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Written Answers

Volume 496: debated on Thursday 16 July 2009

Written Answers to Questions

Thursday 16 July 2009

Wales

Public Expenditure

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales whether the draw-down by the National Assembly for Wales of its allocation under EU structural funds on top of its Barnett-determined budget resulted in a reconciliation deduction in the overall block grant for Wales in each year since 2005. (287273)

Until 2005-06 departmental expenditure limits only included the expenditure element of EU structural funds and additions were made to the Wales departmental expenditure limit beyond the Barnett Formula. The receipts were paid separately to the National Assembly for Wales and were therefore identified separately in the calculation of the block grant.

From 2006-07 the budgeting arrangements for EU receipts changed and departmental expenditure limits were expressed net of EU receipts. Thus no deduction is now necessary. The receipts continue to be paid into the Welsh Consolidated Fund and are additional to the block grant.

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Agriculture

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the average length of the growing season was in each county of England in (a) 1978, (b) 1988, (c) 1998 and (d) 2008. (286363)

The growing season is the period of time each year during which plants can grow. The thermal growing season length is defined as beginning when the temperature on five consecutive days exceeds 5° C and ending when the temperature on five consecutive days is below that threshold.

Meteorological Office information shows that the average length of growing season in central England was (a) 223 days in 1978 (249 days on average 1969 to 1978) (b) 258 days in 1988 (248 days on average 1979 to 1988) (c) 213 days in 1998 (270 days on average 1989 to 1998) and (d) 249 days in 2008 (279 days on average 1999 to 2008). It should be noted that there can be considerable variation from year to year. Data on the length of growing season at county level are not available.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps he is taking to (a) assess and (b) tackle the environmental and social effects of intensive meat and dairy industries; and if he will make a statement. (286770)

We constantly strive to maximise the positive and mitigate the negative effects of all agricultural production by working closely with industry to ensure our food is produced in a sustainable and affordable way. We are also keen to maintain a thriving farming and food sector which can improve its net impact on a healthy, resilient, productive and diverse natural environment.

For example, in addition to ensuring compliance with new environmental regulations, DEFRA is working with the agricultural industry to deliver improvements through the Milk Roadmap and the industry led Beef and Lamb Roadmap, as well as stimulating initiatives on enhancing environmental performance in the pig industry through the work of the Pigmeat Supply Chain Task Force. Each activity aims to target the reduction of environmental and climate change impacts and assess the positive benefits to the landscape and biodiversity of animal husbandry while also highlighting any areas for further research and improvement.

Batteries: Recycling

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what estimate he has made of the percentage of batteries were recycled in each year since 1997; (286351)

(2) how many (a) car batteries and (b) alkaline batteries were purchased in the latest period for which figures are available; and how many such batteries were (i) disposed of by (A) landfill, (B) incineration and (C) other means were (ii) recycled and (iii) reused in the last year for which figures are available;

(3) how many spent batteries other than vehicle batteries entered the waste stream in the last 12 months; what mass of each heavy metal was used in those batteries; and what percentage of such batteries were recycled.

This information has not been collected centrally in the past. The new Waste Batteries and Accumulators Regulations (SI 890/2009) will provide such data in the future. Our best estimates for the quantity of batteries on the UK market and recycled are contained in the Impact Assessment published with the Batteries and Accumulators Regulations 2009:

http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si2009/em/uksiem_20090890_en.pdf

We estimate that the annual UK market for. portable batteries is around 30,000 tonnes. Market reports suggest that more than 70 per cent. of retail sales are alkaline batteries. Only about 3 per cent. of waste portable batteries are thought to be recycled currently.

The most recent estimate of the car batteries market is that about 131,000 tonnes of car batteries were placed on the market in 2006. This is thought to be rising annually.

About 143,000 tonnes of waste arise from car batteries annually. About 60 per cent. of a lead-acid battery—the type typically used in cars—is lead. We estimate that about 99 per cent. of this is recycled annually.

The amount of industrial batteries sold in the UK in 2006 is estimated to be about 69,000 tonnes.

About 34,000 tonnes of waste arises from industrial batteries annually and it is estimated that about 32,000 tonnes are recycled. We do not have estimates of the amount of heavy metals in industrial or portable batteries.

Few if any batteries will be reused when they become waste because common practice is to dispose of batteries when they are spent.

Birds: Imports

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many birds were seized by HM Revenue and Customs under the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species in each year since 2000. (284513)

I have been asked to reply.

The following table provides data, from HM Revenue and Customs central records, for specimens seized for years 2005-06, 2006-07 and 2007-08.

Birds

Number of specimens seized

2005-06

310

2006-07

3

2007-08

0

These birds were seized using customs enforcement powers in relation to live animals listed as endangered species under Council Regulation (EC) No 338/97 on the protection of species of wild fauna and flora.

For the years 2000 to 2004-05 information on all CITES specimens seized by the former HM Customs and Excise can be found on the DEFRA website at:

http://www.defra.gov.uk/wildlife-countryside/trade-crime/cites/action-uk.htm#enforcement

Further breakdown of the 2000 to 2004-05 figures can be achieved only at a disproportionate cost.

Coastal Areas: Flood Control

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what his Department's policy is on the procurement of timber for use in sea defence projects; and if he will make a statement. (286476)

Since 2000, UK Government Departments have sought to procure products made from timber that is legally harvested and grown in sustainably managed forests or plantations. From April 2009, UK Government departments will now only accept timber that has been verified as legal and sustainable, or licensed under Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Voluntary Partnership Agreements.

Most of the work on sea defences is undertaken by the Environment Agency and they purchase all timber in accordance with the Government's timber procurement policy. In addition, timber is purchased whenever available, from one of the five Category A accredited certification scheme sources recognised by the Central Point of Expertise on Timber. Limited evidence prohibits this approach being used for tropical hardwood, here, in line with Government policy; the Environment Agency obtain evidence demonstrating legality, sustainability and traceability through the supply chain (Category B evidence).

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what sea defence projects involving the use of timber for construction his Department plans to fund in (a) 2009-10 and (b) 2011-12. (286479)

The following table shows coastal defence projects on which authorities are likely to incur expenditure in any of the years 2009-11, 2010-11 and 2011-12 and where timber is likely to form a significant part of the works. The table is based on forward planning project information, so should be regarded as indicative rather than definitive.

Project Title

Lead authority

Estimated construction start

East Clough

Environment Agency

2010-11

Brightlingsea Tidal Defences Phase 2

Environment Agency

2011-12

Broadland

Environment Agency

Ongoing

Broomhill Sands Coastal Defence Scheme

Environment Agency

2011-12

Denge

Environment Agency

2009-10

Denver Little Eyes Sluice

Environment Agency

2008-09

Donna Nook

Environment Agency

2010-11

Dymchurch

Environment Agency

2011-12

Folkestone To Cliff End Schemes Package

Environment Agency

2011-12

Great Yarmouth

Environment Agency

2010-11

Happisburgh/Winterton 3B Works

Environment Agency

2011-12

High Knocke to Dymchurch Sea Defence

Environment Agency

2009-10

Hunstanton/Heacham Beach Management

Environment Agency

2007-08

Lancing Brook Outfall Reconstruction

Environment Agency

2010-11

Lincshore 2005 to 2010

Environment Agency

2005-06

Lincshore 2010 to 2015

Environment Agency

2010-11

Med merry Managed Realignment

Environment Agency

2011-12

Pett Shingle Renourishment Phase 2-6

Environment Agency

2011-12

Pevensey Bay Outfalls

Environment Agency

2010-11

Pevensey Bay

Environment Agency

Ongoing

Redcar

Environment Agency

2010-11

Sandwich Bay Sea Defences (Deal) (Note start may be early 2012-13)

Environment Agency

2011-12

Seasalter

Environment Agency

2010-11

Shaldon and Ringmore

Environment Agency

2010-11

Stanah Sea Defences

Environment Agency

2008-09

Steart Managed Realignment

Environment Agency

2011-12

Swinefleet

Environment Agency

2009-10

Teignmouth Estuary (Back Beach)

Environment Agency

2011-12

Thornton - Cleveleys (Local Authority led scheme with Environment Agency Contribution)

Environment Agency

2011-12

Walberswick to Dunwich Frontage

Environment Agency

2010-11

Ageing Groynes - Selsey – 9-10

Chichester Council

2009-10

Worthing

Worthing Council

2009-10

Departmental Billing

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the Answer of 3 June 2009, Official Report, column 484W, on departmental billing, how much his Department’s non-departmental public bodies have paid in interest under the Late Payment of Commercial Debts (Interest) Act 1998 in the last three years. (282325)

The Department does not hold information regarding payments made to suppliers under the Late Payment of Commercial Debts (Interest) Act 1988 by the Department’s Non Departmental Public Bodies (NDPB). Each NDPB is required to publish such payments in their independent annual accounts.

Departmental Databases

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what categories of personal information on members of the public are contained on each database which contains such data managed by his Department and its agencies; when each category of information was first collected; and if he will make a statement. (284896)

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs’ (DEFRA) Information Asset register provides detail on many of the databases, including those containing personal data, managed by the Department. This register is available on the Department’s website at:

http://www.defra.gov.uk/corporate/opengov/defra/available/iar/index.htm

The additional details requested about these assets, and full details of databases not included in the Information Asset Register, are not held centrally and can be provided only at disproportionate cost.

All databases containing personal data maintained by DEFRA are in accordance with the Data Protection Act. Following the publication of the cross Government data handling review in June 2008, staff establishing new projects and programmes in the Department that hold significant amounts of personal data are obliged to conduct privacy impact assessments.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what databases managed by his Department and its agencies hold personal information on members of the public; on what date each such database became operational; and if he will make a statement. (285975)

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs’ (DEFRA’s) information asset register provides detail on many of the databases, including those containing personal data, managed by the Department. This register is available on the Department’s website at:

http://www.defra.gov.uk/corporate/opengov/defra/available/iar/index.htm

The additional details requested about these assets, and full details of databases not included in the information asset register, are not held centrally and can be provided only at disproportionate cost.

All databases containing personal data maintained by DEFRA are in accordance with the Data Protection Act. Following the publication of the cross-Government data handling review in June 2008, staff establishing new projects and programmes in the Department that hold significant amounts of personal data are obliged to conduct privacy impact assessments.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which of the planned databases that will be managed by his Department or one of its agencies and which will hold personal information on members of the public are expected to become operational in each of the next five years; and if he will make a statement. (286145)

Information about which of the planned databases that will be managed by the Department or any of its agencies and which will hold personal information on members of the public that are expected to become operational in each of the next five years can be provided only at disproportionate cost to the Department.

