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Written Answers

Volume 474: debated on Monday 21 April 2008

Written Answers to Questions

Monday 21 April 2008

House of Commons Commission

Legal Costs

To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission how much was spent on legal advice and services in each year from 1997 to date; and how much in each such year was paid to Carter-Ruck and Partners. (195856)

The cost of legal advice and services has been as follows:

£

Legal advice

Other legal costs

Total costs

Carter- Ruck and Partners

2003-04

108,921

108,921

2004-05

96,737

96,154

192,891

2005-06

196,283

79,159

275,442

2006-07

134,515

596,586

731,101

2007-08 to date

243,337

309,266

552,603

21,517

The other legal costs include fees paid in connection with the refurbishment of Norman Shaw South, and the construction of Portcullis House and the Visitor Reception Building. Details of similar costs prior to 2003 are not available.

Two previous answers on legal costs—4 June 2007, Official Report, column 23W, and 23 July 2007, Official Report, column 659W—included some costs that had been incorrectly allocated to particular years. The figures now provided, correct the earlier position.

Parking

To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission what air filtering, circulating or cleansing system services the hon. Members’ underground car park; when this system was last operational; and if he will make a statement. (198737)

The underground car park ventilation system was installed around 1977 when the car park was built. It services all car park levels using a supply and extract air plant with filters and duct work.

The system is maintained and inspected on a monthly basis. This was last done on 17 March 2008. Deep cleaning of the ducts was last completed during 2007. The system was last fully operational around 2001 when the original automatic system controls needed to be replaced with an interim manual controls arrangement. Since then a reduced level of air changes has been provided. However, the rate of air change will be increased by 21 April 2008 to the original level. Major refurbishment of the system is planned currently for 2010-11.

Scotland

Departmental Domestic Visits

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what visits he made to (a) Harrogate International Centre, (b) International Conference Centre, Birmingham, (c) Manchester Central, (d) Scottish Exhibitional and Conference Centre, Glasgow, (e) Edinburgh International Conference Centre, (f) Bournemouth International Conference Centre, (g) the Brighton Centre, Brighton, (h) the Riviera Centre, Torquay, (i) Queen Elizabeth Centre, London, (j) Excel Conference Centre, Docklands, London, and (k) Business Design Centre, Islington, London, in the period 1st January 2005 to 31st December 2007; and what events he attended at each. (197162)

I have not visited any of the listed venues in a ministerial capacity between 1 January 2005 and 31 December 2007.

Official Engagements

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what his official engagements were between 25 February and 1 April 2008. (199486)

Throughout the period 25 February and 1 April, I had various meetings in London and Scotland, including with ministerial colleagues and officials from the MOD and Scotland Office. In addition, on 26 February I had a video/telephone conference with the NATO Secretary-General, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer. On 28 February, I met the Australian high commissioner. On 29 February, I visited HMS Gannet and met with representatives of the Scottish Pensioners Forum in Edinburgh. On 3 March, I answered Defence questions in the House of Commons and, in the evening, attended the graduation reception of the Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme. On 4 March I had separate meetings with the Dutch ambassador, with Dr. Paul Sender, the recently-returned head of the British Health Organisation in Afghanistan, and with a representative of the media. On 5 March, I answered Scottish questions in the House of Commons. On 6 March, had a meeting with Gerry Grimstone, the chairman of Standard Life. I also had meetings with the Albanian Defence Minister, with former Chiefs of the Defence Staff in the House of Lords, and with my hon. Friend the hon. Member for Grantham and Stamford (Mr. Davies) on the Armed Forces National Recognition Study. On 8 March, I attended a Veterans Badge presentation event in Edinburgh and the RBS six nations Scotland versus England rugby match at Murrayfield. On 19 March, I met representatives of the Scottish War Widows Association at 10 Downing Street. On 25 March, I met the bereaved mother of a serviceman. On 26 March, I gave an interview to a national newspaper and attended President Sarkozy’s parliamentary address at the House of Commons. On 27 March, I attended the Anglo-French Summit, which included a bilateral meeting with the French Defence Minister. On 31 March, I attended the launch for Stephen Walker’s book, “Shot at Dawn”. On 1 April, I attended the Media Launch of TA100, the 100th anniversary of the Territorial Army, at the Tower of London and the fly past for the RAF 90th anniversary at MOD Main Building.

Official Visits

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what visits he has made in his capacity as Secretary of State for Scotland since July 2007. (190822)

My Ministry of Defence and Scotland Office diaries and public engagements are closely co-ordinated, it is therefore appropriate to cover both portfolios in the response for completeness.

On 10 July, I visited Berlin for a meeting with the German Defence Minister. On 12 and 13 July I was in Belgium to attend the Tyne Cot ceremony and for a meeting with Javier Solana. Between the 13 and 15 July, I visited Paris to attend Bastille Day celebrations. On 21 July, I was at the University of Strathclyde for the UK Youth Parliament annual sitting. On 1 August I visited Standard Life in Edinburgh, and on 2 August I visited Aegon and Selex Sensors in Edinburgh. On 3 August I went to visit Rolls Royce in East Kilbride, and on 4 August I had dinner with General Officer Commanding 2 Division, Edinburgh. The following day, I attended the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland performance in Glasgow. Between 6 and 10 August I was in Afghanistan. On 11 August, I attended the FEBA Highland Games event at Strathclyde country park, Motherwell, and then saw a performance of On Danfe at Edinburgh Playhouse. I visited WL Gore Co. Ltd. in Livingstone on 14 August, and on the 16 August I visited Seebyte in Edinburgh. The following day I visited Mahle Engine Systems in East Kilbride and watched the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela concert in Edinburgh. On Sunday 19 August I spoke at the Celebration of Indian Independence dinner in Glasgow. On Monday 20 August I visited Highland Spring. Later that day I visited the Diageo Bottling Plant in Glasgow and attended the Scottish Council for Development and Industry dinner in Glasgow. I was in Edinburgh on 22 August to visit a Waterfront regeneration project, and then travelled to Glasgow for an afternoon meeting with the STUC at their offices. On 23 August I visited REPower Aberdeen, and also visited a Scotch whisky distillery. Between 27 and 29 August I was in Greenland to meet the Danish Defence Minister.

On 12 September I hosted a Conflict Resolution Seminar at the University of Glasgow. On 13 September I visited 52 Brigade and a Medical Centre in Edinburgh. On 20 September I attended the opening of the new BBC building at Pacific Quay, Glasgow. On 25 September I paid a visit to the Royal Armoured Corps at Bovington. On 28 and 29 September I was in Lisbon for EU informal ministerial meetings. On 11 October I went to HMS Albion for a Project Compass dinner, and on 12 October I attended the armed forces memorial dedication ceremony in Staffordshire. On 13 October I was a guest at the Scotland versus Ukraine Euro 2008 qualifier at Hampden park. On 14 October I listened to the National Youth Orchestras of Scotland Futures performance in Glasgow. On 15 October I visited the UK Pinnacle Course at the Defence Academy, Shrivenham, and on 18 October, I was in Crawley for a debate on Trident. On 19 October I visited 12 Mechanised Brigade at Tidworth and Bulford. On 20 October I attended the Trafalgar night dinner on HMS Victory. On 24 and 25 October I was at the NATO informal defence ministerial meetings in the Netherlands, and on 26 October I attended the Glasgow Chamber of Commerce business breakfast and I was at the launch of Stagecoach's bio-diesel coaches in Kilmarnock.

From 29 October to 2 November I was in Iraq. On 9 November I visited Diageo, in Ochil, Stirling, before attending the Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall on 10 November, and the Remembrance Sunday ceremony in Whitehall on 11 November. On 14 November I attended the SSAFA Corporate Friends reception at Chatham House. On 17 November I watched Scotland play Italy at Hampden park, Glasgow. On 19 November I visited Brussels for the General Affairs and External Relations Council meeting. On Friday 23 November, I addressed the State of the City Economy conference in Glasgow.

On 1 December, I visited Longannet Power Station, Alloa, and the Scottish Interfaith Week Come and Play the Diversity Game event in Edinburgh. On 5 December I attended the SSAFA carol service in London. Between 7 and 10 December I was in Afghanistan. On 13 and 14 December I attended the RC South meeting in Edinburgh. On 20 December I visited Bassingbourne for the Army Training Regiment Pass off Parade.

On 3 and 4 January I visited Brussels for meetings with the UK Representative to NATO, and on 5 January I visited headquarters in Northern Ireland. I watched the Cirque du Soleil with Canadian high commissioner at the Royal Albert Hall on 8 January. On 22 January I opened the ‘Scots in Quebec’ exhibition at Canada house, London, with Premier Charest of Quebec. On 25 January I visited 51 Brigade, Stirling, the Solve It project in Falkirk and the Glasgow Works project in Glasgow. On 31 January I visited Headley court and the Cavalry Barracks in Hounslow. I was in Geneva on 5 February for the Nuclear Disarmament conference and SERA new year reception, and then from 6 to 8 February I attended the NATO informal defence ministerial meetings in Lithuania. On 11 February I visited Babcocks at Rosyth Dockyard, and on 12 February I visited the Defence Academy at Shrivenham. On 15 February I visited Thales Optronics in Glasgow. On 21 and 22 February I was in Slovenia for EU informal defence ministerial meetings.

Wales

Brabners Chaffe Street LLP

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales pursuant to the answer of 20 March 2008, Official Report, column 1298W, on Brabners, Chaffe and Street, how much has been paid to Brabners, Chaffe and Street; what the estimated figure is to be paid on completion for its work; for what reasons this work was outsourced; and if he will make a statement. (198346)

I am informed by the Environment Agency Wales that as at 31 March 2008, the Environment Agency had paid £29,080 net of VAT to Brabners Chaffe Street LLP in respect of their legal fees. This work was outsourced to Brabners Chaffe Street LLP to provide advice on matters relating to defamation and issues of reputation. It is a firm recognised for dealing with such issues.

