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Written Answers

Volume 477: debated on Thursday 12 June 2008

Written Answers to Questions

Thursday 12 June 2008

Wales

Revenue and Customs

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what discussions he has had with Treasury Ministers on steps being taken by that Department to alleviate any effects on local employment of the closure or downgrading of HM Revenue and Customs offices in Wales. (209500)

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State and I have regular discussions with Treasury Ministers on a range of issues, including the HMRC Change programme.

I understand that before withdrawing from any office, a full impact assessment is undertaken, assessing the impact on staff, customers and the local economy.

Roads: Accidents

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many recorded deaths from traffic accidents there were in Wales in each of the last 12 years. (209844)

Although any road deaths are regrettable the numbers in Wales have reduced by over 25 per cent. over the last 12 years from 218 in 1995 to 163 in 2006.

A full table showing the last 12 years of available data is as follows:

Number of recorded road deaths in Wales 1995 to 2006

Casualties (killed)

1995

218

1996

216

1997

221

1998

202

1999

192

2000

168

2001

187

2002

147

2003

173

2004

201

2005

180

2006

163

Solicitor-General

Corruption

To ask the Solicitor-General how many cases were added to the register of referrals for overseas corruption allegations in each of the last five years for which there are records; and how many (a) have been and (b) are being investigated. (178825)

The Serious Fraud Office have had 123 allegations recorded on the register of referrals for overseas corruption in the last five years. Of these, (a) two allegations were closed after investigation while (b) 18 continue to be investigated. A number of other allegations are being researched to establish whether an investigation is merited.

To ask the Solicitor-General how many cases appeared on the Serious Fraud Office's register of referrals on the latest date for which figures are available; and how many such cases were investigated in each of the last five years. (192837)

The Serious Fraud Office had 145 cases recorded on the register of referrals for overseas corruption on 30 April 2008—the latest date for which figures are available. In the last five full calendar years1 a total of 25 investigations were opened by UK agencies, four in 2003, six in each of 2004 and 2005, and four each in 2006 and 2007 respectively. Three investigations have been begun to date during 2008. A number of other allegations are being researched to establish whether an investigation is merited.

1 Answer given within calendar years.

Crown Prosecution Service: Databases

To ask the Solicitor-General what the (a) process and (b) timescale is for the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to update its electronic records relating to those who (i) are awaiting charge and (ii) have been charged and are awaiting a trial or hearing; what guidelines apply to the updating of electronic records at the CPS; and who is responsible for the updating of electronic records of CPS cases. (208346)

The process of the CPS creating an electronic record for those awaiting a charge is dependent on how the police have sought a pre-charge decision (PCD) from the CPS. The four factors that influence the process are:

ix1. Where the Exchange Links interface currently rolling out across the country, linking police and CPS case systems, is live in the area, and the police case systems can provide the electronic information to the CPS at the pre-charge stage.

This is the quickest process for creating the electronic record as the police case systems can send the pre-charge decision information via the Exchange Link. This message is then automatically registered on the CPS COMPASS case management system (CMS) as a pre-charge decision case.

2. Where it is a face to face consultation with a duty prosecutor (at a charging centre).

The pre-charge decision case record will be created on CMS either by the duty prosecutor at the time of the consultation, or subsequently registered by administration staff from the paper record.

3. Where it is over the telephone with CPS Direct (out of office hours).

Administration staff will create the case record on CMS when an email has been received from CPS Direct with the outcome of their pre-charge decisions.

4. Where only the paper file is received from the police.

Administration staff will create the record on CMS.

The timescales for creating the electronic case records have not been centrally mandated; however, the optimum business model process, currently being rolled out across the CPS, aims to ensure all case registrations are within 24 hours of receipt of the information, regardless of the process of receipt in the CPS.

For those who have been charged and are awaiting a trial or a hearing, the aim is for all electronic records on CMS to be updated within 24 hours of each hearing, to ensure timely information is available to enable the CPS to meet its commitments under the Victims' Code. To achieve this aim, the target set for all areas during 2007-08 was for 60 per cent. of cases to be updated within 24 hours; this target was met. For 2008-09 the target is 75 per cent; the early indications are that this target will be met. These updates are input by administration staff from information on the paper file.

Television: Telephone Services

To ask the Solicitor-General pursuant to the answer of 21 May 2008, Official Report, column 297W, on television: telephone services, which four allegations of television broadcaster misconduct have been considered by the Serious Fraud Office. (208254)

The Serious Fraud Office has considered an allegation against GMTV Ltd. and Opera Telecom Ltd. arising out of competitions run as part of the GMTV Breakfast programme and an allegation against Big Game Television. A decision was taken by the former Director of the SFO, Robert Wardle, not to commence formal investigations into these allegations.

An allegation against ITV plc. in relation to a number of programmes and an allegation concerning the BBC are still under consideration.

To ask the Solicitor-General pursuant to the answer of 21 May 2008, Official Report, column 297W, on television: telephone services, what meetings the Serious Fraud Office has had with representatives of (a) the BBC, (b) ITV, (c) GMTV and (d) other television broadcasters on alleged misconduct in the use of premium rate telephone services in viewer competitions and voting in the last 12 months. (208255)

The Serious Fraud Office met with ITV internal legal counsel and solicitors instructed by the company on one occasion.

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Food Supply: Security

11. To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps his Department is taking to improve the security of food supply. (210312)

Food security is about ensuring consumers have access to a stable and adequate supply of food. This requires effective risk management and contingency planning, security of energy supplies, access to food from a variety of sources and a strong domestic agricultural industry and food chain and infrastructure. In the light of recent increases in food commodity prices, we are reviewing our policies to ensure that they continue to deliver food security for all consumers.

Vehicle Excise Duty

12. To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the potential environmental effects of vehicle excise duty; and if he will make a statement. (210314)

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the potential environmental effects of vehicle excise duty. (210301)

Nitrate-vulnerable Zones

13. To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of the cost to English farmers of implementing new proposals for nitrate vulnerable zones. (210315)

The Government are considering our response to the consultation on implementing the nitrates directive.

Carbon Dioxide Emissions: Reduction Targets

14. To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Transport on the Government’s carbon dioxide emissions reduction targets. (210316)

I and DEFRA officials have regular discussions with Department for Transport colleagues on this and a range of other issues.

Bees

15. To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of recent changes in bee stock levels. (210317)

It is too early to make an assessment. There are indications of some significant colony losses across the country, but a considerable amount of restocking is also taking place. Work to investigate losses and check new stocks is being given high priority.

Energy Efficiency: Public Buildings

16. To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans he has to improve the energy efficiency of public buildings. (210319)

Central Government have stretching targets for sustainable operations on their estate, including in relation to energy efficiency. We have announced a series of measures in our response to the Sustainable Development Commission's latest annual report.

Waste Disposal

17. To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what guidance his Department provides to local government on alternatives to landfill and incineration of domestic waste. (210320)

The Waste and Resources Action Programme which supports local authorities to deliver more sustainable waste management has published research which is also available. Additionally, the Waste Infrastructure Delivery Programme provides local authorities with support to help deliver the infrastructure needed to treat residual waste so that England can divert more waste from landfill.

Recycling

19. To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what his most recent assessment is of progress in increasing recycling rates. (210322)

England is making good progress in increasing recycling rates. Household recycling rates increased from 7 per cent. in 1997 to 33 per cent. in the year to October 2007, packaging recycling rates are up from 28 per cent. in 1997 to 59 per cent. in 2007, and the most recent Environment Agency survey in 2002-03 showed that recycling rates for commercial and industrial waste were 45 per cent.

Waste Strategy for England sets out the Government's plans to increase waste recycling rates for household, commercial and industrial waste.

Animal Welfare

20. To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will hold discussions with Compassion in World Farming on his Department’s role in ensuring animal welfare standards are met in Government procurement policy. (210323)

The Public Sector Food Procurement Initiative encourages public bodies to specify higher animal welfare standards and suggests specific ways of achieving this. It also promotes farm assurance standards, including ‘Freedom Foods’, and allows buyers to place more emphasis on produce meeting higher level standards when contracts are awarded.

DEFRA will evaluate the Public Sector Food Procurement Initiative and its effectiveness in improving animal welfare.

Wild Caught Bird Imports

21. To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans he has to continue the ban on wild caught bird imports. (210324)

The EU ban on wild bird imports, introduced on 1 July 2007, is expected to remain in place for the foreseeable future. We supported the ban on animal health grounds and, for the same reason, we support it now.

Flood Defence

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether the Environment Agency has a prioritised action plan for high-risk flood defence systems not in target condition. (210305)

The Environment Agency reduces flood risk by focussing work on flood defences that contribute most towards risk. Annual work programmes are prioritised based on the latest inspections of flood defence conditions. More than 95 per cent. of Environment Agency flood defences are at or above the required standard.

Biofuels

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent steps the Government has taken to encourage more drivers to use biofuels. (210391)

I have been asked to reply.

The Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO) requires the major oil companies and fuel suppliers that supply road fuels to ensure that a proportion of the road fuel supplied in the UK comprises renewable fuels such as biofuels. The scheme came into effect in April 2008. The level of the obligation for the first year (2008-09) is 2.5 per cent. of total fuel supplied, rising to 3.75 per cent. in 2009-10 and 5 per cent. in 2010-11.

The UK Government, through the Refuelling Infrastructure Grant Programme managed by the Energy Saving Trust, have provided grants since 2005 towards the cost of installing alternative refuelling points including, for example, for hydrogen, electric, bioethanol and natural gas/biogas stations. To date the grant programme has assisted in funding of 18 bioethanol (E85) refuelling stations and 1 E95 bioethanol station.