Routine assurance of database developments during the business planning cycle ensures that any planned databases containing personal information are identified before development commences and referred to the departmental data protection team to ensure that they adhere to the Data Protection Act.

Moreover, following the publication of the cross-Government data handling review in June 2008, staff establishing new projects and programmes that hold significant amounts of personal data are obliged to conduct privacy impact assessments.

Departmental Work Experience

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many (a) paid and (b) unpaid graduate internships his Department has awarded in each of the last six months. (281516)

In each of the last six months the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has awarded no graduate internships, on either a paid or unpaid basis.

Five graduate internships commenced placements with DEFRA on 6 July 2009, three via the Cabinet Office Summer Development Programme (ethnic minorities) and two from the Summer Placement Scheme (disability). All interns are engaged on a paid basis at executive officer level.

DEFRA is actively exploring ways of increasing its graduate internship numbers via HMG’s Public Sector Jobs imperatives, and we are registered as an organisation with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills Graduate Talent Pool online matching programme.

We anticipate recruiting graduate interns via the Cabinet Office schemes mentioned above in 2010.

EC Law

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of the proportion of statutory obligations provided for by legislation on matters for which his Department is responsible which were introduced as a consequence of obligations arising from EU legislation in the latest period for which figures are available. (281865)

It is very difficult to provide precise figures for the proportion of UK legislation that stems from the European Union.

The administrative burdens measurement exercise carried out by the Government in 2006 put the proportion of administrative burdens stemming from the EU at approximately one third of the total administrative burden.

The important thing is not the origins of a legislation, which could of course be a devolved administration or a local authority, as well as the Government or the EU, but the quality of the regulation. All regulations, irrespective of their origins, should comply with the principles of better regulation. Regulations should be risk based, proportionate and well designed, so as to achieve their objectives while also keeping costs to a minimum. The Government continue to work with European partners to ensure that EU regulations meet these standards.

Environment Protection: Public Opinion

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what publicly-funded research has been undertaken by his Department into (a) levels of public interest in and (b) public attitudes towards environmental issues in the last five years. (287125)

The list details the research projects that the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has undertaken to assess levels of public interest in and public attitudes towards environmental issues in the last five years.

This list includes projects commissioned by DEFRA’s Sustainable Behaviours Unit and also projects commissioned through the Central Office of Information.

2004-05

Climate Change Desk Research (attitudes)

2005-06

Public Attitudes to Climate Change Waves 1, 2 and 3

Public tracking

2006-07

Public attitudes to Climate Change Waves 4 and 5

Youth Climate Change omnibus

Approach to ecosystems

Public understanding of sustainable finance and investment

Public understanding of sustainable consumption of food

Public understanding of sustainable energy consumption in the home

Public understanding of sustainable leisure and tourism

Public understanding of sustainable transport

2007-08

Public Understanding of Links between Climate Change and Energy and Food consumption in the Home

Per Capita Carbon Footprints

Public Understanding of Sustainable Clothing

Public attitudes to Climate Change Waves 6 and 7

Natural Environment Desk Research

Natural Environment Qualitative Research

DEFRA survey of public attitudes and behaviours towards the environment 2007

Carbon Offsetting Qualitative Research

Young People Climate Change Tracker

Public attitudes towards wildlife management

ACT ON CO2 Tracking

Desk research on conservation volunteering

2008-09

Public Understanding of Sustainable Water Use in the Home

Public perceptions of short term actions government could take to mitigate climate change

Tracker survey of public attitudes and behaviours towards the environment 2009

Environment Protection: York

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the (a) specific purpose and (b) monetary value was of each special environmental grant awarded by his Department to City of York Council in each year since 2003. (285755)

There are a number of environmental grants in existence and it is unclear which special environmental grants are being referred to.

The city of York council received £359,838.71 in 2008-09 and £361,122.65 for 2009-10 as part of a waste infrastructure capital grant. Waste infrastructure capital grants are paid to local authorities in recognition of the need to get front-end waste infrastructure, e.g. recycling and composting facilities, on the ground in time to help England meet landfill targets.

Agri-environment schemes are administered by Natural England on behalf of DEFRA. There have been no Countryside Stewardship Scheme or Higher Level Scheme agreements with the city of York council since 2003.

Flood Control: Expenditure

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much his Department has spent on flood protection measures in (a) England, (b) Yorkshire and the Humber and (c) the City of York in each year since 2003. (285756)

The table shows:

Total expenditure by DEFRA—including by DEFRA through the Environment Agency, local authorities and Internal Drainage Boards—on flood and coastal risk management in England from the 2004-05 financial year; and

Environment Agency investment of grant in aid (from DEFRA) through its regional flood defence committee for the Yorkshire region and expenditure in respect of the city of York.

£ million

Total for England

Yorkshire and Humber region

City of York

2004-05

405.5

33.4

0.75

2005-06

506.4

40.7

0.95

2006-07

497.3

34.0

0.76

2007-08

499.8

35.2

0.69

2008-09

564.1

41.8

0.73

Notes:

1. The figures do not include Government funding to local authorities by means of revenue support grant nor funding DEFRA has retained for the implementation of the Pitt Review recommendations, adaptation, resistance and resilience measures. These data are published on the DEFRA website.

2. The totals for England include resource and capital funding to the Environment Agency and funding to the Environment Agency to grant aid local authority and Internal Drainage Board flood risk management capital improvement projects.

3. The resource budget funds maintenance and operational costs of the Environment Agency’s flood and coastal erosion risk management activities, and the capital programme funds new and improved defences and projects.

4. The totals for England for 2004-05 to 2007-08 are based on outturns, data for 2008-09 on budgeted amounts.

5. The totals for England for 2004-05 and 2005-06 include capital grant and supported capital expenditure (resource) to local authorities and Internal Drainage Boards.

Flood Control: Finance

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much his Department has allocated to the Environment Agency for flood defence grants in each year since 1997; and what expenditure his Department has incurred on flood defences in each such year. (286474)

The following table shows total funding from DEFRA (and its predecessors) to the Environment Agency for flood and coastal erosion risk management. This includes funding for grants to internal drainage boards and local authorities for capital improvement projects.

Until 2004-05 the flood risk management function of the Environment Agency was funded primarily through a combination of grants from DEFRA (and its predecessors) for specific projects and levies on local authorities. The data shows funding from DEFRA and does not include funding from other sources, such as local government investment using settlement funding and levies to the Environment Agency.

The figure for 2008-09 is based on budgeted amounts, subject to confirmation of final outturns.

Funding (£ million)

1997-98

87.1

1998-99

78.3

1999-00

75.5

2000-01

71.4

2001-02

84.7

2002-03

128.4

2003-04

135.5

2004-05

405.5

2005-06

506.4

2006-07

497.3

2007-08

499.8

2008-09

564.1

Flood Control: Standards

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what assessment his Department has made of the effectiveness of BSI Kitemark-approved products in reducing flood risk; and what the cost to the Environment Agency was of sponsorship of the Kitemark; (285992)

(2) what assessment his Department has made of the merits of BSI Kitemark for products to promote flood defence and flood resilience; and if he will make a statement.

The kitemark scheme is a British Standards (BSi) accreditation scheme for products meeting specified standards. In the case of flood protection products, accreditation is given to those that comply with publicly available specification (PAS) 1188. To gain the BSi kitemark, products must undergo rigorous testing to demonstrate that they are able to provide effective property level flood protection.

A working group with representatives from the flood resilience product manufacturers, the flood protection association, the Association of British Insurers, insurance companies, DEFRA and HR Wallingford has recently assessed the current BSi kitemark scheme for flood protection products. It was agreed that the scheme is necessary to ensure product quality compliance, and as a result it was re-issued in April this year.

The cost to the Environment Agency of the working group assessment and revising and re-issuing a test scheme was £72,000.

Floods

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer of 25 June 2009, Official Report, column 1087W, on floods: Canvey Island, if he will make it his policy to estimate the number and proportion of buildings in flood risk areas which (a) are not flood-resistant and (b) are flood-resistant. (285534)

We have no plans to require assessments of whether properties have flood resistant products. These will typically only be made by householders for their own purposes or where it is relevant to the development of a flood management scheme.

Fluoride: Drinking Water

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer of 17 June 2009, Official Report, column 380W, on fluoride: drinking water, what assessment the Drinking Water Inspectorate made of the adequacy of the remedial action taken by Severn Trent Water following the addition of excessive levels of fluoride to the water supply in 2000. (286594)

In January 2009, the Drinking Water Inspectorate sent Severn Trent Water its full assessment of the incident that occurred in 2008; it made 14 recommendations for improvement. In February 2009, the Inspectorate carried out an independent audit of Dimmingsdale Water Treatment Works and made eight recommendations and three comments about best practice. On 3 February 2009, Severn Trent Water wrote formally to the inspectorate confirming the action it had taken, and will be taking, to comply fully with the Inspectorate's findings. Scrutiny of company actions by the Inspectorate continues.

Forestry

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when the last meeting of the UK Forestry Ministers' Group took place; and when the next meeting of the group is scheduled. (286181)

The last meeting of the UK Forestry Ministers' Group took place on 20 October 2005 to discuss forestry and climate change.

Forests

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what percentage of each county was covered by ancient woodland in (a) 1988, (b) 1998 and (c) 2008. (286364)

Figures for the years requested are not held.

The original ancient woodland inventory was carried out in the mid-1980s and was based on manual measurements of maps. The percentage by county recorded at that time is shown in the following table.

The original data was transferred to a digital map basis in the mid-1990s when it was updated and it has continued to be revised as new information becomes available. The current percentage by county is shown in the following table.

Although ancient woodland cannot be recreated, areas have been added and removed from the inventory to reflect new information on the status of the woodland. The vast majority of the changes in the inventory over this period are due to such corrections and adjustments to boundaries from the digitising process, and do not represent actual change on the ground.