Brofiscin Quarry

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales pursuant to the answer of 20 March 2008, Official Report, column 1302W, on Pollution: Brofiscin Quarry, what factors the Environment Agency will take into account when deciding when it is practicable to place the information on the public register. (198794)

I have been informed by the Environment Agency Wales that the legislation and statutory guidance do not specify what factors the Environment Agency should consider in deciding when it is practicable to place the prescribed information on the public register. The Government view is simply that it should be added as soon as reasonably practicable, so for example, the prescribed details of a Remediation Notice should be added as soon as reasonably practicable after the service of that notice.

Clear Communication

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what payments his Department has made to communications consultancy Clear in the last five years; and what the purpose of such payments was. (198160)

Departmental Internet

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how much was spent on the most recent redesign and implementation of his departmental website. (200032)

The Wales Office spent £10,500 to redesign and implement the new website and we pay £6,936 per annum for website hosting.

Departmental Legislation

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what criminal offences have been abolished by primary legislation sponsored by his Department since May 1997. (198325)

Departmental Public Participation

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what (a) surveys, (b) questionnaires and (c) other services were provided by polling companies for his Department in financial year 2007-08, broken down by company. (200015)

Douglas Gowan

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales for what reasons Mr. Douglas Gowan’s original (a) witness statements and (b) evidentiary materials submitted to the Environment Agency were destroyed; and if he will make a statement. (198793)

I am informed by the Environment Agency Wales that the Environment Agency has not destroyed any original documents or evidentiary materials belonging to Mr. Douglas Gowan. Where original documents and evidentiary materials had been received by the Environment Agency from Mr. Gowan, they have been returned to him.

On 2 November 2007, Mr. Gowan requested that all copies of those originals be ‘shredded’. The Environment Agency has complied with that request.

JP Morgan

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how much his Department and its predecessors paid to JP Morgan in each year since 1997; and what the purpose of each payment was. (199691)

Karian and Box

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what the value was of each contract awarded by his Department and its predecessors to Karian and Box since 1997. (199638)

Since the Wales Office was established in 1999, my Department has not awarded contracts to Karian and Box.

Zurich Financial Services

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how much his Department and its predecessors paid to Zurich Financial Services in each year since 1997; and what the purpose of the payment was in each case. (199594)

Since the Wales Office was established in 1999, we have not made any payments to Zurich Financial Services.

Leader of the House

Departmental Internet

To ask the Leader of the House how much was spent on the most recent redesign and implementation of her Office's website. (200026)

Members: Allowances

To ask the Leader of the House what criteria were used to establish the 10,000 mile threshold below which hon. Members' car travel is reimbursed at 40p per mile. (199385)

Since 1 April 2005, hon. Members have been entitled to claim mileage allowances in line with Inland Revenue rates (now HM Revenue and Customs rates), which are 40p per mile for the first 10,000 business miles travelled in a year and 25p per mile thereafter. This was decided by Resolution of the House on 3 November 2004. The Resolution was in line with a recommendation by the Senior Salaries Review Body of October 2004, Cm 6354-1, paragraphs 4.50-52, which gave the following rationale:

"The approved IR rate is calculated to represent the actual cost of motoring, including fuel costs, wear and tear (including servicing and depreciation), road fund licence, and insurance. We received no evidence to justify why MPs should be entitled to a more advantageous rate."

Salisbury Convention

To ask the Leader of the House whether she has had discussions with the authorities in the House of Lords on the interpretation of the Salisbury Convention in relation to the European Union (Amendment) Bill. (198722)

Welsh Grand Committee

To ask the Leader of the House how many times the Welsh Grand Committee has met in each Parliament since 1997; and what the (a) dates of, (b) venues of, (c) subjects debated at and (d) Ministers attending each meeting were. (199585)

The information is as follows:

Date

Venue

Subject

Ministers attending (excluding whips) (Wales Office unless indicated)

30 June 1997

Mold

Government’s programme for Wales

Ron Davies: Secretary of State

Peter Hain, Win Griffiths: Parliamentary Under-Secretaries

18 November 1997

Westminster

North Wales and Government proposal for Welsh Assembly

Ron Davies: Secretary of State

Peter Hain, Win Griffiths: Parliamentary Under-Secretaries

16 December 1997

Westminster

Government expenditure in Wales

Ron Davies: Secretary of State

Peter Hain, Win Griffiths: Parliamentary Under-Secretaries

5 May 1998

Carmarthen

Rural economy in Wales and questions

Ron Davies: Secretary of State

Peter Hain, Win Griffiths: Parliamentary Under-Secretaries

13 July 1998

Merthyr Tydfil

New economic agenda in Wales

Ron Davies: Secretary of State

Peter Hain, Win Griffiths: Parliamentary Under-Secretaries

16 December 1998

Westminster

Government expenditure in Wales, 1999-2000 to 2001-02

Alun Michael: Secretary of State

Peter Hain, Jon Owen Jones: Parliamentary Under-Secretaries

22 February 1999

Aberavon

Transport policy in Wales

Alun Michael: Secretary of State

Peter Hain, Jon Owen Jones: Parliamentary Under-Secretaries

14 December 1999

Westminster

Government’s legislative programme and the Chancellor’s pre-Budget report

Paul Murphy: Secretary of State

David Hanson: Parliamentary Under-Secretary

4 April 2000

Westminster

The Budget statement and its implications for Wales

Paul Murphy: Secretary of State

David Hanson: Parliamentary Under-Secretary

16 May 2000

Westminster

Welsh economy

Paul Murphy: Secretary of State

David Hanson: Parliamentary Under-Secretary

20 June 2000

Westminster

Social exclusion in Wales

Paul Murphy: Secretary of State

David Hanson: Parliamentary Under-Secretary

Alistair Darling: Secretary of State for Social Security

19 July 2000

Westminster

No subject specified

Paul Murphy: Secretary of State

David Hanson: Parliamentary Under-Secretary

11 December 2000

Westminster

The Government’s legislative programme as outlined in the Queen’s Speech and the Chancellor’s pre-Budget statement as they relate to Wales

Paul Murphy: Secretary of State

David Hanson: Parliamentary Under-Secretary

13 February 2001

Westminster

Building safer communities in Wales

Paul Murphy: Secretary of State

David Hanson: Parliamentary Under-Secretary

12 March 2001

County Hall, Cwmbran

The Budget statement and its implications for Wales

Paul Murphy: Secretary of State

David Hanson: Parliamentary Under-Secretary

Total meetings 1997-2001 Parliament: 15

3 July 2001

Westminster

The Government’s legislative programme, as outlined in the Queen’s Speech as it relates to Wales

Paul Murphy: Secretary of State

Don Touhig: Parliamentary Under-Secretary

28 November 2001

Westminster

Pre-Budget statement and its implications for Wales

Paul Murphy: Secretary of State

Don Touhig: Parliamentary Under-Secretary

24 April 2002

Westminster

The matter of the Budget statement and its implications for Wales

Paul Murphy: Secretary of State

Don Touhig: Parliamentary Under-Secretary

16 July 2002

Westminster

Draft National Health Service (Wales) Bill

Paul Murphy: Secretary of State

Don Touhig: Parliamentary Under-Secretary

21 November 2002

Westminster

The Government’s legislative programme as outlined in the Queen's Speech as it relates to Wales

Peter Hain: Secretary of State

Don Touhig: Parliamentary Under-Secretary

5 December 2002

Westminster

Government’s pre-Budget report as it relates to Wales

Peter Hain: Secretary of State

Don Touhig: Parliamentary Under-Secretary

24 June 2003

Westminster

The economy in Wales

Peter Hain: Secretary of State

Don Touhig: Parliamentary Under-Secretary

15 July 2003

Westminster

Draft Public Audit (Wales) Bill

Peter Hain: Secretary of State

Don Touhig: Parliamentary Under-Secretary

16 December 2003

Westminster

Matter of the Government’s legislative programme as outlined in the Queen’s Speech as it relates to Wales and public expenditure in Wales

Peter Hain: Secretary of State

Don Touhig: Parliamentary Under-Secretary

24 March 2004

Westminster

Budget statement and its implications for Wales

Peter Hain: Secretary of State

Don Touhig: Parliamentary Under-Secretary

6 July 2004

Westminster

Report of the Richard Commission

Peter Hain: Secretary of State

Don Touhig: Parliamentary Under-Secretary

20 July 2004

Westminster

Draft Transport (Wales) Bill

Peter Hain: Secretary of State

Don Touhig: Parliamentary Under-Secretary

7 December 2004

Westminster

Government’s legislative programme as outlined in the Queen’s Speech as it relates to Wales and public expenditure in Wales

Peter Hain: Secretary of State

Don Touhig: Parliamentary Under-Secretary

Total meetings 2001-05 Parliament: 13

23 June 2005

Westminster

Government’s legislative programme as outlined in the Queen’s Speech as it relates to Wales

Peter Hain: Secretary of State

Nick Ainger: Parliamentary Under-Secretary

19 April 2006

Westminster

The Budget statement and its implications for Wales

Peter Hain: Secretary of State

Nick Ainger: Parliamentary Under-Secretary

Don Touhig: Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Defence

13 December 2006

Westminster

Government’s legislative programme as it relates to Wales and public expenditure in Wales

Peter Hain: Secretary of State

Nick Ainger: Parliamentary Under-Secretary

12 December 2007

Westminster

Government’s legislative programme as it relates to Wales and public expenditure in Wales

Peter Hain: Secretary of State

Huw Irranca-Davies: Parliamentary Under-Secretary

26 March 2008

Westminster

Budget statement and its implications for Wales

Peter Hain: Secretary of State

Huw Irranca-Davies: Parliamentary Under-Secretary

Total meetings 2005 Parliament to date: 5

Source:

Journal Office and Official Report of Welsh Grand Committee debates

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Air Pollution: Peterborough

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs for what reason Peterborough City Council was not selected for the air quality grant programme in each of the last three years; and if he will make a statement. (199896)

Local authorities are required to work towards meeting the air quality objectives in the Air Quality Regulations 2000 by designating air quality management areas where concentrations of any of the seven pollutants in the regulations exceed, or are likely to exceed, the stated objectives. To help local authorities do this, DEFRA operates an air quality grant scheme, a capital grant for which local authorities bid. The total amount of this grant, which is divided between successful authorities, is approximately £2.3 million per year. While Peterborough city council was aware of the air quality grant, the council has not applied for the past three years.