Carbon Emissions: Finance

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what his most recent assessment is of the UK's performance in meeting its international carbon dioxide emission reduction targets. (209676)

To meet our Kyoto target, UK emissions of the six gases (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydroflurocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulphur hexafluoride) controlled under the Kyoto Protocol, expressed in terms of carbon dioxide equivalent, must be 12.5 per cent. below base year levels across the period 2008-12. The base year is 1990 for carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide, and 1995 for the fluorinated gases. In 2005 and 2006, UK emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) were below this level. Latest projections estimate that, including the impact of the EU ETS, UK GHG emissions will be 23 per cent. below base year levels in 2010.

Along with Germany and Sweden, the UK is one of the three EU-15 member states projected to be on track to achieve their Kyoto Protocol targets using only existing domestic policies and measures.

Chemicals: EU Law

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps the Government has taken to encourage manufacturers, importers and users of chemicals to follow EU rules on chemical control. (209168)

[holding answer 10 June 2008]: On 1 June 2007 the EU REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and restriction of Chemicals) Regulation came into force. It is being implemented in stages over the next 10 years, and will replace much of the previous patchwork of chemicals control legislation with a single framework.

DEFRA, BERR, the UK REACH Competent Authority (the Health and Safety Executive), and the devolved administrations have been working closely since last year to raise awareness of REACH across industry, to encourage compliance and to make sure business can get the most benefit from REACH. This has been through a combination of four national conferences and over 25 regional follow-up events for industry organised by the Competent Authority, the creation of a dedicated REACH website within the Health and Safety Executive’s website, and a national Helpdesk to provide advice and technical information for businesses (contactable by telephone on 0845 408 9575, or e-mail at ukreachca@hse.gsi.gov.uk). In addition, the Government have placed notices in specialised trade press, various online website links and e-newsletters, and an article in the February edition of the Employers’ Bulletin sent out by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs to over 1 million UK businesses. These activities will continue as REACH begins to be implemented in the coming months. Industry also has a role to play in REACH awareness-raising through the supply chain.

Enforcement of REACH is the responsibility of each EU member state, and on 2 June the Government launched a public consultation on the proposed UK arrangements. The documents are available on DEFRA’s website. The enforcement arrangements must be in place by 1 December.

Chlorofluorocarbons: Waste Disposal

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of existing capacity safely to capture and dispose of products containing ozone depleting substances, with particular reference to those contained within plastic foam insulation; and if he will make a statement. (209642)

The UK has some of the largest and most modern fridge treatment plants in Europe. These recover ozone-depleting substances from the fridge insulating foam and circuits and, in some cases, other equipment containing ozone-depleting substances.

There are two high temperature incinerators in the UK that are used to destroy waste ozone-depleting substances.

The use of ozone-depleting substances in building insulation foams has been banned in the EU since the beginning of 2004. Most of these foams are currently still in buildings. DEFRA has initiated discussions with building industry stakeholders to assess the current infrastructure available for dealing with the recovery or destruction of ozone-depleting substances in building foams and the technical and economic issues that arise.

Climate Change: International Cooperation

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what progress has been made on the commitment in the Gleneagles G8 Climate Change Action Plan to promote the International Energy Agency’s One Watt Initiative. (209778)

The “One Watt” Initiative was launched by the International Energy Agency in 1997 with the aim of reducing standby power consumption for new appliances to one watt or less by 2010.

At Gleneagles, the G8—led by the UK—agreed to promote the application of the one watt initiative and the UK has been working with retailers and manufacturers to design out the use of wasteful standby functions and we are moving to adopt the one watt standard as part of our own procurement policy.

The UK has also been pressing for regulatory action to achieve this at the European level. Work under the Eco-design for Energy-using Products Framework Directive (EuP) is going well and we are expecting mandatory minimum standards for standby by the end of 2009, with a one watt horizontal requirement for most energy using products in place by 2010.

Climate Change: Satellites

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what meetings he has held with representatives of the space industry on the development of earth observation satellites to monitor the effects of climate change in the last 12 months. (209768)

The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has not met representatives of the space industry to discuss the development of Earth observation (EO) satellites to monitor the effects of climate change, within the last year. DEFRA is a partner in the British National Space Centre (hosted by the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills) who co-ordinate the Government’s interactions with the space industry. The Minister for Science and Innovation, who has responsibility for space policy, regularly meets with representatives of the space industry, where his wide-ranging discussions have covered the use of Earth observation satellites in monitoring climate change, and the associated Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) initiative. In addition to this, DEFRA organised a forum in March 2008, which was attended by a wide cross-section of the industry and others, to receive their views and input on the GMES initiative.

Flood Control: Land

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what funding his Department makes available to land owners to assist them in pursuing land management practices which contribute to flood defences; (208584)

(2) if he will provide agri-environment payments for land owners to incentivise land management practices which contribute to flood defences.

Environmental Stewardship, the agri-environment scheme funded through the Rural Development Programme for England, has flood management as a secondary objective, in support of its five primary objectives for wildlife, landscape, resource protection, the historic environment and access. The scheme does not fund flood management measures but can support complementary measures, such as the creation of water meadows and ditch restoration. During the application approval process, Natural England is advised by the Environment Agency as to whether there are any flood management benefits to the application, but the critical deciding factor will be whether the proposal meets the primary objectives.

The Environment Agency's catchment flood management plans identify areas where changes in land management may have a beneficial impact on flood risk and Natural England can use this information to help target higher level stewardship (HLS) funding. In deciding which HLS schemes to fund, Natural England has to take into account the full range of scheme objectives, and proposals which only deliver flood management benefits are less likely to be funded than those which deliver multiple objectives.

In cases where flood risk is an issue but HLS is not available the Environment Agency may use the flood management budget to take appropriate action. Any such scheme would need to be prioritised along with all other competing flood management projects.

Floods: Felixstowe

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will place in the Library a copy of the meeting notes of the meeting held between the right hon. Member for Suffolk Coastal and the then Secretary of State, the right hon. Member for Derby South (Margaret Beckett), to discuss Felixstowe’s flood defences. (209882)

[holding answer 9 June 2008]: I will write to the right hon. Member when I have more information.

Food Supply

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent discussions he has had with ministerial colleagues on the security of the national food supply. (210303)

I have discussed food security, both national and global, regularly with ministerial colleagues in recent months. The UK is more self-sufficient in food supply now than we were at the end of the Second World War, but we do need to respond to changing circumstances. I intend to publish a paper on ensuring Britain's food security later this month.

Genetically Modified Organisms: Crops

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what account he takes of the possible effect on England and Wales of Scotland adopting a policy of banning GM crops when formulating policy. (209751)

Like the rest of the UK, Scotland is subject to the relevant European Union legislation in this area. This provides for decisions on the proposed commercial release of GM products to be taken at EU level on a case-by-case basis, in line with the scientific evidence on the possible risks to human health and the environment.

Heathrow Airport: Carbon Emissions

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the effect of the proposals in the Adding Capacity at Heathrow Airport consultation on the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions. (209060)

Both Ministers and officials in DEFRA engage regularly with colleagues at the Department for Transport on matters relating to Heathrow which affect DEFRA lead policy responsibilities: notably on air quality, noise and climate change impacts.

Under current plans to include aviation in the EU emissions trading scheme (ETS), aviation emissions will be capped at the average of 2004-06 levels. Therefore, any growth in emissions above this cap would be compensated by emissions reductions elsewhere in other sectors that are participating in the EU ETS.

Inland Waterways: Waste Disposal

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps he is taking to assist local communities and voluntary associations to clear rubbish and other debris from rivers and canals. (210313)

The bodies responsible for maintaining waterways frequently work with local communities and charitable organisations to clear rubbish and debris. In addition, DEFRA provides funding to ENCAMS, who will be launching the Big Tidy Up campaign later this year—this will help community and voluntary groups to get involved in cleaning up their neighbourhoods, including rivers and canals.

Insulation: EC Law

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer of 2 June 2008, Official Report, column 766W, on insulation: EC law, whether his Department has set a timetable towards implementation following the European Commission's review of EC Regulation 2037/2000. (210384)

According to the current information from the European Commission, any revised legislation resulting from the Commission's review of EC Regulation 2037/2000 may come into force in the UK and other member states by early 2010. The Commission acknowledges that this is an ambitious timetable.

Correspondence

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will publish the response to the letter to the Prime Minister dated 19 December 2007 from Dr. James Hansen on the development of coal-fired power stations. (209770)

Nature Conservation

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what changes there have been to the regulations affecting the trade of endangered species in the last two years. (210050)

Commission Regulation (EC) No. 100/2008 came into effect on 25 February 2008 and made amendments to Commission Regulation 865/2006 which lays down the detailed rule concerning the implementation of CITES in the European Community. Changes included amendments to certificate definitions; changes to the personal effects derogation; a new certificate for sample collections; and a requirement for caviar processing plants to be registered.

Commission Regulation (EC) No. 318/2008 (CITES) came into effect on 11 April 2008. It replaced 1332/2005 and made amendments to the species listed on the Annexes of Council Regulation 338/97, implementing the changes to the Appendices agreed at the 14th Conference of CITES Parties in June 2007.

Commission Regulation (EC) No. 1037/2007 (CITES) came into effect on 1 October 2007. It suspends the introduction into the EC of certain species of wild fauna and flora. It also repealed Commission Regulation (EC) No. 349/2003 of 25 February 2003.

Planning Permission: Upchurch

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the Answer of 20 March 2008, Official Report, column 1302W, on planning permission: Upchurch, when the Environment Agency’s investigation will be completed; and what consideration the Agency has given to taking legal action following completion of its investigation. (209934)

[holding answer 10 June 2008]: The Environment Agency’s observation and investigation has, to date, revealed no evidence of illegal activity upon which it can act. The Environment Agency continues to support the multi agency group in its ongoing investigations and regulation of activities on site.

Medway Unitary Authority is leading on regulation at Four Gun Field under the terms of the paragraph 24 exemption which it registered in respect of the crushing activities at the site.

