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Written Answers

Volume 485: debated on Monday 15 December 2008

Written Answers to Questions

Monday 15 December 2008

Northern Ireland

Departmental Early Retirement

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many people took early retirement from his Department in each of the last five years. (243231)

The following table provides details of the number of staff who took early retirement from the Northern Ireland Office in each of the last five years.

Number

2004-05

7

2005-06

6

2006-07

2

2007-08

1

2008-09 (to date)

1

Departmental Information Officers

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how much was spent on employing press and communications officers in his Department in each of the last three years. (240956)

The following table shows expenditure on employing press and communications officers within the Northern Ireland Office (excluding agencies and executive NDPBs) in each of the last three financial years.

Northern Ireland Office (£000)

2005-06

596

2006-07

686

2007-08

532

Departmental Internet

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland with reference to the answer of 4 November 2008, Official Report, columns 336-37W, on Government departments: information and communications technology, which IP addresses are used by (a) his Department and (b) computers in the offices of its (i) Ministers, (ii) communications officials and (iii) special advisers. (241957)

To help defend against electronic attack, it is standard information security practice for corporate IT systems not to publish internal IP addresses. When accessing internet websites, the IP addresses of all of the computers on the Northern Ireland Office internal office IT system are hidden behind the following IP addresses which are publicly available—195.92.40.49 and 62.25.106.209. These IP addresses are shared with other government departments that use the Government secure intranet.

Departmental Official Hospitality

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what records his Department maintains of its expenditure on (a) official hospitality and (b) alcohol for official hospitality. (240456)

Expenditure relating to official hospitality is recorded on the departmental finance system and is inclusive of any expenditure on alcohol for official hospitality.

Expenditure on hospitality is set out in accordance with the principles of Managing Public Money and the Treasury handbook on Regularity and Propriety.

Departmental Older Workers

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland with reference to the answer of 10 November 2008, Official Report, column 772W, on departmental older workers, what recent steps his Department has taken to encourage older people to apply to work in the Department. (243528)

All advertisements to posts in the Northern Ireland Office (NIO) carry an Equal Opportunities statement to the effect that the NIO is an Equal Opportunities Employer. This covers all section 75 categories, including age.

Departmental Pensions

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland with reference to the answer of 24 November 2008, Official Report, column 882W, on departmental pensions, what the reasons are for the increases in the cost of pension contributions in each year. (243230)

There are three reasons which account for the increases in the cost of pension contributions in each year. Increases in scheme membership, salaries paid and employer’s accruing superannuation liability charges.

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland with reference to the answer of 24 November 2008, Official Report, column 882W, on departmental pensions, what the future projections are of the cost of pension contributions incurred in each financial year up to 2015. (243233)

The Northern Ireland Office has not projected the future estimated cost of departmental pension contributions that may be incurred, beyond the 2008-09 financial year.

Departmental Press Releases

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland with reference to the answer of 13 November 2008, Official Report, column 1318W, on departmental press releases, how many press releases his Department has issued in the last five years. (243381)

Records of the number of press releases issued by my Department (core only) in the last five years are shown in the following table.

Number of press releases issued by NIO

2003-04

188

2004-05

289

2005-06

362

2006-07

360

2007-08

198

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland with reference to the answer of 13 November 2008, Official Report, column 1318W, on departmental press releases, how many press releases each of his press officers has released in the last 12 months. (243382)

The Department issued 206 press releases in the period 1 December 2007 to 30 November 2008. All press releases are issued centrally from the press office and not by individual press officers.

Departmental Recruitment

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland with reference to the answer of 13 November 2008, Official Report, columns 1320-1W, on recruitment and religion, in what ways the Department of Finance and Personnel has liaised with representatives of ethnic communities in the last 12 months. (243504)

The Department of Finance and Personnel is a Department within the Northern Ireland Administration and this matter is their responsibility.

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland with reference to the answer of 13 November 2008, Official Report, columns 1320-1W, on recruitment and religion, how many people have been recruited to posts in his Department from non-Christian backgrounds in the last 12 months. (243505)

The Northern Ireland Office (NIO) does not monitor the religion or beliefs of its staff. In accordance with the requirements of the Fair Employment and Treatment (NI) Order 1998, those NIO staff working in Northern Ireland are monitored for community background only.

Gifts

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many members of staff in his Department have received gifts valued at £100 or higher in the course of their duties in each of the last three years; what these gifts were; and from whom they were received. (242016)

No Northern Ireland Office staff have received gifts valued at £100 or higher in the course of their duties in the last three years.

Languages

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what estimate he has made of the number of people in Northern Ireland who are fluent speakers of (a) Polish, (b) Mandarin, (c) Irish, (d) Ulster Scots, (f) Portuguese, (g) Spanish, (h) French and (i) German. (243201)

My office does not hold this information as this is a devolved matter.

The provision of official information on Northern Ireland’s population is the responsibility of the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency which is an Executive agency within the Department of Finance and Personnel.

Olympic Games 2012

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland with reference to the answer of 18 November 2008, Official Report, column 260W, on the Olympic Games 2012, (1) what plans his Department has to involve Northern Ireland in the 2012 Olympic games; (243383)

(2) when he next expects to hold discussions with (a) the First Minister and (b) the Deputy First Minister on this matter.

I have no ministerial responsibility in respect of the Olympic and Paralympic games 2012 and accordingly I have no plans to hold discussions with the First and Deputy First Minister on this matter.

However, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport and the Minister for the Olympics are determined to ensure that the whole of the UK is engaged with and benefits from the games in 2012. His Department and the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games are working closely with the Northern Ireland Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure, which leads and co-ordinates all aspects relating to the 2012 games for Northern Ireland, to maximise benefits for Northern Ireland.

PSNI: Finance

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) what the estimated resource expenditure is of the Public Prosecution Service in the current three year Comprehensive Spending Review period; (241817)

(2) what the estimated resource expenditure is of the Northern Ireland Prison Service in the current three year Comprehensive Spending Review period;

(3) what the estimated resource expenditure is of the Forensic Science Northern Ireland Service in the current three year Comprehensive Spending Review period;

(4) what the estimated resource expenditure is of the Youth Justice Agency in the current three year Comprehensive Spending Review period;

(5) what the estimated resource expenditure is of the Compensation Agency in the current three year Comprehensive Spending Review period;

(6) what the estimated resource expenditure is of the Independent Assessor for Police Service of Northern Ireland Recruitment Applications in the current three year Comprehensive Spending Review period;

(7) what the estimated resource expenditure is of the Northern Ireland Policing Board in the current three year Comprehensive Spending Review period;

(8) what the estimated resource expenditure is of the Office of the Police Ombudsman in the current three year Comprehensive Spending Review period;

(9) what the estimated resource expenditure is of the Northern Ireland Police Fund in the current three year comprehensive spending review period;

(10) what the estimated resource expenditure is of the Royal Ulster Constabulary George Cross Foundation in the current three year Comprehensive Spending Review period;

(11) what the estimated resource expenditure is of the Criminal Justice Inspection Northern Ireland in the current three year Comprehensive Spending Review period;

(12) what the estimated resource expenditure is of the Northern Ireland Probation Board in the current three year Comprehensive Spending Review period;

(13) what the estimated resource expenditure is of the Northern Ireland Law Commission in the current three year Comprehensive Spending Review period;

(14) what the estimated resource expenditure is of the Independent Assessor for Police Service of Northern Ireland recruitment applications in the current three year Comprehensive Spending Review period;

(15) what the estimated resource expenditure is of the Parades Commission in the current three year Comprehensive Spending Review period;

(16) what the estimated resource expenditure is of the Police Rehabilitation and Retraining Trust in the current three year Comprehensive Spending Review period;

(17) what the estimated resource expenditure is of the Independent Monitoring Boards of (a) Maghaberry, (b) Magilligan and (c) Hydebank Wood prisons in the current three year Comprehensive Spending Review period;

(18) what the estimated resource expenditure is of the Prisoner Ombudsman in the current three year Comprehensive Spending Review period;

(19) what the estimated resource expenditure is of the Life Sentence Review Commissioners in the current three year Comprehensive Spending Review period;

(20) what the estimated resource expenditure is of the Commissioner for Hearings under Prison Rule 109B (Loss of Remission Commissioner) in the current three year Comprehensive Spending Review period;

(21) what the estimated resource expenditure is of the State Pathologist in the current three year Comprehensive Spending Review period.