Animal Welfare: Supermarkets

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent discussions he has had with major supermarket chains on animal welfare standards. (198105)

DEFRA has frequent communications with supermarkets on a wide range of issues, including animal welfare.

Animals: Disease Control

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent review he has undertaken of his Department's contingency plans, including for (a) the mobilisation of veterinary staff and (b) tackling future animal disease outbreaks. (197993)

DEFRA'S latest revised generic Contingency Plan for Exotic Animal Diseases for England, which includes arrangements for the mobilisation of veterinary staff, was laid before Parliament on 10 December 2007. The plan is amended annually (as required under the Animal Health Act 2002) and covers arrangements for dealing with a range of exotic animal diseases.

The aim is to ensure that the Government and others have contingency plans in place to deal with disease outbreaks. The effective and speedy deployment of veterinary staff and expertise has long been a prime consideration.

Dr. Iain Anderson conducted an independent review into the lessons learned from the response to the 2007 outbreak of foot and mouth disease, and the Government are considering the recommendations made. The review is published on the DEFRA website.

Animals: Imports

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many cases of (a) reptiles and (b) birds being imported from (i) within and (ii) outside the European Union were recorded on the Trade Control and Export System in each year since 2000. (199531)

The TRACES system is run by the European Commission; using the system became compulsory from the start of 2005. Records exist for 2004 though, as TRACES was not then compulsory, these are not comparable with later years.

Number of consignments recorded on TRACES for each year:

Within the EU

Outside the EU

2004

Reptiles

2

89

Birds1

107

37

2005

Reptiles

18

233

Birds1

962

90

2006

Reptiles

12

248

Birds1

787

8

2007

Reptiles

13

289

Birds1

964

14

1 Non-poultry but includes game

Beef

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what impact assessment he has made in relation to Annex III, Section V, Chapter III, point 2 (B) of Regulation (EC) number 853/2004 and beef production in the UK. (198217)

I have been asked to reply.

A regulatory impact assessment (RIA) was completed as part of the Food Standards Agency's (FSA) consultation on the European Commission proposals to consolidate and simplify European Union (EU) hygiene legislation in 2004 that came into force on 1 January 2006. This covered all the proposals in the legislation, and a copy of the RIA has been placed in the Library and is also available from the FSA's website at:

www.food.gov.uk/multimedia/pdfs/EURegulationsRIA.pdf

In October 2007, as part of the FSA's proposals to adapt the EU legislation to allow the continuation of the English tradition of ageing meat that is used to produce minced meat, an impact assessment was completed. This document has been placed in the Library and also is available on the FSA's website at:

www.food.gov.uk/multimedia/pdfs/hyg08engia09.pdf

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what representations he has received on the proposals for the regulation of mince in Annex III, Section V, Chapter III, point 2 (B) to Regulation (EC) number 853/2004. (198219)

I have been asked to reply.

Regulation (EC) 853/2004 of 29 April 2004 laid down specific hygiene rules for food of animal origin and is one of three sets of food hygiene legislation that came into force on 1 January 2006. The requirements, in that legislation, regarding the production of minced meat (Annex III, Section V, Chapter III, paragraph 2(b)) are the same as those that were in force for trade between member states prior to 1 January 2006. Between March 2004 and June 2004 industry and other stakeholders were consulted on the European Commission proposals to consolidate and simplify European Union food hygiene legislation; there were 71 responses to the consultation from a range of stakeholders on all aspects of the simplification of the legislation.

Bluetongue Disease: Vaccination

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what percentage of livestock owners he estimates would take-up blue tongue vaccinations if such a programme were to be introduced. (198104)

Although we have made no formal estimate of likely take-up of vaccine, the advice of industry stakeholders is that take-up will be high in a voluntary scheme, especially with an active approach to promoting vaccination. As individual keepers will be responsible for the costs of vaccination, our aim, in close collaboration with a core group of industry stakeholders, has been to develop a vaccination programme which will reduce the cost of vaccination to a minimum by using existing delivery chains and reducing regulatory burdens in order to encourage maximum participation.

Carbon Emissions: Nuclear Power Stations

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether the carbon dioxide output of uranium fuel for nuclear power stations will be taken into account in estimating the UK's carbon footprint. (199900)

Carbon dioxide emissions from the production and reprocessing of nuclear fuel in the UK are taken into account in the UK Greenhouse Gas Inventory. Carbon dioxide emissions associated with energy use in the mining or extraction of uranium are reported in the emissions inventories of the country where the activities occur.

Catchment Sensitive Farming Project

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which (a) projects and (b) locations are part of his Department's catchment sensitive farming project. (198107)

The England catchment sensitive farming delivery initiative has been in place since April 2006 and is being delivered jointly by Natural England and the Environment Agency on behalf of DEFRA. It is currently based in priority catchments covering a little over a third of the agricultural area of England and its purpose is to encourage farmers to take voluntary action to tackle diffuse water pollution, mainly from nitrates, phosphorus, sediment, pesticides and livestock faeces.

The main elements of the initiative are: 40 priority catchments served by a network of 42 catchment sensitive farming officers working locally; a programme of farmer workshops, farm demonstrations and farm visits; partnership with the pesticides voluntary initiative; local catchment steering groups bringing together farmers, water companies and other stakeholders; a capital grant scheme. In its first two years the initiative also supported 20 projects, with similar aims and objectives, in other catchments.

In February 2008 DEFRA launched Future Water, the Government's new water strategy for England. This stated that DEFRA will continue to support farmers on catchment sensitive farming for a further three years. DEFRA has since confirmed that the England catchment sensitive farming delivery initiative will receive funding of £12.9 million in 2008-09. Most of the initial programme is being rolled forward for a period of six months, with a new programme planned from October.

Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether his Department has worked on research with the Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy based jointly at the London School of Economics and the University of Leeds. (199697)

DEFRA has not carried out any research with the Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy. The Centre will be set up in October 2008.

Climate Change

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what his highest projection is of the average annual temperature for the UK in 2050. (199418)

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fourth Assessment Report includes ‘high-end’ projections for global temperature rise from an ensemble of climate models. These are based on close to business-as-usual Special Report on Emissions Scenarios (SRES) (for example, A2 and A1B).

Using these projections, our current best estimate for a high-end UK-wide average annual temperature increase by 2050 (relative to 1990) is approximately 1.75° C.

In general terms, there is relatively little differentiation in temperature projections at 2050, no matter what emissions scenario is chosen. However, later this century, the gap between high-end and low-end scenarios will widen.

Departmental Domestic Visits

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what visits he made to (a) Harrogate International Centre, (b) International Conference Centre, Birmingham, (c) Manchester Central, (d) Scottish Exhibitional and Conference Centre, Glasgow, (e) Edinburgh International Conference Centre, (f) Bournemouth International Conference Centre, (g) the Brighton Centre, Brighton, (h) the Riviera Centre, Torquay, (i) Queen Elizabeth Centre, London, (j) Excel Conference Centre, Docklands, London, and (k) Business Design Centre, Islington, London, in the period 1 January 2005 to 31 December 2007; and what events he attended at each. (197160)

Departmental Publications

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what guidance is issued to members of his Department on the authorship and publication on the internet of material relating to their official duties; and if he will make a statement. (196738)

The Civil Service Code, the Civil Service Management Code and Propriety Guidance on Government Communications, all provide guidance to staff on the publication of material relating to their official duties. Copies of each of these are in the Libraries of the House. They are also available on the Cabinet Office website at:

http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/

Departmental Video Conferencing

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will set a target to increase the use of video-conferencing by his Department to reduce the need to travel to meetings. (195881)

DEFRA is working hard to identify where we can reduce the need to travel, through the use of video conferencing and other alternatives, and when travel is necessary, to encourage staff to make the most sustainable choices.

We are working with our IT strategic supplier IBM and Tandberg to install the infrastructure necessary to make available the next breed of video conferencing services based around IP rather than ISDN telecommunication protocols and fixed v/conf studios. This will improve the availability, quality and mobility of the v/conf service and make it a more attractive alternative option for staff to choose when travelling to meetings would normally be required.

But we recognise it is not a panacea for all meetings. Initial contacts and team building often require physical, face-to-face meetings to ensure good team relationships are built before moving to electronic meeting spaces. We also recognise that there are other technologies that can impact on the need for meetings—e.g. a quick teleconference session can often be appropriate and sufficient if there is a single issue to resolve among a small number of people.

We will also be setting up SharePoint team spaces to provide a repository of shared resources, discussion threads and wikis etc. that should reduce the need for meetings in the first place and support the move of the core department to a more project-orientated structure.

DEFRA is looking to these new technologies to assist in meeting its new travel targets to:

reduce carbon dioxide emissions from vehicles by 15 per cent. by 2011-12 (from a 2005-06 baseline)

achieve a new fleet emissions average of 130g/k by 2010

reduce carbon dioxide emissions from air travel by 5 per cent. by 2008-09 (from a 2006-07 baseline)

achieve an overall reduction in the amount of travel undertaken across the core-department

More specifically we will look to see an increase in take-up and use of the new v/conf services following implementation of the new IP infrastructure, though a target has yet to be set.

You may also wish to know that DEFRA worked with IBM to produce a White Paper on methods and techniques for assessing and reducing the carbon footprint of office IT services entitled “Environmentally aware governance of the distributed IT infrastructure”. This has now received two awards—a Gold Award from BCS link:

http://www.bcs.org/server.php?show=conWebDoc.16275

and the European Green IT Summit Infrastructure Project of the Year award, see link:

http://www.lansdown.com/green/awards.php

at the same event IBM also won the award for European Green IT Supplier of the Year. So we are at the forefront of work taking forward the Green IT agenda.

Departmental Waste Disposal

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much waste his Department sent to landfill in each year since 1997. (198805)

[holding answer 3 April 2008]: DEFRA was created in 2001, and we are unable to provide data on waste sent to landfill from the date as requested. However, the figures for the last five years are as follows.

