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Written Answers

Volume 475: debated on Tuesday 13 May 2008

Written Answers to Questions

Tuesday 13 May 2008

Leader of the House

Departmental Opinion Polls

To ask the Leader of the House what polling companies held contracts with her Office in 2007-08; and what (a) surveys, (b) questionnaires and (c) other services each provided. (204691)

Members: Allowances

To ask the Leader of the House how many hon. Members used the allowance for European travel (a) once, (b) twice and (b) three times in 2007-08. (204594)

During financial year 2007-08, 153 hon. Members claimed for European travel: 107 for one return journey, 36 for two and 10 for three.

Solicitor-General

Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006: Prosecutions

To ask the Solicitor-General how many prosecutions have been brought under the Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006 since the law was implemented. (205334)

The Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006 came into force on 1 October 2007 and to date there have been no prosecutions under the legislation.

Transport

A14: Repairs and Maintenance

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much was spent on (a) maintenance on and (b) improvements to the A14 in each year since 1997; and what the equivalent projected expenditure for (i) 2009, (ii) 2010, (iii) 2011, (iv) 2012 and (v) 2013 is. (204020)

The information requested cannot easily be provided for the whole A14 other than at a disproportionate cost.

A14: Road Traffic

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate she has made of the volume of traffic between each pair of adjacent junctions on the A14 in each year since 1997; and what projections have been made for (a) 2009, (b) 2010, (c) 2011, (d) 2012 and (e) 2013. (204021)

Bus Services: Concessions

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the Answer of 28 April 2008, Official Report, column 33W, on public transport: concessions, what account was taken of representations relating to those affected by mental health disabilities in determining the eligibility criteria for concessionary bus travel under the Transport Act 2000. (204017)

The Department receives a large number of representations from interest groups during the development of any policy, and due regard is given to each before proposals are finalised. The eligibility criteria contained in the Transport Act 2000 was subject to debate during the passage of that Bill. Also, the Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee (DPTAC) was consulted on Government amendments which, among other things, clarified the various categories of disability included on the face of the Bill.

Departmental Domestic Visits

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport on how many occasions she visited (a) Scotland, (b) Wales and (c) Northern Ireland in an official capacity in the last 12 months. (204388)

In the last 12 months, Ministers in this Department have visited Scotland on seven occasions and Wales twice in their official capacities. No visits have been made to Northern Ireland during this period. All ministerial travel is undertaken in accordance with the “Ministerial Code”.

Departmental Orders and Regulations

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many statutory instruments have been (a) made and (b) revoked by Ministers in her Department and its predecessors since 1997. (204763)

In the period from the creation of the Department for Transport in May 2002 until 31 March 2008 approximately 834 general statutory instruments and 9,512 local statutory instruments were made in the name of the Secretary of State for Transport.

The number of statutory instruments made by Ministers of predecessor Departments, and of statutory instruments revoked, could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Essex

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport on how many occasions she has visited Essex in the last 12 months. (204975)

In the last 12 months, Ministers in this Department have visited Essex on three occasions in their official capacities. All ministerial travel is undertaken in accordance with the “Ministerial Code”.

Fuels

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps the Government has taken to encourage motorists to use greener fuels since 1997. (204547)

The main way that the Government have encouraged the use of alternative fuels since 1997 is through differentials in fuel duty between petrol and diesel and other fuels. There are also incentives through reduced rates of Vehicle Excise Duty for cars that run on certain alternative fuels and registered after 1 March 2001. Vehicles powered wholly by electric power are exempt from VED.

The Government fund the running of an Infrastructure grant programme. The grants assist the building of refuelling stations for alternative fuels (natural gas/biogas, hydrogen and bio-ethanol). It is also funding research and development into battery electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles through a Low Carbon Vehicles Innovation Platform, which brings together funding from the Department for Transport, Technology Strategy Board and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. Previously low carbon vehicle research and development funding was provided through the Energy Saving Trust.

The Government have also introduced the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO). The RTFO, which came into effect from 15 April 2008 aims to ensure that sustainable biofuels make up an increasing percentage of total UK road transport fuels, and means that biofuels are starting to become available in low blends at the majority of forecourts in the UK.

The Government previously provided grants through the Powershift and Clean Up programmes to encourage the purchase of low carbon vehicles. However it was clear that the funding levels available would not bring about the required market transformation so the funds were diverted to other environmental transport initiatives.

London Airports

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many times her Department hired VIP facilities at (a) Heathrow, (b) Gatwick, (c) Luton and (d) Stansted airports in each month since May 2006; and what the expenditure on VIP facilities at each was in each of those months. (205147)

Since May 2006, the Department for Transport has hired VIP facilities at the aforementioned airports on one occasion. This occurred at Heathrow in July 2006 where the Department met a delegation of senior officials and a Transport Minister from outside the UK. The cost of hiring the facilities was £269.62.

M69: Repairs and Maintenance

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when she expects the roadworks taking place on the M69 to be completed and all carriageways re-opened to traffic. (204743)

The resurfacing work on the M69 is due to be completed and all carriageways re-opened by the end of the second week in May.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport for what reasons the roadworks taking place on the M69 were carried out concurrently to the roadworks taking place on the M1 motorway near junction 26; and if she will make a statement. (204744)

The work currently being undertaken on the M1 near Junction 26 is part of an ongoing major widening scheme; the M69 work is a shorter scale resurfacing scheme. To minimise disruption to road users, the Highways Agency’s policy is to ensure, where possible, that concurrent roadworks are not carried out within 10 km of each other. The M1 and M69 schemes comply with that policy, being more than 50 kms apart.

Roads: Accidents

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answer of 8 May 2008, Official Report, columns 1066-7W, on roads: accidents, how many (a) men and (b) women were killed in car accidents in East Lancashire where at least one driver involved was aged 21 or under and (i) male and (ii) female in each year since 2000. (205544)

The numbers of (a) male and (b) female car occupant fatalities in reported road accidents where the driver was (i) male and (ii) female and aged 21 years or under in East Lancashire in 2000 to 2006 are shown in the table.

Number of fatalities

0-21 year old male car driver

0-21 year old female car driver

Male fatality

Female fatality

Male fatality

Female fatality

2000

2

1

0

0

2001

7

0

0

0

2002

4

1

0

0

2003

2

0

0

0

2004

3

0

0

0

2005

3

1

0

1

2006

1

0

0

0

Note:

East Lancashire = Hyndburn, Pendle, Burnley, Rossendale, Ribble Valley and Blackburn with Darwen.

Shipping: Fees and Charges

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the Government’s policy is on the proposal from Norway and Denmark for a charge and fund scheme for international shipping. (204969)

I assume the hon. Member is referring to the proposal from Denmark for a global levy on marine bunker fuel. The Government support the aims and intentions behind the proposal.

The Government are clear that, as shipping volumes continue to grow, the industry must take its share of responsibility for tackling the problem of climate change. We also believe it is vital to investigate all options for reducing emissions from international shipping, including improved technology, better operator practices and market-based measures.

The Government therefore welcome the opportunity to debate the proposal at the forthcoming International Maritime Organization Marine Environment Protection Committee working group on greenhouse gas emissions in Oslo in June, together with the wide range of other ideas on the table.

Trains

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many of the 1,300 extra railway carriages referred to in the high-level output statement published in 2007 have been (a) ordered from manufacturers, (b) delivered and (c) brought into use. (204480)

There have been 317 vehicles ordered from manufacturers. The first of these units is due for delivery in October 2008.

Transport Appraisal

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what representations she has received on the methodology integral to the New Approach to Transport Appraisal. (205160)

[holding answer 12 May 2008]: The Government have recently consulted on a number of matters relating to the New Approach To Appraisal with the document ‘The NATA Refresh: Reviewing the New Approach to Appraisal’. The consultation period closed on 31 March 2008 and officials are now reviewing the 101 responses received ahead of the Department’s response.

West Coast Railway Line

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether she expects the West Coast Main Line timetable due to be implemented in December 2008 to be implemented on time. (205335)

The current expectation of Network Rail is that the modernisation will be completed in December as scheduled. The Office of Rail Regulation has undertaken a review of the delivery plan of Network Rail and found it to be robust.

Some issues remain to be resolved between Network Rail and passenger and freight train operators in relation to the timings and detail of the possessions needed for the works to take place.

Wales

Departmental Equality

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales whether his Department met the Civil Service diversity targets set out on page 51 of Cabinet Office Annual Report 2007 by April 2008. (204708)

The latest published statistics against overall civil service targets were at October 2007, and are available on the civil service website at:

http://www.civilservice.gov.uk/about/diversity/monitoring.asp

The final measurement against the targets will be published in autumn 2008.