Rivers: Hertfordshire

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will commission research into the current and future condition of the chalk rivers of Hertfordshire. (209570)

The Environment Agency set up the Restoring Sustainable Abstraction (RSA) Programme in 1999 to identify and catalogue those sites which may be at risk from unsustainable abstraction. The aim of the RSA programme is to implement solutions to improve the flow and ecology of rivers.

The Environment Agency is currently investigating a number of rivers within Hertfordshire including the Gade, Bulbourne, Mimram, Beane, Ver, Colne, Rib and Stort.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will take steps to encourage improved water flow in the chalk rivers of Hertfordshire; and if he will make a statement. (209609)

The Environment Agency and Three Valleys Water are currently seeking solutions to the long-term challenge of reversing the impact of over-abstraction on flow levels within the Hertfordshire Chalk streams.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the effect on the ecology of the chalk rivers of Hertfordshire of current rates of water abstraction. (209634)

The ecological quality of chalk rivers is assessed by the Environment Agency using nationally recognised procedures. Invertebrates, fish and aquatic plants are regularly monitored. The precise number of monitored sites and the frequency of sampling varies from river to river and is related to the severity of low flows thought to be attributed to abstraction.

The Environment Agency uses monitoring results in the development of Catchment Abstraction Management Strategies (CAMS). As a result the Upper Lee and Colne have been given ‘over abstracted’ status. This defines a future licensing strategy to prevent further over-abstraction and to improve current status.

Water Supply

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) whether he plans to introduce additional enforcement measures to ensure water efficiency; (209635)

(2) what estimate he has made of the reduction in average daily household water usage in the East of England likely to be achieved on an annual basis by 2021; and if he will make a statement;

(3) what his benchmark figure is for daily household water usage (a) in new developments and (b) in all developments;

(4) what estimate he has made of daily household water usage in Hertfordshire.

A minimum benchmark figure for the design of new homes will be established by revision of the building regulations to be introduced in April 2009. The design performance standard of 125 litres per person per day is proposed. Additional benchmarks have been established in The Code for Sustainable Homes which set out higher levels of water efficiency. The ambition of an average daily household water usage of 130 litres per person per day by 2030, or less, within existing developments, was set out in the Government’s water strategy ‘Future Water’.

Daily household water usage data are reported by Ofwat in their Security of Supply Report. The average per capita consumption for consumers of Three Valleys Water who supply consumers in Hertfordshire was 168 litres per person per day in 2006-07.

Water companies are currently consulting on their draft Water Resource Management Plans; these set out their views on the future level of water consumption between 2010 and 2035.

The new water efficiency requirements to be introduced within Part G of Building Regulations and the review of the Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations will require improved water efficiency performance in new and existing premises, and will be enforced through current mechanisms set in both sets of Regulations.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent representations he has received from the Environment Agency on the sustainable level of daily household water usage. (209656)

The level of sustainable daily household water usage will differ for each area and over time, as it needs to take into account how much water can be sustainably abstracted in one catchment area (which might change over time) and how much water is used by all water users.

The Environment Agency has developed catchment abstraction management strategies (CAMS). Each strategy reflects the amount of water available in the natural environment for sustainable abstraction and looks at whether there is a sustainable balance between it and the amount of water that is licensed for abstraction. Strategies are available from the Environment Agency's website.

The Government's strategy for water, ‘Future Water’, states our ambition to reduce per capita consumption of water through cost effective measures, to an average of 130 litres per person per day by 2030, or possibly even 120 litres per person per day depending on new technological developments and innovation. Any reduction in per capita consumption will contribute towards achieving a sustainable balance of supply and demand, and the Environment Agency has expressed support for the Government's ambition for water efficiency.

Water Supply: East of England

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) whether changes have been made in his Department's assessment of future (a) water demand and (b) water resource in (i) Hertfordshire and (ii) the Eastern Region since 2000 as a result of climate change; (209571)

(2) what quantity of water he estimates will be necessary for the new homes in Hertfordshire planned up to 2021;

(3) if he will make a statement on the planning and management of water supplies in the East of England;

(4) what contribution he expects to be made from future (a) demand management and (b) resource development in providing water for homes in the East of England by 2021;

(5) much water is available in Hertfordshire for supply to new homes.

The Environment Agency is the statutory body with a duty to manage water resources in England and Wales. As part of the Agency's management role it has both national and regional water resource strategies which set out the pressures over the next 25 years.

Water companies have statutory duties to maintain adequate supplies of water. On 1 April 2007 it became a statutory requirement for water companies to prepare and maintain previously voluntary water resources management plans. These are 25 year plans which complement the Agency strategies and seek to reconcile supply with anticipated demand using the twin-track approach of considering the need for new resources, such as reservoirs, in parallel with the full range of options for reducing demand. New resources should be developed only where the scope for managing demand is clearly insufficient or unjustified in terms of cost.

The planning authorities are statutory consultees on the water company water resources management plans, which means that the water companies can be provided with information on proposed large scale developments in their supply areas. The water companies are also statutory consultees on Regional spatial strategies and local development frameworks, in the East of England and elsewhere, and should work with plan making bodies in drawing up these plans, so that the necessary coordination can occur.

Water companies are currently holding the first public consultations on their draft water resource management plans, providing any interested parties will the opportunity to make representations on the content of the plans. Each water company, in the East of England and elsewhere, has to publish a statement in response to the representation, and if the response is not considered to be adequate the Secretary of State can direct them to make further changes.

The Environment Agency now has Catchment abstraction management strategies (CAMS) in place throughout England and Wales, including the East of England, which provide transparency in the allocation of water resources. CAMS provide a consistent and structured approach to local water resources management, recognising the reasonable needs of all abstractors and the needs of the environment. CAMS enable the consideration of how much water can be abstracted from watercourses without damaging the environment. They will provide more local detail on the availability of water in Hertfordshire and the East of England more generally, and will allow a detailed assessment of where action may be needed to deal with problems of over abstraction.

In October 2007, the Chancellor announced a new Public Service Agreement on climate change. Sustainable abstraction, as measured through the water availability status in catchments, is the chosen indicator of the extent to which we are adapting to climate change. The achievement and maintenance of sustainable abstraction requires that policy is adaptable to changing climatic conditions. This indicator captures efforts to reduce demand and use water efficiently, and long-term planning to ensure resilience of water supply. It reflects the totality of abstraction impacts from local to national level.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the likelihood of drought conditions in Hertfordshire by 2021. (209636)

Based on climate change scenarios derived from Hadley Centre’s Regional Climate Model which suggests that the frequency of ‘short’ droughts, lasting one or two seasons, would increase significantly by the 2050s and be commonplace by the 2080s, it is expected that there will be an increase in the frequency of short droughts in Hertfordshire by 2021. These projections are based on modelling studies that contain inherent uncertainties, meaning that the actual frequency of droughts that will be experienced in future may be more or less than these estimates.

All water companies, including those supplying Hertfordshire, will need to identify measures to increase resilience of water supply against increased frequency of drought in their Water Resources Management Plans, which are currently subject to consultation. These measures should include demand and supply side options to maintain a supply-demand balance.

Water companies have statutory drought plans which set out how a company will meet essential demands for water in times of drought. Drought plans are prepared every three years and are subject to public consultation.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what (a) representations he has received on and (b) assessment he has made of the sustainability and acceptability of the abstraction regime in Hertfordshire on summer surface water availability; (209637)

(2) what estimate he has made of the potential for increased water capacity from the Abberton reservoir to be deployed in Hertfordshire;

(3) how much unused water capacity there was in each county in the East of England on the last date for which figures are available;

(4) what estimate he has made of the extent to which Hertfordshire is water-stressed; and if he will make a statement.

The Environment Agency is the statutory body with a duty to manage water resources in England and Wales. It now has catchment abstraction management strategies (CAMS) in place which provide transparency in the allocation of water resources. CAMS provide a consistent and structured approach to local water resources management, recognising the reasonable needs of all abstractors and the needs of the environment. CAMS enable the consideration of how much water can be abstracted from watercourses without damaging the environment. They provide local detail on the availability of water and allow a detailed assessment of where action may be needed to deal with problems of over abstraction.

The first set of CAMS has been completed and information on water resources in Hertfordshire and the east of England can be found on the Environment Agency website. I am not aware of representations having been made to the Secretary of State on the results of the relevant CAMS documents.

The CAMS process is currently being reviewed. The new process should strengthen links with other water resources initiatives to improve water management in the future.

The expansion of Abberton reservoir is the subject of an application for planning permission to the relevant planning authority. Should the reservoir be expanded, then the potential use of its water in Hertfordshire will be a matter for the water company operating the reservoir and the water companies supplying Hertfordshire.

The Secretary of State has designated all water companies serving Hertfordshire as operating in areas of serious water stress, for the purposes of accelerating domestic metering of water supply where there is a resources case to do so. This designation allows the companies concerned to make a case for compulsory metering in the water resources management plans. Where the Secretary of State agrees the case has been made, then the companies will be allowed to pursue a programme of compulsory metering.

Transport

Airports: Public Safety Zones

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answer of 22 May 2008, Official Report, column 425W, on airports: public safety zones, what factors will be taken into account in deciding the order in which the public safety zones will be reviewed under the phased review. (210723)

The principal factor in deciding the order of review of public safety zones will be the increase in total aircraft movements against the forecast figure provided when the current zones were established; airports showing the strongest growth will be the first reviewed.

It is likely that a small number of airports will be taken out of order to reflect local circumstances such as airport development.

Aviation: Scotland

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answer of 22 April 2008, Official Report, column 1895W, on railways: Scotland, what work she has asked Network Rail to undertake regarding a high speed rail link between England and Scotland. (209262)

Network Rail is developing longer term options for the railway network, and this will include consideration of new lines, both conventional and high speed.