Waste sent to landfill (tonnes)

2006-07

1,560

2005-06

1,619

2004-05

1,890

2003-04

2,129

2002-03

1,180

Data are gathered from waste monitoring returns which are collated by each site, this data feeds into the Sustainable Development in Government (SDiG) reporting.

Environment Protection: Carbon Emissions

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of the expected changes in average annual temperature in the UK by 2050 using a Kyoto commitment as its benchmark (a) if carbon emissions increase by 20 per cent., (b) if carbon emissions remain the same, (c) if carbon emissions decrease by 20 per cent., (d) if carbon emissions decrease by 40 per cent., (e) if carbon emissions decrease by 60 per cent. and (f) if carbon emissions decrease by 80 per cent. (198233)

Estimates by the Met Office Hadley Centre, suggest that the anticipated increased average annual temperature in the UK by 2050, relative to the 1990 temperature level, will be approximately (a) 1.5°C if greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions increase by 20 per cent., (b) 1.3°C if GHG emissions remain the same, (c) 1.1°C if GHG emissions decrease by 20 per cent., (d) 1.0°C if GHG emissions decrease by 40 per cent., (e) 0.8°C if GHG emissions decrease by 60 per cent. and (f) 0.6°C if GHG emissions decrease by 80 per cent.

Actual increases in temperature will, however, depend on when emission reductions begin, with later start dates for reductions resulting in a correspondingly larger temperature rises. The above estimates for temperature increases are based on a set of emission reduction pathways beginning during the 2010 to 2030 period.

Ferries: Lymington

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what the reasons are for plans for larger ferries between Lymington and Yarmouth and associated shore works not being subject to an environmental impact assessment; and if he will make a statement; (199174)

(2) what progress has been made in conducting an appropriate assessment of plans to increase the size of ferries between Yarmouth and Lymington together with associated shore works; and if he will make a statement.

It is for the relevant consenting authorities, in this case the Marine and Fisheries Agency and the planning authorities, to decide whether or not an environmental impact assessment is needed. In this case I understand that in view of the nature, scale and location of the proposed works the relevant authorities agreed that there are not likely to be any significant environmental effects and therefore the proposals do not trigger the requirement to undertake such an assessment.

The criteria for undertaking an appropriate assessment under the Habitats Regulations provide that the consenting authorities must ascertain, before granting approval to the works, that the proposals will not have an adverse effect on the integrity of a European protected site. In this case the authorities agreed that an assessment should be undertaken which would also take account of the possible effects of operating the new ferries on the Solent and Southampton Water protected site. The developers engaged consultants who produced a report on 28 March to underpin that assessment. This is currently being considered by Natural England and the Marine and Fisheries Agency. In determining their respective consents the regulating authorities must make an assessment of the potential effects of the proposals on the site and on any mitigation necessary to protect the site from damage.

Fisheries: Subsidies

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what information he has received from the European Commission on fuel subsidies to other member states’ fishing fleets in the last 12 months. (200204)

The European Commission does not routinely publish information on fuel subsidies in member states and I have received no information from the Commission in the last 12 months.

Flood Control

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will ensure that those local authorities which are in the lead of flood preventative planning committees have the (a) resources and (b) powers to carry out the recommendations of those committees. (199025)

My Department is not aware of any local authority bodies named as flood preventative planning committees.

In terms of resources committed to the effective management of flood and coastal erosion risk more generally, spend across central and local government will increase from £600 million in 2007-08 to £650 million this year, £700 million in 2009-10 and £800 million in 2010-11.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps his Department is taking to establish a single, comprehensive source of accurate flood risk data in the UK. (199350)

As this is devolved issue; the Environment Agency has responsibility for England only.

As part of their role in taking a strategic overview of flood risk, the Environment Agency is determining what data needs to be collected in relation to the different sources of flood risk.

Decisions on the form and accessibility of the database will be taken in the light of this.

Flood Control: Coastal Areas

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the scope for using recycled materials to provide low cost material for coastal defence. (200042)

The Environment Agency employs a comprehensive Environmental Impact Assessment process to ensure its construction activities deliver the best for the environment. This is complemented by a procurement Sustainability Construction Risk Assessment which aims to ensure that sustainability issues are considered at the outset, in the project plan, the design and the specification. This ensures that where possible the materials used are recycled and/or locally sourced.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the compatibility of Natural England and the Environment Agency’s policies on Managed Retreat. (200053)

The Government’s policy, as set out in their response to “Making Space for Water”, is to adopt a more sustainable approach to flood risk management, moving to a wider portfolio of responses including greater use of rural land-use solutions. In that context, the recent inquiry into the 2007 flooding, chaired by Sir Michael Pitt, has concluded that DEFRA, the Environment Agency and Natural England should work with partners to establish a programme and framework to achieve greater working with natural processes.

Flood Control: West Sussex

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions he had with the Environment Agency about the warning received on 7 March about an imminent collapse of the sea defences in Selsey. (200157)

On 7 March, the Medmerry shingle bank was in a good condition and there was no concern of an imminent collapse of any sea defence in Selsey.

Storm conditions, combined with high spring tides and a coastal surge on 10 March caused the overtopping of the shingle bank during the lunchtime high tide. This resulted in the subsequent failure of a section of the defence. The Environment Agency has kept DEFRA updated on the general situation regarding the coastal surge and wave conditions.

Foot and Mouth Disease: Disease Control

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps he has taken to prevent a recurrence of the circumstances that led to the foot and mouth outbreak at Pirbright. (197994)

As soon as we became aware that Pirbright was a potential source of the foot and mouth disease (FMD) outbreak we put in place a number of additional safeguards at the site. We immediately asked the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and Professor Spratt to carry out reviews of biosecurity, and subsequently accepted all of the recommendations in their reports. Since then, stringent new biosecurity conditions have been applied to work on the Pirbright site, providing several independent layers of safety and ensuring that the process is contained. For example, a comprehensive programme of preventive maintenance of the contained drainage system has been implemented and sections have been re-lined. These measures will ensure the highest level of biosecurity at Pirbright.

In addition, a Safety Alert was issued last September to all similar laboratories, which has been followed up by a joint programme of inspections by HSE and DEFRA inspectors to these labs. The inspections of containment level (CL) 4 laboratories revealed no breaches of the legislation and no formal enforcement action was taken. This process has provided both the regulatory bodies and the operators of the laboratories with the assurance that their facilities are well managed. HSE will continue this series of Safety Alert inspections to consider CL3 facilities based on risk.

The Government accepted all of the recommendations in Sir Bill Callaghan's independent review of the regulatory framework for the handling of animal pathogens, published in December 2007. These included that responsibility for the regulation of animal pathogens should transfer to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). DEFRA is working closely with the HSE and other departments, to implement all three phases of the work recommended by Sir Bill Callaghan. The formal legal transfer of the Specified Animal Pathogens Order enforcement and inspection responsibilities is well under way and is nearing completion.

We have worked closely with the HSE and are satisfied that all necessary measures are in place to provide assurance that the risk of accidental release is as close to zero as possible.

Genetically Modified Organisms: Crops

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent discussions he has had with the French government on its decision to extend its ban on Monsanto’s MON810 maize. (198716)

We have not discussed this issue with the French Government. In line with European Union (EU) rules, the French decision to suspend the marketing of MON810 maize seed is now being considered by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). Based on its advice, the European Commission should then make a proposal for an EU decision to either require France to rescind its action, or to approve and extend it across the EU. We will take a position on this in due course, taking account of the EFSA opinion and the view of our own independent Advisory Committee on Releases to the Environment.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether he plans to respond to the National Audit Office review UK Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Measurements and Reporting, published on 15 March. (199705)

The review “UK greenhouse gas emissions: measurement and reporting” produced by the National Audit Office was a briefing note prepared for the Environmental Audit Committee. Therefore, although DEFRA is carefully considering all the points that were raised during the review, we will not be formally responding to the review.

Heating: EC Law

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when officials from his Department next plan to meet European Commission officials to discuss the proposed labelling of heating systems in the Energy-using Products Directive; and what the timetable is for implementation of the Directive in the UK. (198828)

My officials have no meetings currently planned, but a request has been made to the European Commission for a teleconference about this in the next couple of weeks. At that time, the European Commission will be asked whether they intend to stick to their original timetable for this implementing measure, which is for a vote at a regulatory committee in early 2009.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether the Energy Using Products Board will meet the UK controls industry following the Government’s submission of a paper to the Commission on Lot 1 of the Energy-using Products Directive. (198829)

Officials have met the controls industry several times while developing a position on Energy-Using Products Directive Lot 1 and would be happy to do so again if the industry needed to discuss this further at this stage. However, we have received no recent indication that the industry would like to meet.

Home Energy Efficiency Scheme

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what his Department has spent on (a) Warm Front and (b) Warm Deal since 2000. (199554)

Warm Front is a devolved issue. In Scotland it is known as Warm Deal and is the responsibility of the Scottish Executive. For information on Warm Front spending I refer the hon. Member to the reply given on 1 April 2008, Official Report, column 731W, to my hon. Friend the Member for North Durham (Mr. Jones).

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent representations he has received on the Warm Front scheme in respect of (a) affordability, (b) properties already benefiting from prior insulation grants and (c) regional procurement; and if he will make a statement. (199861)

We have received representations on the Warm Front Scheme in the form of letters and e-mails from hon. Members and the general public as well as parliamentary questions. These have been on a variety of issues, including affordability, prior insulation grants and regional procurement.

Home Energy Efficiency Scheme: Eaga

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many firms involved in the Warm Front scheme are wholly or partly owned by Eaga. (195740)

A total of seven companies involved in the delivery of Warm Front are wholly or partly owned by the Eaga Group. These are listed in the following table:

Company

Role

Percentage ownership

Eaga plc

Scheme Management

100

ATEC Ltd.

Client Contact Centre and Surveys

100

Iguana Ltd.

Heating installations

100

Eaga Social Housing

Heating installations

100

Milfold Group Ltd.