The following table shows the current resource budget allocations, under the 2007 comprehensive spending review (CSR07), for the bodies requested.

£000

Body

2008-09

2009-10

2010-11

Public Prosecution Service

36,558

35,714

36,677

Northern Ireland Prison Service

134,868

139,800

144,501

Forensic Science Agency

2,430

1,589

1,666

Youth Justice Agency

21,089

21,771

22,457

Compensation Agency

49,992

16,032

15,608

Northern Ireland Policing Board

8,666

8,797

9,035

Office of the Police Ombudsman

9,482

9,938

10,199

Northern Ireland Police Fund

1,849

1,899

1,950

RUC George Cross Foundation

154

158

162

Criminal Justice Inspection Northern Ireland

1,453

1,525

1,561

Northern Ireland Probation Board

16,778

18,597

19,997

Northern Ireland Law Commission

500

514

527

Independent Assessor for Police Service of Northern Ireland Recruitment Applications

25

26

27

Parades Commission

1,141

1,192

1,226

Police Rehabilitation and Retraining Trust

2,234

2,294

2,356

Independent Monitoring Boards

110

110

110

Prisoner Ombudsman

619

683

699

Life Sentence Review Commissioners

801

951

1,271

Commissioner for Hearings under Prison Rule 109B1

12

12

12

State Pathologist

2,190

1,766

1,800

1 £12,000 included within Prison Service figures

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Agriculture: Subsidies

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on what date the EU target of 96.14 per cent. of payments by value under the single payment scheme in England was met in each of the scheme years to date; and when he expects the target to be met for the 2008 scheme year. (241251)

The Rural Payments Agency (RPA) announced on its website that it had exceeded the EU target of 96.154 per cent. of payments, by value, on the following dates:

Date

2005

2 August 2006

2006

13 June 2007

2007

11 June 2008

RPA is not in a position to predict the date when payments made for the 2008 scheme year will exceed the EU target, as this will depend on the associated values of the particular claims as they complete validation and are ready to be paid out.

RPA is committed to meeting its formal targets of making 75 per cent. of payments, by value, by the end of January 2009 and 90 per cent. by value by the end of March 2009.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many claims of under (a) £300 and (b) £500 were made under the single farm payments scheme in England in 2007. (241646)

[holding answer 9 December 2008]: Under the Single Payment Scheme 2007 in England, to date 10,898 payments have been made where the claim value was under £300 and 16,605 payments have been made where the claim value was under £500. It should be noted that these numbers may reduce if payments are subsequently voided.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much his Department spent on inspections to support the work of the Rural Payments Agency in each of the last five years. (242423)

[holding answer 11 December 2008]: The direct costs of the Rural Payment Agency (RPA) Inspectorate for the last five years are as follows:

Financial year

£ million

2003-04

14.5

2004-05

19.7

2005-06

19.0

2006-07

23.0

2007-08

19.6

The Inspectorate also carries out inspections on behalf of other administrative bodies in addition to RPA such as Natural England. These costs include administering, carrying out and reporting on physical inspections but do not include overheads or the costs of administering the results of those inspections.

The costs for 2004-05 onwards include expenditure relating to services provided by agents.

The increase in the 2006-07 costs were as a result of merging Horticultural Marketing Inspectorate into the Inspectorate.

The Environment Agency also undertakes inspections in support of the work of the RPA but does not allocate any specific costs towards such inspections because the majority of visits are undertaken as a matter of course. However the Environment Agency has identified costs of additional reporting and it is estimated that the following is spent per annum:

£

Cost of inspections

15,500

Cost of admin

25,600

Additional costs

10,000

Total

51,100

Animal Health also spent the following amount on inspections to support the work of the RPA:

Financial year

£

2006-07

47,291

2007-08

84,007

Animal Health does not hold figures for 2003-04 and 2004-05 because the State Veterinary Service was part of Core DEFRA during that period. 2005-06 was the first year for the State Veterinary Service as an Executive Agency of DEFRA and this was a transition period in respect of data.

Animal Health: Training

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs with reference to the answer of 19 November 2008, Official Report, column 476W, on inspections, if he will break down the cost of training programmes for 2007-08 by category of programme. (241994)

[holding answer 9 December 2008]: Animal Health do not hold figures of training by programme. This information could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Bluetongue Disease: Import Controls

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what precautionary steps his Department has taken to prevent the spread of BTV8 and BTV1 from imported live stock to domestic sheep and cattle in the UK. (243827)

DEFRA continues to conduct post-import tests on all imported animals for all BT serotypes. This means we can detect all types of Bluetongue through our routine testing.

We have an agreed policy for controlling incursions of any new serotypes under the existing UK Bluetongue Control Strategy. This strategy was reviewed recently in light of this year’s experience and to address risk from other serotypes, and was published on the DEFRA website on 1 December.

Details of the Control Strategy are currently available on the DEFRA website. Copies will also be placed in the House Library.

DEFRA continues to urge industry to consider the risks and check the health and vaccination status of animals when sourcing any animals, from within the UK or abroad.

Bluetongue Disease: Vaccination

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of the level of bluetongue vaccine uptake in England. (241481)

Vaccination against bluetongue in England is voluntary, and delivered through existing veterinary medicine supply chains, an approach agreed with the livestock industry to ensure the simple, rapid roll-out of vaccine to protect animals earlier this year. Because the approach to vaccination is voluntary, no definitive figures can be provided on the numbers of livestock actually vaccinated.

However, to date, sales data from the supply chain suggests the overall uptake of vaccine across the whole of England is around 60 per cent. Initial vaccine uptake was high—reaching between 80 per cent. and 90 per cent. in the South East and East of England, but uptake in the counties of northern England and in Wales has been lower.

Bottles: Recycling

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate his Department has made of the cost of introducing a deposit and return scheme for bottles; how such a scheme would be applied; and how it would work in practice. (240896)

DEFRA has not recently estimated the cost of introducing a deposit and return system for bottles. A study undertaken for DEFRA in 2004-05 estimated that the annual operating costs for such a system would be in the region of £100 million. We recently commissioned a study by Environmental Resources Management which looked into the advantages and disadvantages of deposit systems and the issues that need to be addressed in setting up such systems. This report will be published shortly.

Bovine TB Eradication Group

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the terms of reference of the Bovine TB Eradication Group are. (242884)

The Terms of Reference of the Bovine TB Eradication Group for England are:

To make recommendations to the Secretary of State on bovine TB and its eradication.

To review the current TB strategy and control measures and develop a plan for reducing the incidence of bovine TB from cattle in England and moving towards eventual eradication. To assess options to help farmers in high incidence areas maintain viable businesses when under disease restrictions.

To make recommendations on other issues as they arise. DEFRA may also choose to refer specific issues to the group.

The group will look at the options available to address infection in cattle and to reduce the risk of transmission between cattle and between cattle and wildlife, and consider costs and benefits in making recommendations for action. It will consider options for using vaccination in cattle and badgers. It will also consider any exceptional circumstances or new scientific evidence that might arise relating to the established policy on badger culling for control of TB.

A priority output from the work of this group will be a series of measures which can be submitted to the European Commission for approval as part of a formal eradication plan.

Departmental Waste Disposal

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what percentage of the waste generated by (a) his Department and (b) the Environment Agency has been recycled or composted in each of the last three years. (240890)

DEFRA recycled and composted the following amounts of waste in each of the last three years.

Tonnes/percentage

2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

Total waste

4,283

5,716

5,252

Recycled/composted

948

1,640

1,385

Percentage recycled

22

29

26

Reused/incinerated with energy recovery

1,262

1,047

1,506

Percentage recovered

52

47

55

At this time the Sustainable Development Commission has yet to publish Government data for 2007-08.

DEFRA has increased the number of sites on which it reports from 39 in 2004-05 to 54 in 2006-07. The waste data also include laboratory waste. A large amount of laboratory waste is hazardous and cannot be recycled.

The following table shows Environment Agency estimates for waste recycled from its offices and depots for the last two financial years. Prior to 2006-07 records were not held centrally and are therefore unavailable.

Kilograms/percentage

2006-07

2007-08

Total waste

448,227

508,324

Landfilled

170,055

153,461

Recycled

267,956

351,634

Percentage recycled

60

69

Farmers: Income

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of the total income generated by farming in England (a) in absolute terms expressed in pounds sterling and (b) as a percentage of gross domestic product in each of the last three years. (241482)

Latest estimates of Total Income from Farming for England for the last three years are shown as follows.