Scotland

Departmental Equality

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland whether his Department met the Civil Service diversity targets set out on page 51 of Cabinet Office Annual Report 2007 by April 2008. (204711)

The latest published statistics against overall civil service targets were at October 2007, and are available on the civil service website at

http://www.civilservice.gov.uk/about/diversity/monitoring.asp.

The final measurement against the targets will be published in autumn 2008. The annual report of the Scotland Office will shortly be published and this will provide information on diversity.

Departmental Translation Services

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how much was spent by his Department on translation and interpretation services in 2007-08, broken down by language. (205177)

Devolution

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what steps the Calman Commission has taken to (a) publicise its work outside Scotland, (b) obtain evidence from people resident outside Scotland and (c) obtain evidence on (i) the impact Scottish devolution has had on the rest of the United Kingdom and (ii) on the effect that further devolution of powers would have on the rest of the United Kingdom; and if he will make a statement. (205366)

The remit of the Commission on Scottish Devolution was made known in my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland’s written ministerial statement of 25 March 2008, Official Report, column 8WS.

It will consult as widely as possible and listen to all voices in Scotland and the rest of the UK. Its work will be published on its website:

http://www.commissiononscottishdevolution.org.uk

throughout the review process.

Olympics

Essex

To ask the Minister for the Olympics on how many occasions she has visited Essex in the last 12 months. (204976)

I have visited Essex once in an official capacity since my appointment as Minister for the Olympics.

Northern Ireland

Crimes of Violence: Children

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many violent crimes where a child under five years was a victim resulted in a conviction in Northern Ireland in each of the last five years for which figures are available. (204664)

The information is not available in the format requested. Northern Ireland conviction data do not include victim information in relation to the commission of an offence and violent crimes against children under five years do not constitute separate offences by legislation.

It is only possible to give the number of convictions for those violent offences, which in their definition, refer to a child or children. The data provided in the following table cover the calendar years 2002 to 2006 (the latest available) and are collated on the principal offence rule; so only the most serious offence with which an offender is charged is included.

Number of convictions for violent offences against a child by offence 2002-061

Offence

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

Common assault on child or young person

2

0

1

1

2

Aggravated assault on male child

15

3

11

7

5

Cruelty to person under 16 years

8

12

8

10

3

Causing or procuring cruelty to children

0

0

0

0

1

Total

25

15

20

18

11

1 Data do not include sexual offences against a child or children.

Prisons: Drugs

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what quantity of illegal drugs was discovered in each of Northern Ireland's prison and detention centres in each of the last three years. (204754)

The following tables record the quantity and type of illegal drugs discovered in the last three years. (A breakdown for each establishment is only available for the last year.)

By establishment—March 2007 to February 2008

Maghaberry

Magilligan

Hydebank Wood

Total

Cannabis (Grams)

387.3

140.1

99.1

626.5

Steroid Tablets

4

49

27

80

LSD

0

0

0

0

Heroin tablets

19.5

6

0

25.5

Heroin (Grams)

2.3

6

0

8.3

Cocaine (Grams)

1

0

0

1

Ecstasy Tablets

15

100

6

121

Unknown tablets

688.5

506

31

1225.5

Diazepam

1202

100

6

1308

Temazepam tablets

1

0

60

61

Amphetamine (Grams)

0

15.7

21

36.7

Amphetamine tablets

12

0

0

12

Unknown Powder (Grams)

3.4

2.3

0.5

6.2

Type and quantity of illegal drugs found in NIPS establishments from March 2005 to February 2007

March-February

2005-06

2006-07

Unidentified Tablets

435.5

1607

Cannabis (Grams)

813.2

417.2

Amphetamine Tablets

185

185

Amphetamine Powder (Grams)

10.6

10.6

Diazepam Tablets

140

353

Heroin Powder

20.3

2.4

Heroin Tablets

15.5

5

Temazepam Tablets

63.5

27

Ecstasy Tablets

0

5

LSD (Grams)

12.7

12.7

LSD Tablets

41.5

41.5

Steroid Tablets

384

484

Steroid Vials

3

8

Cocaine (Grams)

4

5.1

Unknown Powder

0

0

Culture, Media and Sport

Arts

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport when he will publish the schedule for the implementation of the proposals in the McMaster Review of the Arts. (203880)

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for South-West Surrey (Mr. Hunt) on 21 April 2008, Official Report, column 1729W.

It is our intention to publish an overview of how all interested parties have worked, and will continue to work together to deliver the review's recommendations before the summer.

Arts Council of England: Finance

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what percentage of Arts Council England's (a) total income, (b) grant-in-aid income and (c) National Lottery income was provided to organisations in the form of (i) grants and (ii) regular funding in each of the last five years. (203737)

[holding answer 7 May 2008]: This information has been provided by Arts Council England and is set out in the tables. Figures for 2007-08 are the forecast outturn.

(a) Total income allocated in the form of (i) grants and (ii) regular funding.

Total income (£000)

Grantinaid grants and Lottery grants as a percentage of total income (£000)

Grantinaid to regularly funded organisations as a percentage of total income (£000)

2007-08

559,160

27.9 (156,431)

58.3 (326,053)

2006-07

576,245

34.9 (201,405)

54.6 (314,916)

2005-06

581,253

44.2 (257,120)

52.6 (306,209)

2004-05

539,054

42 (226,608)

51.8 (279,373)

2003-04

486,667

39.1 (190,321)

52.3 (254,906)

b) Grant in aid income allocated In the form of (i) grants and (ii) regular funding

Grantinaid income (£000)

Grant inaid grants as a percentage of grantinaid income (£000)

Grantinaid to regularly funded organisations as a percentage of grantinaid income (£000)

2007-08

422,610

12.6 (53,107)

77.1 (326,053)

2006-07

426,531

14.1 (59,945)

73.8 (314,916)

2005-06

408,678

11.3 (46,192)

74.9 (306,209)

2004-05

368,859

9.6 (36,717)

75.7 (279,373)

2003-04

324,955

6.8 (22,133)

78.4 (254,906)

(c) National Lottery income allocated in the form of (i) grants and (ii) regular funding

Lottery income (£000)

Lottery grants as a percentage of Lottery income(£000)

Lottery grants for regularly funded organisations as a percentage of Lottery income(£000)

2007-08

136,550

75.7 (103,324)

0

2006-07

149,714

94.5 (141,460)

0

2005-06

172,575

122.2 (210,928)

0

2004-05

170,195

111.6 (189,891)

0

2003-04

161,712

104 (168,188)

0

Consultants

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what payments VisitBritain made to Connect Public Affairs in each of the last five years; on what dates; and for what purpose in each case. (202284)

VisitBritain has provided the following information about the dates, amounts and purpose of payments made by them to Connect Public Affairs during the last five years:

Date

Purpose/Service

Net amount (£)

monthly since November 2006

Political monitoring - daily email plus weekly summary of the week ahead and special reports e.g. on the Budget

850

monthly since November 2006

Office expenses, including phone, photocopying, @ 6.75 per cent. of professional fees

57.38

Internet: Direct Mail

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what steps his Department is taking to reduce the incidence of spam on the internet. (200677)

I have been asked to reply.

The Information Commissioner's Office has responsibility for enforcing the regulations that control unsolicited e-mails (spam) and considers complaints about breaches. A breach of an enforcement notice is a criminal offence that can attract a maximum fine of up to £5,000.

Spam is a global problem and one which, it is estimated, accounts for over 80 per cent. of all internet traffic1. Much spam originates outside the UK. For that reason, the steps we can take in the UK to reduce its incidence are limited.

However, my Department has frequent discussions with internet service providers (ISPs) on improving filters and other mechanisms to prevent mischievous traffic reaching their customers, and making end users more aware of the tools available to them to counter spam. Many ISPs have specific spam mail boxes where individuals can report and complain about specific e-mails, as well as offering filtering software which can be used to prevent spam being received.

1 Source:

Symantech—The State of Spam—April 2008.

Internet: Suffolk

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (1) what percentage of homes in rural Suffolk have access to (a) dial-up internet connections, (b) broadband connections and (c) high-speed broadband connections; (201496)

(2) what estimate he has made of the number of households in Suffolk without access to the internet, broken down by income band.

I have been asked to reply.

The matter raised is the responsibility of the independent regulator, the Office of Communications (Ofcom), which is accountable to Parliament rather than Ministers. Accordingly, I have asked the chief executive of Ofcom to reply directly to the hon. Member. Copies of the chief executive's letter will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

Theatres: Kent

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what recent assessment he has made of the effect of Arts Council England's regional theatre policy on theatres in Kent. (195143)

Arts Council England is responsible for assessing the impact of its policies on individual art forms.

Arts Council England does recognise the potential effect of its investment strategy on theatre in Kent. The Arts Council is committed to making the highest quality arts available to the widest possible audience throughout Kent and is currently exploring a number of ideas on how best to build theatre activity in the area.

