further work and the Commission is looking for significant further reductions in emissions. The framework under which the decisions have been taken has been set out clearly, which the UK welcomes.

This framework sets a standard for the National Allocation Plans yet to be submitted and assessed. The Commission has made clear the importance of using the Emissions Trading Scheme to achieve Kyoto targets and to make good use of the available potential for emissions reductions.

Carbon Offsetting

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) which projects are supported by his Department through carbon offsetting schemes; and where each project is located; (106899)

(2) with which carbon offsetting organisations his Department has contracts.

[holding answer 4 December 2006]: DEFRA is taking the lead on offsetting emissions associated with the UK’s presidency of the G8 in 2005, to help ensure that the presidency is carbon-neutral. All of last year’s G8-associated meetings, including the G8 summit, were included in the DEFRA-led carbon offsetting initiative. The calculations included the emissions associated with air travel, local transport, energy use at venues and accommodation, and waste production.

To offset these emissions, the Government have agreed to purchase 10,000 Certified Emission Reductions from the Kuyasa low-income housing energy upgrade project in Cape Town, South Africa. This is the first Clean Development Mechanism project to be registered in Africa, and the first Gold Standard project to be registered anywhere in the world.

DEFRA is also responsible for administering the Government Carbon Offsetting Fund, which offsets all official and ministerial air travel of all central Government Departments (except the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, which have their own offsetting schemes). Proceeds from the Fund will be used to purchase Certified Emission Reduction credits from energy efficiency and renewable energy projects that are based in developing countries and accredited under the Clean Development Mechanism. The organisations and specific projects that will be involved will be finalised soon and more details will be included in an announcement to be made shortly.

Carbon Sequestration

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions he has had with farming organisations on the use of farmland for carbon sequestration. (106296)

While carbon sequestration by forestry is a useful tool for offsetting some greenhouse gas emissions, sequestration in cropland and pasture through new management practices is less certain. This is because new management practices have to be followed for a substantial period of time in order to record additional carbon storage. Also, several years of stored carbon could be released by a change of practice in just one season.

A more important issue is protecting the 10 billion tonnes of carbon held in UK soils, especially upland peat soils, from release through soil erosion and inappropriate management practices such as over-grazing. For example, allowing the peat soils of the High Peak to dry out would alone release carbon equivalent to 270 million vehicle miles.

Defra is undertaking research to understand fully the issues on sequestration and protection of carbon stores. We are considering how to ensure agri-environment measures address this problem and are engaging with stakeholders, notably through the Rural Climate Change Forum, to ensure full understanding between the Government and industry on this problem.

Cetaceans

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the effects of the Common Fisheries Policies on cetaceans; and what mitigation measures are currently under discussion at EU level. (106743)

European Council Regulation (EC) 812/2004 lays down measures concerning incidental catches of cetaceans in fisheries. The Regulation makes the use of acoustic deterrent devices ("pingers") mandatory for vessels over 12 meters in length, involved in fixed-gear fisheries in the Celtic Sea Channel and Western Waters. It also sets up mandatory observer schemes to increase our knowledge of by-catch in fisheries.

Unfortunately, there has been a delay in implementing pingers because studies of their effectiveness, costs and availability indicate that there are currently no devices suitable for use. A discussion was held at a Council Working Group on 27 September which recognised that, because of deployment problems in certain fisheries, some member states could not currently implement pingers as required. However, the group recommended that member states should continue work towards developing a suitable pinger.

Climate Change

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what provision he expects to make for pre-legislative scrutiny of the Climate Change Bill. (107488)

[holding answer 4 December 2006]: We are determined to promote the widest possible debate, in the Houses of Parliament and across the country, about the contents of the Climate Change Bill. This will ensure that all views are taken into consideration when the terms of the Bill are drafted.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which officials represented the Government at the recent United Nations climate change talks in Nairobi; and what assessment he has made of the outcome of the talks. (106887)

The UK delegation to the twelfth session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the second session of the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto protocol, in Nairobi, was led by the Secretary of State. It also included officials from DEFRA, the Department for Trade and Industry, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Department for International Development, the Scottish Executive and Her Majesty’s Treasury.

The conference took important steps forward in the battle against climate change. However, greater urgency and momentum need to be injected into the international negotiations to secure a global agreement that builds on the first Kyoto commitment period, which ends in 2012, and ensures there is no gap between commitment periods.

In addition, I refer the hon. Member to the statement by the Secretary of State on 21 November 2006, Official Report, columns 38-39WS.

Department Staff

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many people in his Department work in (a) environment, (b) agriculture, (c) rural affairs and (d) food. (104395)

The number of staff (in full-time equivalents) in the policy areas of the Department as at 31 October was as follows:

Number

Animal Health and Welfare

587

Environment

693

Living Land and Seas

447

of which:

Rural Policy

102

Wildlife and Countryside

199

Sustainable Farming and Food

664

of which:

Sustainable Farming Strategy

117

Sustainable Food Chain

339

It is not possible to provide a breakdown of numbers precisely into the areas requested.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether people employed (a) through employment agencies and (b) on a consultancy basis are included in the calculations for the full-time equivalent staff mentioned in his Department’s annual report. (102987)

People employed through employment agencies and on a consultancy basis are not included in the calculations for the full-time equivalent staff mentioned in the Department’s annual report as they are not members of DEFRA staff.

Departmental Finance

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what his Department’s (a) budget and (b) outturn expenditure was in each year since 1997; and if he will make a statement. (103320)

Departmental Funding Deficit

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to his intervention of 7 November 2006, Official Report, column 721, if he will give further details of the (a) accounting changes and (b) pressures of previous years which have contributed £65 million and between £70 million to £80 million respectively to his Department’s funding deficit of £200 million. (102143)

The accounting changes arose from clarification and application of Treasury consolidated budgeting guidance rules. This guidance set out constraints over movements between sub-control totals within departmental resource budgets.

The pressures from previous years have been previously summarised. I refer the hon. Member to the answer given on 6 November 2006, Official Report, column 730W.

EU Emissions Trading

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions he has had with farming organisations on the impact on farmers of the introduction of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme. (106295)

The agricultural sector is not covered under the present EU Emissions Trading Scheme, and so is not directly affected by it.

However, as part of the Government’s commitment in the UK Climate Change Programme 2006, we will examine the scope and feasibility of a market-based mechanism. This will need to be compatible with our aspirations for the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, to facilitate trading of greenhouse gas reductions from agriculture and other land management sectors.

Farming Food Collaboration Partnerships

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assistance has been given by the Department to farming food collaboration partnerships over the last financial year, broken down by partnership. (103315)

Farming and food enterprises are eligible for various types of assistance from DEFRA. For the most part, it is not possible to distinguish between those enterprises in receipt of assistance which have a collaborative or co-operative business structure, and other business types.

DEFRA also provides indirect assistance to collaborative enterprises through its support for English Farming and Food Partnerships (EFFP). The aim of EFFPs is to make collaboration work through the growth of market-focused and professionally run farmer-controlled businesses. They also develop co-operation and partnership activities between farmers and the rest of the supply chain.

Genetically Modified Potatoes

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether he plans to grant a trial for genetically modified potatoes in England; and if he will make a statement. (106302)

We have recently granted a consent, to the company BASF, to conduct research trials of a genetically modified blight-resistant potato. The trials will start in 2007 and take place at two sites in England; one in Derbyshire and one in Cambridgeshire. The independent Advisory Committee on Releases to the Environment (ACRE) has confirmed that these trials do not give rise to any health or environmental concerns. The statutory consent details and ACRE’s advice are available on the DEFRA website at:

http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/gm/regulation/consents/index.htm

Harbour Porpoises

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions his Department has had with the European Commission on the protection of harbour porpoises under the Habitation Directive in 2006; and if he will make a statement. (106491)

The Department has had no direct discussions with the European Commission regarding protection of harbour porpoises. However, harbour porpoises are a European Protected Species and we are committed to their conservation.

We consider the impacts of all marine developments on harbour porpoise. For example, my Department’s Marine Consents and Environment Unit is currently assessing the potential risk to porpoises in relation to an application for a licence pertaining to the construction of an offshore wind-farm in Swansea Bay.

We are also contributing to the development of a harbour porpoise recovery plan for the North Sea through the Agreement on Small Cetaceans of the Baltic and North Sea.

Inspectors

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) how many of the inspectors employed by his Department on animal welfare and animal aspects of cross-compliance are (a) qualified and (b) not qualified as veterinary surgeons; (106180)

(2) how many inspectors are (a) engaged and (b) employed by his Department to carry out cross-compliance inspections.

Responsibility for cross-compliance inspections is divided between the Rural Payments Agency (RPA), the state veterinary service (SVS) and the Environment Agency (EA).

The RPA employs over 260 multi-skilled farm inspectors who carry out livestock identification checks which involve physical ear-tag reading in the presence of the livestock handler. Veterinary training is not required. However, all RPA inspectors have had training and experience in working safely with livestock, and animal welfare issues form part of their training.

The SVS has over 200 qualified veterinary surgeons and a similar number of technical staff. Technical staff carry out cross-compliance inspections regarding restrictions on the use of substances that have a hormonal or thyrostatic action and beta-agonists on farm animals. Responsibility for cross-compliance inspections on the control of animal diseases lies mainly with veterinary staff, although they are assisted by technical staff. Inspections for animal welfare requirements, which come into force in 2007, will be carried out by veterinary staff.

The Environment Agency is responsible for carrying out inspections in relation to groundwater, sewage sludge and nitrate vulnerable zones. Approximately 170 appropriately trained inspectors have undertaken work on cross-compliance as part of their duties.

Local Authorities: Consultants

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much the 10 top performing councils have spent on external (a) advisers, (b) lawyers and (c) consultants in each of the last five years. (104791)

Local Government Finance

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will investigate the extent to which fines levied on county councils in two-tier authority areas are passed on to and paid by district councils; and if he will make a statement. (106865)

Assuming the hon. Member’s question relates to the Landfill Allowance Trading Scheme, no penalties have been imposed to date under this scheme. All waste disposal authorities in England met their obligations in 2005-06 to landfill, and were within the limits of the allowances they held.

More generally, DEFRA has no plans to investigate the extent to which penalties levied on county councils in two-tier authority areas are passed on to, and paid by, district councils.

Migrant Workers

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the likely effect of central and eastern European migrant workers on UK agriculture. (106299)

Migrant workers from countries which acceded to the EU in May 2004 have made a significant contribution to UK agriculture. According to the Government’s Accession Monitoring Report, between May 2004 and September 2006, 56,230 workers from the new member states registered under the Workers Registration Scheme to work in agriculture. Many of these took up jobs which UK farmers and growers have traditionally found hard to fill.

Bulgaria and Romania accede to the EU on 1 January 2007. From that date preference for places on the two low-skilled migration schemes for non-EU workers (the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme and the Sectors Based Scheme) will be given to Bulgarian and Romanian nationals, subject to a cap on the combined existing quota of 20,000. It is anticipated that Bulgarian and Romanian workers will also play an important role in addressing the recruitment difficulties experienced by farmers and growers.

Pesticides

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many times the Pesticides Safety Directorate (PSD) has been formally notified of cases of illegal trade in plant protection products in each of the last three years; and on how many occasions such notification led to enforcement action being taken by the PSD. (106883)

There is no formal procedure for notifying cases of “illegal” parallel imports of plant protection products. However, PSD has, since November 2003, been informed of and investigated 23 cases involving parallel imports as shown:

Number of cases

Number of cases where enforcement action taken

Notes

2003

1

1

1 November 2003 to 31 December 2003

2004

4

2

2005

12

5

2006

6

1 January 2006 to 30 November 2006

Enforcement action has or is being taken in eight cases and a further six cases are still under investigation pending possible enforcement action. Enforcement action has not been taken in nine cases because of lack of evidence of an offence basis.