Total Income from Farming: England

£ million

2005

1,415.5

2006

1,554.6

2007 (provisional)

1,630.6

Total Income from Farming (TIFF) is income generated by production within the agriculture industry, including subsidies. It represents business profits plus remuneration for work done by owners and other unpaid workers.

Agriculture’s contribution to the economy is measured by its contribution to Gross Value Added. Gross Value Added differs from Total Income from Farming in that it excludes consumption of fixed capital, subsidies and taxes that are decoupled from production, compensation of employees, net rent and interest. The latest estimates of Gross Value Added for agriculture expressed as a percentage of Gross Value Added in England are shown as follows; an estimate for 2007 is not yet available.

Agriculture’s GVA as percentage of regional GVA: England

Percentage

2005

0.43

2006

0.44

2007 (provisional)

Not yet available

Farmers: Markets

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what research his Department has commissioned on the effects of farmers’ markets on (a) producers and (b) consumers. (241706)

In recent years DEFRA has commissioned general research relating to regional and local food and these studies have examined the impacts of farmers markets on both producers and consumers. A recent example of such a study is research carried out for DEFRA by the University of Plymouth entitled, “Understanding of Consumer Attitudes and Actual Purchasing Behaviour, with Reference to Local and Regional Foods”. A copy of this report can be found on the DEFRA website.

Hazardous Substances: Waste Disposal

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much hazardous waste was sent to landfill in each of the last three years. (240892)

The amount of hazardous waste landfilled in each of the last three years was:

Tonnes

2005

1,010,700

2006

900,000

2007

850,000

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of arrangements for the management of hazardous waste; and if he will make a statement. (241710)

Government set out the detailed arisings, trends and projections on hazardous waste in Waste Strategy for England 2007 (annex C9). The document includes an analysis of facility needs for England in order to cope with changes in legislation affecting the management of hazardous waste. That analysis identified priority needs for certain facilities, which continue to exist. We are working closely with the Environment Agency and the waste sector to help develop a more detailed picture of facility needs and to develop the strategy to help realise those facilities.

Horse Racing: Animal Breeding

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will bring forward legislative proposals to limit the number of thoroughbred horses which may be bred by the racing industry; and if he will make a statement. (243017)

Horses: Artificial Insemination

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many frozen semen straws from the Hannoverian stallion (Weltmeyer 31-44035-84) have been imported since 1 January 1989; and how many such straws have been checked by an Agricultural Development Advisory Service vet. (240690)

Livestock: Disease Control

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what funding his Department has provided for research on farm animal diseases in each of the last five years. (241475)

The figures for DEFRA funding for research on farm animal diseases over the last five years are as follows:

£ million

2007-8

34.5

2006-7

35.1

2005-6

34.8

2006-5

35.6

2003-4

34.0

Figures taken from records held within the DEFRA Animal Health and Welfare Evidence Base Unit.

Livestock: Transport

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will conduct a cost-benefit analysis of the six-day movement rule for farm livestock. (241479)

In 2003, an extensive cost benefit analysis into movement standstills demonstrated the significant benefits of standstill regimes in reducing both the size and cost of a disease outbreak. These conclusions remain valid. Standstills confer significant protection when disease is present but undetected. It would not be desirable to remove this protection from the livestock industry.

This is a devolved issue and while we in DEFRA have no plans to review the standstill. The Welsh Assembly and the Scottish Parliament would need to be consulted to determine the position in Wales and Scotland.

Packaging: Recycling

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many companies have been (a) prosecuted and (b) convicted of being in breach of the Producer Responsibility Obligation (Packaging Waste) Regulations. (240921)

Since the implementation of the Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations in 1998 there have been around 375 successful prosecutions in the UK.

In 2007, the last compliance year, there were 62 successful prosecutions in England and Wales resulting in fines of over £700,000. There were no prosecutions in Scotland or Northern Ireland.

Pet Travel Scheme

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent discussions he has had with (a) Cabinet colleagues and (b) European Union Commissioners on the pet movement derogation and its expiry date in June 2010. (241477)

My Department has held a number of meetings with other Government Departments, the Commission and other member states regarding pet movement controls and are planning to have further discussions with the Commission in the new year.

Recycling

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps are being taken to increase levels of processing of material awaiting recycling. (240885)

The UK's performance in increasing recycling and reducing reliance on landfill has improved significantly in recent years. We have also seen increased demand for recyclable materials for developing economies, reflected in the unprecedented rise in the value of these materials earlier this year. Demand and prices for some materials have now dropped significantly and we want to ensure that this does not undermine public confidence in the value of recycling, nor lead to unacceptable environmental consequences. Indeed, resource efficiency and waste prevention are even more important during the economic downturn.

On 5 December, the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) launched a new advice forum for local authorities to help them deal with lower prices and weaker demand for recyclable materials.

Recovered materials are still a valuable resource and, as with other commodities, prices can rise or fall sharply. Even in the current climate, not all commodities are affected. The price paid for glass, for example, continues to remain stable. Despite weaker markets for some recovered materials, WRAP research shows there is still strong demand for many higher quality recyclable materials. While demand for some lower quality recycled materials (e.g. mixed plastic trays, tubs, and pots) has dropped, there is still capacity and demand for other higher quality recyclables with low levels of contamination (such as plastic bottles and glass).

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the effects of prevailing market conditions within the recycling industry on (a) levels of waste treatment and (b) waste storage capacity. (242704)

The UK’s performance in increasing recycling and reducing reliance on landfill has improved significantly in recent years. We have also seen increased demand for recyclable materials for developing economies, reflected in the unprecedented rise in the value of these materials earlier this year. Demand and prices for some materials have now dropped significantly and we want to ensure that this does not undermine public confidence in the value of recycling, or lead to unacceptable environmental consequences. Indeed, resource efficiency and waste prevention are even more important during the economic downturn.

On 5 December, the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) launched a new advice forum for local authorities to help them deal with lower prices and weaker demand for recyclable materials.

Recovered materials are still a valuable resource and, as with other commodities, prices can rise or fall sharply. Even in the current climate, not all commodities are affected. The price paid for glass, for example, continues to remain stable. Despite weaker markets for some recovered materials, WRAP research shows there is still strong demand for many higher quality recyclable materials. While demand for some lower quality recycled materials (e.g. mixed plastic trays, tubs, and pots) has dropped, there is still capacity and demand for other higher quality recyclables with low levels of contamination (such as plastic bottles and glass).

WRAP and the Environment Agency are monitoring current levels of waste storage by local authorities and waste management companies. The situation is dynamic. There has been no marked increase in requests for additional temporary storage of waste. WRAP and the Environment Agency will continue to monitor the situation closely.

Textiles: Waste Disposal

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what statistics his Department holds on the amount of textile waste (a) recycled and (b) sent to landfill in each of the last five years. (240889)

The following table details the amount of textiles waste from household sources recycled in England since 2003-04. This is likely to underestimate household textile recycling, as some will be recorded as co-mingled waste. No reliable data are currently available for textile waste sent to landfill.

Recycled textiles

Thousand tonnes

2003-04

59

2004-05

71

2005-061

86

2006-071

103

2007-081

113

1 Contains a small amount of municipally collected textiles from non-household sources. Source: WasteDataFlow.

Waste Management: Fly Tipping

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what steps he is taking to encourage local authorities to allow landowners to take fly-tipped waste to local authority waste management facilities; and if he will make a statement; (243073)

(2) what steps he is taking to help landowners deal with fly-tipped waste on private land;

(3) whether he plans to give (a) local authorities and (b) the Environment Agency an increased role in dealing with fly-tipped waste on private land.

Landowners may dispose of waste at local authority waste management facilities but will often be charged for disposal given that it is not household waste. We have no plans to impose a new, unfunded burden on local authorities by obliging them to accept fly-tipped waste free of charge.

DEFRA is this year funding the Environment Agency to work with major landowner organisations on the National Fly-tipping Prevention Group. The Landowner Partnership Programme aims to quantify the extent of fly-tipping on private land and, through the dissemination of best practice techniques, reduce the financial impact of waste crime on private landowners.