Percentage of ancient woodland by county

Original inventory

Current inventory

Avon

2.4

2.1

Bedfordshire

2.1

2.2

Berkshire

4.6

4.4

Buckinghamshire

4.5

4.7

Cambridgeshire

0.8

0.8

Cheshire

0.7

0.8

Cleveland

2.5

2.3

Cornwall and Isles of Scilly

1.9

2.0

Cumbria

2.3

2.5

Derbyshire

1.7

1.9

Devon

2.2

2.3

Dorset

2.9

2.8

Durham

1.7

1.5

East Sussex

10.4

11.4

Essex

2.4

2.4

Gloucestershire

6.7

6.8

Greater Manchester

0.6

0.7

Hampshire

6.8

7.6

Hereford and Worcester

4.7

4.8

Hertfordshire

3.3

3.5

Humberside

0.2

0.2

London

1.6

1.6

Isle of Wight

4.1

4.2

Kent

8.0

7.4

Lancashire

0.9

1.0

Leicestershire

1.0

1.0

Lincolnshire

1.0

1.1

Merseyside

0.2

0.0

Norfolk

0.5

0.5

North Yorkshire

1.7

1.8

Northamptonshire

2.7

2.9

Northumberland

1.0

1.0

Nottinghamshire

1.0

1.2

Oxfordshire

2.9

3.0

Shropshire

2.7

2.7

Somerset

2.6

2.7

South Yorkshire

2.9

2.9

Staffordshire

2.1

2.1

Suffolk

1.1

1.2

Surrey

5.8

5.8

Tyne and Wear

2.0

2.2

Warwickshire

2.1

2.1

West Midlands

0.8

0.8

West Sussex

8.5

9.2

West Yorkshire

1.7

1.9

Wiltshire

3.7

3.7

Hazardous Substances: Waste Disposal

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many businesses in each region produced hazardous waste in each year since 1997. (286352)

This data from the Environment Agency shows the number of premises in each region producing hazardous waste in 2006 and 2007. Data for 2008 is not yet available.

Sites

Region

2007

2006

Unclassified1

4,346

5,135

East Midlands

27,611

27,014

East of England

38,383

39,207

London

35,827

37,312

North East

13,850

12,915

North West

36,759

36,047

South East

56,485

57,096

South West

33,137

33,209

Wales

17,229

16,271

West Midlands

29,741

30.226

Yorkshire and the Humber

29,752

27,791

Total

323,120

322,223

1 This information cannot be allocated to regions because of poor quality postcodes reported by operators in their quarterly returns.

These data are derived from the hazardous waste management system and database which was introduced in July 2005 to coincide with the introduction of the Hazardous Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2005.

The Environment Agency is unable to provide information for the period 1997 to 2004. Information prior to this is held on an archived system which defined hazardous waste differently. Information is therefore not directly comparable with that held after 2005.

Landfill

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many (a) complaints were made, (b) prosecutions were brought and (c) fines were levied against landfill site operators in each region for offences related to (i) odour, (ii) water pollution, (iii) air pollution and (iv) effect on human health in each year since 1997. (286362)

Following is a table from the Environment Agency (EA) showing the number of (a) complaints made, (b) court cases brought, and (c) fines levied against landfill operators in each region for offences related to (i) odour, (ii) water pollution and (iii) air pollution in each year since 2001. The data provided show that from 2001 only as this is when the EA's National Incident Recording System came on line. Interrogating systems which hold information prior to 2001 would incur disproportionate cost.

The EA does not hold specific data relating to the effect of such offences on human health, but it is taken into account when determining the nature of the incident.

Number of incidents

Total number related to landfills

Air pollution—odour related

Air pollution—not odour related

Water pollution

Number of court cases

Total fines (£)

2001

Anglian

60

28

19

3

3

20,000

Midlands

71

48

14

5

3

3,000

North East

96

35

25

6

0

0

North West

762

332

378

9

2

13,000

Southern

75

42

26

7

6

38,000

South West

33

10

15

6

0

0

Thames

31

18

13

3

0

0

EA Wales

101

46

56

3

5

16,000

2002

Anglian

77

40

23

5

3

75,000

Midlands

124

51

27

10

1

1,250

North East

116

45

14

14

0

0

North West

445

369

82

10

3

31,000

Southern

75

50

16

4

1

8,500

South West

36

8

12

6

2

4,500

Thames

56

19

22

8

0

0

EA Wales

92

43

24

12

2

9,500

2003

Anglian

54

31

20

3

1

15,000

Midlands

104

57

28

5

5

12,500

North East

94

43

16

8

2

5,500

North West

155

93

45

6

3

12,000

Southern

58

45

20

5

1

6,000

South West

25

2

3

5

0

0

Thames

51

27

20

2

0

0

EA Wales

49

22

13

4

2

12,000

2004

Anglian

85

34

26

2

0

0

Midlands

103

40

42

10

5

42,000

North East

121

40

35

13

1

2,000

North West

109

64

47

4

2

20,000

Southern

62

45

9

2

1

30,000

South West

45

18

9

9

4

17,000

Thames

67

48

36

1

1

10,000

EA Wales

41

21

13

7

1

250

2005

Anglian

76

44

20

3

0

0

Midlands

57

20

26

10

2

42,000

North East

93

46

32

4

3

2,000

North West

78

51

22

5

2

8,000

Southern

28

19

16

1

1

10,000

South West

22

15

6

1

0

0

Thames

42

32

27

3

0

0

EA Wales

50

25

16

11

3

12,500

2006

Anglian

73

47

20

4

2

47,500

Midlands

43

12

18

7

1

4,000

North East

41

13

9

3

4

28,800

North West

41

23

14

0

0

0

Southern

13

5

4

0

4

12,500

South West

45

15

8

9

1

35,000

Thames

37

13

6

7

1

0

EA Wales

53

29

16

9

3

6,000

2007

Anglian

60

32

13

8

11

41,000

Midlands

51

24

21

8

0

0

North East

72

28

25

5

3

22,000

North West

28

18

10

4

0

0

Southern

33

30

15

2

0

0

South West

63

37

31

4

3

42,000

Thames

36

18

14

5

9

38,249

EA Wales

84

52

44

6

2

15,500

2008

Anglian

51

32

8

4

2

13,000

Midlands

51

24

18

5

1

16,000

North East

117

73

46

8

4

4,000

North West

17

10

6

2

0

0

Southern

66

27

13

4

2

7,400

South West

41

34

17

4

5

92,875

Thames

39

31

12

3

1

20,000

EA Wales

153

131

67

5

0

0

Local Government Finance

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) which (a) specific and (b) area-based grants are distributed to local authorities by each division of his Department; (285047)

(2) what recent estimate has been made of the annual cost to (a) his Department of distributing each grant made by it to local authorities and (b) local authorities of administering each such grant;

(3) what (a) eligibility conditions and (b) compliance measures are in place in respect of the expenditure by local authorities of each grant distributed by his Department; and what recent estimate has been made of the annual cost to his Department of monitoring the compliance by local authorities with such measures in respect of each such grant.

The Government believe in giving local authorities greater flexibility to take decisions on local priorities. The introduction of the area based grant has reduced ring-fencing, giving councils increased flexibility to manage their budgets. Alongside this, the new local performance framework has provided a simplified and more effective structure for priority setting and performance measurement.

The following specific revenue grants are being paid by this Department direct to local authorities in 2009-10:

Policy area

Grant

Waste Strategy

London Waste and Recycling Board Fund

Exotic Disease and Agency Relationship Portfolio

Animal Health and Welfare Enforcement

Atmospheric Quality and Industrial Pollution

Air Quality Monitoring Equipment

Soils

Contaminated Land

Water

Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management

Area based grant is paid by Communities and Local Government on behalf of the Government as a whole, in monthly instalments. Funding streams from this Department which are being paid through area based grant in 2009-10 are:

Policy area

Grant

People and Landscapes

Aggregates Levy Sustainability Fund

Waste Strategy

Waste Infrastructure Capital Grant

The Department does not routinely estimate the costs of distributing grants each year, although it does consider the cost effectiveness of proposals as part of the policy development process. It also assesses whether there will be any new burdens on local authorities, and ensures that these are fully funded when a policy is implemented.

As area based grants are not ring-fenced, they come with no specific conditions or compliance requirements.

Eligibility conditions and compliance measures vary with each specific revenue grant.

Marine Management Organisation

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the oral answer of 23 June 2009, Official Report, column 700, what mechanisms exist for the independent Marine Management Organisation to report to Parliament. (287435)

The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) is required to prepare an annual report for each financial year detailing how it has discharged its functions. The MMO must send this report to the Secretary of State for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs who must lay a copy of it before Parliament.

The Secretary of State will be formally accountable to Parliament for the activities and performance of, and public money spent by, the MMO. He will be advised by a cross-government MMO sponsorship group which will allow UK Government Departments’ interests to be represented without compromising the clear lines of responsibility and accountability.

Natural England: Manpower

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many qualified (a) lepidopterists, (b) botanists, (c) lichenologists, (d) bryologists and (e) mycologists are employed by Natural England. (287177)

With the exception of botany, there are no nationally-recognised qualifications in the fields covered by this question. Natural England employs the following numbers of nationally-recognised experts:

Number

(a) Lepidopterists

1

(b) Botanists

3

(c) Lichenologists

1

(d) Bryologists

1

(e) Mycologists

2

Origin Marking: Israel

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) with reference to the round table meeting on 31 March 2009 with representatives from food retailers and trading organisations on food labelling, what steps his Department is taking in the preparation of voluntary guidance to supermarkets on country of origin labelling of produce from Israeli settlements; (287173)

(2) pursuant to the answer from the Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office to the hon. Member for Birmingham, Selly Oak, of 8 July 2009, Official Report, column 856W, on Israel: imports, when he expects to announce the next step in public consultation on the labelling of goods imported into the UK from Israeli settlements in the Palestinian territories.

Following the meeting on 31 March, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is currently working with other Departments including the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, HM Revenue and Customs, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Food Standards Agency with the intention of carrying out a public consultation on the labelling of produce from the Occupied Palestinian Territories shortly.

Rivers: Pollution

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs at what locations (a) acid and (b) other discharge from (i) mines, (ii) landfill sites, (iii) radioactive waste storage sites and (iv) animal burial mounds have been identified as (A) exceeding permitted levels and (B) resulting in poor river quality in nearby river courses in each year since 1997; and what steps his Department takes when such sites are identified. (286465)

Details of locations where acid and other discharge from mines, landfill sites, radioactive waste storage sites and animal burial mounds have been identified as exceeding permitted levels and resulting in poor river quality are as follows:

(i) Working mines are subject to discharge controls under Water Resources Act consents or Environmental Permitting Regulations permits issued and enforced by the Environment Agency. Permits are set to ensure that, when complied with, relevant EU Directive standards are met. Where permits are not complied with it is for the Environment Agency to take appropriate action.

Since 1994, over 100 discharges from abandoned coal mines to rivers have been assessed and prioritised by the environment agencies in England and Wales and Scotland. The Coal Authority has built some 50 minewater treatment plants which have cleaned up or protected more than 400 km of rivers and protected drinking water supply aquifers. A prioritised programme to deal with remaining pollution from abandoned coal mines is in place.