Insulation installations

100

WarmSure Ltd.

Aftercare services

50

Eaga Insurance Services Ltd.

Insurance cover provision

100

Incinerators: Pollution

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) whether incinerators are assessed for their effects on public health; what a safe level of dioxins is considered to be; and whether his Department has records of incinerators that exceeded this level in the latest period for which figures are available; (197834)

(2) what regulations govern emissions from the incineration of waste in (a) hospital, (b) crematoria and (c) waste incinerators.

Waste incineration plants, including those in hospitals, are subject to the Pollution Prevention and Control Regulations (the “PPC Regulations”) which were superseded from 6 April 2008 by the Environmental Permitting Regulations 2007. These regulations require each incinerator to have a permit to operate which is issued by the regulator only after detailed consideration of the environmental and health impacts of the operation. Each permit contains operating conditions which incorporate the requirements of the waste incineration directive (the WID), among which is a maximum emission limit to air for dioxins of 0.1 ng/m3 expressed as International Toxic Equivalents (ITEQ). This limit is considered to provide adequate protection to the human health and environment.

Waste incinerators are responsible for a small proportion only of emissions of a range of pollutants. An independent, peer reviewed, study published in 2004, 'Review of the Environmental and Health Effects of Waste Management', concluded that based on the evidence from studies so far:

“risks to human health from incineration are small in comparison with other known risks”.

Of the 65 incinerators regulated by the Environment Agency, five were reported to have breached the 0.1 ng/m3 emission limit during 2007. In four of these cases a formal warning was issued by the Environment Agency. In the last case the Environment Agency is considering what enforcement action is required.

Crematoria are not waste incineration plants and so are not regulated in that way, although they are subject to controls upon emissions to air under other parts of the EPR regulations.

Livestock: Disease Control

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans he has to engage with small livestock keepers, including hobby farmers, on disease control strategies. (198103)

Livestock keepers are encouraged to take responsibility for developing their own contingency plans should they be affected by a disease outbreak. Guidance for livestock keepers, as well as our disease control strategies are publicly available on our website and information is available via the DEFRA Helpline.

Small holders and hobby farmers are a target audience in DEFRA's ‘Give Disease the Boot’ marketing campaign, which is designed to increase awareness of animal diseases and the actions that livestock keepers need to take to help reduce the incidence and spread of disease. In addition, through active engagement with partners in industry we disseminate messages to the members they represent.

Milk: Quotas

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what progress has been made in his Department's discussions with the European Commission on the abolition of milk quotas. (198115)

Milk quotas will be abolished in 2015. Discussions with the European Commission about how best to ensure the “soft-landing” for the dairy sector ahead of the abolition of milk quotas are ongoing. We expect the Commission to publish their draft proposals at the end of May.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans he has to encourage greater milk production in the UK in order to fulfil new quota allocations. (198116)

Milk quotas are a limit on production; a ceiling not a target. The Government have been pressing for their removal for some time as they encourage producers to produce to a quota rather than to meet market demand. In addition, they are an unnecessary cost and regulatory burden. We look forward to their abolition in 2015. Consequently, we have no plans to encourage greater milk production to fulfil the new quota ceilings. we believe producers should produce for the market.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what percentage of milk consumed in England was produced in England in the last 12 months; and whether he plans to increase levels of self-sufficiency. (198117)

The UK is largely self-sufficient in milk. Over 95 per cent. of the milk consumed in the UK is produced in the UK. Organic milk has occasionally been imported when demand outstripped supply and it made economic sense for companies to do so. In addition, a small amount of UHT milk is imported from abroad. We have no plans to increase levels of self-sufficiency.

Nature Conservation: Wildlife

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) how many priority species have been (a) added and (b) removed from the UK Biodiversity Action Plan list in each year since the list was first issued; (198263)

(2) what criteria were used in determining priority species to be added to the UK Biodiversity Action Plan list;

(3) how often the UK Biodiversity Action Plan list of priority species is reviewed.

In 1995, the original UK Biodiversity Action Plan (UK BAP) included a total of 427 priority species. In 1997-98, 20 of these species were removed and a further 169 were added, giving a total of 576. This was increased to 577 in 2005, due to recognition of two distinct sub-species of pipistrelle bat. On 28 August 2007, I announced a new UK list of priority species and habitats which contained 1,149 species. Of the former UK BAP species, 123 were removed while 695 species were added, partially because of new declines but primarily because our knowledge and understanding had increased. This was the first full review of the UK BAP list. The review criteria were:

1. International threat.

2. International importance of the UK population.

3. Marked decline in the UK.

4. Other important factor(s) such as very restricted geographic range or extreme threat.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much has been allocated to UK Biodiversity Action Plan priority species in each year since the action plan list was first issued. (198266)

This information is not available and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. However, in 2007 consultants estimated a total UK Biodiversity Action Plan related expenditure of £388 million, of which £318 million related to Habitat Action Plans and £70 million to Species Action Plans. Many widespread species require the delivery of habitat management at the landscape scale, so in practice much of the spend on Habitat Action Plans also benefits species.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what actions accompany the designation of a priority species under the UK Biodiversity Action Plan. (198277)

The UK list of priority species provides a focus for conservation action over the next decade and will be used to inform statutory lists under legislation in each of the countries of the UK. The list has been published with an indication of the most important types of action necessary for the conservation of each species. The UK Biodiversity Partnership is adopting the ecosystem approach and, in addition to legal protection and management for single species and sites, these actions include habitat expansion and restoration, wider action on cross-cutting issues such as climate change, and research. Biodiversity conservation is a devolved matter, and implementation is being taken forward under biodiversity and environment strategies in each of the four countries of the UK.

Nature Reserves: West Sussex

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment has been made of the effect of the Environment Agency's Managed Realignment proposals on the recently acquired RSPB Nature Reserve behind the Medmerry frontage. (200022)

The Environment Agency is currently developing the Pagham to East Head Coastal Defence Strategy.

A strategic environmental assessment of the options is currently being completed and will be published with the draft and made available for public consultation. This will assess the impacts of many options, including managed realignment on the RSPB Nature Reserve and neighbouring land.

The Environment Agency will continue to discuss these potential options with the RSPB and other landowners in developing the strategy.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment has been made of the effect of the Managed Retreat losses under options (a) one and (b) two of the Environment Agency's proposals (i) in the Chichester Harbour area and (ii) at Selsey. (200023)

The Environment Agency has not yet published any proposals as part of the Pagham to East Head Coastal Defence Strategy. The strategy is currently being drafted. It will make an assessment of the impacts of all options, including any losses as a result of managed realignment, in accordance with DEFRA guidance.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether he plans to relocate the lost grazing marsh in Medmerry. (200025)

There are currently no plans to relocate any habitat as the Environment Agency has not yet concluded its investigations as part of the Pagham to East Head Coastal Defence Strategy.

The grazing marsh behind the Medmerry sea defences forms part of the Bracklesham Bay Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). The Environment Agency is working closely with Natural England and others to develop a Regional Habitat Creation Programme which will consider how best to offset potential habitat losses across the south east, such as that which could occur at Medmerry.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether Selsey’s £1 billion asset value was taken into consideration when calculating the Cost Benefit Analysis on the frontage at Medmerry. (200057)

The Environment Agency is currently drafting a Pagham to East Head Coastal Defence Strategy. The cost benefit analysis for the Medmerry frontage does take into account the full asset value for Selsey and has been calculated in accordance with DEFRA guidelines.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of the area of grazing marsh that will be lost to the sea under options (a) 1 and (b) 2 of the Environment Agency's Managed Retreat proposals. (200159)

The Environment Agency has not yet published any proposals as part of the Pagham to East Head Coastal Defence Strategy. Options one and two were indicative outlines highlighted within the initial consultation document, which was published in November 2006.

The draft strategy is currently being prepared and a number of different options are being investigated, including realignment. The potential impacts of these options on the coastal hinterland, including the area of grazing marsh, will be fully assessed in the strategy.

Oilseed Rape: Genetically Modified Organisms

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on which sites genetically modified oil seed rape has been grown for trial purposes; which of these sites has subsequently been cultivated with conventional and organic oil seed rape crops; and in which years such conventional and organic crops were cultivated in each case. (199514)

DEFRA’s website gives information on the sites for which consent was given to undertake trials of GM oilseed rape as part of the 1999-2003 farm-scale evaluations of herbicide tolerant GM crops.

It has been a general rule that a site used for GM oilseed rape trials would not subsequently be used to grow non-GM rape for a period of at least two years. Beyond that we do not have details of the subsequent cropping history of former GM sites.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what research his Department is carrying out into genetically modified oil seed rape volunteer plants at sites previously used for trials. (199515)

We have funded two research projects that are relevant to this issue. One is on the occurrence of GM oilseed rape volunteers at sites used for the Farm Scale Evaluation trials. The other is on the prediction, sampling and management of GM volunteer impurities in conventional oilseed rape crops, where the latter are grown on land previously sown with a GM variety. Both of these projects have been completed and reports on them will be published as soon as possible.

Organic Food

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what support is available from his Department for farmers who wish to switch to organic food production. (198719)

We want to encourage the expansion of organic food production and have just re-launched the Organic Conversion Information Service (OCIS), which provides free organic conversion advice to help farmers and land managers in England consider the practical implications of converting their businesses to organic production.

Financial support is available for organic farmers under the organic entry level stewardship (OELS) section of the environmental stewardship scheme. Aid under the OELS is worth £60 per hectare per year in recognition of the inherent environmental benefits delivered through farming organically. Top-up payments for the conversion of improved land and top fruit orchards are also available under OELS.

Both OCIS and OELS are managed by Natural England on behalf of DEFRA. There are equivalent arrangements in other UK territories.

More details are available on the DEFRA and the Natural England websites.

Pigs

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many pig farmers there are in England; and how many there were in May 2005. (198514)

Data on the number of pig farmers and registered holdings in England which specialise in pig production are collected via the annual June Agricultural Survey. The following figures relate to the position on these holdings at June in each year.

Figures shown are for holdings where pigs are the predominant activity.