Defence

Afghanistan: Peacekeeping Operations

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence with reference to the answer of 19 November 2008, Official Report, columns 487-9W, on compensation, of the 53 personnel who were seriously injured in Afghanistan in 2006 and 2007, how many registered a claim for compensation; and of those who registered claims, what the (a) 10th, (b) 25th, (c) 50th, (d) 75th and (e) 90th percentiles were for the length of time from injury to registration. (243179)

Of the 53 personnel who were seriously injured in Afghanistan in 2006 and 2007, 42 personnel have subsequently made a claim for compensation as at 13 November 2008.

The following table presents the 10th, 25th, 50th, 75th and 90th percentiles for the distribution of time, in days, from the date of injury to the date on which compensation claims were registered with the Service Personnel and Veterans' Agency.

Percentiles for the distribution of time, in days, from injury to registration for seriously injured personnel

Percentile

Days

10th

41

25th

61

50th

138

75th

202

90th

347

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence with reference to the answer of 19 November 2008, Official Report, columns 487-9W, on compensation, of the 41 personnel who were very seriously injured in Afghanistan in 2006 and 2007, how many registered a claim for compensation; and of those who registered claims, what the (a) 10th, (b) 25th, (c) 50th, (d) 75th and (e) 90th percentiles were for the length of time from injury to registration. (243180)

Of the 41 personnel who were very seriously injured in Afghanistan in 2006 and 2007, 38 personnel have subsequently made a claim for compensation as at 13 November 2008.

The following table presents the 10th, 25th, 50th, 75th and 90th percentiles for the distribution of time, in days, from the date of injury to the date on which compensation claims were registered with the Service Personnel and Veterans' Agency.

Percentiles for the distribution of time, in days, from injury to registration for very seriously injured personnel

Percentile

Days

10th

56

25th

81

50th

142

75th

226

90th

303

Armed Forces: Animals

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many animals have been used in defence research projects in each of the last three years. (240970)

The majority of animal procedures undertaken over the last three years for Defence research were performed by Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) at Porton Down.

Dstl Porton Down submits annual returns to the Home Office detailing the number of procedures undertaken which involve the use of animals as defined in the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986.

In the years 2005 to 2007, the annual returns to the Home Office, broken down by species are detailed in the following table.

G.Pig

Ferret

Mouse

Pig

Rabbit

Rat

Sheep

Non-human primates

Total

2005

661

60

20,016

127

3

195

2

54

21,118

2006

545

0

15,986

123

0

335

4

52

17,045

2007

647

0

17,095

74

5

359

2

75

18,257

In addition, testing on live goats took place at QinetiQ Alverstone as part of MOD's Submarine Escape and Abandonment System (SMERAS). 64 procedures were carried out in 2005 and 60 procedures were carried out on a herd of approximately 40 goats until November 2006 when animal procedures stopped.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what current defence research projects involve the use of animal procedures. (241315)

The Department is currently undertaking research into defence medical countermeasures, combat casualty care and trauma assessment programmes, which by necessity involve the use of animal procedures.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many and what type of animals are kept at public expense in each of the armed services. (243459)

The following table shows the numbers and types of animals kept at public expense in each of the armed services:

Royal Navy

Army

Royal Air Force

Military working dogs

0

165

292

Birds of prey

16

0

0

Horses

0

489

0

For military working dogs, Army data are at 1 August 2008 (the latest date this information was captured). All other data are at 12 December 2008.

Regimental or unit mascots may be partially funded at public expense. However, many of them are funded to a varying degree from regimental funds in addition to the public purse. The Army currently has the following mascots: two Drum horses; one Indian Black Buck; one Irish Wolfhound; two Mountain goats; two Swalesdale rams; and three Shetland ponies. Neither the RN nor the RAF has any mascots.

Armed Forces: Dogs

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many dog handlers are employed as (a) civilians and (b) servicemen in each of the three armed services. (243457)

The Royal Navy has no military working dog handlers, the Army has 178, and the Royal Air Force has 252. Army data are at 1 August 2008 (which was the last time this information was captured) and RAF data are at 12 December 2008.

All Army and Royal Air Force military working dog handlers are service personnel.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many dogs are kept by each of the armed services; and for what purposes. (243458)

The Royal Navy has no dogs, the Army has 166 dogs and the Royal Air Force has 292 dogs. Army data are at 1 August 2008 (the latest date this information was captured) and RAF data are at 12 December 2008. Dogs are kept for the following purposes:

Type of dog

Army

RAF

Military working dogs

Patrol dogs

82

180

Army/RAF Police

18

Arms and explosive search

50

36

Vehicle search

20

40

Drug detection

1

18

Tracker

10

Infantry patrol

2

Other

Regimental mascot

1

Figures for military working dogs are a snapshot in time, and include those dogs being trained, those in service in the UK and those deployed on operations. It should be noted that the number of holdings may vary weekly according to training input and outflow, together with operational demand.

Armed Forces: Labour Turnover

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of the number of (a) people in the armed forces, (b) new recruits to the armed forces and (c) people who have left the armed forces in each of the last five years. (242863)

Information on the number of people in the armed forces, the number of new recruits to the armed forces and the number of people who have left the armed forces in each of the last five years can be found in “Tri-Service Publication (TSP) 1—UK Regular Forces Strengths and Changes”.

TSP 1 is published on monthly basis and the latest information as at 1 October 2008 can be found at:

http://www.dasa.mod.uk/applications/newWeb/www/index. php?page=48&pubType=1&thiscontent=30&PublishTime= 09:30:00&date=20081127&disText=01%20Oct%202008 &from=listing&topDate=2008-11-27

All copies of TSP 1 are available in the Library of the House and also at:

www.dasa.mod.uk.

Armed Forces: Rescue Services

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what training his Department provides to military personnel on responding to emergencies and natural disasters. (242881)

Those elements of the armed forces which provide specialist capabilities to the civil authorities are regularly trained and exercised for their role. These include explosive ordnance disposal and search and rescue teams, civil contingencies reaction forces and counter terrorist forces.

Other elements of the armed forces will not routinely be involved in responding to emergencies or natural disasters, although they might be used to support the lead responders in particularly difficult circumstances. They would be provided with such training as was necessary prior to any such deployment. Defence also takes part in the national exercise programme in order to ensure that it can provide any support required by the lead responder. The Services chain of command in the regions of the UK is provided with regular training, education and exercising on the nature of military operations in the UK to ensure that they are prepared to command operations at short notice if required.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the effect of UK's overseas military commitments on the ability of the armed forces to respond to a domestic emergency. (242882)

The Department's current overseas commitments have not at any time prevented the MOD from providing military assistance to the civilian authorities where it has been requested.

Armoured Fighting Vehicles

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many armoured and protected Land Rovers were deployed to Iraq prior to October 2003; what the vehicle classification was in each case; how many of each were deployed; and when each was deployed. (242620)

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 9 December 2008, Official Report, column 52W, to the hon. Member for Newark (Patrick Mercer).

Armoured Fighting Vehicles: Procurement

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what the timetable is for delivery of the Future Rapid Effects System programme; (243411)

(2) what funding has been allocated for the Future Rapid Effects System programme;

(3) what his current estimate is for the in-service date of the Future Rapid Effects System;

(4) how many (a) utility, (b) reconnaissance, (c) fires, (d) manoeuvre support and (e) basic capability vehicles will make up the Future Rapid Effects System.

The Future Rapid Effect System programme is in its assessment phase. The number of vehicles that will be needed to meet the requirement, the timetable for delivery, funding allocation and the in- service date will not be fixed until the main investment decision has been taken.

Biological Weapons

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what resources and procedures his Department has in place to respond to (a) a biological terrorist attack, (b) a chemical terrorist attack and (c) a nuclear or radiological terrorist attack. (241778)

The MOD makes a number of specialist capabilities available to the civil authorities for dealing with CBRN terrorism. These include mitigation advice, specialist search, explosive ordinance disposal, detection, sampling and identification, and decontamination, as well as access to world leading research and development in this field through the Defence Science Technology Laboratory (Dstl) and the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE). Some of these capabilities are held at high readiness and routinely exercise and operate with police forces.

Colombia: Armed Forces

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what expenditure his Department has incurred in providing training to members of the Colombian armed forces in each year since 2000. (242764)

In assisting the Colombian security forces in the areas of human rights and demining, the MOD spent the following approximate figures in each of the following financial years:

£

2000-01

13,500

2001-02

149,000

2002-03

134,000

2003-04

120,000

2004-05

120,000

2005-06

130,000

2006-07

190,000

2007-08

190,000

2008-09

2190,000

1 Denotes information that is incomplete.

2 Denotes estimated spend.

Note:

These figures do not include counter-narcotics assistance.