Research commissioned recently by my Department and the Environment Agency has addressed the impacts of abandoned non-coal mines on watercourses. It identifies those posing the greatest risk to achievement of the aims of the Water Framework Directive by assessment of impacts on water quality, ecology, fish and groundwater. It is estimated that, out of a total of some 8,000 water bodies, 221 are impacted by non-coal minewater pollution related primarily to high concentrations of metals in discharges. As a first step, my Department is currently commissioning research to identify the most cost-effective passive treatment options from which to develop appropriate remedial measures within future river basin management planning cycles. This research will be published in due course.

Relevant annual data since 1997 are not held centrally and I will ask the Environment Agency to provide such information as is readily available to be placed in the Library of the House.

(ii) The regulation of landfills has changed significantly since 1997 when landfills were regulated by a waste management licence. Discharges of site drainage and treated leachate were controlled through a separate authorisation. Since the introduction of the Pollution Prevention and Control Act in 1999, permits have controlled both the landfill and discharges to surface water at operational sites.

The Environment Agency records inspections carried out at landfill and breaches of licence conditions. Since 2004 the Environment Agency has recorded data on breaches of licence conditions on a national system. Information prior to this is not held centrally.

The following table summarises the number of landfill non-compliances related to discharges to surface water, for each Environment Agency region.

Region

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

200 9

Total

Anglian

230

401

73

15

13

6

738

Midlands

156

173

72

13

21

15

450

North East

286

362

147

53

19

1

868

North West

109

98

30

19

18

1

275

South West

62

33

29

13

19

156

Southern

266

253

106

8

26

1

660

Thames

49

121

108

6

5

9

298

Wales

26

31

24

14

29

7

131

Total

1,184

1,472

589

141

150

40

3,576

While the Environment Agency records details of the type of breach, it is unable to provide a summary of the breakdown of these incidents by substance.

(iii) Low level radioactive waste is disposed of at the Low Level Waste Repository near Drigg in Cumbria. The Environment Agency and the Food Standards Agency monitor the environment and food around this facility. Since 2002, the Environment Agency has published its environmental monitoring results annually in the Radioactivity in Food and Environment (RIFE) Report series; prior to that the results were published in the Agency’s Radioactivity in the Environment series of reports. Based on these monitoring results the Environment Agency assesses the radiation doses received by members of the public. The radiation dose to members of the public living near the Low Level Waste Repository is much less than the annual 1 millisievert (mSv) legal dose limit. The results of these dose assessments are also published in the RIFE report series.

Small quantities of low level radioactive waste are disposed of to some landfill sites. The Environment Agency monitors groundwater and leachate from a number of landfill sites and its assessments of radiation doses based on the monitoring results show that doses to members of the public are much lower than the annual 1 mSv legal dose limit. These results are also published in the RIFE report series.

The disposals of radioactive waste did not exceed permitted levels at the low level radioactive waste repository near Drigg or at landfill sites. Radioactive waste disposals did not result in poor river water quality.

(iv) The Environment Agency is not aware of any significant impact from animal burial mounds. The only significant burial of animals occurred during the 2001 Foot and Mouth emergency where there were 992 on-farm disposals of carcases in England and Wales. Due to the precautions taken at the time to identify suitable sites and the removal of material in some cases, very few residual risks were identified in the comprehensive review that was subsequently undertaken by DEFRA. Monitoring was found to be necessary at approximately 3 per cent. of the original burial sites. No unacceptable impact on the environment has been found.

Following the outbreak, DEFRA, in consultation with the Environment Agency, commissioned an independent review of each site using a source>pathway>receptor staged approach. The consultants concluded that none of the 992 sites posed an unacceptable risk to the environment but recommended that 32 of the sites be subject to ongoing water quality monitoring. Monitoring of these sites commenced in 2003 and is ongoing. The results are made available to the Environment Agency on a quarterly basis. This ongoing monitoring has identified that although there have been occasional exceedences of the precautionary threshold levels at a number of sites, they are often one-off spikes and are not consistent. These exceedences are considered to reflect the fact that samples are obtained from natural bodies of water in agricultural settings and reflect agricultural practice in the vicinity rather than results from the carcase disposal.

Since 2001, DEFRA has retained and managed four animal burial sites. Of these sites, only one (Watchtree, Cumbria) releases processed water into the watercourse. This is treated water from the burial cells finished using reed-bed technologies which is subject to a managed discharge consent issued by the Environment Agency. While there have been isolated instances of permitted levels being breached, these have almost been exclusively due to unseasonal rainfall which increases the suspended solids content, and none have resulted in poor river quality being reported. The three remaining sites (Tow Law, Co Durham, Ridgeway Ground, Worcestershire and Birkshaw Forest, Dumfries and Galloway) are closed sites with water products been stored and tanked to an appropriate location for treatment. Ground water run-off surrounding the sites is also monitored with the results shared with the Environment Agency, no recurring breaches have been reported and any isolated breaches have been actively resolved in conjunction with the appropriate regulatory agencies.

Roads

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when he last reviewed the powers available for control of the use of the public highway for the sale of motor vehicles. (286953)

In 2005, DEFRA introduced further provisions within The Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act to tackle nuisance parking. Specifically, section 3 of Act makes it an offence for a person to place two or more vehicles for sale (for the purposes of a business) on roads where they are within 500 metres of each other. The offence is not intended to target individual private sellers of single vehicles, rather the nuisance that is caused by the presence of numbers of vehicles being offered for sale by the same person or business. Any person found guilty of such an offence can be fined up to £2,500.

Rural Payments Agency: Freedom of Information

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which requests for information received by the Rural Payments Agency under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 in 2008 were (a) classified as not resolvable and (b) refused in full. (286134)

Most requests for information received by the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) are dealt with under the provisions of the environmental information regulations (EIR). Figures provided include requests dealt with in 2008 by RPA under the EIR and Freedom of Information Act (FOI). Requests classified as not resolvable by RPA are those where information is not held by RPA.

FOI

EIR

Requests not resolvable

8

12

Information withheld in full

7

12

Squirrels

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much Natural England has spent on red squirrel conservation in the last five years. (286689)

From 2004-5 to 2008-9, Natural England and its founding bodies spent £94,300 on red squirrel conservation. In addition, a three-year rural enterprise scheme grant of £148,000 was made by the Rural Development Service in July 2006. Responsibility for this scheme was transferred to the Regional Development Agencies on the establishment of Natural England.

Trees

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what proportion of trees in each region (a) had full crowns, (b) had slight defoliation, (c) had moderate defoliation, (d) had severe defoliation and (e) were dead in the latest survey conducted on behalf of his Department into tree health. (286358)

The last complete survey of forest condition was conducted by the Forestry Commission between June and September 2006. The total number of trees assessed was 8,184 and these included Sitka spruce, Norway spruce, Scots pine, oak and beech.

The data are not readily available by region but the total percentages are provided in the following table.

Class

Percentage of trees

Full crowns

26.1

Slight defoliation

48.0

Moderate defoliation

23.9

Severe defoliation

1.1

Dead

0.9

A limited survey of the condition of two forest tree species (Scots pine and oak) was undertaken between June and September of 2007. The total number of trees assessed was 3,744. The data are not readily available by region but the total percentages are provided in the following table.

Class

Percentage of trees

Full crowns

26.5

Slight defoliation

47.5

Moderate defoliation

23.8

Severe defoliation

1.1

Dead

1.1

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps (a) have been taken recently and (b) are planned to be taken to improve tree health. (286365)

The need to maintain, and improve where necessary, the health and vitality of trees remains integral to the Government’s approach to sustainable forest management.

Forest Research, the Research Agency of the Forestry Commission that is responsible for carrying out investigations into and providing advice on tree health issues, has recently been restructured to give greater emphasis to the impact of climate change on tree health. Its new Centre for Forestry and Climate Change researches the effects of environmental and climate change on forestry, and how the sector can play its part in adaptation and mitigation of climate change. The centre also develops entomology, pathology and environmental sciences in order to deliver holistic understanding of climate change and forestry.

As well as investigating the potential impacts of climate change, research is ongoing into a number of pests and diseases of current concern. These include:

Red Band Needle Blight which can affect a wide range of pines and other conifers.

Acute Oak Decline which is widespread and of complex cause, often involving recurrent drought, attack by root disease fungi and episodes of insect defoliation or mildew attack.

The horse chestnut leaf miner moth which causes browning and an autumnal appearance during the summer months and the bacterium Pseudomonas syringae pv aesculi as the causal agent of a serious, sometimes lethal, bleeding canker of horse chestnuts.

Oak processionary moth (Thaumetopoea processionea) for which the Forestry Commission initiated a contingency plan and is working in partnership with officials from the affected London boroughs and the Health Protection Agency, in an effort to eradicate the pest before it gains a firm foothold.

Phytophthora ramorum and Phytophthora kernoviae for which we have already announced a £25 million package which will support a five-year programme to manage and contain the risks of these two plant diseases.

Looking to the future, the Forestry Commission has recently announced plans to develop a risk management strategy and action plan to respond to the increasing biotic threats to UK trees and forests. It is aiming to have this in place later this year.

Waste Disposal

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what estimate he has made of the number of sanitary products have been disposed of by (a) landfill, (b) incineration and (c) other means in the last year for which figures are available; (286433)

(2) what estimate he has made of the number of disposable nappies have been disposed of by (a) landfill, (b) incineration and (c) other means in the last year for which figures are available.

[holding answer 13 July 2009]: Data on individual waste streams such as nappies or sanitary products are not routinely collected. However, a report of an updated life cycle study on disposable and reusable nappies prepared for DEFRA by consultants ERM and published in 2008 contained an assumption that 86 per cent. of disposable nappies were landfilled in 2005-06, with the remainder going to energy from waste installations.

Water Charges

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of the average proportion of income spent on water charges by households in (a) the bottom decile, (b) the bottom 50 per cent. and (c) the highest decile for household income in (i) 1990, (ii) 2000 and (iii) 2008. (286302)

This information is held by the Office for National Statistics. The average percentage of income spent on water charges by households is provided in the following table.