Biofuels: Air Pollution

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment her Department has made of the effect on air quality of use of bio-fuels. (210061)

The Government have commissioned and published various pieces of research into the effects of biofuels on air quality. These include an evaluation of the impacts of vegetable oil fuel on the emissions of two light duty diesel vehicles and an evaluation of the potential impact of bioethanol on emissions of a wide range of air pollutants (available at

http://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/roads/environment/research/cqvcf/dftbiofuelsevaluationofemiss3823

and

http://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/roads/environment/research/ethanolemissionstestingmainr3843

or by navigating from the Department for Transport's home page (www.dft.gov.uk) to DfT home > Policy, guidance and research > Roads and vehicles > Environmental issues > Research, and then > Ethanol Emissions Testing: Main Report or > Cleaner and Quieter Vehicles and Cleaner Fuels > DfT biofuels evaluation of emissions performance from vegetable oil fuel).

Bus Services: Concessions

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether there are measures in place to penalise those local transport authorities which do not issue bus passes for free travel to local elderly and disabled people within certain times. (209929)

Travel concession authorities have a legal obligation to issue a concessionary travel pass to any person who appears to that authority to be eligible for concessionary travel. The legislation does not include any explicit statutory time limits by which an authority must issue a pass, although the statutory wording implies that the permits should be issued within a reasonable period of time. Travel concession authorities failing to supply permits within a reasonable period of time may be vulnerable to legal challenge.

CTRL/London and Continental Railways

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate she has made of the expected proceeds of the sale of the Government's interests in CTRL/London and Continental Railways. (209064)

The intention of the Government is to agree a restructuring and sale of London and Continental Railways Ltd. in a way which maximises value for money for the taxpayer.

The timing of that sale will depend on the pace of restructuring and market conditions closer to the time.

The Government would not wish to publish an estimate of expected proceeds; to do so might compromise the competitive sale process and damage value.

Cycleways

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what her most recent estimate is of the number of miles of cycle routes in the National Cycle Network. (209285)

Sustrans, the Transport Charity is the co-ordinator of the National Cycle Network (NCN). The Network consists of over 12,000 miles of walking and cycle routes on traffic-free paths, quiet lanes and traffic-calmed roads.

The Department for Transport continues to fund Links to School from the NCN. We have contributed over £18 million to link over 600 schools to the network. We plan to contribute funding for a further 250 links to approximately 500 schools through Cycling England's current work programme.

Cycleways: Construction

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate she has made of the average cost per mile of new cycle path construction. (209071)

Local highway authorities are responsible for the delivery of cycle tracks and paths. They do so within their unring-fenced block grant for Local Transport.

The Department therefore does not hold information on cycle track/path construction costs. Furthermore the cost of an off-road cycle track/path varies greatly, especially depending on the design and location.

Sustrans, the promoters of the National Cycle Network estimate that the average cost of a mile of off-road cycle track costs around £45,000.

Cycling: Bournemouth

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what support her Department provides to assist the development of cycle networks in Bournemouth. (209677)

The responsibility for the development of cycle networks in Bournemouth rests with the local council, as the local highway authority.

The Department for Transport encourages all local authorities to develop a cycling strategy as part of their Local Transport Plan (LTP). I understand Bournemouth borough council produce a joint LTP with the borough of Poole council. DfT has awarded their joint LTP the following block grant for local transport for the next three years from which cycle projects could be funded.

Integrated transport block allocations

£000

2008-09

4,296

2009-10

4,512

2010-11

4,726

Departmental Higher Civil Servants

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport on what date her Department’s Permanent Secretary took up the post. (209282)

Robert Devereux was appointed permanent secretary for the Department with effect from 30 May 2007.

Departmental Manpower

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many and what proportion of her Department's employees are (a) male, (b) female, (c) from an ethnic minority, (d) disabled and (e) not heterosexual; and if she will make a statement. (208401)

The Department for Transport recorded the following current data:

Total

Percentage

Total Staff

19,543

Number of male

11,227

57.45

Number of female

8,316

42.55

Number ethnicity - white

16,138

82.58

Number ethnicity - ethnic minority (ALL)

1,017

5.20

Number ethnicity - not stated

2,388

12.22

Number of disabled

1,449

7.41

Data on sexual orientation is not currently collected across the Department for Transport nor published centrally.

Departmental Travel

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what guidance is given to her staff on use of sustainable travel for business purposes. (209048)

The Department for Transport and its agencies base their travel policy on the requirement that travel should only be undertaken where necessary, and after alternatives have been considered. Public transport should be used wherever possible.

Additional measures, such as detailed travel plans, are being developed and rolled out throughout the Department to reinforce the commitment to sustainability and the lowering of environmental impact. In addition, the central Department has published a sustainable travel site on its intranet which offers advice on alternatives to travel, and on sustainable travel choices.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether sustainability of mode of travel is taken into account by her Department when approving staff travel expenses. (209049)

The Department for Transport and its agencies operate travel policies that only permit travel to be undertaken when it is necessary and after alternatives have been considered, and stipulate that public transport should be used wherever possible. Management checks and approval of claims must include compliance with travel policy.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much her Department paid in staff travel costs in each of the last three years, broken down by mode of transport. (209050)

Travel spend is accounted differently across the Department for Transport and its agencies, and hence it is not possible to provide a consistent breakdown by mode. Travel spend in 2005-06 was £12,650,748, in 2006-07 it was £13,574,340, and in 2007-08 £12,863,666. These figures do not include VOSA as the agency does not hold this information and so could not provide it without disproportionate cost. DSA figures are only included in the 2007-08 total, as the accounting system used before that period did not separate travel from other costs. The 2007-08 total does not include DFT(C) as the information for that year is not currently available.

Driving Tests: Personal Records

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the Oral Statement of 17 December 2007, Official Report, columns 624-26, on data storage and use, when her Permanent Secretary was first informed of the loss of information by Pearson Driving Assessments Ltd. from its facility in Iowa City. (209281)

Government Car and Despatch Agency: Fuels

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much the Government Car and Despatch Agency spent on (a) petrol, (b) diesel and (c) other vehicle fuel in each of the last five years. (209444)

Since 2003-04 the Government Car and Despatch Agency has spent £3,352,937 on vehicle fuels as follows:

£

Petrol

Diesel

LPG

2003-04

414,493

192,161

26,100

2004-05

403,895

193,550

35,162

2005-06

449,797

225,131

48,291

2006-07

390,574

265,025

32,583

2007-08

303,139

371,055

1,982

From 2005-06 onwards, vehicles in the van-based Government mail fleet ended their operational life and were replaced by diesel powered vans because these proved to be more reliable and efficient. This accounts for the sharp fall on the use of LPG in the last two years.

Heathrow Airport

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answer of 20 March 2008, Official Report, column 1384W, on Heathrow Airport, (1) which technical studies and documents regarding Heathrow expansion proposals have been made available to key stakeholders since 2003; (209249)

(2) which key stakeholders have been given access to technical studies regarding Heathrow expansion proposals conducted by her Department since 2003.

The only stakeholders given access to the Heathrow work were those directly involved in providing technical input, namely the Civil Aviation Authority, NATS and BAA. It is not practicable to list all the documents which respective parties have seen since 2003. The outcome of the work is represented by the Heathrow consultation document and the series of supporting technical reports issued last November, seven of which were provided variously by NATS and the CAA.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate she has made of the likely effect of Heathrow Airport expansion on the level of chargeable landing fees by the airport operator. (209272)

The costs and benefits of additional capacity at Heathrow airport are set out in annex B (impact assessment) of “Adding Capacity at Heathrow Airport”, November 2007, available at:

http://www.dft.gov.uk/consultations/closed/heathrow consultation/

Further details of the methods used to estimate these costs and benefits are set out in “UK Air Passenger Demand and CO2 Forecasts”, November 2007, available at:

http://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/aviation/environmentalissues/ukairdemandandco2forecasts/

No assessment of the likely effect of additional capacity at Heathrow airport on the level of landing fees charged by the airport operator has been made.

The level of landing fees charged by the airport operator with additional capacity would be a matter for the airport operator, airlines, and the CAA.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport on what basis and by whom the assumptions referred to in paragraph 2.47 of Annex B to the Adding Capacity at Heathrow Airport consultation document were made. (209277)

The assumptions are based on the Department for Transport future passenger forecasts with additional Heathrow capacity as set out in “Future of Air Transport White Paper supporting document Passenger Forecasts: Additional Analysis (December 2003)”. As stated in the consultation document, this analysis is preliminary and does not form part of the overall Heathrow net present value (NPV) calculations. The tourism analysis is currently being updated in line with latest information, feedback from consultation responses and input from the Heathrow impact assessment peer review process.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answer of 18 March 2008, Official Report, columns 953-4W, on Heathrow airport, what role was played by BAA in developing the economic impact assessment on Heathrow expansion set out in Annex B of the Adding Capacity at Heathrow consultation document. (209305)

Annex B of the ‘Adding Capacity at Heathrow Airport’ consultation document, which assesses the potential impacts of options for adding capacity at Heathrow airport, was prepared by Department for Transport officials in line with the Better Regulation Executive's impact assessment guidance. As such it draws upon information from a range of sources, including BAA.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) pursuant to the Answer of 2 April 2008, Official Report, column 1014W, on Heathrow Airport, which (a) existing guidelines and (b) long-term targets recommended by the World Health Organisation were taken into account when preparing options for expansion included in the Adding Capacity at Heathrow Airport consultation document; (209443)

(2) how many people live in areas of the UK where aviation noise is classified as dangerous by the World Health Organisation.

The reference in my earlier reply of 2 April 2008, Official Report, column 1014W, to WHO guidelines and long-term targets was in the context of noise policy generally, and was not specific to Heathrow.