Renewable Energy

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much energy consumed by his Department is acquired from renewable sources. (106157)

The Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs currently acquires 62.3 per cent. of its electricity from certified renewable sources.

River Thames: Sewage

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) how much his Department plans to spend on an additional two prototype boats to skim River Thames sewage; and if he will make a statement; (107047)

(2) what the maximum capacity is in litres of sewage which the planned prototype River Thames boats will be able to skim per day; and if he will make a statement.

[holding answer 4 December 2006]: DEFRA does not hold this information. Thames Water is in the process of developing prototype boats to skim off in-river sewage—derived litter. Therefore, the cost and maximum capacity of the vessels is a matter for Thames Water.

Rural Stress Information Network

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much funding was allocated to the Rural Stress Information Network in 2005-06; and how much it will receive in 2006-07. (106429)

The Rural Stress Information Network (RSIN) acts as DEFRA’s agent in administering the Rural Stress Action Plan. Separately, they receive funding for projects under the plan. The following table sets out the amounts in 2005-07.

Project (£)

Administration (£)

2005-06

36,697

16,436

2006-07

10,000

2,745

In addition, RSIN received £20,000 in extra funds from DEFRA in early 2006 to boost rural support organisations in their capacity to deal with issues arising from the delays in payment to farmers under the Single Payment Scheme.

Single Payment Scheme

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the process is for considering payments under the single farm payment regime to farmers who have holdings in England and Scotland; and when such farmers will receive their payment awards. (106286)

Farmers are advised to complete an English SPS application in respect of their English land details, and the relevant devolved paying agency SPS application form in respect of any land that lies in another region. Guidance also states that both claims should be sent together to the paying agency where most of the land lies. This paying agency will also be responsible for making the single payment.

Once the application forms have been received by the paying agency they enter all the land parcel details on the system, and then forward the non-English application to the other UK paying agency so the details can be validated. This agency will then validate the application and inform the processing Department/agency of the results.

Once all the claim has been validated and the payment window is open the claim will be paid.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how his Department calculated the figure of £131 million for contingent liabilities in its 2005-06 accounts for errors and procedural mistakes in administering the single payment scheme. (102144)

A full disclosure of the potential financial risk attached to any errors and procedural mistakes in administering the Single Payment Scheme are set out in DEFRA’s resource accounts for 2005-06 as laid before Parliament on 30 October 2006.

Suckler Cows Scheme

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on what EU guidance his Department bases its policy for managing breaches of the 5 per cent. heifer rule under the Suckler Cow Scheme 2003. (106557)

The requirement to maintain a minimum of 5 per cent. heifers within a claim under the Suckler Cow Premium Scheme (SCPS) is contained within Council Regulation (EC) No. 1512/2001 which amends Council Regulation No. 1254/1999.

Article 1(6) of Council Regulation (EC) No. 1512/2001, which amends Council Regulation No. 1254/1999, sets out the minimum heifer percentage for scheme year 2003:

"However, for the years 2002 and 2003, the number of heifers to be kept shall be equal to at least 15 per cent. of the total number of animals for which the premium is requested.

In the United Kingdom, the obligation to keep a minimum number of heifers is not applicable in 2002 and is limited to 5 per cent. in 2003."

If a claimant fails to meet the minimum heifer percentage, then the number of animals on which premium can be paid is reduced. This is in accordance with Article 36 (1) of Commission Regulation (EC) 2419/2001, which states that

“Where an individual limit or individual ceiling is applicable, the number of animals shown in the aid applications shall be reduced to the limit or ceiling set for the farmer concerned.”

In order to ensure uniform implementation of Commission Regulation (EC) No 2419/2001, working document AGRI 49530/2002 and its accompanying Additional Information Notes (AIN) 1 to 6 were issued by Commission Services. AIN 6 describes how to manage cases where the foreseen split between cows and heifers is not respected.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on which date his Department first received guidance from (a) the European Commission and (b) other EU agencies on how to manage breaches of the 5 per cent. heifer rule under the Suckler Cow Scheme 2003. (106558)

Council Regulation (EC) No. 1512/2001, which set out the minimum heifer percentage for 2003, is dated 23 July 2001 and came into force on 1 January 2002.

Working document AGRI 49530/2002 and its accompanying additional information notes were distributed at the IACS experts group meeting held in Brussels on 2 May 2002. Commission services later issued a slightly amended revision; AGRI 49530/2002-Rev.1 is dated 21 November 2002.

Tail Docking

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will set up a working party on tail docking when the consultation is completed. (106399)

There are no plans to set up such a group. We intend to lay the regulations before Parliament immediately after the consultation responses have been considered. This is to ensure that they are brought into force in line with section six of the Animal Welfare Act 2006, which bans tail docking with an exemption for working dogs.

The main principles of the ban on tail docking were thoroughly debated in Parliament and decided by a free vote of hon. Members during the passage of the Animal Welfare Act 2006. The regulations will be made via the affirmative procedure and will be subject to parliamentary scrutiny in both Houses.

Trees

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of how many trees were planted in each region of England in each of the last five years. (107011)

Information on the number of trees planted in each region is not collected. However, we do know the area of woodland created and the area restocked after felling that has been grant aided by the Forestry Commission and the area of woodland creation and restocking carried out by the Forestry Commission itself. These figures are given in the following tables. In addition planting is carried out in connection to development and by a large range of bodies, including the voluntary sector and local government.

Grant aided woodland creation claims paid in financial year (area in hectares)

Region

2001-02

2002-03

2003-04

2004-05

2005-06

East of England

420

425

283

315

368

East Midlands

569

584

626

725

575

London

29

8

2

6

0

North East

466

469

416

537

324

North West

279

359

519

647

413

South East

619

469

431

469

244

South West

1,292

1,306

832

781

473

West Midlands

288

487

504

590

177

Yorkshire and Humber

361

486

381

588

302

Grant aided woodland restocking claims paid in financial year (area in hectares)

Region

2001-02

2002-03

2003-04

2004-05

2005-06

East of England

50

80

48

49

31

East Midlands

90

72

31

71

35

London

2

0

3

0

0

North East

151

125

131

147

170

North West

66

120

175

162

125

South East

149

158

89

90

60

South West

156

188

141

104

48

West Midlands

85

118

74

92

45

Yorkshire and Humber

200

102

64

128

78

Forestry Commission woodland creation planting year (September to August) area in hectares

Region

2001-02

2002-03

2003-04

2004-05

12005-06

East of England

0

12

0

0

0

East Midlands

120

229

155

159

0

London

0

107

29

0

0

North East

55

10

1

6

10

North West

115

222

0

0

5

South East

0

0

0

0

0

South West

23

12

7

3

0

West Midlands

0

0

0

0

0

Yorkshire and Humber

0

0

0

0

0

1 Figure to 31 March 2006, not complete planting year.

Forestry Commission woodland restocking planting year (September to August) area in hectares

Region

2001-02

2002-03

2003-04

2004-05

12005-06

East of England

322

251

175

240

217

East Midlands

89

182

54

152

12

London

0

0

0

0

0

North East

965

874

599

780

657

North West

258

283

207

190

201

South East

115

166

84

70

80

South West

339

302

252

225

175

West Midlands

239

104

118

59

71

Yorkshire and Humber

131

118

140

117

53

1 Figure to 31 March 2006, not complete planting year.

UK Pesticides Campaign

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what requests he has received from Georgina Downs of the UK Pesticides Campaign for a meeting since May 2006; whether he intends to have such a meeting; and if he will make a statement. (106903)

[holding answer 4 December 2006]: Requests from Ms Downs for a meeting were received by the Secretary of State and Lord Rooker on 6 and 15 May 2006 respectively. Lord Rooker replied to both letters on 7 June stating that as Minister responsible for pesticides he would meet with Ms Downs in due course and this meeting took place on 31 July 2006. A further request from Ms Downs for a meeting was received by the Secretary of State on 13 September and a response declining this invitation was sent by the Secretary of State on 3 October. Ms Downs had also met with Lord Bach, who was previously responsible for pesticides, on 18 July 2005 and 11 January 2006.

Neither the Secretary of State nor Lord Rooker have current plans for a meeting with Ms Downs.

Warm Front

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what guarantees are offered to householders who have had new central heating systems installed by the EAGA group under the Warm Front grants scheme. (107043)

[holding answer 4 December 2006]: Under the Warm Front scheme, gas central heating installations and gas replacement boilers receive two years’ breakdown cover and two annual service visits.

Gas repairs that cost more than £250 receive two years’ breakdown cover and two annual service visits. Gas repairs that cost less than £250 are subject to a one year cover from the contracted installer.

Oil central heating and electric systems are subject to a one year cover from the contracted installer.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the average length of time was between submission of an application for a warm front grant and the relevant works being completed in the latest period for which figures are available. (107044)

[holding answer 4 December 2006]: From June 2005 to October 2006, the average time across England for a warm front survey to take place, after initial contact was made by the applicant, was 14 working days.

The average time for completion of applications where heating work was required, from initial contact to all measures being installed, was 95 working days.

The average time for completion of applications where only insulation was required, from initial contact to measures being installed, was 48 working days.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps his Department has taken to ensure that householders who have received warm front grants are entitled to a fully itemised list of all works completed. (107045)

[holding answer 4 December 2006]: When a household is recommended for energy efficiency measures under warm front, the householder will initially receive an indication, from a scheme manager assessor, of those measures that could potentially be carried out.

The contractor appointed to undertake the work will then perform a full survey and provide the warm front scheme manager with a list of required materials, and an indication of the labour requirements to undertake the work.

Upon the householder's request, the scheme manager will provide a fully itemised list of all the works to be undertaken and the total cost of these works. For commercial confidentiality reasons, individual material prices are not shared.

Waste Management

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of (a) waste minimisation schemes and (b) the Real Nappy Programme in encouraging people to produce less waste; (106401)

(2) what assessment he has made of the effect of the Real Nappy Campaign on (a) long-term changes in consumer purchasing behaviour in relation to nappies and (b) general consumer behaviour.

[holding answer 30 November 2006]: The Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) recently published an Achievement Report. This included details of progress made on minimising waste through composting, reusable nappies, and in the retail sector. Progress made included:

(i) signing up 92 per cent. of UK grocery retailers to the Courtauld Commitment to reduce packaging and food waste

(ii) recruiting an additional 335,000 households as home composters

(iii) diverting 22,954 tonnes of biodegradable nappy waste from landfill.

The Report is available from the WRAP website at:

http://www.wrap.org.uk/wrap_corporate/about_wrap/wraps.html.

As WRAP’s work on reusable nappies started in 2003, it is too early to say what long-term changes there have been in consumer behaviour. The challenge in relation to reusable nappies, because of the convenience of disposable nappies, was recognised from the outset. I understand that WRAP will be preparing a report on lessons learnt from the campaign in the spring of 2007.

Each of the elements of WRAP’s work on waste minimisation has produced valuable experience of how to influence consumer behaviour in making choices which reduce the amount of waste created.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the Government’s estimate is of how long existing landfill sites in England will be able to meet waste disposal needs. (107012)

There is sufficient landfill capacity in England to meet current waste disposal needs. Future capacity is difficult to predict. However, a number of Government policies are designed to significantly reduce the amount of waste being sent to landfill.

More challenging waste targets, progressively lower landfill limits and the escalating landfill tax will all help the UK to move away from its reliance on landfill. These measures will also encourage more sustainable waste management through greater reduction, reuse and recycling.