Arts Council England will continue to support organisations such as the New Marlowe in Canterbury, Margate Theatre Royal, Gulbenkian Theatre in Canterbury, and the Trinity Theatre in Tunbridge Wells through a number of schemes including Grants for the Arts, the Arts Councils scheme for funding one off projects to individuals and organisations.

Visual Arts: Finance

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how much his Department spent on art storage in each of the last five years. (204149)

Between 70 per cent. to 75 per cent. of the Government Art Collection's works of art are out on display at any one time. The remaining works available for selection are held at the GAC's premises. A small number of works of art are too large to be housed at the GAC and are in commercial storage. There is an active programme of taking these large works of art out of storage and placing them on display in suitable buildings.

The Government Art Collection spent the following on storage charges in the last five years.

£

2003-04

7,266.87

2004-05

9,348.28

2005-06

8,507.00

2006-07

10,005.13

2007-08

10,407.55

House of Commons Commission

Catering

To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission what proportion of chicken served in the House of Commons estate was produced under the RSPCA's Freedom Food scheme in the most recent period for which figures are available; and if the Commission will make it its policy to provide such figures annually. (205255)

Since January 2008, the House of Commons Catering Service has secured a supply of chicken produced under the RSPCA's Freedom Food scheme, and this now accounts for almost 40 per cent. of the Department's purchases of fresh chicken meat. The quality, reliability and relative affordability of this supply has enabled the Department to move forward from a position in 2007 when less than 10 per cent. of chicken supplied for the House of Commons restaurants met higher welfare standards consistent with those developed by the RSPCA.

Subject to availability and affordability constraints, the Catering Service aspires to further increase the proportion of higher welfare chicken purchased, and met with representatives of Freedom Food earlier this month to discuss how this might be achieved.

The Commission does not publish detailed food procurement statistics, but the director of Catering and Retail Services will be happy to provide periodic details about the proportion of chicken sourced from RSPCA Freedom Food approved sources. The director has suggested that this could be published as part of a regular update on food provenance issues that is being developed for the Catering and Retail Services intranet pages.

To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission what proportion of meat produce served in the House of Commons was Freedom Food-approved in the most recent period for which figures are available. (205256)

All fresh meat served in the House of Commons is sourced from producers that demonstrate high levels of animal welfare under an accredited farm assurance scheme such as the ‘Red Tractor’ scheme, which encompasses ‘Assured British Pigs’ and ‘Assured British Meat’. All pork is free range.

Other than chicken, no meat currently served in the House of Commons restaurants is accredited under the RSPCA's Freedom Foods scheme. However, the director of Catering and Retail Services met with Freedom Food representatives earlier this month to discuss the supply of pork, beef and lamb and to identify ways of working together to establish a supply chain.

Drinking Water

To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission how much was spent per day on bottled water on the parliamentary estate in the most recent period for which figures are available. (201264)

Daily expenditure on bottled water is not recorded across the parliamentary estate. Annual expenditure by the House of Commons for 2007-08 and an approximate daily cost based on the number of working days in 2007-08 are as follows:

£

Total cost of purchases for 2007-08

29,866

Approximate daily cost

118.35

In addition, the total cost of bottled water purchased by Catering and Retail Services for sale to customers during the same period was £32,979.

Communities and Local Government

Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes Fire and Rescue Authority: Finance

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what representations she has received on Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes Fire and Rescue Authority funding for 2008-09. (204358)

The consultation period on the 2008-09 and provisional 2009-10 and 2010-11 local government finance settlements ran between 6 December 2007 and 8 January 2008.

During this consultation period, we received three representations from Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes Fire and Rescue Authority.

The representations contained points on the population data used in the settlements, transitional funding and the overall financial settlement.

Construction: Fraud

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate her Department has made of the cost to local authorities of collusion, bid rigging or cover pricing by the construction sector in the last five years; and if she will make a statement. (204506)

The OFT is currently carrying out an investigation into such allegations in construction in both the public and private sectors. No specific estimate has been made for the cost to local authorities.

Council Tax

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many households are liable for council tax and are not exempt or in receipt of 100 per cent. council tax benefit. (204517)

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave him on 11 December 2007, Official Report, column 541W.

Data for Wales are available on the Welsh Assembly Government website.

Council Tax: Tax Allowances

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will list each type of local council tax discount introduced by billing authorities under the Local Government Act 2003 in the most recent financial year for which figures are available. (204507)

Details of the types of local council tax discount that were being awarded by billing authorities under the Local Government Act 2003 as at 8 October 2007, the latest date for which figures are available, are listed as follows. At this date, 37 authorities reported they were making local council tax discounts to either individuals or a particular class of taxpayer. The discounts shown may have been awarded by one or more authority.

Particular classes of taxpayer or property:

Pensioners;

Properties affected by flooding;

Various classes of empty properties;

Single occupiers who are called up for 28 days or more as members of the reserve forces;

Those to whom, because they have been affected by the change in regulations since a discount was originally awarded, a discount has been awarded so as to not disadvantage them;

Properties that are no one person's sole or main residence where access is restricted;

Occupied and unoccupied furnished properties that do not have the benefit of mains services including beach chalets;

Difficult to let properties;

Taxpayers who can comply with the council's Mooring Policy.

Other discretionary discounts based on individual cases:

Property affected by the proximity of a electricity generating wind turbine;

Hard to sell property;

Problems with a chalk mine;

Property damaged by fire;

RAF personnel where redundancy was delayed owing to events abroad;

New unfinished property;

Hardship.

Departmental Carbon Emissions

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much her Department and its predecessors spent on carbon offsetting in each of the last three years; and to which companies payments for carbon offsetting were made in each such year. (204106)

Communities and Local Government spent £2,730 to offset 275 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions from its ministerial and official air travel in 2006-07. These figures do not include data from the Department’s Executive agencies or the regional Government offices.

This was the first year that the Department offset any emissions. Data are being gathered to offset emissions from air travel undertaken during 2007-08.

The Department currently only offsets emissions from is air travel and does this through the Government Carbon Offsetting Fund (GCOF).

The GCOF is being managed by EEA Fund Management Ltd., who won the contract to source and deliver 255,000 Certified Emission Reduction Credits, with a provision for a further 50,000 credits, over three years from a range of Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) projects. Credits will be supplied from the project portfolio of Trading Emissions plc, to whom EEA is the investment adviser.

Departmental Computer Software

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many copies of Adobe Acrobat, excluding Adobe Reader software, are licensed to her Department. (203058)

Flood Control: Buckingham

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what recent discussions her Department has had with the Environment Agency on the Buckingham Flood Alleviation Scheme. (204360)

My Department has not held any recent meetings with the Environment Agency to discuss the Scheme. However, there may have been discussions held at a regional level on the Buckingham Flood Alleviation Scheme.

Floods: Costs

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate her Department has made of the cost to the (a) public purse, (b) local community and (c) local economy of the flooding in Buckingham of 21 July 2007. (204359)

We do not hold information about the total costs to specific local areas of the county. Nor do we hold figures for the financial impact on local economies which is also difficult to quantify. However, the South East Regional Development Agency has reported that 110 businesses were affected across the South East. Only one business in Buckingham applied to the RDA for grant aid and as a result received a payment of £1,382.04.

Infrastructure Planning Commission: Appeals

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what provision for appeals against decisions made by the Infrastructure Planning Commission she plans to put in place; and what role the Planning Inspectorate will play in such procedures. (204182)

Under the proposals in the Planning Bill, decisions made by the Infrastructure Planning Commission will be challengeable through a claim for judicial review rather than through an appeal mechanism.

Infrastructure Planning Commission: Pollution

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether the Infrastructure Planning Commission considers (a) air quality and (b) noise pollution factors in determining major infrastructure planning applications. (204188)

Under the proposals in the Planning Bill, when determining major infrastructure applications, the Infrastructure Planning Commission will be required to have regard to the relevant National Policy Statement, other matters which may be set out in secondary legislation and any other matters which the Commission thinks are important and relevant to its decision.

National Policy Statements will be subject to an appraisal of sustainability and will take into account other government policies, including policies on air quality and noise impacts, where they are relevant. The Infrastructure Planning Commission will also have to ensure that relevant provisions of European Community environmental law are complied with, including those covering air quality and noise pollution.

Infrastructure Planning Commission: Public Appointments

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) when she plans to announce the names of members of the Infrastructure Planning Commission; (204183)

(2) when she expects the Infrastructure Planning Commission to commence operation.