Water bills as a percentage of household disposable income1United Kingdom

Percentage of income for group names

Bottom decile group2

Bottom 50 per cent2

Top decile group2

2000-01

3.5

1.8

0.5

2006-07

3.5

1.9

0.5

1 Unequivalised household disposable income.

2 Ranked by equivalised disposable income.

2006-07 is the latest period for which estimates are currently available. The next publication is scheduled for 29 July and will cover the period 2007-08.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many customers of each water supply company were on a vulnerable groups tariff in each of the last three year. (286472)

The number of customers on a vulnerable groups tariff in each of the last three years by water company is set out in the following table.

2006-07

2007-08

2008-09

Anglian and Hartlepool Water

904

3,385

3,068

Dwr Cymru

580

899

1,070

United Utilities

1,565

2,286

2,551

Northumbrian and Essex and Suffolk

898

1,077

1,403

Severn Trent

1,508

2,385

3,399

South West

3,857

5,837

6,782

Southern

280

197

641

Thames

2,053

2,333

2,747

Wessex

751

837

972

Yorkshire and York

1,663

2,090

2,702

Bournemouth and West Hampshire

222

274

381

Bristol

478

511

620

Cambridge

108

128

163

Dee Valley

36

73

83

Folkestone

106

176

270

Portsmouth

30

43

73

South East Water (incl. Mid Kent)

143

249

1156

South East Water (excl. Mid Kent Water)

102

97

Mid Kent Water

41

152

South Staffs

198

259

364

Sutton and East Surrey

91

110

113

Tendring Hundred

425

468

533

Three Valleys

316

504

788

Industry

16,212

24,121

28,723

1 In 2008-09 Mid Kent merged with South East Water

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of average monthly cost to (a) metered and (b) unmetered consumers of (i) water supply and (ii) sewerage services in each (A) water supply area and (B) region in 2007-08. (286470)

Ofwat, the economic regulator of the water and sewerage sector in England and Wales, does not hold data for the average metered and unmetered water and sewerage bills broken down by month and region.

The following table sets out the average annual bills for 2007-08 in 2009-10 prices.

Information on 2009-10 water and sewerage bills is available from the Ofwat website at:

www.ofwat.gov.uk

The average annual unmetered and metered, water and sewerage bills for 2007-08 (in 2009-10 prices)

Unmetered water

Metered water

Unmetered sewerage

Metered sewerage

Combined unmeasured

Combined measured

Combined total water and total sewerage

Water and sewerage companies

Anglian

204

149

247

188

451

336

381

Dwr Cymru

184

119

246

164

430

284

390

North West

171

151

200

177

371

327

361

Northumbrian (incl. Essex and Suffolk)

Northumbrian

138

109

175

142

314

250

302

Essex and Suffolk

193

138

Severn Trent

157

135

148

143

305

278

297

South West

257

163

433

227

690

391

506

Southern

131

119

245

191

376

310

353

Thames

188

160

121

109

309

269

299

Wessex

217

163

214

174

431

337

395

Yorkshire (incl. York)

160

133

178

145

339

278

319

Water only companies

Bournemouth and West Hampshire

161

130

Bristol

158

136

Cambridge

132

116

Dee Valley

141

102

Folkestone and Dover

223

161

Mid Kent

186

133

Portsmouth

91

82

South East

191

142

South Staffs

124

116

Sutton and East Surrey

178

144

Tendring Hundred

214

152

Three Valleys (incl. North Surrey)

168

144

Note:

Figures may not total due to rounding

Water Supply

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer of 6 July 2009, Official Report, column 532W, on water meters, how many households receive water supplies from (a) Severn Trent Water and (b) South Staffordshire Water. (285878)

The following table shows the number of households that receive their water supplies from Severn Trent Water and South Staffordshire Water.

Company

Connected properties

Severn Trent Water

3,167,600

South Staffordshire Water

521,300

Source:

Ofwat—service and delivery report 2007-08. Supplementary information available from:

www.ofwat.gov.uk

Business, Innovation and Skills

Graduate Job Prospects

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills what assessment he has made of job prospects for graduates in the current economic downturn. (287052)

These are undoubtedly tough times for graduates but we should not forget that a degree remains a strong investment. Businesses are continuing to recruit through the downturn, and the Government are committed to helping graduates. Working with employers and universities, we are boosting the number of internships and offering more loans to support further study. So graduates should remain positive.

British National Space Centre

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills what funding his Department has allocated to the British National Space Centre for 2010-11; and if he will make a statement. (287070)

Provisional indicative planning assumptions are that in 2010-11 the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills will allocate to the British National Space Centre £1.5 million in programme budget, and £1.123 million in administration budget.

Construction Industry

21. To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills what steps he is taking to assist the construction industry during the recession. (287072)

Government are offering the real help that construction companies and workers need now.

We are ensuring that companies struggling to obtain finance are supported through a package of support including the Enterprise Finance Guarantee and the Working Capital scheme.

We are helping the industry ensure it has the right skills, for example by agreeing a Train to Gain compact which will make available £133 million over three years to meet the identified priority skills needs of the industry.

And we are boosting demand by bringing forward £3 billion expenditure from 2010-11 to 2008-9 and 2009-10.

Bankruptcy

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills how many people in (a) England and (b) Suffolk aged 60 or more years have declared themselves bankrupt in each year since 1997. (286264)

The available information on the number of bankruptcies in England and in Suffolk, aged 60 or more years, may be seen in Table 1 as follows. Information prior to 2000 is not available on this basis.

Table 1: Bankrupts aged 60 and over1, 2

Location

England

Suffolk

2000

802

12

2001

947

19

2002

1,154

26

2003

1,464

26

2004

1,915

23

2005

2,898

51

2006

4,394

61

2007

4,911

69

2008

5,189

89

1 Where the bankrupt has provided a valid date of birth (between 90-93 per cent. of cases over the period covered).

2 Where the bankrupt has provided a valid postcode (increasing from 88 per cent. of cases in 2000 to 97 per cent. in 2008).

Insolvency

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills pursuant to the answer of 29 June 2009, Official Report, column 97W, on insolvency, how many reports from insolvency practitioners alleging misconduct have been received by the Insolvency Service in each of the last three years; and how many such reports have been pursued to investigation stage. (285747)

[holding answer 13 July 2009]: The information is as follows:

2006-07

2007-08

2008-09

Unfitted returns received

4,120

3,991

4,752

Investigations

1,260

1,691

1,073

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills how many company directors have been disqualified from the Insolvency Service following an investigation in each of the last three years; and what the average disqualification period was in each such year. (285774)

[holding answer 13 July 2009]: The Insolvency Service obtains disqualifications under sections 6 and 8 of the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986 (CDDA). Some disqualifications are obtained under section 2 of the CDDA following criminal proceedings that have resulted in directors being convicted of an indictable offence in connection with the promotion, formation, management, liquidation or striking off of a company.

Directors disqualified

2006-07

2007-08

2008-09

(a) Under section 6

Directors disqualified

1,149

1,066

1,204

Average period in years

5.5

5.9

6.3

(b) Under section 8

Directors disqualified

26

28

23

Average period in years

6.5

6.2

6.3

(c) Under section 2

Directors disqualified

51

79

48

Average period in years

n/k

n/k

5.7

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills pursuant to the answer of 29 June 2009, Official Report, column 97W, on insolvency, what estimate he has made of the cost of regulating compliance with Statement of Insolvency Practice 16; and from which budget such costs will be met. (285850)

[holding answer 13 July 2009]: The cost of the Insolvency Service’s monitoring of Statement of Insolvency Practice (SIP) 16, relating to pre-packaged administrations, has been estimated at £100,000 for the current financial year. The monitoring is undertaken on a cost recovery basis, and will therefore be recovered from the recognised professional bodies that regulate insolvency practitioners by way of levy.

The cost of regulating insolvency practitioners’ compliance with SIP 16 in terms of considering and implementing appropriate regulatory and disciplinary actions remains with the relevant recognised professional bodies.

Internet: Censorship

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills if he will restrict or prohibit the supply to Zimbabwe by UK companies of technologies capable of use to monitor, inspect or filter internet content. (285279)

There are currently no plans to restrict further or prohibit the supply to Zimbabwe by UK companies of technologies capable of use to monitor, inspect or filter internet content. The export of these technologies would already be controlled if they employed cryptography or were specially designed for military use. European Union sanctions against Zimbabwe, outlined in Council Regulation (EC) No 314/2004, also allow Communications Intercept Devices to be controlled where they might be used for internal repression.

In such cases, all export licence applications are rigorously assessed on a case-by-case basis against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria and a licence would not be issued if to do so was inconsistent with the criteria.

Jaguar Land Rover

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills what progress has been made in discussions between his Department and Jaguar Land Rover in respect of loan guarantees; and when he expects the discussions to be completed. (284262)

[holding answer 8 July 2009]: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Mid-Worcestershire (Peter Luff) on 24 June 2009, Official Report, column 980W.

London Metropolitan University

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (1) when he was first informed of the inaccuracies relating to student data and funding at London Metropolitan University; (276990)

(2) on what date the Higher Education Funding Council for England first raised concerns with London Metropolitan University about its non-completion rates data for the 2005-06 academic year;

(3) what reasons representatives of the London Metropolitan University provided to the Higher Education Funding Council for England for its return of incorrect data on completion rates for the academic years (a) 2005-06, (b) 2006-07 and (c) 2007-08;

(4) what recent procedures he has put in place to ensure the accuracy of data on non-completion rates provided by universities to the Higher Education Funding Council for England;

(5) if he will commission an independent investigation into the recent submission of data on non-completion rates by London Metropolitan University to the Higher Education Funding Council for England.

I will answer these questions on the current situation at London Metropolitan university (LMU) together. In doing so it should be borne in mind that responsibility for resolving these issues falls to the funding council and the university. Ministers are precluded in legislation from decisions on the funding of individual institutions. In answer to the specific questions:

First, Ministers were first informed about by the funding council about issues with audit of LMU’s data in February 2008.

Second, the funding council first raised concerns with LMU about its 2005/06 data in April 2007.

Third, LMU reported non-completions for each of these years based on its own interpretation of the funding council rules.

Fourth, the funding council already has a number of processes in place to ensure the accuracy of the data institutions provide which inform their funding. It was these processes that identified the problems at LMU.

Fifth, it is for the funding council to account for the funds it distributes. It has itself decided to commission an independent report into its handling of the situation at LMU. It will report to its board in July and will be made public. In addition the National Audit Office will be undertaking a study of the financial health of the HE sector later this year. It is likely to include LMU in that study. As such I will not be commissioning a separate investigation.

Skilled Workers

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills what recent assessment his Department has made of the level of skills shortage in each (a) industrial sector and (b) region. (284619)

The National Employer Skills Survey 2007 report, published in May 2008, provides the most recent data available on the skills shortages in each sector and region.