Water Services: Kent

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what impact the decision to allow Folkestone and Dover Water Services to require households to have water meters has had on (a) the number of households with water meters installed and (b) the volume of water used; and if he will make a statement. (107426)

Following Folkestone and Dover Water Services' successful application for water scarcity status, determined on 1 March 2006, the company is able to compulsorily meter its customers for the 10-year period from 1 April 2006. The company plans to begin using these additional powers from January 2007, so there has been no impact on the number of households metered or the volume of water used, as yet.

During 2005-06, Folkestone and Dover Water Services installed 1,441 optional household meters and 2,108 selective household meters. Ofwat reported that by the end of the 2005-06 reporting year, 45.7 per cent. of the company's households were metered.

The impact of the decision to grant water scarcity status to Folkestone and Dover Water Services on the number of households with water meters will be reported to Ofwat for the first full year of reporting in June 2007. The information will be published in Ofwat's annual report “Security of supply, leakage and water efficiency” next year. The company plans to have 90 per cent. of its households metered by the end of the 10-year period.

The company estimates that metering households can reduce their water usage by up to 15 per cent.

Transport

A15

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has to support the dualling of the A15 east trunk road between Glinton and Gunthorpe, east of Peterborough; and if he will make a statement. (107667)

The A15 between Glinton and Gunthorpe is not a trunk road and so is the responsibility of Peterborough city council as local highway authority. Their second Local Transport Plan, published in March 2006, currently being assessed by the Department for Transport, proposes incremental improvements beginning with dualling the section between junction 21 (Gunthorpe) and junction 20 (Werrington). The Department for Communities and Local Government announced approval on 3 August 2006 of Growth Area Funds to the sum of £5.85 million for this work. The target date for completion is March 2008.

A630: Repairs and Maintenance

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he plans (a) to resurface and (b) to remove the subsidence on the A630 Sheffield Parkway between the city of Sheffield and the M1 motorway. (106964)

I refer the right hon. Member to my answer of 16 October 2006, Official Report, column 913W.

Aviation

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many aircraft movements there have been into and out of (a) Southampton, (b) Gatwick, (c) Heathrow and (d) Farnborough airports in each of the last 10 years; and if he will make a statement. (107086)

Information on aircraft movements into and out of Southampton, Gatwick and Heathrow in each of the last ten years is published in table 3.2 of the publication “UK Airports Statistics: 2005” which can be found on the Civil Aviation Authority's website:

www.caa.co.uk/statistics

Data for Farnborough airport are not available.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the annual number of aircraft movements over Basingstoke has been in each of the last 10 years; and if he will make a statement. (107081)

This information is not held by the Department for Transport. If the hon. Member writes to the chief executive of National Air Traffic Services Ltd., they will provide the information requested.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport at what altitude commercial aircraft are permitted to fly over Basingstoke; whether this has changed in the last 10 years; and if he will make a statement. (107082)

The base of controlled airspace over Basingstoke is 5,500 feet. Commercial aircraft flying within controlled airspace under the control of NATS would be above this level. There have been no changes to the vertical dimensions in this portion of controlled airspace within the last 10 years.

Commercial aircraft may also operate outside controlled airspace below 5,500 feet. Such traffic may use one of the aerodromes in the vicinity of Basingstoke including Farnborough, Blackbushe and Lasham. Commercial aircraft arriving at Farnborough, for example, would be at least 1,800 feet in the vicinity of Basingstoke.

Aircraft may not fly below 1,000 feet over built up areas without written permission from the CAA. The minimum height was changed from 1,500 feet in 2005 after extensive consultation by the CAA.

Blue Badges

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) how many blue badges for children under two years old have been authorised by local authorities in England in each of the last 10 years; (102014)

(2) whether local authorities have discretion in issuing blue badges to children under two years old.

Under the regulations governing the Blue Badge Scheme in England local authorities are not authorised to issue blue badges to children under the age of two. This rule was introduced in 1983 and there are no exemptions to that rule.

However, following a comprehensive review of the Blue Badge Scheme, we accepted a recommendation from our statutory advisers, the Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee (DPTAC), to extend eligibility to children under two whose medical needs require the transport of bulky, essential medical equipment. This change, along with a number of others, requires amendments to secondary legislation and we are hoping to consult on draft regulations in the near future.

Drink-driving

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has for a Christmas drink-driving campaign; and if he will make a statement. (106862)

For details of the Department’s THINK! Christmas drink-drive campaign, I refer my hon. Friend to my answer to the hon. Member for Colchester (Bob Russell) on 21 November 2006, Official Report, column 38W.

Exhaust Emissions: Dartford

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what information his Department collects on pollution levels in the vicinity of the toll booths on the Dartford-Thurrock crossing, broken down by (a) hour of the day, (b) month and (c) season. (107517)

An annual survey of air quality in the toll booths is carried out. However the results are not broken down by (a) hour of the day, (b) month and (c) season.

The results of this annual survey are compared with the Health and Safety Executive’s Occupational Exposure Standards (OES). The most recent survey, completed in August 2006, showed that all the results achieved the OES.

Foreign Hauliers

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what mechanisms are in place to ensure that foreign hauliers contribute towards the environmental costs of their work in the UK. (104570)

We are taking forward plans for distance-based lorry charging as part of our wider work on national road pricing. Road pricing has the potential to reflect the wider costs which lorries impose in the UK, especially congestion costs.

All EU registered lorries operating in the UK have to pay at least the EU prescribed minimum levels of fuel duty and vehicle excise duty, thus contributing towards the costs which they impose.

Heathrow Airport

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans his Department has to hold a public consultation on (a) a third runway and (b) ending runway alteration at Heathrow airport; when he expects such consultations to take place; and if he will make a statement. (104799)

We plan to consult next year on possible further development of Heathrow, following completion of our assessment of the environmental impacts. The consultation will address the impacts of a third runway. In the Air Transport White Paper we supported this in principle, provided key conditions can be met. Consultation will also cover the scope for greater utilisation of the two existing runways, which would involve loss of runway alternation.

Helicopter Noise

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what representations he has received on helicopter noise; and if he will make a statement; (106035)

(2) what plans he has to undertake a review of helicopter movements and noise in London in the next 12 months; and if he will make a statement;

(3) what plans he has to implement those recommendations of the London Assembly’s recent Environmental Committee Report, ‘London in a Spin—A review of helicopter noise,’ which fall within his responsibilities; and if he will make a statement.

The Department receives complaints from time to time about the noise arising from helicopter operations, particularly in the summer months.

The London Assembly Environment Committee’s report “London in a spin—A review of helicopter noise” was received with interest by the Department. The Department has no immediate plans to regulate helicopters more closely. The recommendations in the report are substantial and I will be meeting with representatives of the Committee in December to discuss these further.

Lorries

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps his Department is taking in response to the findings of the first phase of the study it commissioned into wheel loss; and when his Department intends to commission phase 2 of the study. (107847)

Following the completion of phase 1 of the wheel loss study (which looked at the scale of the problem and current operator practices), we have published the report and are sharing it with the operating industry. We shall also present it to the group of international experts at the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe meeting in February 2007.

A further phase of research is planned. Department for Transport officials are currently finalising the specification for this. Allowing time to complete the specification and for the tendering process, I would expect the contract to be awarded early in 2007.

M6

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether his proposal for M6 widening between junctions 11A and 19 will be subject to a carbon dioxide assessment over a 60-year period before entering into the Targeted Programme of Improvements. (106661)

The M6 widening (11a to 19) scheme is being appraised using DFT’s recently modified standard Transport Analysis Guidance which requires the change in carbon emissions over a 60-year period to be estimated.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent evaluation he has made of the (a) environmental and (b) economic effects of his Department's plans to widen the M6 between junctions 11A and 19. (106944)

The Highways Agency is continuing to develop the option to widen the M6 between junctions 11a and 19 following the announcement in July 2006 that further work should focus solely on this rather than the Expressway concept. As part of this development work, further evaluation of the environmental and economic effects of the plans is being undertaken to enable the scheme to be considered for programme entry. Statutory environmental organisations will be consulted in due course as part of this process.

Railways

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether he plans to investigate the feasibility of establishing new railway stations in areas of significant growth in residential housing in the east of England; and if he will make a statement. (107666)

The Department for Transport will consider any proposals for new stations associated with new developments. Any proposal would require an approved business case and agreement with Network Rail that additional stops on the route could be accommodated. In the majority of cases, it would be expected that third parties would fund the costs.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the connection arrangements will be for West Coast Main Line passengers wishing to travel on to European destinations by Eurostar trains from November 2007. (106610)

Virgin Trains are currently in discussions with Eurostar with a view to offering integrated ticketing to West Coast Main Line passengers wishing to travel onto European destinations, and vice versa. There will also be appropriate signage and directions in place for passengers wishing to interchange between Euston and St. Pancras stations, either on foot, by public transport or by taxi.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions his Department has had with Network Rail on the restoration of the direct rail link between Skipton and Colne. (106841)

The Department has had no discussions with Network Rail on the restoration of a direct rail link between Colne and Skipton.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how his Department has taken account of EU procurement rules in retaining the services of a company to act as an operator of the last resort in the event of franchise failure. (106993)

The Strategic Rail Authority awarded a contract in July 2004 to procure specialist advice in connection with “Operator of Last Resort” activity following a competition under one of its framework agreements. The framework agreement was let in full compliance with EU procurement rules. The contract was subsequently transferred to the Department in July 2005 when it assumed the authority's responsibilities.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether his Department employs (a) consultancies and (b) other companies on a regular basis to provide advice on the Department's responsibility when acting as an operator of the last resort in the event of franchise failure. (106994)

The Department has a retainer-based contract with First Class Partnerships relating to the procurement of specialist advice in connection with the Secretary of State's duties as “Operator of Last Resort”. It also procures other external specialist advice as and when necessary.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether his Department pays a retainer to companies to act as an operator of the last resort in the event of franchise failure; and if he will make a statement. (106999)

The Department has a retainer-based contract with one company—First Class Partnerships—relating to the procurement of specialist advice in connection with the Secretary of State's duties as “Operator of Last Resort”.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport on what basis he has agreed rail fare increases in the next calendar year; whether such rises were factored into recent franchise negotiations; and if he will link future fare increases to the rate of inflation. (107583)

Rail fares are set by train operators, not by Government. Fares which are regulated must be set within the limits laid down by fares regulation, which restricts annual average increases to inflation + 1 per cent. Other fares are a commercial matter for the operator concerned. Bids for franchises will take into account both the restrictions imposed by fares regulation and the bidders’ views of how the train service can best be developed, priced and marketed.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the socio-economic profile of passenger use of the railways and its effects on the structuring of fares. (107584)

The Department for Transport’s National Rail Travel Survey has collected data on who uses the railways, where, when and for what purposes. The survey was completed last year and covered rail travel across Great Britain. The results will be available early in 2007 and will enable some socio-economic analysis of rail users.

Road Accidents

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport on how many occasions the (a) A10, (b) A406, (c) A40, (d) M4, (e) M25, (f) A1, (g) A103, (h) A105, (i) A503, (j) A109, (k) A1055, (l) A41, (m) A1010, (n) A504 and (o) A1201 have been closed as a result of (i) accidents involving heavy goods vehicles and (ii) other accidents in each of the last five years. (106845)

Within the Greater London Authority (GLA), Transport for London and the London boroughs are responsible for the majority of the road network.

The following table gives available information on closures for those roads within or surrounding the GLA area for which the Highways Agency is responsible.