As well as these bilateral projects, the UK supports projects running through several UN agencies including the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, and the UN Office of Drugs and Crime, that provide training to more than two thousand serving men and women.

Defence Equipment: Expenditure

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what proportion of his Department's budget was spent on equipment in each year since 1997. (242878)

Since 2003 equipment expenditure data are published annually in Table 1.4 of the UK Defence Statistics by Defence Analytical Services and Advice (DAS A). Copies can be found in the National Statistics section of the DAS A website:

www.dasa.mod.uk/natstats/natstatsindex.html

This shows that the proportion of the Ministry of Defence's budget spent on equipment over the past five financial years has been as follows:

Percentage

2003-04

29.3

2004-05

28.1

2005-06

27.6

2006-07

28.7

2007-08

28.3

Earlier information could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Defence Estates: Nature Conservation

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which wildlife conservation projects on Ministry of Defence sites in (a) the UK, (b) British territories overseas and (c) other countries armed forces personnel have a role in maintaining. (244052)

Service personnel are engaged in numerous conservation projects in the UK and overseas. Full details of all these projects are not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

However, examples of projects can be found in Sanctuary Magazine, the Department's annual conservation journal. Copies of the latest edition of Sanctuary Magazine are available in the Library of the House.

Defence: Statistics

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of the likely reduction in his Department's expenditure as a result of discontinuing publication of defence export delivery statistics by UK Defence Statistics. (243253)

The direct saving to the Department by discontinuing the publication of defence export delivery statistics in “UK Defence Statistics” will be in the region of £30,000 per annum in staff costs. There are also additional, unquantified savings which have resulted from the avoidance of further work to implement alternative methods to produce these statistics for next year.

Departmental Data Protection

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many civil servants in his Department have been (a) investigated, (b) suspended and (c) dismissed for (i) losing and (ii) deliberately disclosing (A) data stored on departmental equipment and (B) confidential information in each year since 1997. (242928)

The information is not held centrally in the form requested. However, records held centrally of civilian staff dismissed since April 2002 include no cases of dismissal specifically for losing or deliberately disclosing data or confidential information.

Departmental Higher Education

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many staff in his Department undertook courses funded by the Department for (a) undergraduate degrees, (b) postgraduate degrees or diplomas, (c) Masters degrees, (d) MBA degrees and (e) PhD degrees in the last 12 months, broken down by pay band. (242138)

This information is not held centrally in the form provided and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. However, I can say that approximately 430 civilian staff have recorded on the Department's central system over the last year that they are undertaking training leading to a degree.

Departmental Internet

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence with reference to the answer of 4 November 2008, Official Report, columns 336-7W, on Government departments: information and communications technology, which IP addresses are used by (a) his Department and (b) computers in the offices of its (i) Ministers, (ii) communications officials and (iii) special advisers. (241949)

To help defend against electronic attack, it is standard good information security practice for corporate IT systems not to publish internal IP addresses. When accessing internet websites, the IP addresses of all of the computers on the MOD's internal office IT system are hidden behind the following IP addresses which are publicly available—195.92.40.49 and 62.25.106.209. These IP addresses are shared with other Government Departments that use the Government Secure Intranet.

Departmental Offices

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what area in square metres is occupied by each Defence Minister's (a) personnel and (b) private office in (i) any building used by his Department and (ii) his Department's main building. (243488)

Within the Ministry of Defence Main Building in Whitehall, Defence Minister's, and their private offices, including special advisers, are allocated the following areas:

Square metres

Minister

Private office

Outer office

Secretary of State for Defence

59

111

Minister of State for the Armed Forces

39

41

Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence and Minister for Defence Equipment and Support

40

34

Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence and Minister for Veterans

40

55

Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence and Minister for International Defence and Security1

39

35

1 Minister for IDS is currently in temporary accommodation (25m2 private office, 19m2 outer office) and the above figures are the size of the permanent location, which will be available in the new year. Note: Approximate areas, based on examination of the electronic copy of the floor plans.

Defence Ministers’ personnel and private offices do not occupy space in any other Ministry of Defence building, either in London or elsewhere.

Departmental Pay

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what bonus was awarded to the Permanent Under-Secretary of his Department during the financial year 2007-08. (243700)

Although the Government, with the agreement of those concerned, may in exceptional cases decide to publish personal information about individual public servants, the general policy is to treat such information, including about variable pay, as private.

Pay and reward for Permanent Secretaries is considered annually by the Permanent Secretaries' Remuneration Committee and is subject to the rules and regulations governed by the Senior Salaries Review Body (SSRB) and the Cabinet Office. Permanent Secretaries, pay has been constrained by the same centrally imposed ceiling of the senior civil service (SCS) pay bill since the current pay and reward arrangements for the senior civil service changed on 1 April 2002.

Non-consolidated bonus awards paid to the current and previous Permanent Under-Secretaries also fall within the SSRB recommended ceilings for the remainder of the SCS. These ceilings reflect the wider move to reward performance with non-consolidated, rather than consolidated, pay increases.

Bonuses for performance in a particular financial year are paid in the following financial year.

Year/percentage

Performance year

2007-08

Paid in financial year

2008-09

SSRB average SCS bonus ceiling

8.6

Permanent Secretaries range

0-13.1

Departmental Rail Travel

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence on what date he last used a train in the course of his official duties. (242600)

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence last used a train in the course of his official duties on 28 November 2008 while travelling from London to Leeds to attend a Cabinet meeting. All ministerial travel is undertaken in accordance with the ministerial code.

Departmental Work Experience

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many individuals have worked in his Department on (a) paid and (b) unpaid work experience or internships in each of the past three years; on average how many hours a week were worked by such people in each year; what types of work each was involved in; what proportion were in full-time education; what proportion did not complete their set period of work experience; and how much those who received remuneration were paid on average per week in each year. (242116)

EC Defence Policy: Manpower

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of the number of people who were working on EU military projects in each of the last five years; and how many such people were British. (243907)

We have made no estimate of the number of people who were working on EU military projects in each of the last five years.

EH101 Helicopters

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many trained Merlin Mk 3 crews there are in the Royal Air Force. (243451)

There are 30 trained Merlin Mk 3 crew in the RAF. Each crew is made up of four personnel, consisting of a pilot, either a co-pilot or navigator and two crewmen.

Ex-servicemen: Radiation Exposure

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what representations he has received on commissioning research into the potential health effects on children and grandchildren of nuclear test veterans of their forebears' exposure to radiation during tests; and if he will make a statement. (243820)

Following an offer I made during the adjournment debate on 22 October 2008, Official Report, column 417, I met with the hon. Member for Billericay (Mr. Baron) and my hon. Friend the Member for Norwich, North (Dr. Gibson) and members of the British Nuclear Test Veterans Association on 29 October to discuss the possibility of a new MOD-funded study on health experiences particularly in relation to offspring. Officials have been discussing the scientific and ethical issues relevant to such a study with the BNTVA and scientific advisers and I hope to be able to make an announcement in the new year.

Falkland Islands: Land Mines

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent discussions he has had on de-mining operations in the Falkland Islands; when he expects the Falkland Islands to be cleared of mines; what the reasons are for the length of time taken to complete the de-mining operations; and how many people have been injured by landmines in the Falkland Islands in the last 10 years. (242815)

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he expects the mine-clearing operation in the Falkland Islands to be completed. (242873)

Under the Ottawa convention, the UK is required to clear all anti-personnel mines from its territory by March 2019, having recently secured a 10 year extension to the original 2009 deadline. Our request for an extension was based on the Joint UK-Argentine Feasibility Study completed in October 2007 that concluded de-mining is technically feasible but presents significant challenges and would take at least 10 years to complete. Based on the findings of the feasibility study we have recently decided to proceed with the clearance of three mined areas in the Falkland Islands. The variety of terrain they cover will serve as a means of testing the environmental and ecological impact of de-mining, which are significant factors of concern. The results from these areas will be valuable in informing future work.

In accordance with article 5 of the convention all mined areas have been perimeter marked, regularly monitored and protected by fencing to ensure the effective exclusion of civilians. I am pleased to say that there have been no mine casualties in the 25 years since the conflict.