Subject to gaining parliamentary approval for the necessary primary legislation, we expect the first appointments to the Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC) to be made in spring 2009 with the IPC ready to advice applicants later the same year. We expect the IPC to begin determining applications in 2010 and we will be consulting with potential applicants about the appropriate length of time between national policy statements, regulations and guidance being issued and the new regime coming into effect.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what consideration she will give to expertise in (a) air quality and (b) noise pollution in planning decisions relating to road or aviation infrastructure when making appointments to the Infrastructure Planning Commission. (204187)

The White Paper “Planning for a Sustainable Future” stated that commissioners would be appointed from a wide range of fields such as national and local government, community engagement, planning, law, engineering, economics, business, security, environment, heritage and health, as well as, if necessary, specialist technical expertise related to a particular sector.

Leisure: Warrington

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government for what reason the hon. Member for Warrington North was not (a) notified of or (b) invited to her briefing on the Orford Park Project. (205257)

I understand that Warrington borough council made a request to meet the Regional Minister for the North West in the margins of a conference she was attending, in order to brief her on the Orford Park Project. This meeting was arranged on the afternoon of Wednesday 7 May.

In accordance with paragraph 10.9 of the ministerial code, the hon. Member was notified about, and invited to the event on Thursday the 8 May, via the Private Office of the Regional Minister for the North West.

Local Authorities: Culture

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what guidance her Department has issued to local authorities on the production of local cultural strategies; and whether such strategies are submitted to her Department. (200298)

Councils are no longer required to produce or submit free-standing local cultural strategies. Instead they are expected to subsume planning for the longer-term cultural priorities for their area within their broader Sustainable Community Strategy. This approach is in line with a wider process of devolving greater freedoms to councils—in part by reducing the number of statutory plans they were required to produce.

Guidance on how best to achieve this expectation was issued by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport in June 2004 entitled “Leading the good life: guidance on integrating cultural and community strategies”.

Guidance on Sustainable Community Strategies was first issued in 2000. This has since been updated in draft form as part of a broader package of guidance also covering, for example, Local Strategic Partnerships and Local Area Agreements. This guidance, entitled “Creating Strong, Safe and Prosperous Communities”, was issued in draft on 30 November 2007. Following a public consultation on this guidance which closed on 12 February we will be issuing the final guidance this summer. This guidance states that

‘The purpose of a Sustainable Community Strategy is to set the overall strategic direction and long-term vision for the economic, social and environmental wellbeing of a local area’

(see paragraph 3.1). Sustainable Community Strategies continue to be required to be produced by local councils but are not submitted to the Government.

Local Government Finance

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what information her Department holds on local authorities’ equity to debt ratios; and what guidance her Department provides to local authorities on appropriate levels for those ratios. (204641)

Communities and Local Government collects data on the amount and nature of local authority borrowing, lending and investments to varying levels. Analyses of these data are published. The Department is also currently collecting data that could be used to calculate local authority equity (the difference between their assets and liabilities) as part of the Whole of Government Accounts exercise, but this exercise is still in its experimental phase.

By statute local authorities’ debt is secured on their revenues and not their assets. The Department does not therefore provide guidance on equity to debt ratios for local authorities. We have, however, given statutory backing to the Prudential Code issued by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy on the affordability of borrowing by local authorities, and to the Institute’s code of practice on treasury management as it applies to local authorities.

Regional Planning and Development

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Peterborough of 3 April 2008, Official Report, column 1275W, on regional planning and development, if she will place in the Library a copy of each development plan independent examination report published by a planning inspector appointed by the Secretary of State to date since the coming into force of the 2004 Act. (202482)

A copy of each of the 68 reports provided on completed development plan document examinations will be deposited in the Library of the House.

Regional Planning and Development: South East

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will ensure that her proposed changes to the South East plan are published before 25 June 2008. (203192)

The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government intends to publish her Proposed Changes to Regional Spatial Strategy for the South East before the summer recess.

I am sure the hon. Lady will understand that because of the nature of the work under way and the importance of the matters under consideration it would not be wise to commit, as she requests, to a more definitive timeframe.

Tenants: Deposits

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps her Department plans to take to increase awareness of the tenancy deposit protection scheme among (a) tenants and (b) landlords. (205364)

The Department was involved in an extensive publicity campaign in the run-up to the launch and immediately after the scheme's introduction. We will continue to encourage the three tenancy deposit protection scheme providers to promote awareness of the requirements to landlords. We also encourage consumer organisations, such as the Citizens' Advice Bureau and Shelter, to help increase tenants' awareness.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many and what percentage of landlords of assured short hold tenancy property to which tenancy deposit protection applies have registered with the tenancy protection schemes established under contracts let by her Department. (205365)

Over one million deposits for tenants with assured shorthold tenancies have been protected since tenancy deposit protection provisions commenced in April 2007. We do not hold a breakdown of the number or percentage of landlords this represents.

Valuation Office: Local Authorities

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many times the Valuation Office Agency's Local Authority Liaison Group met in the last 36 months. (204496)

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many local authorities routinely submit CR10 reports to the Valuation Office Agency. (204497)

In the three years to 2007-08 CR10 reports have been registered for all billing authorities.

Valuation Office: Publications

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will place in the Library copies of the Valuation Office Agency’s Billing Authority Newsletter from the last 36 months. (204495)

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Air Pollution: Castle Point

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many sites in (a) Castle Point constituency and (b) constituencies adjacent to Castle Point monitor air quality. (204697)

The are no national air quality monitoring sites within Castle Point constituency, although we are aware of the local authority monitoring site at Furtherwick Park School on Canvey Island. This is in the London Air Quality Monitoring Network, and is managed by King’s College London.

There are two national air quality monitoring sites in constituencies close to Castle Point. These are at Chalkwell Park in Southend-on-Sea, and at Abbott’s Hall Close in Stanford-le-Hope.

Further information on the national air quality monitoring networks can be found on the National Air Quality Information Archive at:

www.airquality.co.uk

Angling: Licensing

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the Answer of 29 April 2008, Official Report, columns 280-81W, on angling: licensing, what steps the Environment Agency is taking to improve disabled and senior anglers access to angling; and if he will make a statement. (204091)

[holding answer 8 May 2008]: In 2007-08, £393,000 of Environment Agency funding was provided to 37 projects involving improved access. Together with partner contributions of £665,000 this resulted in a total spend of £1.058 million.

The Environment Agency collaborated with the British Disabled Angling Association to produce comprehensive “Access Guidelines for Fisheries” on how to improve access for disabled anglers. This provides a reference point for all fishery owners on the design and issues of improving access for all.

In 2008-09, subject to achieving licence sales targets, an additional £300,000 has been allocated to improving access, giving a projected spend of £600,000. The new work includes a joint programme with representatives of Disabled Angling groups of over 100 projects to identify where access can be improved for disabled anglers in particular. There will be additional access improvements projects delivered on the ground with fishery owners.

Since 2006, the Environment Agency has produced free Angling Guides in paper and internet format. This provides information on the location of publicly accessible fisheries and whether these cater for disabled anglers.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the Answer of 29 April 2008, Official Report, columns 280-81W, on angling: licensing, what proportion of the monies raised by higher duty rates will be used to improve access to angling for disabled and senior anglers. (204092)

[holding answer 8 May 2008]: The Environment Agency spends £2 million each year on fisheries improvement projects, of which £300,000 is nominally allocated to improve access.

The forecast increased income arising from the concessionary change will be around £600,000. Subject to licence sales targets being achieved and suitable fisheries owners coming forward to work with them, it is anticipated that up to £300,000 (50 per cent.) of this extra income will be used in 2008-09 to undertake new work. This will provide a total spend of £600,000 on access improvement by the Environment Agency and its partners.

Biofuels: Research

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the value was of grants made by his Department for research into biofuels since 1 January 2006; and to which organisations they were given. (204990)

DEFRA’s bio-energy R and D focuses on the genetic improvement and selection of biomass crops such as willow and miscanthus. Current spend is about £900,000 per year, which provides underpinning R and D for both second generation biofuels and solid biomass for energy. Other relevant work is being funded jointly with industry to breed wheat and oilseed rape varieties that require reduced fertiliser inputs (£331,000 in 2008-09 and approximately £814,000 in 2006-07 and 2007-08 combined).

It is difficult to separate out the work exclusively on biofuels, but a specific project was funded in 2007 to assess ‘Greenhouse gas emissions and environmental sustainability of international biofuels production and use’ (£37,000).

Organisations funded by DEFRA since 2006 are Aberystwyth university (IBERS), Rothamsted Research, AEA Technology, the National Institute of Agricultural Botany (NIAB), Warwick HRI and ADAS.

DEFRA, through the International Sustainable Development Fund, are also funding two (desk) studies into Brazilian biofuels and their sustainability. One is by the university of Campinas, into bioethanol, and the other is by the university of Sao Paulo, into biodiesel. They are around £50,000 each.

Bovine Tuberculosis: Disease Control

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when he will decide his policy on whether to cull badgers to combat bovine tuberculosis; and if he will make a statement. (204659)

There is no timetable for a decision on this issue. There is a great deal of complex evidence to consider and the matter is receiving our attention.