The WHO guidelines for community noise (WHO, 1999) are essentially values for the onset of health effects. These are levels that would produce no significant health effects for the population at large. The WHO have recommended that the guidelines should be adopted as long term targets for improving human health which the Government have stated that they will take into account.

The WHO guideline targets and the Government definition of significant community annoyance are not incompatible but do not read across directly. The WHO values are set at the level below which there is no impact from annoyance on human health—the Government value is set in terms of community annoyance.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if her Department will commission an independent assessment of the information provided by BAA for the preparation of the Adding Capacity at Heathrow consultation document. (209664)

No. I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave her on 20 March 2008, Official Report, column 1383W.

Highways Agency

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport to which bodies the Highways Agency is accountable. (209058)

The Highways Agency is an Executive agency of the Department for Transport and is accountable to the Secretary of State for Transport.

Highways Agency: Complaints

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what formal complaint mechanisms are open to members of the public in relation to decisions taken by the Highways Agency. (209057)

The Highways Agency has a formal complaints procedure called Putting Things Right, which is published on its website. The procedure involves three stages; a local review, a review by the chief executive and a further review by an independent complaints assessor.

Highways Agency: Freedom of Information

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many requests under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 have been received by the Highways Agency since the Act came into operation. (209056)

The Highways Agency has received 790 requests under the Freedom of Information Act since 1 January 2005 when the Act came into operation.

M1: Safety Barriers

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans she has for the maintenance of the safety barriers on the M1 motorway at Newport Pagnell Service Station and Little Linford Lane; and when the work will be completed. (208205)

The Highways Agency is responsible for the maintenance of safety barriers on the M1 motorway. They have recently completed the repair of accident damage to the safety barrier on the northbound entry slip road to the Motorway Service Area (MSA).

Newport Pagnell MSA is a site that is owned by the Secretary of State and leased to Welcome Break Ltd. for the provision of services to those travelling on the motorway. Under the terms of the lease, maintenance issues such as safety barriers within the boundaries of the MSA site are the responsibility of the site operator.

Little Linford Road is the responsibility of Milton Keynes Council.

M6

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) when she expects the Highways Agency to implement its proposals for widening the M6 between junctions 11A and 19; and what estimate she has made of the cost of the scheme; (209288)

(2) pursuant to the answer of 26 March 2008, Official Report, column 171W, on the M1:M62, when she expects the Highways Agency to publish its findings on active traffic management measures for the M62 and M1.

On 4 March 2008 the Secretary of State published the ‘Advanced Motorway Signalling and Traffic Management Feasibility Study’. The Secretary of State also announced that the Department of Transport and the Highways Agency would undertake additional detailed work examining managed motorway schemes for those areas identified in the feasibility study as being a high priority, including stretches of the M1, M6 and M62. This includes examining whether hard shoulder running could provide a better value for money solution for schemes which were previously planned as widenings, and this will include the production of cost estimates for these hard shoulder running schemes.

As part of this process, the cost estimates for the widening schemes following the Nichols review are subject to further work and validation. This work is under way and due to be complete by the end of the year. The results of this work will inform decisions on the composition of the roads programme and the timing of schemes within it.

Parking

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much staff are charged to park in the car parking facilities provided at each building operated by her Department and its agencies. (209053)

The Department for Transport does not charge staff to park in any of the car parking facilities it provides.

Railway Stations

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport which rail stations will be upgraded as indicated in the White Paper, Delivering a Sustainable Railway, in the next control period; and what her timetable is for such upgrades. (209329)

Major improvements to the stations at Reading and Birmingham New Street are expected to be completed by 2014.

The Thameslink Programme includes major improvements at Blackfriars (completion expected by 2011-12), Farringdon (completion expected by 2011-12) and London Bridge (completion expected by 2015). More modest improvements are also expected at City Thameslink station for completion by the end of 2009, and at a number of outer area stations, most of which will be completed in the period 2009-14.

Kings Cross station is being upgraded with a new concourse and is expected to be complete by 2012. There are also plans to upgrade Waterloo station, including making use of the former international terminal for domestic rail services, which will be progressed during the period 2009-14.

A list of candidate stations for funding under the National Stations Improvement Programme was included as part of the April 2008 refresh of Network Rail's strategic business plan. The industry is continuing to refine this list and expects to be in a position to start confirming some of the stations in the programme later in the year.

There will also be platform lengthening work across the network to accommodate longer trains throughout the period 2009-14.

Railways

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what her policy is on the class of travel which staff in her Department are entitled to claim as an expense. (209047)

All business travel by staff of the Department for Transport and its agencies is undertaken in compliance with the requirements of the Civil Service Management Code. Staff are required to use the most cost effective means of travel appropriate to each journey.

The Department and five of its agencies allow first class rail travel where necessary for senior grades (typically SEO equivalent and above). All others must use standard class except when necessarily accompanying senior colleagues, or where use of the higher class is unavoidable. Air travel is restricted to economy class or equivalent for flights up to 2.5 hours duration, and to business class or equivalent for longer flights.

Two agencies operate variations on this policy. VGA stipulate that staff must always travel by the most cost effective manner, and VOSA require standard or economy class to be used for all journeys unless there are unavoidable reasons to upgrade.

Railways: Standards

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport with reference to the Answer of 20 December 2005, Official Report, column 2914W, on c2c Line/One Rail to the hon. Member for Southend West, and the Answer of 1 February 2006, Official Report, column 562W, on train operating companies to the hon. Member for Carshalton and Wallington, how many trains were cancelled in the last 12 months, broken down by train operating company; and what the reason was for each cancellation. (209033)

The numbers of franchised passenger trains cancelled in the year to 31 March 2008, broken down by train operating company, are given in the following table.

The reasons for each individual cancellation are not held by the Department.

Train operating company

Number of cancellations

ATW

1,394

c2c

1,249

Chiltern

715

Cross Country

1,267

East Midlands

2,197

FCC

4,280

FGW

8,153

First Scotrail

7,708

Gatwick Express

334

London Midland

5,622

London Overground

2,376

Merseyrail

1,847

Northern

8,670

NXEA

7,307

NXEC

997

Southeastern

4,614

Southern

5,627

South Western

3,890

TPE

897

Virgin West Coast

678

Network total

69,822

In total, this represents 1.2 per cent. of the trains which were scheduled to operate.

Road Traffic: Canvey Island

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if she will visit Canvey Island during the rush hour period to meet residents and commuters to discuss ways to reduce congestion. (209629)

The Secretary of State for Transport is very aware of the issues facing Canvey Island, particularly when a road traffic collision occurs. At this stage in time, however, the Secretary of State’s diary does not permit a visit. However, it is hoped a future ministerial visit to see progress with a range of transport projects in the Thames Gateway area could be arranged.

Roads: Repairs and Maintenance

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what mechanisms are in place to ensure road maintenance meets high quality standards. (209945)

The maintenance of local roads is the responsibility of local highway authorities. The Department for Transport endorses “Well-maintained Highways”, the code of practice for highway maintenance produced by the UK Roads Board. This, together with its companion codes, “Well-lit Highways” and “Management of Highway Structures” provide best practice guidance—all to be found at:

www.ukroadsliaisongroup.org

The Highways Agency manages the trunk road network in England. Maintenance assessment and design standards are stipulated in the Design Manual for Road and Bridges and their implementation is guided by the Network Management Manual, the Manual of Contract Documents for Highways Works and a number of best practice advice notes. In addition, the Agency has comprehensive technical appraisal and prioritisation processes to help develop a consistent and robust road maintenance programme. The Agency works in partnership with road users, local communities, its managing agents and suppliers to develop its programme. The performance of their managing agents and their suppliers is monitored and reviewed regularly.

Roads: Safety

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate she has made of the average cost of installing a speed hump. (209072)

The cost of road humps can vary considerably, depending on the materials used. The indicative costs of constructing various types of road humps are shown in the following table which is extracted from Table 4.2 of ‘Local Transport Note 1/07 Traffic Calming’ which constitutes the Department for Transport's latest guidance on traffic calming.

Hump type

Cost (£)

Round-top hump

400-1,000

Flat-top hump

>500

Raised junction

approx.10,000

'S' hump

2,000

'H' hump

2500

Thermoplastic hump (thump)

300-500

Speed cushion

240-700

Pair of speed cushions

500-2000

Note:

Table shows the indicative cost of road humps. Costs given are approximate and for guidance only and do not include an allowance for inflation since the reports informing these prices were published.

Shipping: Freight

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport from what sources information on cargo lost at sea is obtained and collated by the Advisory Committee on the Protection of the Sea. (208920)

The Advisory Committee on the Protection of the Sea (ACOPS) collates data on oil and chemical pollution including packages lost at sea in the UK pollution control zone. Most reports are gathered through MCA Maritime Rescue Coordination Centres (MRCCs) in the form of pollution reports (POLREPs). Those reports are collated into a database.

In addition to reports received by the MRCCs, ACOPS also receives information from local authorities, ports and harbours and the UK environmental regulators.

From this data, ACOPs produces an annual report on behalf of the MCA. These annual reports are published on the MCA website.

Every 10 years, ACOPS reviews all reports of packaged and dangerous goods in order to examine trends of lost cargo over time. The International Maritime Organisation is consulted in respect of the review of such trends.

Speed Limits: Cameras

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many successful prosecutions of drivers exceeding the speed limit in SPECS sites on the (a) M25 and (b) M11 there were in each of the last five years. (209814)

I have been asked to reply.

This information is not collected centrally. Statistics on prosecutions for speeding relate to police force areas, not specific roads or sites, and do not identify types of camera used to provide evidence.

Thameslink Railway Line: Rolling Stock

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much her Department has spent on consultants on the specification for the new Thameslink rolling stock; and for what reason this matter was not deemed to be the responsibility of the rolling stock companies. (208921)

As of the 31 May 2008, the Department of Transport has spent approximately £1.1 million on the development of the procurement exercise to provide the new Thameslink rolling stock. This includes support from financial, legal and technical consultants.