(a) Table 1 shows the number and proportion of Skills Shortage Vacancies (SSVs) by Sector Skills Council sector (LSC, 2008: p.56):

Table 1

Vacancies1

SSVs1

Percentage of vacancies that are SSVs

SSVs per 1,000 employees

Unweighted base

52,867

10,399

All England

619,675

130,000

21

6

Lantra

8,450

2,475

229

8

Cogent

6,650

1,400

21

4

Proskills UK

3,975

950

24

33

Improve Ltd.

5,300

550

310

32

Skillfast-UK

3,875

975

25

5

Semta

23,200

7,150

31

6

Energy and Utility Skills

6,100

500

38

32

ConstructionSkills

36,700

14,625

240

214

SummitSkills

8,075

2,000

25

9

Automotive Skills

11,200

2,975

27

6

Skillsmart Retail

52,675

7,250

14

33

People 1st

67,725

12,675

19

8

GoSkills

10,825

2,475

23

6

Skills for Logistics

11,000

2,075

19

33

Financial Services Skills Council

30,450

4,725

16

5

Asset Skills

24,725

5,125

21

6

e-skills UK

22,650

6,275

28

10

Government Skills

9,750

1,475

15

4

Skills for Justice

3,900

275

37

31

Lifelong Learning UK

19,500

2,625

313

33

Skills for Health

30,500

3,850

13

32

Skills for Care and Development

29,800

4,700

316

5

Skillset

7,075

2,900

241

223

Creative and Cultural Skills

7,325

1,650

23

8

SkillsActive

7,000

1,375

20

5

Non-SSC employers

171,275

36,875

22

6

1 Denote base sizes of 25 to 49 and should be treated with caution.

2 Indicates particularly high values

3 Indicates particularly low values.

Notes:

Figures rounded to the nearest 25.

‘*’ Used where the base size was less than 25.

(b) Table 2 shows the number and proportion of Skills Shortage Vacancies (SSVs) per region (LSC, 2008: p.48):

Table 2

Vacancies1

SSVs1

Percentage of vacancies that are SSVs

SSVs per 1,000 employees

Unweighted base

10,399

Overall

619,675

130,000

21

6

Region

Eastern

64,225

12,475

19

5

East Midlands

40,975

8,450

21

5

London

126,875

32,850

26

8

North East

23,400

4,600

20

5

North West

75,225

13,000

17

4

South East

115,450

25,650

22

7

South West

58,575

12,750

22

6

West Midlands

61,350

9,975

16

4

Yorkshire and The Humber

53,600

10,250

19

5

1 Denote base sizes of 25 to 49 and should be treated with caution.

Base: All employment

Notes:

Vacancy and SSV figures rounded to the nearest 25.

Space Technology: Research

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills what proportion of Government research and development (R and D) funding was allocated to civil space R and D in each year since 1986. (284881)

[holding answer 13 July 2009]: This information is published in SET statistics and can be found at

http://www.dius.gov.uk/science/science_funding/set_stats

The most recent figures available are set out in the following table. This shows the percentage share of Government funding of net research and development funding in each year from 1986-87 to 2005-06 which was allocated to civil space.

Percentage share of Government funding of net R and D allocated to civil space

Percentage

1986-87

2.8

1987-88

2.9

1988-89

3.2

1989-90

3.0

1990-91

3.0

1991-92

2.5

1992-93

2.9

1993-94

3.5

1994-95

3.1

1995-96

2.7

1996-97

2.8

1997-98

2.8

1998-99

2.5

1999-2000

2.3

2000-01

2.3

2001-02

2.1

2002-03

1.9

2003-04

2.0

2004-05

2.0

2005-06

2.2

Students: Loans

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills how many people have complained to the Student Loans Company (SLC) that money deducted by HM Revenue and Customs from their salaries for repayment of student loans has not been allocated to their accounts with the SLC in each of the last three years; how long on average it took the SLC to reply to such complaints in each of those years; and if he will make a statement. (284610)

[holding answer 7 July 2009]: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 13 July 2009, Official Report, column 201W.

Tax Havens

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills if he will bring forward legislative proposals to prohibit directors of companies registered in the British Virgin Islands from becoming directors of UK companies. (284650)

Written Questions: Government Responses

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills when he plans to answer question 280005, tabled on 10 June 2009, on the Capital for Enterprise Fund. (281285)

Culture, Media and Sport

Departmental Contracts

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many contracts let by his Department were awarded to businesses with fewer than 50 employees in each of the last five years; and what the monetary value of such contracts was in each such year. (287797)

The Department for Culture Media and Sport awarded the following number of contracts to businesses with fewer than 50 members of staff with the following total monetary values:

April to March each year

Number of contracts

Total spend (£)

2006-07

120

3,589,211.10

2007-08

93

1,999,166.68

Notes:

1. Data for April 2004-March 2005 and April 2005-March 2006 are not held.

2. Data for April 2008-March 2009 will be available within the next two months.

Departmental Databases

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what categories of personal information about members of the public are contained on each relevant database managed by his Department and its agencies; on what date each category of information began to be collected; and if he will make a statement. (285984)

Personal information about members of the public held in databases managed by my Department began to be collected when each one became operational. I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave her on 14 July 2009, Official Report, columns 245-46W.

Detailed explanation of all the fields in these databases could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Departmental Electronic Equipment

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many (a) photocopiers, (b) scanning devices and (c) fax machines, excluding multi-function devices, there are in his Department; how many there were in each of the last three years; and if he will make a statement. (286177)

In each of the last three years the Department has had the following equipment, excluding multi-function devices.

Photocopiers

Scanning devices

Fax machines

2007

11

4

17

2008

2

4

17

2009

2

4

17

Departmental Information Officers

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what the cost to his Department of (a) press officers and (b) other press office staff has been in each year since 1997. (283063)

The cost of press officers is available only from 2002-03 and the cost of other press office staff is available only from 2003-04. The information for earlier years could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

The costs were:

£

Press officers

Other press office staff

2002-03

459,952

2003-04

552,677

174,576

2004-05

466,206

157,245

2005-06

1550,124

110,864

2006-07

1733,412

165,170

2007-08

1682,858

187,576

2008-09

1706,643

185,715

1 This includes press officers working on the Olympics

Digital Broadcasting

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what recent estimate he has made of the likely cost to the public purse of digital switchover in (a) the Vale of York, (b) North Yorkshire and (c) England. (286061)

A total of £603 million for the Digital Switchover help scheme and £200 million for Digital UK’s marketing and communications were ring-fenced in the current TV licence fee agreement, which runs to March 2013. These figures cover the UK as a whole and have not been divided between nations, regions or individual constituencies.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what the cost to the public purse of digital switchover has been in (a) the Vale of York, (b) North Yorkshire and (c) England to date. (286063)

As detailed in the Help Scheme Agreement, the £603 million estimated cost of the help scheme will be divided into annual amounts for the purpose of funding the scheme. The ITV Yorkshire region (covering the Vale of York and North Yorkshire) does not switch until 2011, therefore to date there has been no spend in this region. It is not possible to estimate the total cost of running the scheme to date in England since a large proportion of the costs are fixed costs that are associated with developing and running the scheme across the UK as a whole.

There has been no regional cost incurred by Digital UK activity in Yorkshire as this will commence in spring 2010. In England the cost to date of all Digital UK switchover communications and operations, which excludes Wales, Northern Ireland, STV Central and STV North is £57 million.

Digital Broadcasting: Northern Ireland

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if he will take steps to bring the level of take-up of digital broadcasting in Northern Ireland up to average levels in the rest of the UK. (284161)

[holding answer 3 July 2009]: As digital switchover in Northern Ireland in 2012 draws closer, Digital UK will run a communication programme in the area covered by the Ulster TV region about switchover and what people need to do to ensure that they can receive digital television services.

There are no steps envisaged to increase digital radio take-up specifically in Northern Ireland, or in any other part of the UK. However, as set out in the recently published Digital Britain White Paper, the Government recognise that building out a Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) infrastructure across the UK which meets the needs of broadcasters, multiplex operators and listeners, including improving the quality of the signal, will require additional investment. We will work closely with the BBC, transmission providers and Ofcom to agree a plan for the extension and improvement for local DAB coverage, and where the cost would most appropriately fall.

Digital Broadcasting: Radio

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (1) what the extent of coverage of digital radio in (a) Powys, (b) Wales and (c) each region will be after the analogue radio switch-off; (286371)

(2) when the analogue radio signal will be switched off in (a) Powys, (b) Wales and (c) each region.

[holding answer 13 July 2009]: Details of the extent of digital radio coverage and when the Digital Radio Upgrade will be implemented in (a) Powys, (b) Wales and (c) each other UK region following the Digital Radio Upgrade programme are not currently available.

In the coming months we will be working with broadcasters and transmission providers to consider how and when the coverage of DAB will be extended and improved. The intention is to give a clearer indication of future coverage in the spring 2010 review which was proposed in the Digital Britain White Paper.

However, we have been clear from the outset that coverage of DAB needs to be at least comparable to current FM coverage before the Upgrade can begin. We are also aware that in Wales specific regard needs to be made to those listeners that only have access to radio via MW.

No date has been set for the Digital Radio Upgrade programme. The top-level principle of the upgrade programme is that it should not result in reduced access to radio services. The Digital Britain White Paper set out our intention to deliver a Digital Radio Upgrade programme across the UK by the end of 2015, when we would expect all analogue services also carried on the national and local DAB multiplexes to cease broadcasting on analogue. The Digital Radio Upgrade will be implemented on a single date, which will be announced at least two years in advance.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what provision will be made for radio reception by residential properties where digital radio signals cannot be received after the discontinuance of analogue radio signals in (a) Powys, (b) Wales, (c) each region of England, (d) Scotland and (e) Northern Ireland. (287169)

The Digital Britain White Paper made clear our intention that the Digital Radio Upgrade programme should not result in listeners losing access to radio. We have also been clear that before the upgrade can begin DAB coverage must be comparable to the existing FM coverage, particularly for the BBC’s services. In the case of Wales, we are also examining closely the impact of ceasing radio broadcasts on MW, which many listeners in Wales rely upon.

Therefore we are not, at this time, planning specific provisions to address residential properties in (a) Powys; (b) Wales; (c) each region of England; (d) Scotland; and (e) Northern Ireland which are not able to receive digital radio signals once services migrate to digital. However, we will keep this under review.