Falkland Islands: Warships

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent discussions he has had with (a) the government of the Falkland Islands and (b) others on the withdrawal of HMS Northumberland from the Falkland Islands; what recent assessment he has made of the security situation in the Falkland Islands; how many troops are stationed in the Falkland Islands; and what plans he has for the redeployment of HMS Northumberland. (242816)

The Falkland Islands Government was briefed over the decision to deploy HMS Northumberland on an EU anti-piracy mission off the Horn of Africa and deploy RFA Largs Bay to the South Atlantic. Consultations also took place between my Department and the FCO.

HMS Northumberland is one constituent part only of a comprehensive package of air, land and maritime assets that together maintain our deterrence posture on the Islands. This deterrence force is kept under regular review and can be reinforced quickly should the need arise. In November 2008, there were some 1,300 members of the armed forces based in the Falkland Islands. This figure varies during the year due to individual posting plots and unit moves.

While it is UK Government policy not to comment in detail on the current threat to the Falkland Islands or the future disposition of UK forces, the UK Government remain fully committed to the defence of the South Atlantic Overseas Territories, including the Falkland Islands.

Iraq: Peacekeeping Operations

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what progress has been made on negotiations with the Government of Iraq on the stationing of British forces in the country after 31 December 2008; and if he will make a statement. (243259)

The UK and the Government of Iraq are negotiating a legal framework to allow UK forces to continue to provide the assistance requested of us by Iraqi authorities, laying the foundations for a long-term normalised bilateral relationship. Negotiations are continuing and we are aiming to reach an agreement prior to the expiry of UN Security Council Resolution 1790 at the end of 2008. We continue to discuss our respective legal requirements with the US and other coalition partners.

Iraq: Politics and Government

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent assessment he made of the security situation in (a) Iraq and (b) Afghanistan. (242817)

In Iraq, the overall security situation continues to improve, with violence now down to levels last seen in 2003. In Basra, the Iraqi Security Forces are maintaining the significant security gains achieved over the course of 2008.

In Afghanistan, considerable progress has been made but the insurgency remains resilient. The majority of people can go about their daily lives but in certain areas of the country, particularly in the south and east, significant security challenges remain. The Taliban have failed using conventional tactics and are turning to increasingly indiscriminate attacks, which show complete disregard for the safety of the local population.

Iraq: Visits Abroad

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence on how many occasions in the last year he has visited (a) Iraq and (b) Afghanistan. (242818)

Since taking up post as Secretary of State for Defence on 3 October 2008, I have visited both Iraq and Afghanistan once, between 18 and 23 October. My predecessor made a number of visits to both countries as detailed in the table:

Operational visits to Iraq and Afghanistan

Date of visit

Afghanistan

7 to 10 December 2007

Iraq

10 to 14 March 2008

Iraq

22 to 23 May 2008

Afghanistan

24 to 25 May 2008

Afghanistan

6 to 8 August 2008

Met Office

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of the market value of the Met Office. (242782)

The Net Book Value of the Meteorological Office's assets as set out in its 2007-08 Annual Report and Accounts is approximately £206 million. I am withholding information on the estimates of the market value of Meteorological Office, as its disclosure would prejudice commercial interests.

Military Aircraft

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what the status is of the Helix Programme to update the United Kingdom's large aircraft capability; and if he will make a statement; (241520)

(2) what factors underlay his Department's Project Helix decision to replace three Nimrod R1 aircraft with US RC-135 Rivet Joint Boeing jets instead of procuring the BAE Systems MRA4; what assessment he has made of the future of the BAE Systems Woodford production plant and aerodrome beyond 2012 as a result of his Department's decision; and if he will make a statement;

(3) what estimate he has made of the cost of revamping the R1 fleet in comparison with using the BAE Systems MRA4 platform; and if he will make a statement;

(4) what assessment his Department has made of any operational benefits of the MRA4 replacement option for the Royal Air Force in terms of (a) capability, (b) in-service date and (c) value for money; and if he will make a statement;

(5) what the total cost of the replacement of three 35-year-old Nimrod R1 aircraft based at RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire with 46-year old US RC-135 Boeings is expected to be; and if he will make a statement;

(6) what factors underlay his Department's decision to procure 46-year-old US RC-135 Boeings to replace three 35-year old Nimrod R1 aircraft based at RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer my right hon. Friend the Minister for International Defence and Security gave on the HELIX programme in another place on 13 October 2008, Official Report, column WA28, to the noble Lord, Lord Lee of Trafford.

No decisions have been made on the HELIX programme. We are comparing the three options under consideration—Nimrod RI aircraft, tailored Nimrod MRA4 aircraft and the US Rivet Joint system. This work will inform the main investment decision point, expected to be in 2009. In reaching a conclusion we will take into account all relevant factors including costs, impact on the defence industrial base and operational benefits in terms of capability, in-service date and value for money, as well as other criteria.

Military Aircraft: Procurement

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment his Department has made of the risks involved in stripping down military aircraft as part of his Department's procurement projects. (242412)

The assessment of project risk is an intrinsic part of the procurement process during the concept and assessment phases. Refurbished, as well as new aircraft are assessed against the same standards, rules and regulations.

Military Bases

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps his Department is taking to minimise the impact of military bases have on their surrounding environment, with particular reference to naval ports. (242376)

The MOD uses tools and policies such as sustainability and environmental appraisals and site based environmental management systems (EMS), to ensure that military bases (including naval bases) are managed to reduce their environmental impacts, and meet any legal and regulatory requirements. Full information and guidance on MOD environmental management tools and policies is contained within the MOD Sustainable Development and Environmental Manual JSP 418, which is available on the MOD website at:

www.mod.uk.

Nuclear Weapons

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence with reference to the answer of 24 November 2008, Official Report, column 904W, on nuclear weapons, whether beryllium was used in the nuclear trials codenamed (a) Hurricane, (b) Totem, (c) Mosaic, (d) Buffalo, (e) Grapple, (f) Antler, (g) Grapple X, (h) Grapple Y and (i) Grapple Z. (241999)

I can confirm that Beryllium was used in the nuclear trial series codenamed Hurricane, Totem, Mosaic, Buffalo, Grapple, Antler, Grapple X, Grapple Y, and Grapple Z.

Pakistan: al-Qaeda

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether his Department was informed by the Pakistani government of the possibility of a US air strike on the village of Ali Khel before 21 November 2008. (243426)

The Ministry of Defence was not informed by the Pakistani Government of the reported air strike on Ali Khel before 21 November 2008.

Princess Royal Barracks

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much (a) each board of inquiry and service inquiry into the deaths at Deepcut Barracks of (i) Private Sean Benton, (ii) Private Cheryl James, (iii) Private Geoff Gray and (iv) Private James Collinson and (b) each recall service inquiry into the deaths of Private Gray and Private Collinson cost, broken down by each category of cost, including transport and expenses. (243366)

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the (a) number of sitting hours and (b) duration was of (i) each board of inquiry and service inquiry into the deaths at Deepcut Barracks of (A) Private Sean Benton, (B) Private Cheryl James, (C) Private Geoff Gray and (D) Private James Collinson and (ii) each recalled service inquiry into the deaths of Private Gray and Private Collinson. (243367)

In the case of the Private Gray Board of Inquiry (BOI), the board took evidence over 20 days; and the reconvened board took evidence over one day. In the case of the Private Collinson BOI, the board took evidence over six days; and the reconvened board took evidence over one day. In neither case were the number of sitting hours recorded.

We do not hold information on the duration of the BOIs into the deaths of Privates Benton or James.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) witnesses were called and (b) statements were considered at (i) each board of inquiry and service inquiry into the deaths at Deepcut Barracks of (A) Private Sean Benton, (B) Private Cheryl James, (C) Private Geoff Gray and (D) Private James Collinson and (ii) each recalled service inquiry into the deaths of Private Gray and Private Collinson. (243368)

10 witnesses gave oral evidence to the Private Benton Board of Inquiry (BOI) and three additional statements were considered by the board.

11 witnesses gave oral evidence to the Private James BOI and nine additional statements were considered by the board.

35 witnesses gave oral evidence to the Private Gray BOI and two additional statements were considered by the board. One witness was recalled by the reconvened board.

14 witnesses gave oral evidence to the Private Collinson BOI and one additional statement was considered by the board. One witness was recalled by the reconvened board.