In electing to lead the procurement, the Department identified that Thameslink is a highly complex programme with a clear requirement for the rolling stock specification and delivery to be aligned with the infrastructure works and planned train service operations. Successful integration of these elements sits with the Department. The Department also identified that there is a requirement for optimising the value of the investment and a need to address the aims of the Rail Technical Strategy published in July 2007.

We considered that these issues were less likely to be fully addressed by a market led approach and there was a need for departmental leadership to ensure that the objectives of the Thameslink rolling stock programme are fully realised.

Transport

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what account is taken of the time taken for journeys by different modes of transport when appraising transport schemes. (210055)

The Department for Transport appraises proposed transport schemes using the New Approach to Appraisal (NATA). Journey time impacts across all modes of transport are included in every NATA appraisal, and form an important element of the benefits of transport interventions.

For the purpose of valuing changes in the duration of journeys NATA distinguishes between working, commuting and leisure trips. This reflects a large body of evidence on the values of time spent travelling. The values used in appraisal are provided by the WebTAG resource available at:

http://www.webtag.org.uk/webdocuments/3_Expert/5_Economy _Objective/3.5.6.htm

Most journey time savings typically accrue to people who are travelling in their own time, and are valued at either £5.04 per hour or £4.46 in 2002 prices, depending on whether time is saved from a journey to work or another destination. This is irrespective of the mode used.

Transport schemes also reduce times taken for work-related journeys. These benefits are valued according to the average labour costs of individuals who travel by different modes of transport. The average value of working time across all working persons is £26.73 in 2002 prices. Further details of the values of working time applied in transport appraisals are set out in table 1 in the transport analysis guidance unit linked to above. A copy of the table follows. These do differ by mode: evidence indicates that business travellers are selective in the modes used during work, with the most productive business trips using taxi, with rail and underground also being of high value.

Table 1: Values of working time per person

£ per hour, 2002 prices and values

Vehicle occupant

Market price

Car driver

26.43

Car passenger

18.94

LGV (driver or passenger)

10.18

OGV (driver or passenger)

10.18

PSV driver

10.18

PSV passenger

20.22

Taxi driver

9.77

Taxi/Minicab passenger

44.69

Rail passenger

36.96

Underground passenger

35.95

Walker

29.64

Cyclist

17.00

Motorcyclist

23.91

Average of all working persons

26.73

Transport: Exhaust Emissions

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if she will place in the Library the databases used to calculate the average carbon dioxide emissions per person per journey within Great Britain via the Transport Direct website. (209074)

A spreadsheet showing the CO2 values used for each mode of transport as at 4 June 2008 and also the other assumptions used to calculate journey distances has been placed in the Libraries of the House. Much of this information is available to Transport Direct users in the ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ section of the website.

Northern Ireland

Community Support Officers

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) if he will make a statement on the introduction of police community support officers as recommended by the Patten Report; (208970)

(2) what financial arrangements have been made for the introduction of police community support officers in Northern Ireland;

(3) what the timescale is for the introduction of police community support officers as recommended in the Patten Report.

The evidence from England and Wales is that PCSOs can play an important role, alongside police and other police support staff, in making communities safer and providing public reassurance on local issues of concern.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland has received a resource allocation in excess of £1.1 billion for each of the three years of the Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR07). The timing of the introduction of PCSOs is a matter for the Chief Constable to consider, in consultation with the Policing Board.

Fuels: Smuggling

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many people were (a) charged with and (b) convicted of the distribution or sale of illegal fuel in Northern Ireland in the last 12 months. (210067)

I have been asked to reply.

In the last 12 months, eight people have been convicted of hydrocarbon oils fraud in Northern Ireland. In that period, six have been arrested in relation to suspected hydrocarbon oils fraud in cases which are being dealt with by information and summons.

In the same period, in mainland Great Britain, one case involving four defendants has reached the prosecution stage.

The number of people convicted in relation to hydrocarbon oils fraud in mainland Great Britain and Northern Ireland during the period 2007-08 will be published in the HMRC autumn performance report 2008, later this year.

Criminal investigation and prosecution for hydrocarbon oils offences form only one part of HMRC’s overall approach to tackling oils fraud, together with the investigation/prosecution of wider oils excise offences, combined with a strong regulatory control system and the civil penalties regime.

Homicide: Belfast

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what progress has been made in the investigation of the murder of Thomas Devlin on 10 August 2005. (208967)

The PSNI are currently awaiting directions from the Public Prosecution Service in respect of their recommendations.

Offensive Weapons: Arrests

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many persons in Northern Ireland were arrested for an offence of possession of an offensive weapon or bladed article as a result of police usage of metal detection devices in the latest period for which figures are available. (209303)

The Chief Constable has provided the following answer:

“The information sought is not recorded in the way requested but I can advise you that the total number of persons in Northern Ireland who were arrested for an offence of possession of an offensive weapon or bladed article between 01/04/2007 and 31/03/2008 was 568. Information regarding how many of these arrests were related to usage of metal detectors is not available”.

Police Service of Northern Ireland: Recruitment

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what steps he is taking to encourage recruitment of young people from a Protestant background in inner city areas of Northern Ireland into the Police Service of Northern Ireland. (208234)

As recommended by the Report of the Independent Commission on Policing for Northern Ireland, each Police Service of Northern Ireland recruitment campaign is advertised imaginatively and extensively through newspapers and the internet. This advertising is aimed at all parts of the community in Northern Ireland and covers both urban and rural areas.

The PSNI also attend a wide range of careers fairs and recruitment events in schools, colleges and communities across Northern Ireland.

Recruitment processes are constantly reviewed to ensure that they meet operational needs.

Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform

Accident Group

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what representations he has received on (a) allegations of audit failure at The Accident Group and (b) the investigation of such allegations by the Financial Reporting Council; and if he will make a statement. (209757)

A check of records has revealed that such representations were received by the DTI from my hon. Friend the Member for Great Grimsby and from the Association for Accountancy and Business Affairs.

Business: Females

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform when he expects to launch the women’s enterprise campaign; and what recent assessment he has made of trends in women’s enterprise activity. (204293)

The Government are determined that we maximise the untapped economic dividend for the UK from increasing female entrepreneurship rates. The US has 20 per cent. more businesses per head than the UK. A significant proportion of this gap is explained by much lower rates of women’s entrepreneurial activity in the UK. This goes to the heart of the UK’s productivity and competitiveness.

Discussions and market research are already under way with the aim of launching a Women’s Enterprise Media Campaign “Spark an Idea” in September 2008. The campaign will be co-ordinated by Enterprise Insight, who are funded by my Department and which brings together an enterprise coalition of 25 national organisations from education, the voluntary sector, business and government. The campaign will specifically look to develop the awareness and potential of women who are under-represented in enterprise currently.

The campaign is an integral part of a strong package of measures on women’s enterprise announced recently in the Government’s Enterprise Strategy. Those measures include provision for: £12.5 million of Government capital through a women’s investment fund; women’s business centre pilots; enhanced mentoring support; a new national enterprise centre of expertise; and activity aimed at opening up procurement opportunities to women-owned businesses. More information on the strategy is available at:

www.berr.gov.uk/enterprisestrategy

Climate Change

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what steps are being taken by his Department to implement the recommendations of the second limb of the Stern Report, with particular reference to (a) technological developments and (b) carbon capture storage policy. (208503)

BERR welcomes the release of Lord Stern’s Key Elements of a Global Deal paper. We hope it will stimulate debate, and more importantly, action. The report’s findings will continue to feed into the Government’s thinking on climate change.

BERR is working to promote technology and investment cooperation both in the UK and overseas through a range of initiatives such as the Environmental Transformation Fund (ETF) and the International Energy Agency (IEA). It also works with the Technology Strategy Board, the Energy Technologies Institute, the Carbon Trust and the Research Councils to ensure a cohesive approach to innovation.

Between 2002 and 2008 the UK spent over £500 million on research and development in low carbon technologies, with funding continuing under the ETF. The creation of the Energy Technologies Institute in late 2007, a partnership between the public and private sectors, will coordinate up to £1 billion worth of RD and D funding into low carbon energy technology over the next 10 years.

The Government recognise the global potential of carbon capture and storage (CCS) and are working in a number of ways to support its development. This includes a competition to develop the UK’s first commercial-scale demonstration of CCS and supporting smaller scale R and D and demonstration of CCS technology, developing EU and domestic regulatory regimes for the safe and reliable storage of CO2 as well as amending international treaties to enable CCS technology. We are also working through the EU, G8, IEA and bilaterally to encourage the development and deployment of CCS internationally. Working towards a global consensus on the urgency of the need to demonstrate and deploy CCS has been a particular priority and we are working with EU partners to realise the Commission’s ambition for up to 12 commercial scale CCS projects by 2015. We also strongly support the IEA’s call to the G8 for 20 demonstration projects to be launched by 2010, and on leading the campaign to have this referred to in the final text at both the Energy Ministers and the Leaders Summit.

Coal: Exports

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what assessment he has made of the impact on exports of British coal of other EU member states’ coal industry state aids; and if he will make a statement. (209144)

In 2007, total UK coal production was approximately 17 million tonnes, predominantly of coal-fired electricity generation quality, the bulk of which was used within the UK. UK coal exports were under 0.6 million tonnes; this is understood to have included shipments to Ireland and Norway.

The 27 European Union states import annually in the order of 120 million tonnes of coal from third countries for generation use.

Total UK coal imports in 2007 were approximately 43 million tonnes, of which 22 million tonnes was from Russia and 12 million tonnes from South Africa. With regard to trade with other coal producing EU member states, 852,000 tonnes were imported from Poland, 46,000 tonnes from Spain and 41,000 tonnes from Germany.