Digital Switchover Help Scheme

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what recent estimate he has made of the number of people eligible for assistance under the Digital Switchover Help Scheme in (a) the Vale of York, (b) North Yorkshire and (c) England; and if he will make a statement. (285757)

Those eligible for the help scheme can only be broken down by ITV regions. The Help Scheme estimates around 640,000 people in the ITV Yorkshire region will be eligible to receive help, although this number is likely to change between now and when the region switches in 2011. It is estimated that around seven million people in the UK will be eligible to receive help from the Switchover Help Scheme.

Television: Licensing

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport when it became a requirement to have a television licence to receive television signals on mobile telephones in the home; how many prosecutions there have been of people who have received signals on mobile telephones without a licence; and if he will make a statement. (286187)

The legislation on TV licensing refers to television receivers and does not refer specifically to mobile phones.

Government do not hold figures on what particular type of television receiver was being used in any particular breach of the television licensing regulations.

The interpretation of the TV licensing legislation, including an assessment of whether a mobile phone meets the definition of a television receiver under the legislation, is a matter for the BBC.

Defence

Afghanistan: Peacekeeping Operations

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when the armed forces rules of engagement in Afghanistan were last reviewed. (284852)

The UK’s Rules of Engagement are reviewed regularly to ensure that they remain effective and compliant with international law.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether he plans to deploy in Afghanistan helicopters which are out of service for repair or maintenance work on completion of that work. (287180)

On completion of repair or maintenance work, helicopters are returned to the Forward Fleet where they are used for operational or training purposes.

Those aircraft which are equipped to Theatre Entry Standard are likely to be deployed to Operational Theatres to allow other airframes to return to the UK to undergo regular, programmed servicing and maintenance.

The remaining aircraft in the Forward Fleet are with Front Line Squadrons, primarily for training purposes.

Armed Forces

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many serving officers there are in each of the three services. (287198)

As at 1 May 2009 the trained strength of UK Regular Forces1 included 6,480 officers in the Naval Service, 13,800 in the Army and 8,420 in the Royal Air Force.

A full breakdown of the strength of UK Regular Forces by officer/other rank, training indicator and service can be found in Tri-Service Publication 1, which is published on a monthly basis at the following link:

http://www.dasa.mod.uk/applications/newWeb/www/apps/publications/pubViewFile.php?content=32&date=2009-06-23&type=html&PublishTime=09:30:00

Due to ongoing validation of data from the Joint Personnel Administration System, all strength statistics are provisional and subject to review.

1 UK Regular Forces excludes Gurkhas, Full Time Reserve personnel and mobilised reservists.

Armed Forces: Health Services

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence on how many occasions officials of his Department have met Scottish Executive health officials in each year since 2007; and at how many such meetings (a) the care of soldiers and veterans and (b) the sharing of best practice between the Defence Medical Services and NHS Scotland have been discussed. (282937)

The main forum for discussions between the Ministry of Defence and Scottish Executive health officials is the MOD/UK Health Departments Partnership Board, at which a range of issues of mutual interest are discussed. The board meets three times a year, with a core remit to ensure that the MOD and UK Health Departments share best practice and work together to improve the health and healthcare of the UK armed forces, plus dependents and veterans, and such issues form the basis of its discussions. The Senior Medical Officer at the Scottish Executive is a standing member of the board and attends, or is represented at, its meetings.

In addition, there are three official level working groups that take forward specific works strands identified by the Partnership Board, and which meet on average four times a year. Scottish Executive officials are members of each of these Working groups, and attend meetings either in person or by video link.

Finally, numerous other official level discussions, both formal and informal, take place as required at both national and local level, to address the health needs of service personnel and their dependants across the entire patient care pathway.

Departmental Lost Property

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many laptop computers belonging to (a) his Department and (b) its agencies have been lost or stolen in the last five years. (281076)

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given on 22 January 2009, Official Report, column 1669W, by my right hon. Friend the previous Minister of State for the Armed Forces (Mr. Ainsworth) to the hon. Member for Newark (Patrick Mercer).

Departmental Procurement

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what progress his Department has made in implementing the recommendations of the Glover Report in its procurement processes. (287136)

The MOD is working with other Government Departments toward the implementation of all 12 key recommendations of the Glover Report. The MOD is participating fully in the Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) and Office of Government Commerce (OGC) led Glover Programme Board which oversees the implementation of the recommendations across Government.

Departmental Property

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) one, (b) two and (c) three or more bedroom properties are owned by or managed for his Department in inner London boroughs; and what his most recent estimate is of the average annual net cost of managing properties in each category. (287190)

For accommodating single Service personnel, this Department owns some 1,586 Single Living Accommodation (SLA) units in the inner London boroughs.

For accommodating entitled Service families in the same area, the Department currently holds the following number of Service Family Accommodation (SFA) properties, the majority of which are leased from Annington Homes Ltd:

Property Type

Number of Bedrooms

Number of Properties

Officers

1

4/5

6

II

4/5

3

III

4

1

IV

4

86

V

3

46

Other Ranks

D

4

103

C

3

252

B

2

285

A

1

6

No separate estimate is made of the costs of living accommodation broken down by location and type.

In, cases where SFA or SLA is required but not available, substitute accommodation might be sourced from the commercial rental markets. The Department currently rents 1,245 Substitute Single Service Accommodation and 41 Substitute SFA properties in the inner London boroughs at an approximate monthly cost of £1.47 million.

Military Aircraft

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of the cost of the future aircraft carrier programme in each of the next five years. (284532)

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave him on 20 November 2008, Official Report, column 667W.

Following the equipment examination (EE) we decided to delay the carriers by one to two years, recognising that this would add cost. The new cost will be at least £4.6 billion but we are not yet able to provide a final estimate.

We do not release annual funding profiles as these are planning assumptions that are inevitably subject to a significant amount of variation, and their availability could also prejudice commercial interests.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the (a) required and (b) actual crew number for each helicopter type was in each of the last five years. (284543)

Historical figures for helicopter crew numbers are not held in the format requested. The numbers of aircrew personnel for each helicopter type are provided in the following tables.

Royal Navy

As at 1 July 2009

Required strength

Actual strength

Lynx Mk3/8

133

124

Lynx Mk7/9

20

20

Merlin Mk1

189

174

Sea King Mk4/6

139

139

Sea King Mk5

68

65

Sea King Mk7

46

43

Army Air Corps

As at 6 July 2009

Required strength

Actual strength

Apache AH Mk1

100

80

Lynx Mk7/9

100

106

Gazelle Mk1

34

34

Dauphin N3 AH Mk1

7

6

Bell 212

24

24

SAAVN1

46

41

1 SAAVN figures cannot be split by aircraft type (AH/Squirrel/Lynx/Gazelle).

Royal Air Force

As at 6 July 2009

Required strength

Actual strength

Chinook

262

222

Merlin Mk3/3a

159

130

Puma

127

129

Sea King Mk3/3a

140

132

Defence Helicopter Flying School

As at 6 July 2009

Required strength

Actual strength

Squirrel

20

18

Griffin

62

61

Required and actual strengths will both vary with time due to many factors including operational requirements, the introduction of newly trained crew on completion of training courses at set times during the year, the number of trained personnel assigned to non-flying duties (as part of the necessary broader career development), injuries, and service leavers.

In addition, the RAF is going through a high level of change with aircrafts drawing down, going through structure change, forming new squadrons or bringing new aircraft into service. Therefore, crew figures are fluctuating on a daily basis.

The helicopter fleet is managed to ensure that our operational and other commitments are met, including an 84 per cent. increase in flying hours in Afghanistan between November 2006 and April 2009.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the (a) required and (b) actual number of pilots in the armed forces is for the Sea King HAR3/3A helicopters. (284780)

The required and actual number of pilots in the armed forces for the Sea King HAR3/3A helicopters is given in the following table:

Aircraft type: Sea King HAR3/3A

Number

Required pilots

66

Actual pilots

64

A difference between the ‘required’ and ‘actual’ number of pilots is to be expected. The variation is due to a number of factors such as promotion, assignment to other aircraft or ground posts, medical downgrading and leaving the service.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment has been made of the merits of deploying single propeller-driven aircraft in theatre for ground attack and surveillance. (286440)

Commanders on the ground already have access to a broad range of surveillance and ground attack capabilities and, while we keep our requirements under constant review, there are currently no plans to deploy manned, single propeller-driven aircraft for ground attack or surveillance. We have though deployed the unmanned single propeller aircraft, UK Reaper and Hermes 450, in surveillance roles, with UK Reaper also providing a ground attack capability.

Energy and Climate Change

Board of the Gas and Electricity Markets Authority

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how the performance of the Board of the Gas and Electricity Markets Authority in meeting its first priority to consumers is measured. (286256)

The Gas and Electricity Markets Authority (the authority) and its executive arm, Ofgem, have a primary duty to protect the interests of existing and future consumers.

The authority is an independent economic regulator and is accountable to Parliament rather than to the Government. The Government nonetheless works closely with the authority and Ofgem in order to assess the operation of the market and outcomes for consumers, while respecting the regulator's independence.

Carbon Sequestration

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change pursuant to the statement on 23 April 2009, Official Report, columns 382-84, on coal carbon capture and storage, whether any recent changes have been made to his Department’s policy for the phased scaling of carbon capture and storage demonstration plants. (283180)

The detailed terms of the competition are not yet finalised. The overarching objectives of the CCS demonstration competition remain as stated in the Project Information Memorandum. A copy can be found at

http://www.decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/what_we_do/uk_supply/energymix/ccs/CCS_demonstrat/CCS_demonstrat.aspx

Carbon Sequestration: Scotland

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what discussions his Department has had with Scottish energy companies on carbon capture and storage at power stations in Scotland. (285957)

Energy companies are key stakeholders of the Department of Energy and Climate Change and have an active interest in almost every aspect of the Department’s work. The Department has regular and wide-ranging discussions with organisations and power companies about carbon capture and storage, including those with power stations based in Scotland.