Coastal Areas: Rights of Way

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment his Department has made of the likely impact that an extension of coastal access will have on (a) rural business owners and (b) landowners. (204896)

An Impact Assessment of proposals to improve access to the English coast has been carried out. It was published along with the draft Marine Bill on 3 April 2008 and is available on DEFRA’s website.

Departmental Retirement

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much is planned to be spent on his Department’s voluntary retirement scheme in each of the first three years of its existence. (194800)

[holding answer 19 March 2008]: This Department’s 2007-08 voluntary early departure scheme is not a multi-annual scheme but was open for applications between September 2007 and January 2008 with provision set aside in this financial year for any payments to retirees, consequent on their departure under this scheme, which might fall in future years. It immediately followed a previous voluntary early departure scheme which ran from December 2006 to July 2007.

It is estimated that during financial years 2006-07 and 2007-08 this Department will have spent £14.8 million and £49 million, respectively, on the funding of voluntary early departures under either scheme. There are currently no plans to launch further voluntary early departure schemes.

The forecast core DEFRA paybill savings for the CSR07 period due to early departures via the two schemes of VER/S are:

£ million

2007-08

10

2008-09

17.2

2009-10

17.8

2010-11

18.5

For the Rural Payments Agency the estimated costs during the financial year 2006-07 was a credit of £0.074 million, this was due to a reduction in the provision for exit costs as a result of some staff from 2005-06 withdrawing from their arrangements. In 2007-08 the estimated cost is £1.062 million.

Dredging: North Sea

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the impact on the East Coast of dredging for aggregates in the North Sea, with particular reference to the impact on coastal sea defences; and whether aggregates obtained from dredging of riverbeds and main watercourses are used by the construction industry. (204586)

Marine minerals dredging in English waters is carefully controlled through the Environmental Impact Assessment and Natural Habitats (Extraction of Minerals by Marine Dredging) (England and Northern Ireland) Regulations 2007. All marine mineral dredging applications are required to assess the physical effects of the proposed dredging operation and its implications for coastal erosion by way of a Coastal Impact Study (CIS). A permission to dredge will only be issued if the regulator (the Marine and Fisheries Agency (MFA) on behalf of the Secretary of State), their advisors, consultees and major stakeholders are content that the proposed dredging is environmentally acceptable. In making this judgment the precautionary principle is always adopted and should the CIS show a potential to contribute to coastal erosion a permission would not be issued.

Modelling and field studies on the impact of both individual offshore dredging licences and of the cumulative impacts of such licences have concluded that UK offshore dredging has not contributed to coastal erosion. There may be a potential impact on the coastline in relation to estuary and near-shore dredging for navigation purposes. However, in these cases, there is a clear need to balance economic and social imperatives of continued port operations with any environmental impact.

Disposal of navigational dredgings in tidal waters is licensed under the Food and Environment Protection Act (FEPA) 1985. Before any licence can be issued for disposal, consideration must be made as to whether alternate waste management options are possible, including re-use. FEPA licences are not normally granted where practicable alternative means of recovery or disposal exist. We are working with the industry to secure ways to ensure the arisings of appropriate dredging spoil are more closely linked to suitable construction projects where re-use would not entail excessive costs.

There have been a number of examples where materials that are to be dredged for navigational reasons have been diverted to alternative use, including for construction, land reclamation and for landscape bunding etc. For example, the Port of Southampton disposed of, for commercial use, a significant quantity of sand dredged from their navigational channels and the proposed London Gateway port development envisages using some 25 million tonnes of dredged materials for land-raising/landscaping works. It is not uncommon for port authorities to make available suitable dredged materials for use in maintaining beaches and inter-tidal areas. Harwich Haven Authority has previously entered into various agreements with local coast defence authorities to re-use suitable sand for beach replenishment.

DEFRA continues to fund research into alternative uses of dredged material to improve understanding of how these can be used and, with its Marine and Fisheries Agency which regulates disposal of marine dredgings, are engaged with the Central Dredging Association (CEDA) to promote and increase beneficial use of materials.

Energy Supply: Carbon Emissions

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent meetings he has had with energy suppliers on the carbon dioxide emissions reduction target. (204298)

I attended a meeting at No. 11 Downing street with energy suppliers, ministerial colleagues and advisors on 24 April where among other issues, CERT was discussed.

Energy: EU Law

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what timetable has been set for the implementation of Lot 1 of the Energy-using Products Directive. (205442)

The Commission has not yet set a formal timetable for bringing forward the implementing measure on Lot 1 of the Energy-using Products Directive, but has indicated that it expects the measure to go to the Regulatory Committee for a vote towards the end of 2008 or beginning of 2009.

Environment Agency: Consultants

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what payments the Environment Agency made to Zennor Consulting Ltd in each of the last three years; and on what date and for what purpose each such payment was made. (204532)

The following table shows transactions paid by the Environment Agency to Zennor Consulting Ltd in the 2006-07 financial year. It has no recorded transactions with Zennor Consulting Ltd in either 2005-06 or 2007-08.

Order date

Description

£

28 February 2007

Preparation and delivery of workshops on Territorial Co-operation project development

2,719.39

30 October 2006

INTERREG project management training workshop

1,056.00

28 July 2006

Preparation and delivery of keynote speech and workshop facilitation for Cycleau conference

2,449.87

23 May 2006

Cost for audit preparation training for four people as part of the Improving Coastal and Recreational Waters Project

886.20

Total

7,111.46

Environment Protection: Dogger Bank

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will propose the Dogger Bank as an offshore special area of conservation under the EU Habitats Directive; and if he will make a statement. (204639)

Dogger Bank has been identified as a draft Special Area of Conservation (SAC) under the Habitats Directive Annex III Stage 1 selection criteria. Draft SACs are areas that have been formally advised to the UK Government as suitable for selection as SACs, but have not been formally approved by the Government as sites for public consultation.

Further information in support of the recommendation for Dogger Bank is currently being gathered. Only after the necessary evidence has been collected can a recommendation be made.

EU Solidarity Fund

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when he expects to receive the £120 million allocated to the UK by the EU Solidarity Fund. (203826)

I have been asked to reply.

The Government are in the process of finalising the arrangements for the receipt of the funding and we expect to receive this shortly.

The UK applied to the EU Solidarity Fund last August, and it was confirmed by the European Parliament in April that €162.4 million (£110 million) would be provided to the UK to help meet the costs of recovering from the summer 2007 floods.

Flood Control

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what progress has been made on flood defence schemes announced for construction in (a) 2006-07 and (b) 2007-08. (204669)

[holding answer 9 May 2008]: I have asked the chief executive of the Environment Agency to write with this information.

Pollution Control: EC Action

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of the costs of pollution prevention and control permits in other EU member states for benchmarking purposes; and if he will make a statement. (204524)

My Department does not hold any information of the costs of pollution prevention and control (PPC) permits in other EU member states. Directive 2008/1/EC concerning integrated pollution prevention and control (codified version) is silent on the subject of member states charging for PPC permits. Some member states may not charge for IPPC permit applications, but may recover varying proportions of their costs from the regulated industry, while others bear the cost in general taxation. This is a political decision for each national Government. The differing practices which are in place make it difficult to make comparisons of the costs of PPC permits across the EU. In England and Wales regulators are required, in accordance with HMT guidance and the ‘Polluter Pays Principle’, to recover the costs of regulation from those they regulate.

Rights of Way

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many wardens as defined by section 18 of the Countryside Rights of Way Act 2000 have been appointed in (a) each region and (b) each local authority area since 2001. (204893)

Seas and Oceans: Environment Protection

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer of 21 April 2008, Official Report, columns 1371-2W, which (a) special areas of conservation with marine components and (b) special protection areas with marine components in UK inshore waters listed on the Joint Nature Conservation Council website are not included on the European Commission's equivalent lists; and for what reasons in each case. (204477)

Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) and Special Protection Areas (SPAs) together form a network of Natura 2000 sites to protect habitats and species of European importance. SACs are designated under the EC Habitats Directive (Council Directive 92/43/EEC on the Conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora) and SPAs are designated under the EC Wild Birds Directive (Council Directive 79/409/EEC on the conservation of wild birds).

Sites in the UK that meet the qualifying criteria under the relevant directive are identified by the Joint Nature Conservation Council (JNCC) and are recommended to the Government for submission to the EC for adoption as SACs or SPAs respectively. The lists of Marine SACs and SPAs which appear on the JNCC website therefore correspond with those held on the EC's equivalent lists.

Waste Disposal: Fees and Charges

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what research his Department and its agencies have commissioned, funded or utilised on the social impact of charging for the collection of household waste. (204484)

The final report to DEFRA by Eunomia Consulting entitled “Modelling the Impact of Household Charging for Waste in England” reviewed a range of research including on the social impacts of charging for the collection of household waste.