The impact of coal state aids under Council Regulation 1407/2002 on the coal market was considered as part of the report COM(2007)253 which, with its annex SEC(2007) 602, was published by the European Commission on 21 May 2007. This concluded that distortion of the coal market within the EU as a result of such aids seems to be limited by the fact that most subsidized coal covered by the Regulation is consumed in national markets, and that this suggests that there is little direct competition between coal produced in different member states. A possible exception is Germany, which has replaced parts of its indigenous production with imports from Poland and the Czech Republic.

Construction

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what assessment his Department has made of the likely effects of difficulties in obtaining credit on the commercial construction industry in the next three years; and what steps he plans to take to support the industry over that period. (207535)

We continue to keep the availability of credit to business under review in all sectors, including construction, and have regular dialogue with the banks. Lending to the UK construction sector has increased throughout the first quarter of 2008. However, we have concerns about the potential impact of the credit crunch on property markets and the consequences for construction activity. House builders, in particular, are experiencing a slow-down in activity, with lower site visits and forward reservations.

The Enterprise Strategy, published alongside the Budget, announced extended eligibility criteria for the small firms loan guarantee and a £60 million uplift in lending allocations designed to encourage greater usage of the scheme by the banks. Advice to businesses on managing their financial position in the current economic climate has been made available on businesslink.gov.uk Our proposed reforms to the ‘Construction Act’ published in the recent draft legislative programme 2008-09 will help promote better cash flow and greater certainty of payment in construction contracts.

In addition, the Government recently announced that the Housing Corporation will provide up to £200 million for RSLs to purchase newly built properties from developers, where these are of an appropriate quality and represent value for money. These will be made available for first-time buyers to purchase through the existing homebuy scheme or for social rented tenancies.

Departmental Training

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how much (a) his Department and (b) its agencies spent on training courses for staff in the last (i) 12 months and (ii) five years. (210564)

In financial year 2007-08, the Department spent £5,664,000 and its agencies £1,714,000 on training.

Details of spend for preceding years are in the following table.

Expenditure

£000

Financial year

Department

Agencies

Total

2006-071

6,206

1,340

7,546

2005-062

7,827

1,662

9,489

2004-05

7,730

2,072

9,802

2003-04

6,497

1,920

8,417

2002-03

6,327

1,449

7,776

1 For 2006-07 and earlier years, figures represent spend by the former Department of Trade and Industry, including functions transferred in 2007-08 to the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills.

2 For 2005-06 and earlier years, agency figures include expenditure by the Employment Tribunals Service, which transferred to the Ministry of Justice on 1 April 2006.

Fuel Poverty

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how many households he estimates will be removed from fuel poverty by the measures recently announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. (208993)

My right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr. Darling) announced in the Budget that the Government would work with energy suppliers to increase their spend on social programmes designed to help those vulnerable to fuel poverty. The Government reached individual agreements with each of the six largest suppliers in April to increase their collective spend to at least £150 million a year by 2010-11.

The impact of this additional funding on the fuel poverty numbers will depend on how it is directed. If it is purely used to offset bills and equally distributed among the poorest households, then it could help to remove up to 100,000 of these from fuel poverty. Other scenarios may bring different benefits—for example, energy efficiency measures may benefit fewer but will be permanent. Energy suppliers will be free to determine how they target the additional spend within certain parameters currently being developed by Ofgem.

In addition, the Chancellor announced a one-off additional supplement to the winter fuel payment of £50 for the over-60s and £100 for the over-80s. This will benefit around eight million pensioner households.

The Government also announced action to investigate and tackle the high differential between the cost of energy to customers using prepayment meters and those paying by direct debit. Around 11 per cent. of the fuel poor pay for their gas via prepayment meters and around 20 per cent. of the fuel poor use prepayment meters for their electricity. Ofgem is currently investigating and is due to report in September. Subsequent action will depend on the outcome of Ofgem’s investigation.

Housing: Carbon Emissions

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what steps he has taken to publicise the Low Carbon Buildings Programme to (a) homeowners and (b) local authorities. (208054)

The Government are working with the Energy Saving Trust to promote the Low Carbon Buildings Programme household funding stream. To date, we have used both their advice network and market segmentation models to target those that are most likely to install microgeneration technologies and apply for grants. Further details are available at:

www.lowcarbonbuildings.org.uk

BERR is currently working with the Building Research Establishment (BRE), the Low Carbon Buildings Programme Phase 2 programme manager, to deliver a national awareness raising campaign at a series of regional events. They have been promoting the scheme through combination of articles, advertorials and advertising in media serving all target sectors. 50,000 promotional flyers have been produced and distributed to journals and potential applicants. We expect around 700 people from eligible organisations and local authorities to participate in the events.

We also continue to investigate and pursue other avenues for promotion of the scheme. For example, working with colleagues from other Government Departments, BERR officials speak regularly at events and conferences to promote the programme. Promotional activities have also been undertaken by the framework suppliers of phase II of the LCBP.

We have also published an energy measures report for local authorities compiling information they can use to improve energy efficiency, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase the levels of microgeneration in their communities.

Further details of the report can be obtained from:

http://www.berr.gov.uk/energy/environment/measures/page41270.html

Industrial Diseases: Compensation

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how many people in Houghton and Washington East constituency have had coal health claims settled since the scheme was introduced; and how much was paid out in relation to such claims. (208570)

The number of claimants in Houghton and Washington East constituency who have had Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease claims (COPD) and Vibration White Finger claims settled are shown in the following table as at 1 June 2008.

Total claims settled1

Total damages paid on settled claims (£ million)

COPD

6,410

34.8

VWF

2,301

29.1

Total

8,711

63.9

1 Total claims settled includes claims settled by payment, denial, withdrawal or strike out.

North Sea Oil

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how many barrels of oil were produced from the North Sea in each of the last 30 years; and what estimate he has made of the number of barrels to be produced in each of the next 10 years. (209528)

[holding answer 9 June 2008]: The information requested is in the following table. Historical and projected data on UK crude oil and natural gas liquids (NGLs) in tonnes have been converted into barrels assuming there are 7.5 barrels per tonne. Historical data are from http://www.berr.gov.uk/energy/statistics/source/oil/page18470.html while projections through to 2013 are from https://www.og.berr.gov.uk/information/bb_updates/chapters/Section4_17.htm; a compound annual decline of 5.5 per cent. has been assumed thereafter.

UK production of oil and NGLs

Million barrels

1978

405

1979

583

1980

604

1981

671

1982

774

1983

862

1984

945

1985

957

1986

953

1987

925

1988

858

1989

688

1990

687

1991

684

1992

707

1993

751

1994

949

1995

974

1996

972

1997

960

1998

994

1999

1,028

2000

945

2001

875

2002

870

2003

796

2004

715

2005

635

2006

574

2007

576

2008

539

2009

509

2010

484

2011

461

2012

437

2013

411

2014

388

2015

367

2016

346

2017

327

Piracy

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what steps have been taken (a) by the UK and (b) with other countries to protect (i) marine trade routes and (ii) critical parts of marine trade routes to and from the UK from (A) piracy, (B) accidents and (C) other forms of disruption; what assessment has been made of the levels of such risks on each route; and if he will make a statement. (210132)

I have been asked to reply.

The UK Government take a proactive role in working with our international partners, such as the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and foreign governments and the shipping industry to develop international legislation and guidance for shipping transiting trade routes. At both Government and operational levels this includes collaborating with other navies and coastguards through a series of combined operations and strategic alliances to ensure that the vital sea lanes and choke points are safe to navigate. Also, the Government monitor and assess the risk of terrorism to sea lanes and, as appropriate, set the security level for UK and Red Ensign Group registered ships operating in these areas and advise industry accordingly.

The Government also issue guidance to industry in measures to counter piracy and armed robbery and safe distances of transit in piracy hotspots.

Recently, the UK co-sponsored the UNSC resolution addressing the problem of piracy off Somalia. Under the terms of resolution 1816 (2008), which was adopted unanimously, the Security Council decided that states co-operating with the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia (TFG) would be allowed, for a period of six months, to enter the country's territorial waters and use “all necessary means” to repress acts of piracy and armed robbery at sea, in a manner consistent with relevant provisions of international law.

Furthermore, the Government are committed to ratifying into UK law the 2005 protocols to the convention for the suppression of unlawful acts against the safety of maritime navigation, by way of the proposed Transport Security Bill. Notably, this Bill will provide powers to board ships that are suspected of being involved in acts of piracy.

The UK plays an active role in the IMO's Maritime Safety Committee and Subcommittee on the Safety of Navigation to prevent accidents at sea. In this forum we seek consensus on ships' routeing measures to reduce the risk of groundings or collisions.

Where UK waters are concerned, moreover, the Government have a strategic approach to protecting the UK's seas and coasts which involves all of the following:

we have put in place a network of shore-based stations around the UK coastline to monitor vessel traffic, using automatic identification system technology;

we ensure that powerful tug boats (commonly referred to as “emergency towing vessels”) are available, so that they can assist ships which lose motive power;

we have established arrangements whereby a ship requiring assistance, and whose condition needs to be stabilised, can be brought to a place of refuge;

we have a highly effective structure for command and control of an incident, in which the Secretary of State's representative for maritime salvage and intervention (SOSREP) plays a major role;

we have a fully developed national contingency plan, consistent with the international convention on oil pollution preparedness, response and co-operation 1990 (the “OPRC Convention”); and

we participate actively in international assistance and co-operation arrangements of a bipartite, multipartite or regional nature, again consistent with the OPRC convention.