Supply Estimates

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will break down his Department's Winter Supplementary Estimate 2008-09 on the same basis as in his answer of 14 July 2008, Official Report, column 168W. (243416)

Tornado Aircraft: Manpower

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he expects the Tornado aircraft to be deployed in Operation Herrick to achieve that final operating capability. (240498)

[holding answer 8 December 2008]: The Tornado GR4 aircraft will meet the middle east theatre entry standard on deployment to Op Herrick and is currently undergoing a programme of capability enhancement. As with the Harrier GR9 the Tornado GR4 capability will remain under constant review in theatre to ensure that it is optimised to meet the evolving operational requirement.

Trident

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he expects a decision to be taken on the initial Gate Report on the Trident replacement programme; whether the House will make any such decision; and if he will make a statement. (240802)

[holding answer 10 December 2008]: As we have said before, it is our expectation that decisions will be taken on the Initial Gate for the programme to develop a new class of submarine to replace the current Vanguard class in autumn 2009. It is not normal for Parliament to be involved in Initial Gate decisions for procurement projects. Main Gate for this programme is still several years away. As we have also said before, we propose to update Parliament on progress after Initial Gate.

Olympics

Olympic Games 2012: Gun Sports

To ask the Minister for the Olympics if she will place in the Library a copy of the brief provided by Major Peter Underhill to KPMG in relation to Olympic shooting venues. (240438)

Major Peter Underhill is the London Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games' competition manager for shooting. KPMG was instructed by the Olympic Delivery Authority to assist in the evaluation of the options analysis for a number of temporary venues. As announced after the Olympic Board in November, the KPMG report will be published. However, we do not yet have a final copy of the report and there are no plans for specific discussions between KPMG and any other parties to be published.

To ask the Minister for the Olympics what discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Defence on representations received on the venue for shooting sports at the London 2012 Olympics. (242081)

I will discuss with the Secretary of State for Defence as soon as the conclusions of the KPMG review are finalised. Our officials meet regularly to discuss matters relating to Woolwich Royal Artillery Barracks.

Olympic Games 2012: Marketing

To ask the Minister for the Olympics what her policy is on the authorisation and use of the community brand for the London 2012 Olympics; and if she will make a statement. (243212)

The Inspire Mark is awarded by London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) and the IOC the first time a host city has been accorded this to high-quality fully funded non-commercial projects and programmes which have been clearly inspired by the London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games, and which achieve across sport, culture, education, the environment, volunteering or promoting business opportunities. Projects and programmes licensed to use the mark specify in the application process the manner in which they wish to use the mark on promotional material.

Olympic Games 2012: North East

To ask the Minister for the Olympics what recent assessment has been made of the legacy of the forthcoming London Olympics for the North East. (242375)

We are fully committed to ensuring that everyone in the UK can be part of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. We aim to do this through cultural events across the country, more opportunities to take part in sport and to be physically active, and a range of volunteering, jobs and skills initiatives as well as business opportunities. The Legacy Action Plan which I published in June sets out more details on how we propose to deliver this vision.

I am also keen for regions to identify what is important to them. At a regional level this work is being taken forward by the Nations and Regions Group (NRG) who are working hard to optimise local benefits of the Games. The north-east representative is Peter Rowley, chair of the Regional Sports Board. The north-east launched its regional plan to maximise the benefits of the Games on 18 July 2007. This can be found on the North East Regional Development Agency website:

http://www.onenortheast.co.uk/lib/liDownload/13895/Regiona_Plan_FINAL.lnk.pdf?CFID=2523889&CFTOKEN =11473987

Progress on legacy in the north-east is already being made. Of the 23 eligible local authorities in the north-east, 16 have agreed to offer free swimming to those aged 16 or under and seven have agreed to offer free swimming to those aged 60 or over only. 19 Olympic and eight Paralympic facilities from the north-east are included in the official London 2012 Pre-Games Training Camp Guide; 40 events took place in the region during the Cultural Olympiad ‘Open Weekend’ and 22 special ‘handover flags’ were raised. Additionally, 97 schools and colleges in the north-east hosted Paralympic Games-focused activities for children and young people as part of Paralympic handover celebrations.

Furthermore, St. James' Park, Newcastle (home of Newcastle United) will experience first hand the excitement of Games activity by hosting rounds of the football competition during 2012.

Olympic Games 2012: VAT

To ask the Minister for the Olympics what assessment she has made of the impact of introducing a lower rate of value added tax on the overall costs of the London 2012 Olympic Games. (241660)

The Olympic Delivery Authority expects to save £25 million as a result of the temporary reduction of the standard rate of VAT to 15 per cent.

International Development

Afghanistan: Asylum

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of the availability of housing and housing materials for refugees in Afghanistan who have been repatriated from Iran and Pakistan; and if he will make a statement. (242197)

Reliable nationwide data on housing for refugees are not available. However, in the eastern region more than 10,730 returning families (over 59,800 people) required shelter support from UNHCR in 2008. This amounts to approximately 35 per cent. of the total returning to the region. Eastern Afghanistan received 63 per cent. of all refugee returnees in 2008.

There is no shortage of building material for Afghan housing, usually constructed of mud and bricks. However, there is a shortage of skilled labour and this, coupled with rising material costs and the high number of refugees returning (over 275,000 in 2008), is slowing the rebuilding process.

Commonwealth Scholarships

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development with reference to the Answer of 15 September 2008, Official Report, column 2177W, on Commonwealth scholarships, if he will list the contribution his Department (a) made in each of the last five financial years and (b) plans to make in financial years (i) 2008-09, (ii) 2009-10 and (iii) 2010-11 to UK programmes for overseas scholars. (240677)

Contributions to the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission from the Department for International Development (DFID) for the past five financial years are as follows:

£

2003-04

10,855,042

2004-05

16,552,820

2005-06

12,426,319

2006-07

14,427,032

2007-08

14,397,405

DFID plans to provide the following funding over the next three financial years to Commonwealth Scholarships:

£

2008-09

15,930,000

2009-10

17,430,000

2010-11

17,500,000

Departmental Accountancy

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will place in the Library a copy of his Department’s (a) chart of accounts and (b) resource accounts codes and usage descriptions together with the amount of expenditure for each account code for (i) 2006-07 and (ii) 2007-08. (241115)

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given on 20 November 2008, Official Report, column 755-6W to the hon. Member for Ilford, North (Mr. Scott).

Departmental Air Travel

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many business class, work-related flights taken by members of his Department's staff through the flexible travel scheme were (a) eligible for downgrade to economy class and (b) downgraded to economy class in (i) 2006-07 and (ii) 2007-08. (241216)

Departmental Catering

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much was spent on the staff restaurant subsidy at his Department in each of the last three years. (241116)

Departmental Databases

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will place in the Library an electronic copy of his Department's Performance Reporting Information System for management databases. (242757)

The Department for International Development's (DFID) Performance Reporting Information System for Management is a multi-tiered database system with interdependencies on other internal DFID systems. It is therefore too complex to be made available as an electronic copy in the Library.

Departmental Disabled Staff

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what conclusions his Department has reached in fulfilment of its duty under section 3.111 of the statutory code of practice of the disability equality duty. (240981)

The Department for International Development (DFID) published its Disability Equality Scheme on 4 December 2006. The scheme includes an action plan to turn commitments into practice. The scheme and action plan is helping DFID promote equality for disabled people as an employer, a service provider and an organisation that can use its influence within the wider field of international development.

DFID holds the Jobcentre Plus ‘Two Ticks’ disability symbol which promotes the recruitment and retention of people with disabilities. We also have in place a Disability Champion and a strengthened Disability Forum Network. Priority has been given to delivering consistent messages across DFID to raise greater awareness among managers and staff of disability issues. As a result staff are beginning to feel comfortable about declaring their disability, with a 10 per cent. rise in self-declaration over the last 18 months.

Overall DFID has made significant progress in promoting disability equality in the past year. DFID recognises a need to do more. A central diversity team will continue to monitor progress against the action plan and report on progress in DFID’s 2008-09 Annual Diversity Report, to be published in March 2009. DFID will review its Disability Equality Scheme once the Single Equality Bill becomes an Act.

DFID’s Disability Equality Scheme can be found at

www.dfid.gov.uk.

Departmental Higher Education

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many staff in his Department undertook courses funded by the Department for (a) undergraduate degrees, (b) postgraduate degrees or diplomas, (c) Masters degrees, (d) MBA degrees and (e) PhD degrees in the last 12 months, broken down by pay band. (242134)

Reporting the number staff in the Department for International Development (DFID) who undertook the funded courses (a) undergraduate degrees, (b) postgraduate degrees or diplomas, (c) masters degrees, (d) MBA degrees and (e) PhD degrees in the last 12 months, broken down by pay band, could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Approximately 100 sub-departments and overseas offices within DFID are responsible for arranging and financing further and higher education. Information on the number and grades of staff undertaking such courses is not held centrally.