The Government's Impact Assessment for powers to pilot local authority incentives for household waste minimisation and recycling also drew on a range of research on amounts of waste produced by households of different sizes, and income data for households of different sizes.

Waste Management

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many individuals have been issued with fixed penalty notices for breaching (a) no side and (b) closed lid waste collection policies since such notices were introduced. (204490)

Powers for local authorities to issue fixed penalty notices for offences relating to waste receptacles were introduced in April 2006. In 2006-07 local authorities in England issued 988 fixed penalty notices for offences of this nature. Data for 2007-08 will be available later this year. DEFRA does not collect information that would enable a breakdown of these figures to identify the numbers of fixed penalty notices issued specifically for breaches of side waste or closed lid collection policies.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what initial assessment he has made of the effects of site waste management plans on waste management practices. (204654)

Site Waste Management Plans (SWMPs) were first introduced as a voluntary code of practice in July 2004. The latest assessment of their effects was produced by DEFRA by the Building Research Establishment. This was published on the Construction Waste page of DEFRA’s website in February 2008.

New regulations became effective on 6 April 2008 and make SWMPs mandatory for construction projects exceeding a £300,000 project cost. An assessment of their effects will be made within three years of this date.

Whales: Iceland

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions the Prime Minister had with the Prime Minister of Iceland on 24 April on the resumption of commercial whaling by Iceland; and if he will make a statement. (204852)

[holding answer 12 May 2008]: I did not attend the meeting on 24 April. However, at this meeting my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister reiterated the UK’s strong opposition to whaling. The Prime Minister of Iceland was left in no doubt as to the strength of feeling in the UK on the issue.

Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform

BAE Systems

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what meetings (a) he and (b) Ministers in his Department have had with legal representatives of BAE Systems since 10 April 2008. (203903)

Neither my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State nor his ministerial team have met with BAE Systems lawyers.

Berkeley Power Station

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what consideration he has given to options for future uses of the former Berkeley Nuclear Laboratories site, Gloucestershire; and which organisations have been commissioned by his Department to undertake evaluation of those options. (201299)

I understand the question to refer to the Berkeley Centre, which is a de-licensed part of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority’s Berkeley site. The NDA have appointed King Sturge to market the Berkeley Centre site.

Construction: Cartels

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform under what legislation construction industry cartels are prohibited; what prosecutions have been undertaken in cases where legal proceedings have been completed against (a) individuals and (b) companies for acting as a cartel in each of the last five years for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement. (203543)

Cartels are prohibited under the Competition Act 1998 and the Enterprise Act 2002 allows for prosecutions against individuals involved in cases acting in a cartel. There have been no prosecutions of individuals in the last five years, however three individuals have recently been charged and are awaiting a court hearing in respect of a cartel involving marine hoses and ancillary equipment. As the criminal cartel offence applies only to individuals, no company has been prosecuted. However, 13 decisions in civil proceedings have been made against 166 companies in relation to breaches of the Chapter 1 prohibition of the Competition Act 1998 (anti-competitive agreements) since 2003.

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what his policy is on offering rewards to members of the public for information about alleged illegal cartels in the construction industry; what legislation governs this; how many calls the cartels hotline has received; and how many (a) prosecutions and (b) convictions resulted from information provided in such calls in each year since the hotline's inception. (203544)

On 29 February 2008, the OFT announced a policy under which it will pay financial rewards of up to £100,000 in return for information which helps it to identify and take action against illegal cartels. Rewards will be paid only where information is accurate, verifiable and proves to be useful in the OFT's anti-cartel enforcement work. Any reward is calculated according to a set formula and not subject to negotiation. This policy will run for an initial period of 18 months, after which a decision will be made whether this should be a permanent arrangement. This is an extra-statutory policy and applies to all industries, including but not limited to the construction industry. The OFT announcement can be found a the following web link:

www.oft.gov.uk/news/press/2008/31-08

The OFT has recorded 227 calls on its cartel hotline since 2001. To date none of these calls have resulted in a prosecution or conviction, although the material of some calls is the subject of on going investigations.

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how many construction firms were (a) investigated and (b) prosecuted for (i) bid rigging and (ii) cover pricing in each of the last 10 years for which information is available. (203560)

31 roofing contractors were investigated and fined by the OFT for bid rigging, which also included the practice of cover pricing. A further 112 construction firms are the subject of a current OFT investigation into bid rigging including the practice of cover pricing. No infringement decisions or fines have yet been issued as each firm under investigation has recently been issued with a Statement of Objection which sets out the OFT's formal allegations and evidence. Each firm has been given the opportunity to respond to the Statement.

The OFT received evidence of cover pricing implicating many more companies on thousands of tender processes, but has focused its investigation on approximately 240 alleged infringements which are being pursued in the Statement of Objections. The OFT has used objective selection criteria in order to focus the investigation, based on evidence received up to the point when it closed the door to further leniency applications, including the number of times a company was discovered allegedly to have infringed the Competition Act 1998.

Construction: Contracts

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what legislation regulates competitive tendering in the construction industry; what changes have been made to it since enactment; and if he will make a statement. (203562)

There is no legislation which specifically regulates competitive tendering in the construction industry. Construction is covered by generic procurement and competition legislation. In terms of procurement, construction is regulated by the Public Contracts Regulations 2006 (Statutory Instrument 2006 No 5) which implements the EU public procurement directive. A further set of rules (Utilities Contracts Regulations 2006—SI 2006 No 6) applies to relevant operators (both public and private) in the utilities sector when they wish to procure works or services. For projects above certain financial thresholds, these set out procedures to be followed in setting out specifications, selection of candidates and the award of the contract. They are intended to enforce the EC treaty principles of transparency and free movement of goods and services.

Construction: Fines

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform on which occasions the Office of Fair Trading imposed penalties on construction companies in each of the last five years; what penalty was imposed; on which company each was imposed; for what reasons each was imposed; to what purpose the fines received have been put; and if he will make a statement. (203561)

31 roofing contractors have been fined in respect of bid rigging, in breach of Chapter 1 of the Competition Act 1998. The following table shows those companies concerned and the specific level of fine imposed. The level of fines imposed include any reduction for leniency, in accordance with the OFT's penalties guidance whereby reductions, or in certain circumstances complete immunity from fines are available in return for significant cooperation with the OFT's investigation. Total fines imposed amounted to £2,555,547 and were paid into the Consolidated Fund for use by HM Treasury to their own policy objectives.

Party

Total fine (£)

Advanced Roofing Systems Ltd

1,963

Anglo Asphalt Company Ltd

2,005

Apex Asphalt and Paving Co. Ltd

35,922

Asphaltic Contracts Ltd

22,255

Bonnington Contracts

45,187

Briggs Cladding and Roofing Ltd

nil

Brindley Asphalt Ltd

55,540

Cambridge Asphalte Company Ltd

53,774

Coverite Ltd

104,498

Dufell Roofing Company Ltd

74,642

Durable Contracts Ltd

47,221

Geo. Brolley and Co. (Roofing) Ltd

22,239

Hogdson and Allon Ltd

74,151

Holme Asphalt

6,453

Howard Evans (Roofing) Ltd

35,510

Kelsey Roofing Industries Ltd

47,700

Lenaghen Roofing Services Ltd

19,245

McKay Roofing Ltd

27,219

Makers UK Ltd

526,500

Mitrepoint Ltd

262,000

Pirie (inc. Pirie Ltd, Pirie Group Ltd and Pirie and Co (Paisley) Ltd)

54,727

Prater Ltd

270,432

Redbrook Mastic Asphalt and Felt Roofing Ltd

17,802

Richard W Price (Roofing Contractors) Ltd

9,000

Rio Asphalt and Paving Co. Ltd

54,135

Rock Asphalte

511,351

Single Ply Roofing Systems Ltd

12,554

Solihull Roofing and Building Co Ltd

26,606

The General Asphalte Company Ltd

63,192

W G Walker and Company (Ayr) Ltd

59,185

Consumer Direct: Finance

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what the budgeted operating cost for Consumer Direct will be in (a) 2009-10, (b) 2010-11 and (c) 2011-12. (203912)

The budget has not been set. The OFT works on a year-by-year basis and the figure for 2009-10 will not be determined until later this financial year.

Departmental NDPBs

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how many people were serving on the boards of the non-departmental public bodies which his Department sponsors at the latest date for which figures are available. (203731)

[holding answer 7 May 2008]: The Cabinet Office publication Public bodies 2007 lists the number of people serving on the boards of public bodies as at 31 March 2007. These figures are broken down by individual Departments. The figure for the Department is 864. Public bodies 2007 can be downloaded from

www.civi1service.gov.uk/about/public/bodies.asp.

Copies are also available in the Library of the House.