Closures due to accidents involving HGVsClosures due to other accidents

Road

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

M4

3

2

1

10

15

0

M4 Spur

0

0

1

0

3

1

A1

0

0

0

1

3

0

M25

93

140

15

126

179

27

Note:Information is given only for those stretches of road within the GLA boundary except for the M25 where information is given for the whole route including A282, Dartford Crossing and the Heathrow Spur.

Closures also result from incidents such as spillages and breakdowns. The figures shown within the table do not include these, as they are not defined as accidents.

Roads

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the total construction cost was of each Design, Build, Finance and Operate road; what the expected total cost of each contract is to public funds; and by what year all such costs are expected to have been paid in each case. (104403)

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the total construction cost was of each Design, Build, Finance and Operate road; what the expected total cost of each contract is to public funds; and by what year all such costs are expected to have been paid in each case. (102405)

The construction cost of a Design, Build, Finance and Operate (DBFO) contract is the responsibility of the DBFO company. This is an important part of the risk transfer in this type of project, which gives the Department cost certainty in relation to construction costs. However, the Department and the Highways Agency monitor trends in road construction costs and take account of them in planning the forward programme.

Unlike conventional road improvement contracts, the costs associated with DBFO contracts are not just for the construction work but also cover the maintenance and management of the associated road network over a typical period of thirty years. The actual cost of construction is a matter for each DBFO Company.

The following table gives the expected total cost of Unitary Charges for each contract and the year in which the payments end. These payments cover the cost of constructing the road improvements and also maintaining the road network covered by the contract over the contract period.

Project

Expected total cost (£ million)

Year payments end

A1 Darrington to Dishforth

1,161.072

2036

A1 (M) Alconbury to Peterborough

1,122.93

2026

A19 Dishforth to Tyne Tunnel

827.91

2027

A249 Stockbury (M2) to Sheerness

331.313

2034

A30/A35 Exeter to Bere Regis

569.28

2026

A417/A419Swindonto Gloucester

612.65

2026

A50 Stoke to Derby

234.54

2026

A69 Carlisle to Newcastle

295.47

2026

M1-A1 Lofthouse to Bramham

1,271.83

2026

M40 Denham to Warwick

1,128.36

2027

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

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what lower cost alternatives to the Heysham M6 link (Northern route) Lancashire County Council has put forward to his Department. (104683)

Lancashire County Council’s Major Scheme Business Case for the Heysham to M6 Link, submitted in July 2005, included details of the Western Route as the Next Best Option and online improvements to the existing highway network as the Lower Cost Option. Department for Transport officials have requested additional information from the Council clarifying the work carried out on alternative options.

Transport Accidents

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many accidents involving (a) trains, (b) buses and (c) private hire vehicles there were in Essex in each of the last five years. (106256)

Information requested is as follows. No information is available for private hire vehicles.

Number of accidents involving trains and buses in Essex1: 2001 to 2005

Year of accident

(a) Trains2

(b) Buses3

2001

35

171

2002

19

147

2003

18

130

2004

17

146

2005

17

123

1 Essex including unitary authorities of Southend on Sea and Thurrock. 2 Source: Office of Rail Regulation's HM Railway Inspectorate. 3 Buses (including coaches) involved in personal injury road accidents reported to the police .

Education and Skills

16 to 19-year-olds: York

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what percentage of 16 to 19-year-olds in York were (a) in education, training or work and (b) registered as unemployed in each year since 1992. (106459)

The information requested is as follows.

(a) The percentage of 16 and 17-year-olds in education and work-based learning in York since 1997 is shown in Table 1. Data is not available at this local education authority level before 1997. Also reliable data is not available at this local level on the proportion in work or for 18 and 19-year-olds.

Table 1: 16 and 17-year-olds in York in education and work-based learning

Percentage

1997

91

1998

88

1999

87

2000

85

2001

85

2002

82

2003

81

2004

82

(b) The percentage of 16 to 19-year-olds claiming jobseekers' allowance in York in January of each year since 1992 is shown in Table 2.

Table 2: 16 to 19-year-olds in York claiming jobseekers' allowance in January (claimant count)

Percentage

1992

4

1993

6

1994

6

1995

5

1996

6

1997

4

1998

3

1999

3

2000

3

2001

2

2002

2

2003

2

2004

2

2005

2

2006

2

Apprenticeships: York

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many apprenticeships there were in York in each year since 1997. (106476)

Figures for those participating in apprenticeships (previously called modern apprenticeships) funded by the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) can be derived from the Individualised Learner Record (ILR). This was collated for the first time in 2001/02 (as an interim ILR) and consistent and comparable figures are currently only available for the three following years.

The following table shows the total number of apprentices in York (based on the home postcode of the learner) for each year from 2002/03 to 2004/05.

York

Advanced apprenticeship

Apprenticeship

Total

2002/03

530

850

1,380

2003/04

490

980

1,470

2004/05

480

1,110

1,590

Note:

Figures rounded to nearest 10.

Building Schools for the Future

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) how many councils have had proposals submitted under the Building Schools for the Future Programme rejected; and what the reasons were for the rejection in each case; (106496)

(2) how many and what proportion of proposals under the Building Schools for the Future Programme not involving an academy have been rejected since the start of the programme.

[holding answer 30 November 2006]: So far, within the Building Schools for the Future programme, no proposals involving academies or otherwise have been rejected outright. When local authorities submit their proposals to the DFES most are returned to the authority for further clarifications before receiving full departmental approval. This is part of the normal scrutiny of BSF projects to ensure they are deliverable and within the Government's overall objectives.

Connexions

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what estimate he has made of the total lifetime contract cost of the Connexions scheme contract with Capita. (107146)

It is estimated that the total lifetime contract costs of the Connexions Card scheme will be £89.1 million (of this £83.1 million relates to payments to Capita Business Services Ltd.).

Creationist Teaching

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) what estimate he has made of the number of schools teaching creationism in (a) Oxfordshire, (b) the South East and (c) England; (106583)

(2) what estimate he has made of the number of (a) academies and (b) other maintained schools which teach creationism or intelligent design as an alternative to evolution in (i) religious education and (ii) science lessons;

(3) what (a) guidance and (b) advice he has given to maintained schools on the teaching of creationism or intelligent design as a valid alternative to evolution in (i) science lessons, (ii) religious education lessons, (iii) scripture unions or religious clubs and (iv) collective worship; and if he will make a statement.

[holding answer 30 November 2006]: Ofsted, the official body for inspecting schools, has not found any evidence that creationism is being taught in science lessons. The Department has not made an estimate of the number of schools or academies teaching creationism or intelligent design in religious education lessons.

The national curriculum for science clearly sets down that pupils should be taught: how uncertainties in scientific knowledge and scientific ideas change overtime; the role of the scientific community in validating these changes; variation within species can lead to evolutionary changes; and, similarities and differences between species can be measured and classified. To meet the requirements of the national curriculum for science teachers have to teach about scientific theories. Neither intelligent design nor creationism is a recognised scientific theory and should not therefore be taught as part of the science curriculum.

Creationism and intelligent design can be explored in religious education as part of developing an understanding of different beliefs. It is up to the local SACREs (Standing Advisory Councils on Religious Education) to set the syllabus for how this should be done. The guidance for schools on collective worship states that every school must provide a daily act of collective worship for its pupils. There is no specific reference to creationism or intelligent design. The Department does not produce guidance on what should be discussed at scripture unions or religious clubs.

The Department is currently working with the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority to communicate this message to schools.

Departmental Staff

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what change there has been in the number of staff in his Department dealing with (a) gender, (b) disability and (c) ethnic minority personnel issues since 1997. (107198)

The Department has only been in existence since 2001. Our policy is to mainstream equality and diversity into all our personnel policies/processes, which includes gender, disability and black and minority ethnic issues. To support that process and advise colleagues, we have in place a specialist team of three to formulate and drive through our equality and diversity delivery plan. The team has been in place since 2001.

Education Expenditure

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what Government expenditure was on (a) schools and (b) universities in (i) 1996-97 and (ii) 2005-06; and what the percentage change was for each figure in real terms over that period. (106385)

(a) The following table gives the information requested for schools. (b) Government expenditure on Higher Education for 1996-97 was £3,448 million and the total for 2005-06 was £6,172 million. It is calculated that the real terms increase is 44 per cent.

Education expenditure1,2 by central and local government3 within schools in real terms4 in England, excluding Ofsted expenditure

1996-97 outturn (£ million)

2005-06 estimated outturn (£ million)

Percentage increase 1996-97 to 2005-06

Schools capital5, 6

1,254

3,080

145.7

Current7

21,866

35,073

60.4

Current total7,8

23,120

38,153

65.0

1 Figures within Departmental Expenditure Limits (DEL). Excludes DFES administration costs and expenditure on other areas of education, for instance on children and families and on skills. 2005-06 figures are resource-based. Central Government figures for 1996-97 are cash-based. 2 Differences between the totals above and the figures for primary education spending in HM Treasury's Public Expenditure Statistical Analyses (PESA) Report due to are the data coverage: the exclusion of Annual Managed Expenditure (AME) items in the above table and (b) further minor data coverage and timing differences. 3 The recurrent local authority figures in this table are drawn from the Local Government Education Expenditure table of the Departmental Annual Report (table 8.3 of the 2006 DAR); the footnotes to that table set out the underlying data sources. 4 All figures have been converted to 2005-06 price levels using the 27 September 2006 Gross Domestic Product (GDP) deflators. 5 Includes expenditure on county, voluntary aided, special agreement, grant-maintained schools, city technology colleges and other specialist schools. Central Government funding on grant-maintained schools has been apportioned to under-fives, primary and secondary sectors using pupil numbers. 6 Excludes private finance initiative (PFI) credits (£1,200 million in 2005-06). 7 2005-06 figures reflect the transfer of responsibility from the Department to LEAs of costs relating to teachers' pensions. Under five figures include education expenditure on Sure Start (Sure Start figures exclude current grant). Includes local authority services to schools, expenditure on City Academies, on small remodelling programmes and on teacher training. 8 2005-06 figures taken from the Education Select Committee table, 1996-97 figures from November 2005 Education Bulletin.

Educational Facilities: Sprinklers

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what (a) financial and (b) other assistance his Department provides to local education authorities to provide sprinkler facilities in new educational facilities; and if he will make a statement. (107090)

[holding answer 4 December 2006]: The Department does not set aside funding specifically for the installation of sprinklers in schools. It is for local authorities to decide what they do with the funding they are allocated. They can use it to install sprinklers where their need is demonstrated by a risk assessment, or where they represent value for money. Where a local authority has a general policy of installing sprinklers in schools, and need or value for money is not demonstrated in a particular project, it can of course provide additional funding to cover sprinklers.

The Department is preparing a new publication on fire safety in schools—Building Bulletin 100, “Designing and Managing Against the Risk of Fire in Schools”. This includes guidance on sprinklers but, following public consultation, we saw the need to do more work in this area. We therefore commissioned consultants to analyse case studies of school projects where sprinklers have been installed. They are establishing reliable figures for both installation and maintenance costs, and developing these into a full cost benefit analysis. This work will be completed in January and then integrated into the final version of Building Bulletin 100, which we expect to publish several months later.

Energy Use

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what estimate he has made of the impact of energy prices on school budgets. (106620)

[holding answer 30 November 2006]: The funding that individual schools receive via their school budget shares is a matter for individual local authorities to decide locally through their own local funding formulae (subject to satisfying the minimum funding guarantee for schools).