Number

2005

2007

Total farmers, partners, directors including spouses if working on the holding

3,349

3,418

Total labour force (including the above)

5,296

5,286

Total holdings where pigs are the predominant activity

2,409

2,453

Source: June Agricultural Survey

Plastic Bags

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions he has had with the (a) Office of Fair Trading and (b) Competition Commission on co-operation between supermarkets to reduce consumption of single-use plastic bags. (197637)

Refrigerators: Waste Disposal

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate his Department has made of the release of greenhouse gases from the disposal of fridges through fragmentisers in the latest period for which figures are available. (194892)

[holding answer 17 March 2008]: Fridges form a relatively small proportion of the material handled by fragmentisers and the associated emissions of green house gases are not routinely measured or recorded. However, the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive requires that all greenhouse gases with a global warming potential above 15 must be extracted before items are sent through a fragmentiser.

Any fragmentiser handling separately collected waste electrical and electronic equipment—including fridges—must be an approved authorised treatment facility and deal with WEEE in accordance with the guidance published by the environment agencies on best available treatment, recovery and recycling techniques.

Renewable Energy: Transport

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what advice he has received from his Departmental chief scientific adviser on the review of the Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation. (199704)

DEFRA’s chief scientific adviser provides advice to Ministers on all aspects of biofuels policy and wider climate change strategy.

The Review of the Indirect Impacts of Biofuels was commissioned by the Department for Transport, and will be led by the Renewable Fuels Agency, under Professor Ed Gallagher. The Gallagher Review is critical to assessing the social and environmental sustainability of biofuels, and DEFRA’s chief scientific adviser, along with other Government chief scientific advisers, will peer review the findings of the review prior to its publication.

Seas and Oceans: Environment Protection

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer of 5 March 2007, Official Report, column 1278W, on seas and oceans: environmental protection, if he will list those sites not mentioned in the answer, but included in the figure of 180 sites reported in the Government’s response to the Science and Technology Committee’s report, Investigating the Oceans 2006-07, HC470; and what the reasons are for each site’s protection. (199123)

As mentioned in the answer I gave to the hon. Member on 27 March 2008, Official Report, column 354W, the information provided to the Science and Technology Committee, of around 180 marine protected areas in UK inshore waters (within 12 nautical miles), differs from the current figure of 151 marine protected areas as a result of ambiguity in the definition of what constitutes a ‘marine’ site.

Work was completed by the Joint Nature Conservation Council (JNCC) in October 2007 to refine inter-agency definitions of ‘special areas of conservation with marine components’ and ‘special protection areas with marine components’ in agreement with the Marine Natura Project Group. Lists of these sites and their associated interest features were then produced.

The JNCC website provides the names of the sites, and describes the qualifying species and marine habitats present.

Smallholdings

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions he has had with the Local Government Association on the future of local authority small holdings following the recent decision of Staffordshire county council to retain its stock. (198118)

The Government have not recently had any specific discussions with the Local Government Association about the future of county farms, although they have regular discussions with interested stakeholders on this subject. We would always urge local authorities to think carefully when making decisions about the future of their smallholding estates. Therefore I am very pleased that as a result of its consultation exercise, Staffordshire county council has decided to retain a smallholding estate.

Sustainable Development: Thames Gateway

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps his Department is taking to promote the development of sustainable drainage systems within new and existing developments in the Thames Gateway growth area; and if he will make a statement. (198989)

Planning Policy Statement 25 on Development and Flood Risk (PPS25) advocates that regional planning bodies and local authorities incorporate policies for furthering the use of sustainable drainage systems (SUDS) in their regional spatial strategies and development plan documents. They should also ensure that their policies and decisions on applications complement building regulations on sustainable rainwater drainage. This gives priority to the use of infiltration drainage systems over watercourses and then sewers. PPS25 also encourages local authorities to promote the use of SUDs by developers when they design their developments.

However, the principal obstacle to the increased take-up of SUDS is the lack of clarity over where responsibility for the ownership and long-term maintenance and renewal of SUDS infrastructure should lie. These issues are currently being addressed through a specific DEFRA work stream and have been the subject of informal consultation with the National SUDS Working Group. DEFRA is consulting on options for the responsibility for ownership and maintenance of SUDS as part of the current consultation on Improving Surface Water Drainage. This consultation was launched alongside the Government's Water Strategy in February 2007 and will close on 30 April 2008.

Waste Disposal: Fees and Charges

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) pursuant to the answer of 30 October 2007, Official Report, columns 1180-1W, on waste management: fees and charges, what powers local authorities have to require payment for the provision of bin bags; and what steps local authorities may take in instances of non-payment; (199505)

(2) whether residents may utilise bin bags from other sources without incurring the local authority charge in areas where local authorities charge for the provision of bin bags as waste receptacles.

As I stated in my reply of 30 October 2007, the Environmental Protection Act 1990, section 46, allows waste collection authorities to require occupiers to place waste for collection in receptacles of a kind and number specified. Bin bags are considered a ‘receptacle’ under the Act. Waste collection authorities may:

(i) provide the receptacles free of charge;

(ii) provide the receptacles and ask the occupier to pay for them;

(iii) require the occupier to provide the receptacles himself if he does not agree to pay for them within a specified period; or

(iv) require the occupier to provide the receptacles himself from the outset.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer of 30 October 2007, Official Report, columns 1180-1W, on Waste Management: Fees and Charges, what obligation there is upon the relevant waste collection authority to collect domestic waste put out in receptacles other than those provided by the local authority in those areas where local authorities make a charge for the provision of waste receptacles. (199507)

Under section 45 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990, local authorities (LAs) have a general duty to collect household waste. Section 46 of that Act gives LAs powers to determine arrangements for collection, such as the size, number and placing of receptacles for collection. As DEFRA advised in a letter of August 2005 to LAs, where an authority uses its section 46 powers to prescribe such arrangements and a resident does not comply with those requirements, an LA has no further duty to collect their waste, other than the duty to keep relevant land clear of litter and refuse.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which local authorities have (a) held discussions with and (b) expressed an interest to his Department on levying new charges for the collection of household waste. (199584)

My Department is currently considering the appropriate process for waste collection authorities to express an interest in running a pilot waste incentive scheme. Timings for this process will be subject to parliamentary progress on the Climate Change Bill. In the meantime, we continue to encourage and welcome authorities making inquiries on the implications of the legislation.

As is to be expected with any policy development, my officials and I have had a range of meetings with a variety of stakeholders on the powers provided in the Climate Change Bill for up to five local authorities to pilot waste incentive schemes.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether joint waste authorities will have powers to impose new charges for the collection of household rubbish. (199656)

Powers provided in the Climate Change Bill allow up to five local authorities to pilot incentives to encourage household waste minimisation and recycling.

A joint waste authority (JWA) would be able to put forward a proposal to pilot a waste incentive scheme in its area if it had responsibility for waste collection. A JWA would only be set up following a unanimous request from member local authorities and a local public consultation. A consultation on draft regulations and draft guidance regarding proposals for JWAs was published on 17 March 2008.

Waste Management: Domestic Wastes

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which waste collection authorities have introduced alternate weekly collections and subsequently reinstated weekly collections of residual household rubbish. (199583)

The following table represents our best understanding of which waste collection authorities, having introduced alternate weekly collections, have subsequently reinstated weekly collections of residual household rubbish. However, due to the often rapid changes in this area, it is unlikely to be completely up to date.

Local authorities that have reverted back to weekly collections

Region

Local authority

Comment

North-west

Blackburn with Darwen

North-west

Bolton MBC

From August 2007

North-west

Bury MBC

Rolled out to 14,000 households

Eastern

Chelmsford

Eastern

East Cambridgeshire

Trial withdrawn autumn 2007

Yorkshire and Humber

Leeds city

Trial in 1994 on two collection rounds. Withdrawn after six months

London

London borough of Sutton

West midlands

Nuneaton and Bedworth

Scheme pulled after 1 month due to delay in awarding dry recycling contract

South-west

Plymouth

South-east

Southampton city

Service rolled out to 26,000 households (2 collection rounds) - reverted back in 2004

Waste Management: Prisons

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what requirements there are on waste collection authorities to provide free waste collection services to prisons. (199568)

There is no requirement on waste collection authorities to provide free waste collection services to prisons.

Waste from all penal institutions falls under paragraph 16 of schedule 2 of the Controlled Waste Regulations 1992, and it is therefore classified as a type of household waste for which a charge for collection may be made.

Water Companies: Fines

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how the receipts from fines issued to water companies by Ofwat are distributed. (200074)

Ofwat has powers to impose financial penalties on water and sewerage companies. These are set out in the Water Industry Act 1991, as amended by the Water Act 2003. The statutory provisions Ofwat operates under when considering financial penalties state that the money received from the company’s fine must be paid to the Consolidated Fund operated by HM Treasury. This money is then spent on public services.

World War II: Medals

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether he plans to enable the Women’s Land Army Award to be given posthumously. (199901)

The Women’s Land Army and Timber Corps Veterans Badge will be awarded to those members who were alive on the date the announcement was made (6 December 2007). They may also be awarded to the spouses and descendants of those who died on or after that date.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the reasons are for the length of time taken to provide Land Army badges to people who have applied for them through hon. Members. (198558)

There has been a high volume of interest in the Women’s Land Army badge and all applications will be processed as quickly as possible.

Women and Equality

Departmental Pensions

To ask the Minister for Women and Equality how many and what percentage of staff in the Government Equalities Office have been making additional voluntary contributions to their pension since the Office's inception. (193587)

Since the formal establishment of the Government Equalities Office on 12 October 2007 one member of its staff (1.6 per cent. of the total employed by the Department) has made additional voluntary pension contributions.

Ipsos MORI

To ask the Minister for Women and Equality what payments her Department has made to Ipsos MORI since its establishment; and for what purposes. (194326)

Rackspace

To ask the Minister for Women and Equality what the value was of each contract awarded to Rackspace by the Government Equalities Office since its establishment. (197523)

Since its establishment, the Government Equalities Office has not awarded any contracts to Rackspace for hosting its IT server functions and applications.