Disabled

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what targets his Department has set in relation to its employment of people with disabilities over the next five years. (199055)

Departmental targets relating to the employment of people with disabilities, to be achieved by April 2008, are as follows:

Progress towards numerical targets

1 April 2008

10 point plan target

BERR target

10 point plan target (%)

BERR target (%)

Number minority staff

Number of staff at Band

Current %age

Number of staff required to meet target

Difference

Number of staff required to meet target

Difference

SCS Disabled

3.2

4.7

8

176

5

6

+2 (exceeded)

8

0 (exceeded percentage)

Band C disabled

None set

None set

59

1,014

6

10 Point Plan for a Diverse Civil Service, published in November 2005, set a target that 3.2 per cent. of Senior Civil Service (SCS) posts are to be filled by disabled people by April 2008. Final measurements of achievement against this target will be available by October 2008.

The Department is in the process of agreeing a Diversity Strategy for the period April 2008 to March 2011. An appropriate target for the representation of people with disabilities is currently under consideration.

13 per cent. of staff responding to the November 2007 Staff Opinion Survey reported that they had a disability or long term health condition.

Energy Supply

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what recent discussions he has had with National Grid on the supply of electricity in the UK during summer months. (204290)

BERR officials met National Grid on 9 April 2008 to discuss its Summer Outlook Report 2008, which covers the supply of electricity during the summer months.

The Summer Outlook Report was launched on 15 April 2008 and can be accessed via the following link:

http://www.ofgem.gov.uk/Pages/MoreInformation.aspx@docid=1&refer=Markets/WhlMkts/CustandIndustry/Outlook.

Energy: Housing

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what plans he has to assist low income households with the rising costs of fuel for heating. (204523)

We are concerned about the impact of higher prices on vulnerable people and we continue to encourage energy suppliers to adopt initiatives to restrict price rises for the most vulnerable.

In Budget 2008, the Government said they would like to see the amount energy suppliers spend on social programmes increase to at least £150 million a year over the period ahead. A new voluntary agreement has recently been signed individually with the six major energy suppliers to treble their individual investment on social programmes in the next three years, reaching collective investment of £150 million by 2010-11. This will take spend to £100 million in 2008-09, £125 million in 2009-10 and £150 million in 2010-11.

In addition, winter fuel payments helped keep 11.7 million people warm in winter 2006-07 and Budget 2008 announced an additional one-off payment of £100 to over-80s households and £50 to over-60s households in 2008-09.

Energy: Meters

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (1) what research he has (a) commissioned and (b) funded on the interoperability of communication platforms for the introduction of smart meters; (201890)

(2) what discussions he has had with suppliers of (a) energy and (b) water smart meters to co-ordinate their provision of services to households.

My Department's draft Impact Assessment recognises the role that providing smart metering to gas and electricity customers could play in facilitating wider policy goals, including water conservation. The scope for providing additional services, including water metering, is among the issues we shall explore as we refine our Impact Assessment with interested parties over the coming months. Last year, my Department commissioned economic analysis of a range of issues associated with smart metering, including interoperability and telecommunications. This analysis, by Mott MacDonald, has now been published, and has also informed our Impact Assessment. We will undertake more analysis over the coming months.

In the meantime, powers have been included in the Energy Bill to enable the Secretary of State to modify relevant gas and electricity licences to require the provision and installation, or facilitate the provision and installation of, smart meters. These powers will enable a roll out of advanced meters to medium sized businesses in the first instance (as announced in 2008 Budget). Subject to further ongoing analysis these powers would enable us to move forward with a roll out to small businesses and domestic consumers when we have the information to make these decisions.

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what recent discussions he has had with (a) the Local Government Association, (b) energy suppliers, (c) housing developers and (d) major energy users on the introduction of smart meters. (201891)

The Department has held discussions with a range of interested parties over about smart meters. The Office of Government Commerce has been in discussion with local authorities as part of its work to promote the provision of advanced metering in public buildings operated by both central and local government. The Government's consultation on metering and billing was open to all groups, including large energy users. The largest energy users will, however, already use half-hourly electricity, or daily-read gas, meters. Over 200,000 larger sites below these categories will receive advanced meters under the proposals that were confirmed in the Budget 2008.

In the meantime, powers have been included in the Energy Bill to enable the Secretary of State to modify relevant gas and electricity licences to require the provision and installation, or facilitate the provision and installation of, smart meters. These powers will enable a roll out of advanced meters to medium sized businesses in the first instance (as announced in 2008 Budget). Subject to further ongoing analysis these powers would enable us to move forward with a roll out to small businesses and domestic consumers when we have the information to make these decisions.

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform pursuant to his oral statement of 30 April 2008, Official Report, column 333, if he will place in the Library a copy of the study undertaken on behalf of his Department by Mott MacDonald on the costs and benefits of smart metering. (204024)

[holding answer 8 May 2008]: A copy of the report by Mott MacDonald, “Appraisal Costs and Benefits of Smart Meter Roll Out Options”, has been placed in the Library. The report is also available on the BERR website at:

www.berr.gov.uk/files/file45997.pdf

Energy: Skilled Workers

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what steps the Government is taking to ensure that the UK has enough skilled people to work in the (a) nuclear waste industries and (b) the energy efficiency and renewable energy sectors. (202514)

Fuels: Prices

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what estimate he has made of (a) the average household fuel bill and (b) the average household fuel bill as a proportion of household income in the latest period for which figures are available, broken down by region. (204554)

[holding answer 9 May 2008]: Estimates for this response are based on data collected through the Expenditure and Food Survey. The average household fuel bill and average disposable income are available in the Family Spending 2007 publication, available online at:

http://www.statistics.gov.uk/downloads/theme_social/Family_Spending_200607/FamilySpending2007_web.pdf

This shows detailed household expenditure by UK countries and Government office regions in 2006 and the following has been derived from table A37 and A44.

Government office region

Average annual fuel bill (£)

Annual fuel bill as a percentage of disposable income

United Kingdom

826.30

3.0

North East

750.60

3.5

North West

814.30

3.5

Yorkshire and the Humber

810.30

3.3

East Midlands

775.80

3.0

West Midlands

827.50

3.3

East

847.90

3.1

London

751.70

2.2

South East

830.10

2.6

South West

803.50

3.0

England

805.00

2.9

Wales

868.20

3.7

Scotland

895.80

3.4

Northern Ireland

1,211.10

4.9

Furniture: Standards

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how many incidents of sales of dangerous and substandard furniture have been investigated by the Scambuster pilots since 2006. (201985)

The Scambuster pilots have investigated two incidents of alleged dangerous or substandard furniture. 161 pieces of furniture were seized as a result of investigations although those tested complied with the Furniture and Furnishing (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1998. A further sample of cushions failed the Regulations.

Internet: Data Protection

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform if he will bring forward legislative proposals to prohibit the re-publication without the subject’s permission of images of persons posted on social networking sites; and if he will make a statement. (199411)

[holding answer 21 April 2008]: The use of computerised personal information in the United Kingdom is regulated by the Data Protection Act 1998. The Information Commissioner who administers and enforces the Act independently of the Government. The Act does not prohibit the dissemination of personal data to third parties, including via the internet, but it regulates the circumstances in which this can take place through a code of enforceable good practice principles. Among other things, they require personal data to be processed fairly and lawfully, obtained only for specified and lawful purposes, and not further processed incompatibly with those purposes.

Any directly affected person may ask the Information Commissioner to assess whether it is likely or unlikely that any processing of personal data has been or is being earned out in compliance with the Act. If the Commissioner concludes that any of the Act’s principles are being breached, it is open to him to take enforcement action against the organisation concerned.

Manufactured Goods: Production

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what assessment he has made of the report by the Office for National Statistics into the volume of output in the UK’s production industries in the first quarter of 2008; and if he will make a statement. (202912)

[holding answer 6 May 2008]: According to the ONS, seasonally adjusted production sector output fell by 0.1 per cent. in the first quarter of 2008 compared to the last quarter of 2007. Manufacturing sector output grew 0.5 per cent. in 2008 Q1—up on the previous quarter’s growth in the sector, and the highest quarterly volume of manufacturing output since the first quarter of 2001—but this was offset by falls on the quarter in mining and quarrying output, and electricity, gas and water supply output. However, the figures for 2008 Q1 are preliminary estimates, subject to revision as more information becomes available.

Total production output was 0.7 per cent. higher in the first quarter of 2008 compared to the corresponding quarter in the previous year. Within the total production sector, both manufacturing and electricity, gas and water output increased in the year to the first quarter of 2008, by 1.2 per cent. and 1.7 per cent. respectively, while mining and quarrying output fell by 5.1 per cent. over the same period.