Over the past three financial years (2003-04 to 2005-06) the cost pressure attributed to expenditure on energy has been increasing. Expenditure by schools on energy as a percentage of total gross school expenditure (less staffing costs) has increased from 5.0 per cent. of the total in 2003-04 to 6.2 per cent. of the total in 2005-06. Energy costs, in particular, increased by 16.1 per cent. between 2003-04 and 2004-05 and by 28.5 per cent. between 2004-05 and 2005-06.

Of the increases in total gross expenditure (less staffing costs) by schools, 8.8 per cent. can be attributed to increases in energy costs between 2003-04 and 2004-05 and 15.3 per cent. to increases in energy costs between 2004-05 and 2005-06.

Foreign Languages

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what steps he is taking to increase the teaching of (a) Russian and (b) Chinese. (106318)

While our National Languages Strategy “Languages for All: Languages for Life—a strategy for England” does not promote the teaching of one language above another, the United Kingdom has signed Memoranda of Understanding with both Russia and China to promote the teaching and learning of both languages in schools.

A number of specialist language colleges offer Russian and Chinese. The Specialist Schools and Academies Trust (SSAT) also hosts Russian and Chinese Networks.

In addition, the Department for Education and Skills and the Higher Education Funding Council for England are agreed that languages, such as Russian and Chinese, are of strategic importance to the UK and are working together to support initiatives to stimulate demand and increase the supply of languages places at higher education level.

Our national recognition scheme—the Languages Ladder—introduced in September 2005 also offers alternative assessment opportunities for learners of both languages to have their skills recognised.

Free School Meals

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many pupils in each local education authority area in England are in receipt of free school meals. (106185)

Information on the numbers of pupils in receipt of free school meals in maintained nursery, primary and secondary schools in England is shown in the following table.

Maintained nursery, primary and secondary schools: pupils taking free school meals 1,2 January 2006—by local authority area and Government office region in England

3Maintained nursery and primary schools

3Maintained secondary schools

Number on roll

Pupils taking free school meals

Percentage taking free school meals

Number on roll

Pupils taking free school meals

Percentage taking free school meals

England 4

4,187,630

556,180

13.3

3,309,720

328,750

9.9

North East 4

215,430

37,930

17.6

174,770

18,780

10.7

Darlington

9,083

1,393

15.3

6,262

719

11.5

Durham

42,472

6,451

15.2

32,508

3,272

10.1

Gateshead

16,256

2,900

17.8

11,775

1,402

11.9

Hartlepool

9,236

1,802

19.5

6,464

1,053 .