Solicitor-General

China: Tibet

To ask the Solicitor-General what assessment the Law Officers have made of whether the actions taken by the People's Republic of China in relation to the self-determination movement in Tibet comply with international law. (199399)

In accordance with the long-standing convention adhered to by successive governments neither the fact that the law officers have been consulted nor the substance of any advice given is normally disclosed outside of Government.

Crown Prosecution Service: Manpower

To ask the Solicitor-General what the average length of service of chief inspectors of the Crown Prosecution Service has been since the inception of the post. (199391)

There has been only one Chief Inspector of the Crown Prosecution Service since the Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate Act came into force on 1 October 2000.

To ask the Solicitor-General how many times the contract of the Chief Inspector of the Crown Prosecution Service has been extended without a competitive process since the inception of the post. (199392)

The Chief Inspector of the Crown Prosecution Service was originally appointed on 1 October 2000 and his appointment expired on 21 March 2004. There then followed a series of short extensions of his appointment during a period when the Government's policy on criminal justice system inspection was under review and there was the prospect of (i) a merger between HMCPS Inspectorate and the new Inspectorate for the Unified Court Administration; and then (ii) a merger of all five criminal justice system Inspectorates. In the event, the then Police and Criminal Justice Bill was amended so the planned merger of all five Inspectorates did not proceed. In April 2007, the Chief Inspector's appointment was extended by one year. This appointment has recently been extended again by a further two years.

Crown Prosecution Service: Standards

To ask the Solicitor-General how many (a) categories and (b) aspects of the South London Crown Prosecution Service's performance (i) improved and (ii) deteriorated between 2005 and 2007. (199339)

The HM CPS Inspectorate's Overall Performance Assessment (OPA) reports are based on 13 aspects of performance. There is no assessment based on categories.

Of the 13 aspects assessed by HM CPS Inspectorate in 2007 for CPS London, South Sector, one aspect had improved since 2005, and four aspects declined. The remaining eight aspects remained stable, although the 'direction of travel' in one of these ('Delivering Change') was one of significant improvement.

To ask the Solicitor-General how many (a) categories and (b) aspects of the South London Crown Prosecution Service's performance were assessed as good in (i) 2005 and (ii) 2007. (199340)

The HM CPS Inspectorate’s overall performance assessment (OPA) reports are based on 13 aspects of performance. There is no assessment based on categories.

Of the 13 aspects assessed by HM CPS Inspectorate in 2005 for CPS London, South Sector, three aspects were rated as good. In 2007, there were no aspects rated as good.

To ask the Solicitor-General what the (a) Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and (b) South London CPS's rate of discharged committals was in (i) 2005 and (ii) 2007; and if she will make a statement. (199341)

A discharge is recorded in magistrates courts where a case is listed for committal to the Crown court for trial but the committal does not go ahead, and the defendant is discharged under section 6(1) of the Magistrates’ Courts Act 1980.

The number of discharged committals recorded in each of the last three years is shown in the table for the CPS nationally and for CPS London, South Sector. In addition to the total number, the rate of discharged committals is also shown as a percentage against all other outcome types. For example, during 2006-07, 2,325 defendant cases nationally resulted in a discharge, which represented 0.2 per cent. of completed cases.

CPS Overall Discharged Committals

Percentage

CPS London South Sector Discharged Committals

Percentage

2004-05

3,444

0.3

412

0.6

2005-06

2,420

0.2

344

0.5

2006-07

2,325

0.2

293

0.5

Olympics

Departmental Data Protection

To ask the Minister for the Olympics whether personal data for which her Office is responsible is (a) stored and (b) processed overseas; and if she will make a statement. (176008)

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to her by my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary for the Cabinet Office (Mr. Watson) on 31 March 2008, Official Report, column 522W.

Olympic Delivery Authority: Disclosure of Information

To ask the Minister for the Olympics what guidance she has provided to the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) on providing access for the public to its (a) register of interests and (b) register of gifts and hospitality; how she monitors the ODA’s procedures for complying with (i) that guidance and (ii) the Freedom of Information Act 2000 in publishing such information; and if she will make a statement. (198823)

The Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) is subject to a Management Statement and Financial Memorandum (“The Management Statement”), approved by myself and the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, which sets out the rules and guidelines relevant to the exercise of the ODA’s functions, duties and powers.

The Management Statement provides that the Chairman must ensure that a Code of Practice for Members of the ODA is in place based on the Cabinet Office’s model “Guidance on Codes of Practice for Board Members of Public Bodies.” The Code commits the Chairman and other Board Members to “The Seven Principles of Public Life” and includes a requirement for a comprehensive and publicly available register of Board Members’ interests.

The Management Statement also provides that ODA must operate at all times with the highest ethical standards and practices in accordance with the requirements set out in the ODA’s Employee Handbook, and its Code of Conduct and Business Ethics. The Code provides guidance on a wide range of issues including gifts and hospitality.

Compliance monitoring is primarily a matter for ODA’s internal audit. However, the Department remains involved in this process, through its attendance at ODA Audit Committee meetings.

In accordance with its Management Statement and its commitment to comply with its obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, the ODA has made its gifts and hospitality register and register of Board Members’ interests publicly available. The ODA has now increased accessibility by making these available on its website. Copies are also available from the House Library.

Olympic Games 2012

To ask the Minister for the Olympics with reference to the answer given to Lord Holme of Cheltenham in the House of Lords on 14 March 2007, Official Report [Lords], columns 135-36WA, on Olympic Games 2012: construction, what progress has been made in ensuring there is a social and economic legacy as well as a physical legacy for local people following the 2012 Olympics. (197425)

Specific initiatives, such as the London Employment and Skills Taskforce (LEST) Action Plan and London Business Network, have been developed to ensure local people and businesses are able to benefit from the opportunities being presented by the Olympics. For example, 77 local businesses have already been awarded contracts to supply the Olympic Delivery Authority. As legacy planning develops, we will continue to work with private and public sector delivery agencies to ensure that other opportunities are identified to deliver our commitment to transform the heart of East London.

In addition, the development of the Legacy Masterplan Framework (LMF) will set the context for the transformation of the Olympic Park to its post-Games uses, providing world-class sporting facilities set within a new 110 hectare park, along with the creation of a new urban district, linked with its surroundings, which will provide over 9,000 new homes, 12,000 jobs and other social facilities for local people. The London Development Agency and the newly appointed masterplanning team have started the process to develop the LMF and will engage closely with local people and businesses to ensure the masterplan reflects their ideas.

To ask the Minister for the Olympics whether there will be any ministerial involvement in the London Olympic Torch Relay. (199026)

I greeted the Beijing Organising Committee on the evening of 5 April, when they brought the flame into the UK. In addition, both my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport and I attended the relay on 6 April, at No. 10 with my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister, and then later at the Southbank Centre.

Olympic Games 2012: Broadcasting

To ask the Minister for the Olympics what assessment she has made of the potential financial benefits to the London Development Agency of legacy use of the Olympics international broadcast centre/media and press centre. (199661)

As the land owner and the Legacy Client for the Olympic Park, the London Development Agency is eligible for—but not guaranteed—an appropriate financial return, taking account of usual overage, for its land input to the International Broadcast Centre and Main Press Centre (IBC/MPC). The overage is subject to a number of conditions based on financial market conditions and rental/sales projections and will be linked to the profitability of the regeneration scheme. An independent overage valuation is being undertaken currently with findings of this valuation yet to be established. Overage returns, in accordance with the established MOU between the Government and the Mayor of London, will be directed to both the LDA and to the benefit of Lottery good causes.

The receipt of overage will give the LDA a financial interest in maximising the legacy value of the IBC/MPC, both in commercial and amenity terms, and will contribute to ensuring a vibrant and productive future for the venue both in its own right and in the context of the wider Park.

Olympic Games 2012: Training

To ask the Minister for the Olympics pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Henley of 10 December 2007, Official Report, column 47W, on Olympic Games 2012: training, how many of the level one training places were for courses in construction; and how many of those qualifying from those courses have been offered jobs on projects involved with construction work for the Olympics. (195898)

Pursuant to my answer of 10 December 2007, Official Report, column 47W to the hon. Member for Henley a further 666 skills training places have been offered by the London Development Agency, bringing the total for the period January to December 2007 to 1,835.

Improvements to the LDA's monitoring systems since April 2007 have allowed it to track the outcomes for individuals receiving this training from that date. For the period April to December 2007, 1,083 skills training courses were delivered to 956 individuals. Of these, all were unemployed at the time of training, 286 subsequently obtained employment, of which 80 have been offered jobs on the Olympic site.

Provisional figures indicate that approximately three quarters of the 1,083 courses have been construction related. 12 of these were level 2. The remaining courses have provided training for security and hospitality industries alongside site-based office roles.

Northern Ireland

Demonstrations

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether his Department has commissioned research through (a) focus groups and (b) other market research on the opinions of people in Northern Ireland on the resolution of the parades disputes. (196530)

Departmental Data Protection

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether confidential or personal information has been compromised through the loss of property from his Department since 1997. (193433)

Except in exceptional cases, when it is in the public interest, it has been the policy of successive Governments not to comment on breaches of security. However, following the publication of the Data Handling Procedures in Government: Interim Progress Report on 17 December 2007, Official Report, column 98WS, all Departments will cover information assurance issues in their annual reports.

Departmental Internet

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how much was spent on the most recent redesign and implementation of his Department's website. (200027)

The most recent redesign and implementation of the Northern Ireland Office website was carried out in March 2007 and cost £4,185.94.

Departmental Legislation

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what criminal offences have been created by primary legislation sponsored by his Department since July 2007. (198283)

As there have been no Northern Ireland Acts of Parliament since July 2007, no criminal offences have been created.

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what criminal offences have been abolished by primary legislation sponsored by his Department since May 1997. (198321)

Acts of Parliament sponsored by my Department since May 1997 have repealed the following offences.