Members: Correspondence

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform when he expects the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State to respond to the letter from the hon. Member for West Worcestershire, dated 19 March 2008, on online privacy. (202392)

[holding answer 29 April 2008]: I apologise for the delay in responding to the hon. Member. A reply will be issued shortly.

Mobile Phones

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what representations his Department has received from mobile network operators on mobile number portability. (201835)

All the mobile phone network operators meet with BERR officials and Ministers on a regular basis to discuss all types of mobile phone related issues. I am aware that some operators are not comfortable with the arrangements concerning mobile number portability, clearly these matters are commercially sensitive and we are not able to comment on company specific policy.

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what assessment he has made of whether UKPorting will meet the September 2009 deadline set by Ofcom to ensure that the time taken to move a telephone number between mobile telephone operators is reduced to two hours. (201836)

At present we have not made our own assessment on whether the deadline set by Ofcom to ensure that the time taken to move a telephone number between mobile telephone operators is reduced to two hours will be met. Pending an ongoing Competition Appeals Tribunal investigation into this issue on 18 June 2008, it would be inappropriate to provide any comment until after that appeal has been heard.

Motor Vehicles: Fuels

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what assessment his Department has made of the effectiveness of ultracapacitors as a power source for road vehicles. (204117)

The Department has made no assessment of the effectiveness of ultracapacitors as a power source for road vehicles. However, a pre-competitive research project on development of super capacitors as a means of energy storage for hybrid vehicles, entitled ‘SuperC’, was funded as part of the Foresight Vehicle programme, and concluded in 2002. Details of the project can be found on the Department for Transport website at:

http://www.dft.gov.uk/rmd/proiect.asp?intProjectID-7978.

It is now for project partners to seek commercial applications for any resulting technologies.

Nuclear Power

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform pursuant to the answer of 2 April 2008, Official Report, column 1078W, on nuclear power, from which elements and components the 10 per cent. discount rate is derived; and what value is assigned to each. (204595)

The choice of a 10 per cent. discount rate was based on its use in a number of studies of costs across nuclear and other electricity generation technologies by the International Energy Agency and other organisations. The rate has not been disaggregated in any way into component parts. Sensitivity analysis was, however, carried out to observe the impact of using both higher and lower discount rates.

Office of Fair Trading

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what (a) primary and (b) secondary legislation governs the powers of the Office of Fair Trading; what changes have been made to each since their entry into force; and if he will make a statement. (203542)

The primary legislation that governs the Office of Fair Trading's (OFT) powers in relation to competition law and enforcement are:

(i) The Competition Act 1998 (“the Act”). The OFT is responsible for enforcing the prohibitions contained in the Act which outlaw anti-competitive agreements and abuses of a dominant position within a market. The Act also empowers the OFT to obtain information, enter premises to conduct investigations, make interim and final decisions and impose financial penalties.

(ii) The Enterprise Act 2002 provides the OFT with powers in relation to the regulatory control of mergers, market investigations and to the enforcement of the cartel offence and certain consumer legislation.

Further powers given to the OFT under secondary legislation are:

(i) Competition Act 1998 (Office of Fair Trading Rules) Order 2004 which outlines the procedural rules followed by OFT in carrying out investigations under the Competition Act 1998.

(ii) EC Regulation 1/2003, which came into force May 2004, gives the OFT the power to enforce the prohibitions against anti-competitive agreements and abuses of a dominant position which may affect trade between EU member states. This regulation is about the implementation of the rules on competition laid down in Articles 81 and 82 of the treaty of Rome.

Press

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how many press office staff were employed by (a) his Department, (b) its agencies and (c) its non-departmental public bodies (i) in each year since 1996-97 and (ii) at the latest date for which information is available. (189688)

The information requested is as follows

FTE staff employed in the BERR and UKTI press offices

1997-98

1998-99

1999-2000

2000-01

2001-02

2002-03

2003-04

2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

BERR1

20

17

24

25

23

23

23

19

18

17

16

UK Trade and Investment2

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

4

3-4

3

2-3

2-4

1 The Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) was created in July 2007. Figures before July 2007 refer to the number of press officers in the Department for Trade and Industry.

2 UKTI was formed in October 2003. Fluctuations in the above staff numbers are due to staff movements during the year.

FTE staff employed in BERR NDPB press offices

1997-98

1998-99

1999-2000

2000-01

2001-02

2002-03

2003-04

2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

ACAS1

2

2

2

2

2

2

2

2

2

2

2

Atomic Energy Authority2

2

2

2

2

2

2

2

2

2

2

2

Civil Nuclear Police Authority3

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

1

1.5

1.5

Coal Authority4

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

Competition Commission

1

1

1

1

1.5

1.5

1.5

2

2

2

2

Competition Service5

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

EnergyWatch6

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

7

7

7

7

4.5

4

4

Hearing Aid Council7

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

National Consumer Council

2

2

2

2

2

2

2

2

2

2

2

Nuclear Decommissioning Authority8

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

PostWatch9

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

2

4

4

4

4

4

n/a

SITPRO Ltd10

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

1 Since 1996/1997 ACAS has employed two permanent communications professionals to carry out its media and marketing activity. Neither is a full-time press officer, but both combine press duties as part of their overall role. This includes operating an out-of-hours service for the media. The press office staff at ACAS also carry out other communications responsibilities besides press office work.

2 The UK Atomic Energy Authority does not employ dedicated press officers. Five members of staff in the UKAEA have media relations as part, but not all, of their duties. The FTE equivalent is provided as an estimate of the proportion of UKAEA communications team members' time available to cover press officer functions.

3 The Civil Nuclear Constabulary was set up as a separate entity in 2005.

4 The Coal Authority does not have a press office.

5 The Competition Service does not have a press office.

6 EnergyWatch, was set up in 2001.

7 The Hearing Aid Council does not have a press office.

8 The National Decommissioning Authority does not have a press office. Three communications managers are employed to undertake a variety of activities of which handling media enquiries is one element. A head of communications and communications director may also handle media inquiries.

9 PostWatch was set up in 2001.

10 SITPRO Ltd employs only one member of staff for marketing and promotion, whose responsibilities include some dealings with the press.

FTE staff employed in RDA press offices1999-20002000-012001-022002-032003-042004-052005-062006-07AWM1n/a1134444EEDA11111233EMDA22222222LDA2n/an/an/a335.566NWDA324566976ONEn/a3334356SEEDA41122.5555.55.5SWRDAn/an/a334555.5YF22223344 1 AWM payroll information for 1999-2000 is in archive and it is not possible to determine the number of FTE staff fulfilling the press office function for that year.2 LDA was not set up until 2000-01. Payroll information for 1999-2000 is in archive and it is not possible to determine the number of FTE staff fulfilling the press office function for that year.3 NWDA figures reflect the total number of staff who carried out a press office function as part of their duties during the financial year (they did not carry out these duties for the full financial year in all cases, or all at the same time).4 SEEDA does not employ dedicated press officers. This function is carried out as part of the duties of the SEEDA communications team. The FTE equivalent is provided as an estimate of the proportion of SEEDA communications team members' time available to cover press officer functions.

Renewable Energy: Standards

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform whether targets for renewable energy usage for the United Kingdom take account of regional variations. (203812)

[holding answer 7 May 2008]: The European Commission’s proposed target of 15 per cent. renewable energy in the UK by 2020 does not specify where in the UK renewables should be located. The Government will consult over the summer on what more we should do to increase renewable energy use to meet the UK’s share of the target.

Sales Methods: Unfair Practices

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what steps the Government plans to take to tackle unfair sales practices. (203735)

[holding answer 7 May 2008]: The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008, which come into force on 26 May, prohibit traders in all sectors from engaging in unfair marketing and selling practices with consumers. In particular, the regulations prohibit misleading and aggressive practices and ban 31 specific practices outright. The regulations will put in place a more comprehensive framework for tackling sharp practices and rogue traders harming consumers’ economic interests.

Seychelles

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how many officials in his Department and its predecessor visited the Seychelles on official business in 2007, broken down by grade; and what the equivalent number was in (a) 1983, (b) 1987 and (c) each year between 1998 and 2005. (205075)

No official in BERR or its predecessor Department has visited Seychelles on official business for many years. No records are available for 1983 and 1987.

Smoking

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how many smoking shelters were built at each of his Department’s London buildings in each of the last five years. (205052)

The Department has not built any smoking shelters at its London buildings over the last five years.

Stichling Hahn Hilbrich

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what the (a) purpose and (b) value was of each (i) contract and (ii) transaction between his Department and Stichling Hahn Hilbrich in each of the last five years; and on what date each such (A) contract was signed and (B) transaction took place. (204926)

Central records indicate that no payments have been made to Stichling Hahn Hilbrich in any of the last five years.

Sustainability Live

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what (a) ministerial and (b) official representation his Department plans to have at the environmental trade show Sustainability Live on 20 to 22 May. (203970)