16.3

Middlesbrough

13,921

3,397

24.4

5,586

1,041

18.6

Newcastle upon Tyne

20,266

5,195

25.6

16,750

2,198

13.1

North Tyneside

16,285

2,301

14.1

13,660

1,047

7.7

Northumberland

19,424

2,140

11.0

29,974

2,585

8.6

Redcar and Cleveland

13,236

2,456

18.6

10,011

1,149

11.5

South Tyneside

12,998

2,833

21.8

9,979

1,297

13.0

Stockton-on-Tees

17,267

2,682

15.5

12,612

1,179

9.3

Sunderland

24,986

4,377

17.5

19,193

1,833

9.6

North West 4

600,400

96,780

16.1

462,630

58,450

12.6

Blackburn with Darwen

15,489

2,986

19.3

9,418

1,690

17.9

Blackpool

11,807

2,111

17.9

8,654

1,380

15.9

Bolton

25,789

3,767

14.6

19,641

2,162

11.0

Bury

16,059

1,910

11.9

11,808

1,247

10.6

Cheshire

54,704

4,974

9.1

46,962

2,910

6.2

Cumbria

40,145

4,460

11.1

35,672

2,768

7.8

Halton

10,490

1,978

18.9

8,059

1,073

13.3

Knowsley

15,511

3,586

23.1

9.527

2,135

22.4

Lancashire

95,318

11,350

11.9

75,146

7,881

10.5

Liverpool

38.529

10,062

26.1

32,137

6,972

21.7

Manchester

40,871

14,106

34.5

23,517

6,734

28.6

Oldham

23,300

4,274

18.3

16,545

2,317

14.0

Rochdale

19,904

3,797

19.1

14,157

2,377

16.8

Salford

19,457

4,944

25.4

11,824

2,033

17.2

Sefton

23,545

2,865

12.2

20,416

2,088

10.2

St. Helens

15,671

2,432

15.5

11,807

1,318

11.2

Stockport

23,940

2,286

9.5

16,363

1,296

7.9

Tameside

20,127

3,027

15.0

15,677

2,038

13.0

Trafford

19,209

1,830

9.5

16,258

1,275

7.8

Warrington

17,472

1,344

7.7

14,048

788

5.6

Wigan

26,356

3,303

12.5

20,895

1,954

9.4

Wirral

26,705

5,389

20.2

24,096

4,009

16.6

Yorkshire and the Humber 4

446,780

57,310

12.8

345,870

33,960

9.8

Barnsley

20,430

2,936

14.4

13,743

1,456

10.6

Bradford

51,987

8,522

16.4

34,255

5,804

16.9

Calderdale

18,659

2,363

12.7

15,544

1,414

9.1

Doncaster

27,145

4,180

15.4

20,420

1,732

8.5

East Riding of Yorkshire

26,145

1,649

6.3

23,561

1,103

4.7

Kingston Upon Hull, City of

22,266

3,093

13.9

15,768

1.976

12.5

Kirklees

36,103

4,843

13.4

26,648

3,057

11.5

Leeds

61,571

9,028

14.7

47,847

5,338

11.2

North East Lincolnshire

14,322

2,095

14.6

11,072

1,241

11.2

North Lincolnshire

13,984

1,602

11.5

10,773

873

8.1

North Yorkshire

44,793

2,858

6.4

41,906

1,744

4.2

Rotherham

23,998

3.312

13.8

20,369

1,975

9.7

Sheffield

42,868

6,157

14.4

31,430

3,475

11.1

Wakefield

28,966

3,569

12.3

22,304

2,196

9.8

York

13,545

1,100

8.1

10,227

572

5.6

East Midlands 4

361,730

35,780

9.9

296,230

21,710

7.3

Derby

22,147

3,422

15.5

15,674

1,911

12.2

Derbyshire

62,992

6,325

10.0

50,965

3,423

6.7

Leicester

28,238

5,732

20.3

17,898

3,036

17.0

Leicestershire

48,288

2,756

5.7

46,792

2,073

4.4

Lincolnshire

53,271

2,382

4.5

48.444

2,241

4.6

Northamptonshire

57,038

4,038

7.1

45,386

2,358

5.2

Nottingham

23,710

5,331

22.5

13,630

2,667

19.6

Nottinghamshire

63,529

5,697

9.0

55,028

3,937

7.2

Rutland

2,521

94

3.7

2,412

66

2.7

West Midlands 4

473,940

71,870

15.2

375,670

42,310

11.3

Birmingham

103,163

28,639

27.8

70,425

17,600

25.0

Coventry

27,246

4,490

16.5

21,209

2,781

13.1

Dudley

28,371

3,386

11.9

20,754

1,957

9.4

Herefordshire

12,979

890

6.9

10,401

534

5.1

Sandwell

29,873

4,949

16.6

19,853

2,557

12.9

Shropshire

21,896

1,673

7.6

18,107

882

4.9

Solihull

19,885

1,685

8.5

15,557

1,144

7.4

Staffordshire

64,281

5,396

8.4

60,930

3,366

5.5

Stoke-on-Trent

21,185

4,649

21.9

14,691

1,946

13.2

Telford and Wrekin

15,319

2,350

15.3

10,538

1,231

11.7

Walsall

26,754

3,964

14.8

21,051

2,287

10.9

Warwickshire

41,513

3,314

8.0

34,318

1,614

4.7

Wolverhampton

23,104

3,674

15.9

16,968

1,999

11.8

Worcestershire

38,367

2,807

7.3

40,870

2,415

5.9

East of England 4

444,400

40,980

9.2

389,880

26,930

6.9

Bedfordshire

25,571

2,213

8.7

37,702

2,515

6.7

Cambridgeshire

44,396

3,075

6.9

32,734

1,894

5.8

Essex

107,391

9,430

8.8

91,096

5,841

6.4

Hertfordshire

93,403

6,134

6.6

80,310

4,473

5.6

Luton

19,121

3,663

19.2

12,299

2,019

16.4

Norfolk

65,333

7,058

10.8

46,931

3,248

6.9

Peterborough

15,400

2,389

15.5

13,181

1,639

12.4

Southend-on-Sea

14,147

1,896

13.4

12,597

1,124

8.9

Suffolk

45,829

3,693

8.1

54,185

3,300

6.1

Thurrock

13,811

1,432

10.4

8,843

879

9.9

London 4

633,960

133,730

21.1

423,540

76,560

18.1

Inner London 4

232,970

71,280

30.6

127,880

38,300

30.0

Camden

11,526

3,819

33.1

9,956

2,432

24.4

City of London

231

49

21.2

5

5

5

Hackney

18,176

6,021

33.1

6,986

2,212

31.7

Hammersmith and Fulham

9,993

3,784

37.9

6,857

1,595

23.3

Haringey

22,172

6,157

27.8

11,659

3,406

29.2

Islington

14,505

5,077

35.0

8,063

2,617

32.5

Kensington and Chelsea

7,285

2,362

32.4

3,514

745

21.2

Lambeth

20,536

6,472

31.5

8,050

2,718

33.8

Lewisham

22,180

4,618

20.8

11,023

2,150

19.5

Newham

31,310

8,635

27.6

18,304

5,607

30.6

Southwark

23,318

6,575

28.2

10,247

3,860

37.7

Tower Hamlets

22,889

9,740

42.6

14,381

6,731

46.8

Wandsworth

17,605

4,279

24.3

10,436

1,987

19.0

Westminster

11,240

3,691

32.8

8,401

2,243

26.7

Outer London 4

401,000

62,450

15.6

295,670

38,260

12.9

Barking and Dagenham

18,469

3,762

20.4

12,632

2,561

20.3

Barnet

26,480

4,234

16.0

19,549

2,302

11.8

Bexley

20,682

1,640

7.9

18,396

1,008

5.5

Brent

23,387

5,523

23.6

16,418

2,695

16.4

Bromley

23,918

2,364

9.9

22,486

1,722

7.7

Croydon

29,839

4,952

16.6

18,718

2,659

14.2

Ealing

26,468

5,101

19.3

15,196

2,923

19.2

Enfield

27,189

5,712

21.0

22,160

3,106

14.0

Greenwich

21,576

5,527

25.6

14.554

2,978

20.5

Harrow

19,625

2,917

14.9

9,038

1,569

17.4

Havering

19,402

1,618

8.3

16,594

1,083

6.5

Hillingdon

24,205

3,249

13.4

17,085

2,492

14.6

Hounslow

18,916

3,505

18.5

16,592

2,525

15.2

Kingston upon Thames

11,737

711

6.1

9,579

591

6.2

Merton

14,972

1,437

9.6

8,615

1,051

12.2

Redbridge

24,114

3,268

13.6

20,649

2,411

11.7

Richmond upon Thames

13,012

955

7.3

7,165

933

13.0

Sutton

14,963

1,547

10.3

16,164

915

5.7

Waltham Forest

22,041

4,425

20.1

14,076

2,735

19.4

South East 4

630,710

49,110

7.8

514,940

30,260

5.9

Bracknell Forest

8,811

426

4.8

6,208

193

3.1

Brighton and Hove

17,218

2,186

12.7

12,186

1,479

12.1

Buckinghamshire

39,797

1,370

3.4

35,176

1,439

4.1

East Sussex

36,285

3,491

9.6

28,708

2,310

8.0

Hampshire

97,442

6,495

6.7

72,709

3,530

4.9

Isle of Wight

6,994

994

14.2

12,162

1,395

11.5

Kent

110,316

10,448

9.5

99,065

5.869

5.9

Medway

22,470

2,175

9.7

20,492

1,317

6.4

Milton Keynes

21,126

1,948

9.2

15,103

1,342

8.9

Oxfordshire

47,079

3,127

6.6

37,790

2,084

5.5

Portsmouth

14,157

1,775

12.5

9,891

932

9.4

Reading

10,706

1,450

13.5

6,065

569

9.4

Slough

12,132

1,564

12.9

8,917

912

10.2

Southampton

16,101

2,737

17.0

11,536

1,340

11.6

Surrey

78,835

4,901

6.2

59,678

2,331

3.9

West Berkshire

12,206

715

5.9

12,243

493

4.0

West Sussex

57,948

2,434

4.2

45,877

2,035

4.4

Windsor and Maidenhead

8,770

451

5.1

10,284

317

3.1

Wokingham

12,312

419

3.4

10,853

372

3.4

South West 4

380,280

32,710

8.6

326,180

19,800

6.1

Bath and North East Somerset

12,171

985

8.1

12,624

589

4.7

Bournemouth

10,525

1,054

10.0

9,900

827

8.4

Bristol, City of

30,671

5,566

18.1

15,511

2,168

14.0

Cornwall

39.282

3,695

9.4

32,890

2,469

7.5

Devon

53,317

4,185

7.8

43,424

2,526

5.8

Dorset

24,741

1,006

4.1

30,225

1,280

4.2

Gloucestershire

43,428

3,561

8.2

40,729

2,160

5.3

Isles of Scilly

252

0

0.0

5

5

5

North Somerset

14,896

1,205

8.1

13,002

783

6.0

Plymouth

19,408

2,703

13.9

18,612

1,401

7.5

Poole

10,338

459

4.4

8,696

401

4.6

Somerset

36,775

2,425

6.6

33,152

1,874

5.7

South Gloucestershire

22,223

1,300

5.8

17,113

596

3.5

Swindon

16,906

1,180

7.0

11,626

776

6.7

Torbay

9,836

1,312

13.3

9,236

792

8.6

Wiltshire

35,508

2,074

5.8

29,443

1,155

3.9

1 Includes dually registered pupils and boarding pupils.

2 The number of pupils taking free school meals on the Census day in January.

3 Includes middle schools as deemed.

4 National and regional totals have been rounded to the nearest 10. There may be discrepancies between totals and the sum of constituent parts.

5 Not applicable. No schools of this type.

Source:

Schools’ Census

Further Education Colleges

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many inspectors were employed to inspect the (a) performance, (b) quality standard and (c) guideline compliance of further education colleges in each year since 1997, broken down by inspecting body. (103670)

Up to April 2001, inspection of further education colleges was by the Further Education Funding Council (FEFC) inspectorate. Since April 2001, further education colleges have been inspected jointly by Ofsted and the adult learning inspectorate (the ALI), with Ofsted in the lead.

The number of inspectors employed by Ofsted is a matter for Ofsted. HM chief inspector, Christine Gilbert, has written to the hon. Member on this aspect of his question and a copy of her reply has been placed in the House Library.

As follows, I provide the number of full-time equivalent inspectors employed in the FEFC Inspection and Audit Directorate between 1997-98 and 2000-01, and the number deployed by the ALI on FE college inspection since April 2001. The records do not separately identify the number employed on each type of activity as all inspectors assess the performance, quality standards and guideline compliance for the area they are inspecting.

Number

FEFC FTE inspectors—Inspection and Audit Directorate

1997-98

104

1998-99

108

1999-2000

112

2000-01

130

ALI FTE inspectors

2001-02

41

2002-03

55

2003-04

60

2004-05

61

2005-06

50

2006-07 (forecast)

45

Letter from Christine Gilbert, dated 1 December 2006:

Your recent parliamentary question has been passed to me, as Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector, for reply.

You asked how many inspectors were employed to inspect the (a) performance, (b) quality standard and (c) guideline compliance of further education colleges in each year since 1997, broken down by inspecting body.

The Learning and Skills Act 2000 gave Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector the responsibility for the inspection of further education colleges from 2001. It also required that these inspections be carried out jointly with the Adult Learning Inspectorate (ALI) where colleges also provided for education of learners who were 19 and over - which is the case for nearly all such colleges. This responsibility covers the inspection of sixth form colleges, tertiary colleges, colleges of further education, independent specialist colleges, and other specialist colleges such as those dedicated to agriculture and horticulture and art and design.

Before 2001, the inspection of further education colleges fell within the Further Education Funding Council. I am afraid Ofsted does not hold the records of that body.

Ofsted is required by the 2000 Act to inspect in accordance with a common inspection framework. Inspectors must report on the effectiveness of the educational provision, achievements and standards, leadership and management. It is not possible to separate the contribution of inspectors towards the inspection of performance and quality standards. The responsibility for guideline compliance primarily falls to the Learning and Skills Council.

Each of Her Majesty’s Inspectors of Schools carries out a range of inspections so that it is only possible to provide approximate information to that requested and on a ‘full-time equivalent’ basis for inspectors directly employed by Ofsted.

This number of inspectors on a ‘full-time equivalent’ basis directly employed by Ofsted and deployed on the inspection of colleges (by financial year) is as follows:

2001-02: 26 HMI

2002-03: 26 HMI

2003-04: 26 HMI

2004-05: 22 HMI

2005-06: 18 HMI

In addition, Ofsted has deployed the services of ‘additional inspectors’ on a contractual basis as and when they are needed.

A copy of this reply has been sent to Bill Rammell MP, Minister of State for Lifelong Learning, Further and Higher Education, and will be placed in the library of both Houses.

Higher Education Admissions

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) what estimate he has made of the number of school leavers in England who enrolled in Scottish universities in each of the last three years; (106081)

(2) what estimate he has made of the number of school leavers in England who enrolled in Welsh universities in each of the last three years;

(3) what estimate he has made of the number of school leavers in Scotland who enrolled in English universities in each of the last three years;

(4) what estimate he has made of the number of school leavers in England who enrolled in universities in (a) Scotland and (b) Northern Ireland in 2006-07.

The latest available information for 2003 to 2005 entry is shown in the first two tables. Provisional figures for 2006 entry are shown in the third table; final figures for 2006 entry will be available in January 2007.

Students from England accepted for entry to full-time undergraduate courses by country of study for 2003 to 2005 entry

Country of study

Year of entry

England

Wales

Scotland

Northern Ireland

Total

2003

263,958

8,986

3,897

89

276,930

2004

263,773

9,153

4,067

86

277,079

2005

287,909

9,482

4,287

120

301,798

Source:

Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).

Students from Scotland accepted for entry to full-time undergraduate courses by country of study for 2003 to 2005 entry

Country of study

Year of entry

England

Wales

Scotland

Northern Ireland

Total

2003

1,989

71

26,199

19

28,278

2004

1,799

65

26,343

18

28,225

2005

1,881

64

25,710

18

27,673

Source:

Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS)

Students accepted for entry to full-time undergraduate courses by area of permanent residence and country of study for 2005 and 2006 entry

Country of study

Area of permanent residence

England

Wales

Scotland

Northern Ireland

Total

England

2005

287,305

9,492

4,289

120

301,206

2006

275,616

8,333

3,668

122

287,739

Wales

2005

6,327

10,382

133

7

16,849

2006

5,378

11,321

98

4

16,801

Scotland

2005

1,879

64

25,685

18

27,646

2006

1,758

59

24,836

13

26,666

Northern Ireland

2005

3,168

109

1,262

9,370

13,909

2006

3,576

112

1,231

8,017

12,936

Source:

Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS)

The trends in cross-border flows show that between 2005 and 2006 there has been a bigger drop in English students studying in Wales (down 12.2 per cent.) and Scotland (down 14.5 per cent.), than for those studying in England (down 4.1 per cent.), although those studying in Northern Ireland has slightly increased (1.7 per cent.) but the numbers are small. In other words, the introduction of variable tuition fees in 2006/07 has not seen an increase in the number of students from England opting to study in Scotland and Wales.

The trends in cross-border flows for Scottish students show that there has been a bigger drop in Scottish students studying in England (down 6.4 per cent.), Wales (down 7.8 per cent.) and Northern Ireland (down 27.8 per cent.) than for those studying in Scotland (down 3.3 per cent.).

Head Teachers: Peterborough

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many vacancies for head teachers there were in the Peterborough city council local education authority area on 30 October 2006, broken down by (a) secondary schools, (b) primary schools and (c) other schools; and if he will make a statement. (106498)

[holding answer 4 December 2006]: The information requested is not available for 30 October 2006.

On 19 January 2006 there were no head teacher vacancies in maintained nursery/primary, secondary or special schools in Peterborough city council local education authority.

This information is available from the Department for Education and Skills (DFES) annual survey of teachers in service and teacher vacancies, 618G.

Under the DFES standard definition, vacancies are those advertised for full-time permanent appointments, or appointments of at least one term’s duration, and include those being filled by a teacher on a temporary contract of less than one term’s duration.

International Baccalaureate

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many schools switched from offering the A-level syllabus to the International Baccalaureate in each of the last three years; and if he will make a statement. (102536)

According to the Schools' Census, no maintained secondary schools have switched from only offering the GCE/VCE A-level syllabus to only the International Baccalaureate in the last three years. However, since 2003, the number of schools with learners studying the International Baccalaureate has increased from 19 to 35 in 2006.

Learning and Skills Council

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many staff were employed by the Learning and Skills Council in each year since 2001, broken down by area of responsibility. (103650)

The information requested is provided as follows:

Directorate

Year ended 31 March 2002

Year ended 31 March 2003

Year ended 31 March 2004

Chairman, Chief Executive's Office

23

31

26

Finance

113

123

139

HR and Corporate Services

110

108

137

Policy and Development (Learning Programmes)

74

101

94

Operations

112

147

173

National Contracts Service

5

27

29

Quality and Standards

47

52

53

Communications and Strategic Planning

35

43

47

Local LSCs

4,175

4,165

4,088

Total

4,694

4,797

4,786

Figures for years ending 31 March 2005 and 2006 reflect the LSC's new structure.

Directorate

Year ended 31 March 2005

Year ended 31 March 2006

Learning

127

178

Skills

102

124

Resources

483

531

Strategy and Communications

65

57

Human Resources

120

110

Local LSCs

3409

3451

Total

4306

4451

Source:

LSC Annual Report and Accounts

The figures are for the average number of staff employed by the LSC each year and include temporary staff and agency staff. A rise in staff numbers occurred between March 2002 and March 2003 as the LSC began to build up the organisation, and took on significant new responsibilities, including the funding of school sixth forms. During 2004 the LSC undertook a re-shaping exercise which resulted in a fall in numbers in March 2005. Staff numbers subsequently increased slightly, reflecting the further work which was transferred by the Department to the LSC during 2005, including education maintenance allowances. However, we anticipate a reduction in the average number of staff in post between 2006 and 2007 as a consequence of the announcement in September 2005 by Mark Haysom, the Learning and Skills Council's chief executive, of proposals for a new structure for the organisation. This new structure aims to make the LSC more effective at identifying and responding to local learning and skills needs, and to achieve a less bureaucratic and more strategic relationship with partners and providers. This process is now nearing completion, and will achieve estimated savings of up to £40 million, which could be released to the front line for the further benefit of learners. As a result, the LSC will have a strong regional and local capacity, spending less time on transactional processes and more time developing relationships with key partners and stakeholders.