Renewable Energy: Seas and Oceans

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform whether he has commissioned research into the potential siting of generators which capture energy from very large ocean swell; and if he will make a statement. (201938)

The Department has published detailed information on the UK’s wave energy resource in the “Atlas of UK Marine Renewable Energy Resources: A Strategic Environmental Assessment Report, March 2008”. This can be accessed on the Department’s Strategic Environmental Assessment website at:

http://www.offshore-sea.org.uk/site/scripts/documents_info .php?categoryID=21&documentedID=25

Retail Trade: Competition

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform when he expects the Competition Commission’s final report into the UK grocery market to be published; and if he will make a statement. (210659)

The Competition Commission’s final report into the UK grocery market was published on 30 April. The full report and annexes can be found at

http://www.competition-commission.gov.uk/inquiries/ref2006/grocery/groceries_inquiry_news.hm

The Government expect to publish their response before the summer recess.

Solar Power: Boilers

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform if he will bring forward proposals to prohibit the sale of domestic boilers that are incompatible with solar water-heating panels; and if he will make a statement. (209568)

I have been asked to reply.

It is not necessary to prohibit the sale of any domestic boiler as they all have the potential to be compatible with solar water-heating panels. However, there are criteria that have to be observed when incorporating a solar water-heating panel within a boiler-based heating system to ensure its safe operation.

Tidal Power

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what progress has been made with Pulse Tidal’s Humber tidal stream energy test project; and if he will make a statement. (208501)

On 7 April 2008, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State granted consent under the Transport and Works Act 1992 to Pulse Tidal Ltd. for their prototype tidal stream generator at Upper Burcom on the River Humber. Although construction and operation of the device is now a matter for Pulse Tidal to take forward, I understand that construction of the device has begun.

Wind Power

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what the costs are estimated to be of connecting to the National Grid proposed windfarms estimated to be necessary to meet Government targets; what estimate he has made of the lengths of overhead pylons required to connect such windfarms to the Grid; and if he will make a statement. (207905)

Investment in electricity networks is made by the Transmission Owners and Distribution Network Operators under the regulatory supervision of Ofgem.

In terms of investment over the next few years, Ofgem have agreed £560 million of investment in the transmission network specifically to connect new renewable generation in Scotland and the North of England. In the Transmission Price Control, which covers the five year period from 1 April 2007, a further £3.8 billion of investment in the transmission network was agreed. This figure includes both refurbishment and the costs of connecting new generators of all types and may increase if warranted by generator demand.

The Department is currently preparing a document that will be published as part of the Government’s consultation on developing a strategy for achieving the UK’s contribution towards the European Union renewable energy target of 20 per cent. by 2020. Delivering our contribution is likely to require a significant increase in renewable electricity that goes beyond our current target of 10 per cent. by 2010 and the aspiration to increase it to 20 per cent. by 2020.

An independent study commissioned in support of this work is considering electricity network related issues including the estimated costs and scale of any additional network infrastructure that will be needed to meet the EU target. The study considers a range of scenarios and the final report will be published together with the consultation document.

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what factors are taken into account when his Department assesses applications for new offshore wind farms. (208504)

In considering applications for offshore wind farms, Ministers will consider all relevant factors that are drawn to their attention by members of the public, the Government’s statutory advisers and others with an interest in the proposed development and set these against the need for electricity generation from renewable energy sources.

Defence

Armed Forces: Sports

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what sports facilities are available to service personnel and their families on each base, broken down by (a) base, (b) facilities and (c) cost to users. (209580)

Records held by Defence Estates indicate the following numbers of sports facilities exist in the UK and overseas (figures are approximate):

Number

Sports pavilions

180

Sports halls

430

Sports pitches

440

Sports tracks

140

Squash courts

230

Swimming pools

70

Tennis courts

480

To provide more comprehensive or detailed information or to break facilities down on a site by site basis would entail disproportionate cost.

Colombia: Armed Forces

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence from which units Colombian state security forces came who received training at UK military establishments in each year since 2002; and how many Colombian state security services personnel received training at UK military establishments in each year since 2002. (210389)

The Ministry of Defence does not record the units of foreign personnel receiving training at UK military establishments. 21 Colombian personnel, in total, have commenced training in the UK since 2002. The numbers attending by year, and their year of attendance, are given in the following table. The courses provided are educational courses for staff officers, or bomb disposal experts.

Fiscal year

Number of Colombian students

2001-02

1

2002-03

1

2003-04

5

2004-05

7

2005-06

2

2006-07

2

2007-08

3

Defence: Secondary Education

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) who has (a) contributed resources to, (b) offered to develop and (c) taken part in online polls relating to the Defence Dynamics e-learning tool; (208881)

(2) what the results were of (a) the online polls and (b) the rating of lessons in relation to the Defence Dynamics e-learning tool website;

(3) what (a) representations he has received on and (b) audit he has conducted of the e-learning product Defence Dynamics; and if he will place in the Library copies of the representations received;

(4) how many students have used the e-learning product Defence Dynamics;

(5) how many people have registered on the Defence Dynamics website;

(6) who have registered on the Defence Dynamics website have (a) used interactive exercises, (b) registered a class, (c) used teaching materials, (d) accessed the multimedia library, (e) downloaded multimedia resources, (f) used forums, (g) filed a complaint and (h) reported technical problems;

(7) how many schools have (a) acquired and (b) used the multi-media tool Defence Dynamics cited at page 25 of the Report of the Inquiry into National Recognition of our Armed Forces.

Departmental Official Residences

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what official residences are owned by his Department; and what the (a) office held by each resident, (b) address and (c) value is of each such residence. (208889)

[holding answer 5 June 2008]: There are currently 32 Official Service Residences (OSR) which are listed in the following table. While the area in which the residence is located is given, the address has been withheld in the interests of security.

OSRs are properties either owned or leased by the Ministry of Defence (MOD) and designated as a residence for a post which carries representational hosting responsibility for the entertainment and/or accommodation of senior or influential guests. It is the post and not the residence that carries OSR status.

Of the 22 OSR properties in Great Britain, 13 are MOD owned, eight are owned by Annington Homes Ltd. and one is part of a Royal Palace. Of the 10 OSR overseas, four are MOD owned, with the remainder provided by the host nation.

Market values of MOD-owned properties are not obtained unless disposal is proposed.

MOD Post Title

OSR location

Chief of Defence Staff

London

Vice Chief of Defence Staff

London

First Sea Lord/Chief of Naval Staff

London

Second Sea Lord/Commander in Chief, Naval Home Command

Portsmouth

Commodore/Britannia Royal Naval College

Dartmouth

Commander-in-Chief (CinC) FLEET

London

Deputy CinC FLEET

Portsmouth

Commander United Kingdom Amphibious Forces

Portsmouth

Flag Officer Sea Training

Plymouth

Flag Officer Northern England and Northern Ireland

Helensburgh

General Officer Commanding (GOC) Northern Ireland

Lisburn

Chief of General Staff

London

Adjutant General

Tidworth

Commandant Royal Military Academy Sandhurst

Camberley

CinC LAND

Bulford

Commandant Allied Rapid Reaction Corps

Wegberg, Germany

GOC l (UK) Div

Herford, Germany

GOC 2 DIV

Edinburgh

GOC London District

London

GOC United Kingdom Support Group (Germany)

Wegberg, Germany

CinC Air Command

Buckinghamshire

Chief of Air Staff

London

Deputy CinC Personnel

Buckinghamshire

Commandant RAF College

Cranwell

Commandant Joint Service Command and Staff College

Shrivenham

Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe

Belgium

Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic

Virginia, USA

UK Military Representative

Brussels

Deputy Commander Joint Forces Command Brunssum

Netherlands

Joint Forces Command HQ Deputy Commander

Naples, Italy

Chief of Joint Operations—London

London

Commander British Forces Cyprus

Cyprus

Iraq: Peacekeeping Operations

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many British soldiers have been embedded in the (a) Iraqi 10th division, (b) Iraqi 14th division and (c) other Iraqi units in each month since January. (200956)

We began our policy of embedding personnel within the Iraqi army and its chain of command at the beginning of April this year. Prior to this, while we were not embedding, we had established a very close and effective training relationship with first 10th Division and then, following its establishment, with 14th Division. A considerable number of UK forces remain focused on this vital work of monitoring, mentoring and training the Iraqi security forces, with many of the balance providing direct support to it.

As of 30 April 2008, 94 UK personnel were embedded with 14th Division and 73 collocated with the Basra Operations Command. In addition to this number, UK forces also provide direct and substantial assistance to the Iraqi army both in the planning and conduct of their operations. We have also established a six-strong liaison team at Basra Palace.

There are currently no British soldiers embedded with the Iraqi army's 10th Division.

We have continued in our efforts to help develop the Iraqi navy and some 116 UK personnel, based at Umm Qasr Port, have been involved in this task.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many UK service personnel have suffered damage to their (a) sight and (b) hearing as a consequence of service in (i) Iraq and (ii) Afghanistan. (209312)

[holding answer 6 June 2008]: The following tables show the numbers of UK service personnel who have attended the Role 2 (Enhanced), or Role 3 field hospital facilities in Iraq and Afghanistan with ophthalmic and ear nose and throat (ENT) conditions. Available records of this type do not separately identify those with only hearing problems.

Ophthalmology

Iraq (March 2003 to December 2007)

Afghanistan (April 2006 to December 2007)

Injuries

888

146

Illness

472

34

Total

1,360

180

Ear/nose/throat (ENT)

Iraq (March 2003 to December 2007)

Afghanistan (April 2006 to December 2007)

Injuries

104

23

Illness

500

58

Total

604

81

The tables show initial attendances only. The figures were compiled using the Operational Emergency Department Attendance Register (OpEDAR), which records all patients who have attended or been admitted through the A and E department of either a UK Role 2(E) or UK Role 3 operational hospital. OpEDAR is designed to capture diagnosis at the initial assessment, rather than track a patient through their care. It is possible for diagnosis to change over the course of treatment or for a patient to have multiple conditions.

These figures have been centrally compiled and there may, therefore, be a small percentage of cases that have not been entered into the reporting system.