Repealing Act

Offence

Statutory reference of offence

Terrorism (Northern Ireland) Act 2006

Wilfully obstructing HM Forces or constable exercising power under this section

Section 87 of Terrorism Act 2000

Failure to stop when required under this section; refusing to answer question; failure to answer to best of knowledge and ability question under this section

Section 89 of Terrorism Act 2000

Interfering with works executed re section 91 or 92; interfering with any apparatus etc. used under those powers

Section 93 of Terrorism Act 2000

Interfering with road closure works etc.; executing certain bypass works; possessing etc. materials for executing bypass works; occupant knowingly permitting above on his land

Section 94 of Terrorism Act 2000

Failure to stop vehicle when required under part VII

Section 95 of Terrorism Act 2000

Failure to comply with regulations made by Secretary of State to preserve peace or maintain order

Section 96 of Terrorism Act 2000

Collecting, recording, publishing, communicating or eliciting information about a person, which is likely to be of use to terrorists; possessing document or record with such information

Section 103 of Terrorism Act 2000

Contravening restraint order

Paragraph 37, schedule 4 to Terrorism Act 2000

Obstructing search under this paragraph

Paragraph 19, schedule 5 to Terrorism Act 2000

Contravening order made under this paragraph

Paragraph 20, schedule 5 to Terrorism Act 2000

Failure to comply with requirement under this schedule; wilfully obstructing search of premises hereunder

Paragraph 10, schedule 10 to Terrorism Act 2000

Failure to stop when required under paragraph 6 of this schedule

Paragraph 11, schedule 10 to Terrorism Act 2000

Obtaining (increased) compensation by deception; knowingly making false or misleading statement; making statement he does not believe to be true; knowingly failing to disclose material fact

Paragraph 12, schedule 12 to Terrorism Act 2000

Providing or offering to provide security services for reward without licence

Paragraph 2, schedule 13 to Terrorism Act 2000

Publishing or causing to be published an advertisement for the provision of security services by someone who does not hold a licence

Paragraph 3, schedule 13 to Terrorism Act 2000

Paying money to someone re security services when they do not hold a licence

Paragraph 4, schedule 13 to Terrorism Act 2000

Making false or misleading statement when applying for a security licence

Paragraph 6, schedule 13 to Terrorism Act 2000

Failure to comply with paragraph 13 or 14 of this schedule

Paragraph 15, schedule 13 to Terrorism Act 2000

Failure to comply with requirement to produce records about person employed as security guard

Paragraph 16, schedule 13 to Terrorism Act 2000

Keeping record of person employed as security guard which is false or misleading

Paragraph 17, schedule 13 to Terrorism Act 2000

Failure to surrender to custody while on bail for a scheduled offence

Paragraph 1, schedule 2 to Justice (NI) Act 2004

Justice (Northern Ireland) Act 2004

Failure of person on bail to present himself to court

Section 26(d) of Prison Act (NI) 1953

Northern Ireland Act 1998

Discrimination by public authority on grounds of religion or political opinion

Section 19 of Northern Ireland Constitution Act 1973

Public authority requiring person to take oath / make declaration on appointment (etc.)

Section 21 of Northern Ireland Constitution Act 1973

Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Act 1998

Escaping or failing to return as required to detention under interim custody order or detention order; rescuing, assisting, harbouring such escaper etc.

Paragraph 13, schedule 3 to Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Act 1996

Police (Northern Ireland) Act 1998

Unlawful possession of arms or ammunition; assuming dress or name of constable.

Section 25 of Constabulary (Ireland) Act 1836

Obtaining pension by fraud.

Section 9 of Constabulary and Police (Ireland) Act 1883

Pretending to be member of RUC

Section 20 of Criminal Justice Act (NI) 1953

Assault on, or obstruction of, a constable

Section 7 of Criminal Justice (Misc. Provisions) Act (NI) 1968

Disclosure of information contravening this article

Article 18 of Police (NI) Order 1987

Disclosure of information contravening this paragraph.

Paragraph 15, schedule 1 to Police (NI) Order 1987

Disclosure of information contravening this article

Article 28 of Police (Am)(NI) Order 1995

Public Processions (Northern Ireland) Act 1998

Organising a procession (etc.) where requirements not satisfied

Article 3 of Public Order (NI) Order 1987

Knowingly taking part in public procession as member of unregistered (etc.) band

Article 6 of Public Order (NI) Order 1987

Failure to comply with constable's requirement to surrender alcohol/state name and address

Article 6A of Public Order (NI) Order 1987

Endeavouring to break up lawful public procession

Article 7(1) of Public Order (NI) Order 1987

Departmental Sick Leave

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many day’s sick leave were taken on average by staff in his Department in each of the last five years. (198957)

The following table shows the number of days lost due to sick absence, per staff year in each of the last five years within the Northern Ireland Office. These figures have been taken from information published by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency.

Number of days lost due to sick absence

2002-03

13.7

2003-04

14.0

2004-05

12.6

2005-06

11.2

2006-07

11.8

District Policing Partnerships

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the district policing partnerships. (194760)

The Northern Ireland Policing Board has a statutory requirement to assess the effectiveness of district policing partnerships in performing their statutory duties. To fulfil this requirement the Board undertakes an annual performance assessment of each DPP against a performance management framework. The framework requires a number of key performance indicator targets to be met in relation to the DPP statutory duties.

The Policing Board also commissions the Central Survey Unit in the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) to conduct the Policing Board module in its Omnibus Survey twice a year and the biennial District Policing Partnership (DPP) Public Consultation Survey. These surveys meet the Policing Board's statutory obligations under the Police (Northern Ireland) Act 2000 to “assess the level of public satisfaction with the performance of the police and district policing partnerships”.

The Policing Board makes its annual assessment of the effectiveness of district policing partnerships (DPPs), using a range of performance indicators and targets.

Information reported to the Board on the performance of DPPs during 2006-07 confirms that overall DPPs are fulfilling their statutory responsibilities:

The targets that assess the performance of DPPs in identifying local policing priorities for input to the local Policing Plan and NI Policing Plan were achieved by 23 of the 26 DPPs;

The targets that assess the performance of DPPs in monitoring police performance were achieved by all but one DPP;

The targets that assess the performance of DPPs in engaging with the community to gain the co-operation of the public with the police in preventing crime were achieved by 23 of the 26 DPPs;

The targets measuring the performance of DPPs in acting as a forum for discussion on policing were achieved by 24 of the 26 DPPs.

The targets that assess the effectiveness of DPPs in consulting with the public were taken from the 2006 NISRA DPP Public Consultation Survey and the results were assessed against baseline results from the same survey carried out in 2004. Results were compared for 24 DPPs and the four Belfast sub-group areas. Dungannon and South Tyrone did not establish a DPP until December 2004 and no baseline was available for the 2006-07 assessment.

21 DPPs/Belfast sub-groups increased the survey respondents who had heard of the DPP;

Six DPPs/Belfast sub-groups increased the percentage of survey respondents who think that the DPP does a good job;

15 DPPs/Belfast sub-groups achieved the target to increase the percentage of survey respondents who are confident that the DPP is addressing local policing problems;

one Belfast sub-group showed an increase in the percentage of NISRA survey respondents who had heard of DPPs and are prepared to contact their DPP.

It is the Policing Board's view that DPPs have made an important contribution to increased confidence in policing. Through working in partnership with the police to prevent crime DPPs have also contributed to a 15 per cent. reduction in recorded crime in the last five years.

Hillsborough Castle: Official Hospitality

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the total cost was of receptions held at Hillsborough Castle in each of the last five years, broken down by event. (194759)

The costs of receptions held at Hillsborough Castle are only available for the last three financial years and are as follows:

£

2005-06

126,073.39

2006-07

237,295.10

2007-08

211,436.95

These figures cover a large number of events and receptions in line with my wish, and that of my predecessors, to make Hillsborough Castle as accessible as possible to a cross section of the community. These include people from the emergency services, voluntary groups, charities and local community groups. The largest of these events is the annual garden party, attended by senior members of the royal family.

Homosexuality

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many prosecutions have been brought under homophobic hatred legislation in Northern Ireland. (196702)

The Criminal Justice (Northern Ireland) Order 2004 allows for enhanced sentencing where a crime is hate motivated.

The following table lists the number of cases considered by the Public Prosecution Service Northern Ireland to have been aggravated by hostility on the basis of sexual orientation.

Number of defendants

2006

2007

Summary prosecution

42

24

Indictable prosecution

14

13

Total

56

37

Note:

2007 data are provisional and may be subject to change at a later date.

Inquiries

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many documents have been passed by (a) Republican and (b) Loyalist paramilitary organisations to official inquiries into their respective operations in the last 28 years. (197275)

An exercise of this nature, involving a detailed search of records over a 28-year period, would require the allocation of significant and disproportionate resources.

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many documents have been passed by the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) to official inquiries into the operations of (a) the Royal Ulster Constabulary and (b) the PSNI, since the inception of the PSNI. (197277)

The Chief Constable has provided the following answer:

“The following table sets out details of the number of documents provided to public inquiries by the Police Service of Northern Ireland. I am unable to provide information in relation to the Saville Inquiry as to do so would incur disproportionate costs. I am also unable to provide figures which differentiate between Royal Ulster Constabulary and PSNI documents as this could be done only at a disproportionate cost.”

Public inquiry

Number of documents

Billy Wright

24,361

Rosemary Nelson

9,774

Robert Hamill

606

Insolvency

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many individuals were insolvent in Northern Ireland in each of the last five years. (197274)

Following the restoration of devolution on 8 May 2007, responsibility for insolvency and bankruptcy in Northern Ireland has been a matter for the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment in Northern Ireland (DETI). The information is not maintained by DETI in the form requested, but statistics are available on the number of individuals adjudicated bankrupt and the number of individual voluntary arrangements (IVA) that have been made under the insolvency legislation. These are set out in the following table and cover those of the last five financial years that fell during direct rule.

Financial year

Individuals adjudicated bankrupt in Northern Ireland

Number of IVAs registered with DETI

2006-07

1,008

736

2005-06

892

668

2004-05

685

479

2003-04

582

360

JP Morgan

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how much his Department paid to JP Morgan in each year since 1997; and what the purpose of each payment was. (199659)