Lyons Review

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many jobs in his Department have been relocated (a) to Liverpool and (b) elsewhere as a result of the Lyons Review; and on how many occasions Liverpool has been considered for the relocation of staff under this programme. (103691)

[holding answer 27 November 2006]: I refer the hon. Member to the reply given on 8 November 2006, Official Report, column 1743W.

Ofsted Inspections

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many pupils in England attended schools in 2005/06 deemed (a) inadequate and (b) satisfactory by HM Chief Inspector of Schools. (106934)

2,098,828 pupils attended the 5,996 schools which were inspected by Ofsted during the 2005/06 academic year. The following table shows these pupil numbers broken down by the judgment Ofsted made of each school:

Maintained primary, secondary, all special schools, city technology colleges, academies and pupil referral units: number of schools and pupils by Ofsted standards judgment made during the 2005/06 academic year

Ofsted judgment

Number of schools

1Headcount of pupils

1 (Outstanding)

596

228,221

2 (Good)

2,866

925,830

3 (Satisfactory)

2,050

737,152

4 (Inadequate)

484

207,625

1 Pupil numbers are derived from School Census returns, and are as at January 2006

The Government have had considerable success in reducing school failure: in 1998, there were 524 schools in special measures, and by the end of the 2005/06 academic year, there were 208. We are committed to further reducing the numbers of failing and underperforming schools. The Education and Inspection Act contains measures to give local authorities additional powers to tackle underperformance, to ensure that fewer schools become a cause for concern, and to enable local authorities to turn around more quickly those schools which do get into difficulties.

Physical Education Teachers

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many black and ethnic teachers participated in physical education teacher training courses in each of the last five years; and how many black and ethnic teachers teach physical education in (a) primary and (b) secondary schools. (99875)

[pursuant to the reply, 6 November 2006, Official Report, c. 965W]: The following table provides the number of teachers from black and other ethnic minorities who have participated in teacher training courses with physical education as one of their subject specialisations in each academic year from 2000/01 to 2004/05, the latest year for which figures are available. The figures are for teachers who have trained to teach in secondary schools only. Primary school trainee teachers are trained in all subjects of national curriculum including physical education.

These numbers replace those previously given. The subsequent notes are also revised.

Teachers on teacher training courses in England with physical education as a subject specialisation, 2000/01 to 2004/05Academic year of qualificationTotalOf which: Black and ethnic minoritiesPercentage of black and ethnic minorities2000/011,2002022001/021,3804032002/031,3503022003/041,7605032004/051,920704 Notes:1. Numbers are rounded to the nearest 10.2. The figures include teachers on employment based routes to qualified teacher status.3. The total includes those who did not declare or refused to provide their ethnic background.4. Black and ethnic minorities include the following categories:Black or black British—CaribbeanBlack or black British—AfricanOther black backgroundAsian or Asian British—IndianAsian or Asian British—PakistaniAsian or Asian British—BangladeshiChinese or other ethnic background—ChineseOther Asian backgroundMixed—white and black CaribbeanMixed—white and black AfricanMixed—white and AsianOther mixed backgroundOther ethnic backgroundSource:Training and Development Agency's Performance Profiles.

School Closures

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many (a) rural and (b) urban (i) primary and (ii) secondary schools have closed in (A) Cornwall, (B) the South West and (C) England in each year since 1992. (106884)

The numbers of schools closed by year, phase of education and urban/rural indicator are tabled as follows

(A) Cornwall

Primary1

Secondary1

Urban/rural indicator

Urban/rural indicator

Rural

Urban

Primary total

Urban

Rural

Secondary total

Grand total

1992

4

1

5

0

0

0

5

1993

2

0

2

1

0

1

3

1994

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

1995

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

1996

2

0

2

0

0

0

2

1997

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

1998

0

2

2

0

0

0

2

1999

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

2000

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

2001

0

2

2

0

0

0

2

2002

0

3

3

0

0

0

3

2003

2

0

2

0

0

0

2

2004

1

0

1

0

0

0

1

2005

0

4

4

0

0

0

4

2006

2

0

2

0

0

0

2

Grand total

13

12

25

1

0

1

26

(B) The South West

Primary1

Secondary1

Urban rural indicator

Urban rural indicator

Rural

Urban

Primary total

Rural

Urban

Secondary total

Grand total

1992

12

10

22

3

2

5

27

1993

7

8

15

2

3

5

20

1994

1

12

13

0

0

0

13

1995

2

8

10

0

2

2

12

1996

3

2

5

0

0

0

5

1997

6

4

10

0

0

0

10

1998

5

32

37

0

0

0

37

1999

19

19

0

0

0

19

2000

4

21

25

0

4

4

29

2001

3

10

13

0

0

0

13

2002

7

7

14

1

3

4

18

2003

4

8

12

1

1

13

2004

3

10

13

3

3

6

19

2005

4

32

36

3

3

6

42

2006

12

21

33

0

1

1

34

Grand total

73

204

277

12

22

34

311

(C) England

Primary1

Secondary1

Urban rural indicator

Urban rural indicator

Rural

Urban

Primary total

Rural

Urban

Secondary total

Grand total

1992

39

289

328

5

105

110

438

1993

26

233

259

73

58

131

390

1994

49

205

254

5

20

25

279

1995

18

146

164

25

25

189

1996

57

168

225

6

22

28

253

1997

17

155

172

0

17

17

189

1998

15

159

174

1

15

16

190

1999

9

188

197

32

32

229

2000

16

172

188

4

83

87

275

2001

27

221

248

4

43

47

295

2002

27

199

226

3

33

36

262

2003

20

187

207

1

34

35

242

2004

18

210

228

3

38

41

269

2005

24

222

246

4

22

26

272

2006

36

182

218

2

40

42

260

Grand total

398

2,936

3,334

111

587

698

4,032

1 Phase of education.

Source:

EduBase

The figures above include schools that closed as a result of the amalgamation or merger of two or more schools; schools that have closed but re-opened as voluntary schools with a religious character; and schools that have closed in local authorities that have moved from a three-tier to a two-tier system.

Student Finance

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many refunds were processed by the Student Loan Company in each year between 2000 and 2005; and what proportion of those refunds resulted from overpayment of student loans. (101856)

Details of refunds processed in the relevant years are shown in the following table.

Financial year

Number of refunds made on student loan accounts1

Number of refunds made as a result of credit balance on income-contingent loans2

Proportion of refunds made as a result of credit balance on income-contingent loans2(Percentage)

2000-01

9,953

0

0

2001-02

19,066

267

1

2002-03

20,690

2,062

10

2003-04

24,989

7,686

31

2004-05

32,702

12,638

39

2005-06

45,753

21,774

48

1 Numbers relate to English-domicile student loans in the Government-owned portfolio. 2 The increasing profile in this column results from the build up in number of income- contingent loans reaching the end of repayment, and thus liable to include an element of in-year over-repayment. The income-contingent loan system was introduced for the academic year 1998/99, so few loan accounts would have reached the end of repayment in the earlier years covered in the table.

Any overpayment by a borrower is automatically repaid by the Student Loans Company, with interest, as part of the annual process to update borrower accounts.

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many people repaying their student loan to the Students Loan Company saw their debt increase in the last year for which figures are available. (105780)

There were 1,376,209 borrowers in repayment status at 30 April 2005. Of these 501,699 saw their student loan debt increase in nominal terms by 13 March 2006. As the rate of interest on student loans is directly linked to the retail prices index, the value of all loans is kept the same in real terms as when they were taken out. This means that no student repays more than they originally borrowed regardless of how long it takes them to repay and how much interest accrues in the meantime.

Tamworth: Teaching Vacancies

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many teaching vacancies there are in (a) primary and (b) secondary schools in Tamworth constituency. (107034)

Information on teacher vacancies is not available at constituency level but is available by local authority.

Tamworth constituency is divided between Sandwell and Staffordshire local authorities.

The following table gives the number of full-time teacher vacancies in maintained schools in Sandwell and Staffordshire local authorities in England, in January 2006.

Full-time vacancy1 numbers in Sandwell and Staffordshire local authorities in maintained nursery/primary and secondary schools

Nursery/primary

Secondary

Sandwell

13

5

Staffordshire

6

7

1 Advertised vacancies for full-time permanent appointments (or appointments of at least one term’s duration). Includes vacancies being filled on a temporary basis of less than one term.

Source:

DfES annual survey of teachers in service and teacher vacancies, 618g.

Teacher’s TV

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills whether his Department is able to veto (a) programmes scheduled and (b) contracts entered into by Teachers’ TV. (104247)

[holding answer 27 November 2006]: Teachers' TV was successfully launched on 8 February 2005. It aims to help raise standards in classrooms by helping to share good practice, support continuing professional development, offer classroom resources, and provide education news and information.

The channel is editorially independent (as required by the Communications Act 2003) and robust protocols are in place to ensure that, while the Department is able to identify the channel's objectives and strategic direction, it is not able to influence programming decisions. An independent Board of Governors ensures that editorial independence is maintained.

The Department has a pre-agreed form of contract which it obliges the supplier to use with all TV production companies. The Department has the right to reject any contracts entered into that are not on this agreed basis. However, it does not have the right to veto specific programme commissioning contracts in order to ensure editorial independence.

Travel to School

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what estimate he has made of how far on average (a) primary school and (b) secondary school pupils travel to get to school in (i) Cornwall, (ii) the South West and (iii) England. (106877)

The average distances travelled (in miles) by primary and secondary aged pupils are as follows:

Miles

Primary

Secondary

Cornwall

1.10

2.44

South West

0.90

2.12

England

0.82

1.82

Note: 1. The information in this answer is derived from data collected in the Schools Census returns made by schools to the Department. It includes solely registered and main registration of dually registered pupils aged 5 to 15 attending maintained primary and secondary schools, Academies and CTCs. It excludes pupils reported to be boarders. 2. The distances calculated are straight line distances.

York Local Education Authority Staff

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many (a) teachers, (b) teaching assistants and (c) support staff were employed in City of York local education authority schools in each year since 1997. (106475)

The following table provides the full-time equivalent number of teachers, teaching assistants and support staff employed in City of York local authority maintained schools in each January from 1997 to 2006.

Full-time equivalent regular teachers (excluding occasionals), teaching assistants and support staff in City of York local authority maintained schools, January 1997 to 2006

1997

1998

1999

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

Teachers1

1,290

1,270

1,290

1,350

1,380

1,390

1,380

1,390

1,390

1,370

Teaching assistants2

140

160

170

220

250

350

370

400

440

500

Support staff2,3

310

350

370

440

470

580

590

650

710

790

1 Source: DfES annual survey of teachers in service and teacher vacancies, 618g.

2 Source: Annual School Census.

3 Support staff figures include teaching assistant numbers.

Note:

Figures are rounded to the nearest 10.

Information on the number of teachers and teaching assistants in all local authorities is published annually in September. The latest information is available on the Department's website at the following URL:

http://www.dfes.gov.uk/rsgateway/DB/SFR/s000681/index.shtml.

York Schools

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the average (a) revenue and (b) capital expenditure was per (i) primary and (ii) secondary pupil in schools in City of York Local Education Authority areas in each year since 1992-93 (A) in cash terms and (B) at current prices. (106473)

The available information is shown in the following table.