Departmental Internet

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development with reference to the Answer of 4 November 2008, Official Report, columns 336-37W, on Government departments: information and communications technology, which IP addresses are used by (a) his Department and (b) computers in the offices of its (i) Ministers, (ii) communications officials and (iii) special advisers. (241955)

To help defend against electronic attack, it is standard good information security practice for corporate IT systems not to publish internal IP addresses. When accessing internet websites, the IP addresses of all of the computers on the Department for International Development’s (DFID) internal office IT system are hidden behind the following IP addresses which are publicly available—195.92.40.49 and 62.25.106.209. These IP addresses are shared with other Government Departments that use the Government secure intranet.

Departmental Marketing

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many staff in his Department are responsible for brand management and marketing; and what the cost of employing such staff was in 2007-08. (240387)

The Department for International Development (DFID) employs eight full-time equivalent staff who are responsible for a wide range of marketing and communication activities. The cost of employing these staff in financial year 2007-08 was £378,645.

Departmental Procurement

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what proportion of his Department's contracts went to UK companies in the latest period for which figures are available. (241906)

Departmental Public Expenditure

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what projects his Department has funded at or above the value of £100,000 for each of the last three years. (241263)

Data on Department for International Development (DFID) projects are available through two international portals: the AiDA Development Gateway and the OECD Development Assistance Committee’s Creditor Reporting System (CRS). Each portal can be assessed through the following links:

AiDA—http://aida.developmentgateway.org/index.do

CRS—http://stats.oecd.org/WBOS/lndex.aspx?DatasetCode=CRSNEW

There are plans to publish more detailed information about individual DFID projects in a database on the DFID website during 2009.

Departmental Training

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what the (a) cost, (b) location, (c) duration, (d) purpose, (e) number of attendees and (f) date was of each of his Department's staff retreats in each of the last three years. (241114)

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to the hon. Member for Ilford, North (Mr. Scott) on 21 October 2008, Official Report, column 199W.

Kashmir: Overseas Aid

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent discussions he has had with the British Red Cross on the provision of humanitarian aid to Indian-administered Kashmir. (242450)

The Department for International Development has regular dialogue with the British Red Cross and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on key humanitarian emergencies around the World.

During Gareth Thomas’s meeting with Jakob Kellenberger, President of the ICRC, on 7 September 2008 there was no reference to the access of humanitarian aid to Indian-administered Kashmir. Official dialogue with the British Red Cross have focused on their programmes with partner national societies and have not involved discussion on Kashmir.

Overseas Aid

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what safeguards his Department has put in place to make sure that where direct budgetary aid is given (a) the money is correctly spent and (b) it does not lead to the substitution of other Government expenditure which has not been approved. (241907)

Budget support is only used where the recipient government is committed to reducing poverty, upholding human rights and other international obligations and strengthening public financial management, promoting good governance and transparency, fighting corruption.

We protect our funds in three ways:

We assess the risks carefully and have our assessment checked by external experts.

We ensure that governments have a credible reform programme to improve their systems; and provide technical support to help them.

We use safeguards to prevent misuse of funds; e.g. procurement approval by someone outside of the national systems, additional audits of particular sectors or tracking money from the Ministry of Finance to make sure it gets to the right places.

We monitor government budgets and expenditure carefully every year to make sure that money is spent according to their plans and priorities. We look at the whole budget and all areas of expenditure. We look not just at the amounts governments spend but also the proportion of their budgets—for example we look at whether health and education is going up, not just in absolute terms but as a percentage of total government expenditure. If governments go off-track with their spending plans we raise these issues at the highest levels. If necessary we reduce or suspend support or deliver it in a different way.

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what percentage of his Department's projects are re-visited after completion but during the expected life of the project to ensure they are still functioning and maintained properly. (241910)

All of the Department for International Development's (DFID) projects over £1 million are required to have a logical framework, detailing objectives and expected outcomes. A formal assessment of progress against the logical framework is carried out annually. At the close of a project, a project completion report assesses achievement against this framework and identifies lessons learned to improve future effectiveness and value for money.

DFID does not set a specific percentage for coverage of post-completion assessments, but post-completion impact and sustainability of major individual projects is assessed when undertaking country programme evaluations (CPE), thematic and policy evaluations, with up to 25 reports produced annually. CPEs are timed to influence future country/regional plans and approaches to results management; they are carried out by independent consultants who have a final say on content. Follow up to evaluation recommendations are tracked and reported on annually to the Independent Advisory Committee on Development Impact (IACDI), who regulates DFID's evaluation work programme to assure quality and independence.

Somalia: Overseas Aid

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development with reference to the Answer of 19 November 2008, Official Report, column 655W, on Gulf of Aden: piracy, if he will provide a breakdown of the £25 million allocated by his Department to support efforts to tackle the instability in Somalia which creates the conditions allowing piratical activity to flourish. (240674)

The Department for International Development (DFID) has allocated £30 million to Somalia this financial year to address poverty and humanitarian needs which underlie the instability in Somalia. The £25 million referred to by the Foreign Secretary has since been supplemented.

So far this financial year DFID Somalia has disbursed its allocation as follows:

£2,792,000 on governance, including support for the successful completion of voter registration in three districts to date in preparation for the 2009 Somaliland presidential elections;

£1,568,000 on education, including helping to increase enrolment in Somaliland from 40,000 to 70,000 through the distribution of school textbooks and the provision of alternative education programmes;

£1,235,000 on health, including combating malaria in Somaliland through the distribution of 120,000 bed nets, and improving health care in Gedo region of South Central Somalia through the rehabilitation of three district hospitals;

£1,021,000 on livelihoods, including training of 180 female entrepreneurs;

£10,098,000 on humanitarian assistance, including food support to the equivalent of 83,000 individuals over the last four years.

A further £500,000 from the Africa Conflict Prevention Pool has been spent in helping the parties implementing the Djibouti Peace Agreement.

Southern Africa: Cholera

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent assessment he has made of the extent of the spread to (a) Botswana and (b) South Africa of the cholera outbreak in Zimbabwe; and how many people are estimated to be affected by the disease in each of these countries. (242804)

According to the World Health Organisation figures, as of 8 December only two cholera cases have so far been reported in Botswana. In South Africa, more than 500 Zimbabweans with cholera have been treated, with 10 deaths reported.

St Helena

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps his Department is taking to attract investment to St Helena. (240877)

I refer the hon. Member to the written statement made on 8 December 2008, Official Report, column 40WS.

St Helena: Airports

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development (1) what provisions his Department has made for funding the construction of an airport on the island of Saint Helena; and if he will make a statement. (240862)

(2) what estimate his Department has made of the financial cost of constructing an airport on St Helena.

(3) what recent discussions his Department has had with officials from St Helena on the construction of an airport on the island.

I refer the hon. Member to the written statement made on 8 December 2008, Official Report, column 40WS.

Zimbabwe: Cholera

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent discussions he has had with representatives of humanitarian organisations operating in Zimbabwe on the cholera outbreak in that country; and if he will make a statement. (242792)

The Department for International Development's (DFID) officials in Harare are in daily contact with organisations responding to the current humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe. We are pressing hard for a well coordinated and effective response. The cholera outbreak has come on top of a protracted food crisis and has revealed the full extent to which basic services in Zimbabwe have now collapsed.

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent estimate he has made of the number of people who have died in Zimbabwe as a result of the cholera outbreak; and if he will make a statement. (242805)

According to the United Nations (UN), by 8 December there had been 13,960 cases of cholera with 589 deaths reported in Zimbabwe. These figures account for those who report at treatment centres or whose deaths are reported to the authorities, and can be assumed to be an underestimate of the real number of people affected.

Culture, Media and Sport

Amusement Arcades: Coastal Areas

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (1) what steps he is taking in response to recent job losses within the seaside arcade sector; and if he will make a statement; (241435)

(2) how many seaside arcades have closed since September 2007;

(3) what steps he is planning to take in response to the downturn in seaside arcades since the introduction of the Gambling Act on 1 September 2007;

(4) what recent assessment his Department has made of the impact of regulatory costs of the Gambling Act 2005 on seaside arcades.