The following table shows information for revenue expenditure per primary and secondary pupil in York local authority in cash terms:

School based revenue expenditure1, 2, 3 per pupil4 (1992-93 to 2005-06)5, 6, 7, 8, 9, Cash terms figures10 as reported by local authorities5 as at 29 November 2006£Pre-LGR North Yorkshire5North Yorkshire5York5Pre-primary and primary combined8,9Primary8SecondaryPre- primary and primary combined8,9Primary8SecondaryPre-primary and primary combined8,9Primary8Secondary1992-931,540—2,220******1993-941,520—2,210******1994-951,580—2,170******1995-961,570—2,210******1996-975***1,640*2,3301,540*2,2101997-986***1,650*2,3401,600*2,3501998-996***1,750*2,4101,730*2,4601999-20002,7,8***1,9901,9802,5601,8001,7602,4302000-01***2,0702,0602,7201,8701,8602,6402001-02***2,3702,3502,9802,2602,1802,8302002-033,9****2,4703,130*2,3903,0802003-04****2,7103,430*2,5603,3302004-05****2,8903,600*2,6803,6602005-06****3,1503,810*2,9303,860 1 School based expenditure includes only expenditure incurred directly by the schools. This includes the pay of teachers and school-based support staff, school premises costs, books and equipment, and certain other supplies and services, less any capital items funded from recurrent spending and income from sales, fees and charges and rents and rates. This excludes the central cost of support services such as home to school transport, local authority administration and the financing of capital expenditure.2. 1999-00 saw a change in data source when the data collection moved from the RO1 form collected by the ODPM to the Section 52 form from the DfES. 2002-03 saw a further break in the time series following the introduction of Consistent Financial Reporting (CFR) and the associated restructuring of the outturn tables. The change in sources is shown by the blank row.3 The calculation for 2002-03 onwards is broadly similar to the calculation in previous years. However, 2001-02 and earlier years includes all premature retirement compensation (PRC) and Crombie payments, mandatory PRC payments and other indirect employee expenses. In 2001-02 this accounted for approximately £70 per pupil. From 2002-03 onwards only the schools element of these categories is included and this accounted for approximately £50 per pupil of the 2002-03 total. Also, for some LAs, expenditure that had previously been attributed to the school sectors was reported within the LA part of the form from 2002-03, though this is not quantifiable from existing sources.4 Pupil numbers include only those pupils attending maintained establishments within each sector and are drawn from the DfES Annual Schools Census adjusted to be on a financial year basis.5 Local government reorganisation (LGR) took place on the 1 April 1996 and York LA was separated out from North Yorkshire LA. Hence what was previously regarded as North Yorkshire Local Authority (pre-LGR) was split into new North Yorkshire and York local authorities.6 Spending in 1997-98 reflects the transfer of monies from local government to central government for the nursery vouchers scheme. These were returned to local government from 1998-99.7 The 1999-00 figures reflect the return of GM schools to local authority maintenance. 8 Expenditure was not distinguished between the pre-primary and primary sectors until the inception of Section 52 for financial year 1999-00.9 School based expenditure in LA maintained nursery schools was not recorded in 2002-03 and comparable figures are not available for 2003-04 onwards.10 Figures are rounded to the nearest £10.

The following table shows information for revenue expenditure per primary and secondary pupil in York local authority in cash terms:

School based revenue expenditure1,2,3 per pupil4 (1992-93 to 2005-06)5,6,7,8,9, Real terms figures10 as reported 29 November 2006£Pre-LGR North Yorkshire5North Yorkshire5York5Pre-primary and primary combined8,9Primary8SecondaryPre-primary and primary combined8,9Primary8SecondaryPre-primary and primary combined8,9Primary8Secondary1992-932,130—3,060******1993-942,050—2,960******1994-952,090—2,880******1995-962,020—2,830******1996-975***2,040*2,8901,920*2,7501997-986***2,000*2,8301,930*2,8401998-996***2,060*2,8402,030*2,9001999-20002,7,8***2,2902,2802,9602,0802,0302,810 2000-01***2,3602,3403,1002,1302,1203,0102001-02***2,6302,6103,3102,5102,4203,1502002-033,9****2,6603,370*2,5803,3202003-04****2,8403,590*2,6803,4902004-05****2,9503,670*2,7403,7302005-06****3,1503,810*2,9303,860 1 School based expenditure includes only expenditure incurred directly by the schools. This includes the pay of teachers and school-based support staff, school premises costs, books and equipment, and certain other supplies and services, less any capital items funded from recurrent spending and income from sales, fees and charges and rents and rates. This excludes the central cost of support services such as home to school transport, local authority administration and the financing of capital expenditure.2. 1999-00 saw a change in data source when the data collection moved from the RO1 form collected by the ODPM to the Section 52 form from the DfES. 2002-03 saw a further break in the time series following the introduction of Consistent Financial Reporting (CFR) and the associated restructuring of the outturn tables. The change in sources is shown by the blank row.3 The calculation for 2002-03 onwards is broadly similar to the calculation in previous years. However, 2001-02 and earlier years includes all premature retirement compensation (PRC) and Crombie payments, mandatory PRC payments and other indirect employee expenses. In 2001-02 this accounted for approximately £70 per pupil. From 2002-03 onwards only the schools element of these categories is included and this accounted for approximately £50 per pupil of the 2002-03 total. Also, for some LAs, expenditure that had previously been attributed to the school sectors was reported within the LA part of the form from 2002-03, though this is not quantifiable from existing sources.4 Pupil numbers include only those pupils attending maintained establishments within each sector and are drawn from the DfES Annual Schools Census adjusted to be on a financial year basis.5 Local government reorganisation (LGR) took place on the 1 April 1996 and York LA was separated out from North Yorkshire LA. Hence what was previously regarded as North Yorkshire Local Authority (pre-LGR) was split into new North Yorkshire and York local authorities.6 Spending in 1997-98 reflects the transfer of monies from local government to central government for the nursery vouchers scheme. These were returned to local government from 1998-99.7 The 1999-00 figures reflect the return of GM schools to local authority maintenance. 8 Expenditure was not distinguished between the pre-primary and primary sectors until the inception of Section 52 for financial year 1999-00.9 School based expenditure in LA maintained nursery schools was not recorded in 2002-03 and comparable figures are not available for 2003-04 onwards.10 Cash figures are adjusted to 2005-06 levels using 27 September GDP deflators. Figures are rounded to the nearest £10.

The following table shows the information for capital support provided to York local authority and its schools since 1996-97. The earliest year for which the Department has this information is 1996-97.

£ million

Cash

Real terms1

1996-97

0.8

1.0

1997-98

1.3

1.5

1998-99

1.8

2.1

1999-2000

4.5

5.2

2000-01

7.4

8.5

2001-02

4.8

5.3

2002-03

25.5

227.5

2003-04

9.7

10.1

2004-05

9.4

9.6

2005-06

8.7

8.7

2006-07

28.5

327.8

1 At 2005-06 prices using GDP deflators at 27 September 2006.

2 Includes £15.4 million PFI project.

3 Includes £22. 2 million for targeted capital projects.

Communities and Local Government

Local Government Finance

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will ensure that future local government finance settlements are corrected for actual variations from the population projections for 2007; and if she will meet hon. Members representing Newcastle upon Tyne constituencies to discuss this matter. (107336)

The Government have a policy of providing councils with multi-year formula grant settlements to provide stability and predictability of funding. Consistent with that policy, I do not intend, except in entirely exceptional circumstances, to retrospectively amend any year’s settlement. I do intend to use the best data available at the time of setting out the multi-year plans and will treat all authorities on a consistent basis.

For the 2006-07 settlement the best available population projections were the Office for National Statistics (ONS) 2003-based sub-national population projections. Because 2007-08 is the second year of a multi-year settlement, the provisional 2007-08 settlement also uses the 2003-based sub-national population projections. The Government are currently consulting on the 2007-08 provisional settlement and will take into account all relevant representations made during the consultation period before making the final settlement.

The next multi-year settlement period calculations (for the three financial years 2008-09 to 2010-11) are due to be made in late 2007. In preparing for these calculations, the methodology will be reviewed and data used in the formulae to determine the 2008-09 to 2010-11 settlements will, consistent with the Secretary of State’s policy on multi-year settlements, be updated to the best data available at that time.

As there have been no changes made to the formulae for 2007-08, and in order to treat all authorities consistently, I am not able to meet individual local authority delegations during consultation. I will of course meet with hon. Members representing Newcastle upon Tyne.

Local Government Pension Scheme

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the (a) current and (b) proposed levels are of (i) employee’s and (ii) employer’s contribution to the Local Government Pension Scheme; what benefits will be payable to (A) scheme members and (B) their civil or unmarried partners; what support will be provided for ill-health retirement; what retirement age will apply; and whether (1) benefits already paid for will continue at the current level for current scheme members and (2) they will be recalculated in an amended scheme. (105852)

[holding answer 28 November 2006]: The current contribution rate for employees in the Local Government Pension Scheme is 6 per cent. of pensionable pay, with certain members retaining rights to contribute 5 per cent.

There is no single employer contribution rate for the scheme. At the actuarial valuations for each of the 89 pension funds in England and Wales individual employer contribution rates are set for each of the employers within those funds. The average employer contribution rate in 2005-06 was some 15.2 per cent. of pensionable pay and this covers both future service accrual and meeting past service liabilities.

Draft new scheme proposals are subject to consultation. No decisions have been taken.

Non-domestic Rates

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will make it her policy to exempt seaside piers from the uniform business rate. (104831)

Planning Policy Guidance 3

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will place in the Library a copy of the 1996 Welsh Planning Policy Guidance 3 guidance. (103828)

I have been asked to reply.

I have placed a copy of Planning Guidance (Wales), Technical Advice Note (Wales) 3, Simplified Planning Zones—November 1996 in the House Library.

Planning policy in Wales is, of course, devolved to the Welsh Assembly Government. “Planning Policy Wales: March 2002” sets out the land use planning policies of the Assembly Government, which is supplemented by a series of technical Advice Notes (TANs). Copies of these can be obtained from the Assembly website at:

www.wales.gov.uk.

Rural Areas: Maps

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether she consulted the Rural Payments Agency before ending the National Interest Mapping Service Agreement. (107754)

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), the parent Department of the Rural Payments Agency, was consulted in reaching the decision. DEFRA held discussions with the Rural Payments Agency.

Culture, Media and Sport

2012 Olympics

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will require the Olympic procurement authorities to include requirements in their contracts for (a) the promotion of equal opportunities and (b) the use of local labour; and if she will make a statement. (106164)

The Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) is currently developing its equalities and diversity strategy so that all processes used to recruit and manage employees, including employees working within the supply chain, are demonstrably fair and offer equal opportunities to all. It will consider arrangements for monitoring the recruitment process and collecting relevant information from its contract partners. The strategy is expected to be issued for consultation early in 2007. The ODA's draft Procurement Strategy makes clear that a commitment to equal opportunities and diversity will form part of assessments in the tendering for ODA contracts.

The ODA is also working with the London Development Agency and the five host boroughs to establish an employment brokerage scheme to assist ODA contractors in advertising locally to enable local people to apply for vacancies in the construction of the Olympic Park. Jobcentre Plus has already placed 32 from the local area into jobs working to put powerlines underground.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what the size is of the contingency fund for the 2012 Olympics. (101949)

The level of programme contingency is under review. For each of the main venue construction projects there is an allowance in the bid figures for 23.5 per cent. for contingencies and preliminaries.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many responses were received by her Department for the consultation on the Tourism Strategy for the 2012 games (a) before the deadline of 17 November and (b) after that date. (104773)

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what assessment she has made of the compliance of the consultation on the Tourism Strategy for the 2012 Games with the Cabinet Office code of practice on consultations. (104774)

DCMS officials followed the Cabinet Office’s code of practice on consultations throughout the consultation process. A summary of responses will be publicised on DCMS website (www.culture.gov.uk) in due course.