Coal Investment Aid

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how much Coal Investment Aid has been paid out in each parliamentary constituency. (285090)

A total of £52.8 million of Coal Investment Aid was paid to 12 mines during 2003-04 to 2008-09. Payments by constituency were as follows:

Constituency

Mine

Operator

CIA paid (£)

Bassetlaw

Harworth1

UK Coal plc

4,201,556

Welbeck

UK Coal plc

7,785,898

Berwick upon Tweed

Ellington1

UK Coal plc

849,620

Cynon Valley

Tower2

Goitre Tower Anthracite Ltd

2,991,764

NE Derbyshire

Eckington

Eckington Colliery Partnership

176,171

Don Valley

Rossington1

UK Coal plc

2,687,075

Neath

Aberpergwm

Energybuild Mining Ltd

3,501,977

Pontefract

Kellingley

UK Coal plc

9,500,653

Rother Valley

Maltby3

UK Coal plc

5,148,254

Sherwood

Thoresby

UK Coal plc

4,973,282

Wakefield

Hay Royds

Hay Royds Colliery LLP

137,300

Warwickshire North

Daw Mill

UK Coal plc

10,863,398

1 Mine closed or mothballed before total awarded was drawn down in full.

2 Mine closed owing to exhaustion of viable reserves in 2008.

3 Mine sold to present operator after CIA drawn down in full under UKC.

Committee on Climate Change

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what remuneration his Department provides for the (a) Chair and (b) Chief Executive of the Committee on Climate Change; what the contracted hours of work of the Chairman are; and if he will make a statement. (284494)

[holding answer 6 July 2009]: The chair of the Committee on Climate Change involves an average time commitment of approximately four days per month with a payment of £1,000 a day.

The chief executive’s current salary is £85,000 plus a bonus of between 10-20 per cent. of salary subject to performance targets being exceeded.

Departmental Accountancy

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change when he expects to publish his Department’s resource accounts for 2008-09. (287336)

Departmental Data Protection

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what databases which will be managed by his Department or its agency and which will contain personal information are (a) under construction and (b) expected to become operational in each of the next five years; and if he will make a statement. (286501)

No such databases are under construction or expected to become operational within the next five years.

Departmental Databases

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what information databases his Department (a) maintain and (b) uses which contain personal information. (284397)

The Department holds a large number of databases ranging in size. These include corporate databases, access databases held by units within the Department and a large number of spreadsheets of data of which certainly the larger and more sophisticated could be described as fulfilling a database function. The vast majority of these databases and systems can be expected to a greater or lesser extent to contain personal data. It is not possible due to disproportionate costs to identify those databases which do not contain personal data.

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what categories of personal information about members of the public are contained on each relevant database managed by his Department and its agencies; on what date each category of information began to be collected; and if he will make a statement. (285985)

The Department for Energy and Climate Change has registered all the purposes for which it processes personal data in form of a notification which is held by the Information Commissioner’s Office, and is publicly available on the Data Protection Registry. The notification contains categories of data subject for each registered purpose; recipients to whom DECC intends to disclose the data and name or a description of any countries or territories outside the European economic area to which DECC transfers or intends to transfer the data.

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what categories of personal information on members of the public will be held on each database expected to become operational in the next five years and which will be managed by his Department; what estimate he has made of the likely number of individuals' details each such database will hold when fully operational; and if he will make a statement. (286138)

DECC has no such databases under construction or expected to become operational within the next five years.

Departmental Press

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what (a) newspapers and (b) periodicals are delivered to the private office of each Minister in his Department; and at what cost in the latest period for which figures are available. (279417)

The private office group within the Department receives copies of The Financial Times, Observer, Guardian, Independent, Daily Mail, Daily Mirror, The Sun, The Times, Daily Telegraph, Evening Standard, Economist, Spectator and New Statesman. The costs of the newspapers are met by the communications group as part of a central contract.

EC Law

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what estimate he has made of the proportion of statutory obligations provided for by legislation on matters for which his Department is responsible which were introduced as a consequence of obligations arising from EU legislation in the latest period for which figures are available. (281866)

It is very difficult to provide precise figures for the proportion of UK legislation that stems from the European Union.

The administrative burdens measurement exercise carried out by the Government in 2006 put the proportion of administrative burdens stemming from the EU at approximately one-third of the total administrative burden.

The important issue is not the origins of legislation, which could of course be a devolved Administration or a local authority, as well as the Government or the EU, but the quality of the regulation. All regulations, irrespective of their origins, should comply with the principles of better regulation. Regulations should be risk based, proportionate and well designed, so as to achieve their objectives while also keeping costs to a minimum. The Government continue to work with European partners to ensure that EU regulations meet these standards.

Energy

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what steps his Department is taking to encourage the development of products and services designed to meet the energy needs of older people. (284644)

The Department has negotiated a voluntary agreement with energy companies under which they will contribute £125 million this year and £150 million in 2010-11 to measures designed to address the energy needs of vulnerable consumers including the elderly.

Energy companies must meet at least 40 per cent. of their carbon emissions reduction target obligations in a priority group of low-income consumers who are in receipt of benefits or are aged 70 and over. The DECC funded warm front scheme offers energy efficiency measures to householders, including those over 60, in receipt of qualifying benefits. In addition, the Department is developing its approach to the roll-out of smart metering, which will take into account its impact on the elderly.

Energy Supply

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change pursuant to the answer of 30 June 2009, Official Report, column 122W, on energy supply, on what dates since October 2008 Ministers in his Department have met representatives of (a) Ofgem, (b) energy suppliers and (c) energy consumer groups. (286186)

Ministers and civil servants meet many people as part of the process of policy development and advice. It is not the normal practice of Government to make public details of such meetings.

Energy: Conservation

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what steps his Department plans to take to encourage use of energy-efficient circulator pumps in (a) domestic and (b) non-domestic properties. (285064)

Two energy-efficient circulator models are supported through the Government's flagship household energy efficiency policy, the Carbon Emissions Reduction Target.

Energy efficiency measures for households are also supported by a reduced rate of VAT for the professional installation of certain energy saving products, including “hot water system controls” and “central heating system controls”. Where circulator pumps fall within this description they will be eligible for the reduced rate.

Energy: Meters

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what further steps he plans to take to ensure that households with pre-payment meters are not charged more for energy than households without such meters. (286757)

[holding answer 14 July 2009]: The Government believe that differences in charges relating to the method of payment should reflect the costs of servicing that method, and should not discriminate unfairly against any group of customers. Therefore, we strongly support the regulator Ofgem’s work putting in place rules to ensure that prices paid by consumers are cost reflective.

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what recent discussions he has had with Ofcom on the communication data from smart meters. (286861)

My officials have had discussions with Ofcom officials about the roll out of smart meters in Great Britain and will continue to do so during the preparation for roll out.

Energy: Prices

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how many representations he has received on the clarity of information on energy bills and tariffs since the Ofgem Energy Supply Probe was launched in February 2008. (283276)

To provide an exact count of all items of correspondence or other communications received by Ministers in the last 17 months referring to information for energy consumers and/or tariffs could be provided only at disproportionate cost, since that information is not held centrally.

DECC believes that it is vital that consumers have access to the best possible information on bills and tariffs. The detailed provisions relating to energy bills and tariffs are a matter for the independent regulator Ofgem who has consulted widely on new measures to improve the clarity and nature of billing and tariff information available to consumers. Ofgem is currently considering consultation responses and working with consumer bodies including Which and Consumer Focus and with other organisations to develop new rules.

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change if he will discuss with energy supply companies the development of green energy tariffs designed to meet the needs of older people. (284125)

Ministers discuss with energy suppliers various measures to support renewable energy and energy efficiency. Ministers are open to representations about how best to meet the needs of different groups of consumers.

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what recent assessment he has made of trends in domestic energy prices; and if he will make a statement. (285570)

Global energy demand and wholesale prices have fallen since peaks last year. It is essential that falls in wholesale costs reach consumers. This is why we asked Ofgem to provide quarterly reports on price movements.

Ofgem's most recent report found that margins are around historic levels, and falls in costs appear to be being passed on to consumers. We expect suppliers to continue to pass on any sustained falls in wholesale costs.

EU Laws

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what estimate he has made of the cost to his Department of the statutory obligations upon it provided for in legislation introduced as a consequence of obligations arising from EU legislation in the most recent 12 months for which figures are available. (283477)

It is very difficult to provide precise figures for the proportion of UK legislation that stems from the European Union.

The administrative burdens measurement exercise carried out by the Government in 2006 put the proportion of administrative burdens stemming from the EU at approximately one-third of the total administrative burden.

The important issue is not the origins of legislation, which could of course be a devolved Administration or a local authority, as well as the Government or the EU, but the quality of the regulation. All regulations, irrespective of their origins, should comply with the principles of better regulation. Regulations should be risk based, proportionate and well designed, so as to achieve their objectives while also keeping costs to a minimum. The Government continue to work with European partners to ensure that EU regulations meet these standards.

Garages and Petrol Stations

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change (1) how many petrol stations in each parliamentary constituency in England have closed down in each of the last five years; (286571)

(2) how many petrol stations there are in each parliamentary constituency in England.

Industrial Diseases

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how many legal actions have been initiated against his Department in respect of claims for (a) vibration white finger and (b) chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in each of the last two years. (286845)

There have been 20 vibration white finger and three chronic obstructive pulmonary disease claims litigated against the Department in the last two years.

Industrial Diseases: Compensation

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how many payments in respect of claims for industrial deafness benefits were made to former mineworkers by his Department in (a) 2008 and (b) 2009. (286876)

The Department does not manage any industrial deafness benefits.

However, the following table shows the total number of personal injury claims settled by payment and the total damages awarded for Noise Induced Hearing Loss scheme (NIHL) during 2008 and 2009 as at 30 June 2009.

Total claims settled

Total damages paid (£)

2008

752

248,459

2009

395

225,814

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how many claims made by UDM-Vendside for compensation for (a) vibration white finger, (b) chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and (c) hearing loss have not been settled (i) in full and (ii) in part. (286902)

[holding answer 14 July 2009]: The number of claims made by UDM-Vendside under the vibration white finger (VWF), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) schemes and noise induced hearing loss (NIHL) that have not been settled in full and final payment and those where no interim payment has been made as at 5 July 2009 is shown in the following table.

Scheme

Total claims outstanding

Total claims—number of interim payment made

VWF

117

68

COPD

423

242

NIHL

851

852

Influenza: Contingency Planning

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how many officials in his Department at each payband are working on contingency arrangements in the energy industry for pandemic flu. (286863)

Currently there are 14 officials working in part on contingency arrangements for pandemic flu broken down as follows:

1 x SCS

1 x Grade 6

4 x Grade 7s

4 x SEOs

1 x HEO

3 x EOs.

Our response arrangements are kept under review.

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what discussions Ministers in his Department have had with (a) National Grid, (b) energy supply companies and (c) electricity generators on contingency planning for pandemic flu since 1 January 2009. (286864)

DECC officials have been working closely with National Grid, energy companies and electricity generators through the Energy Emergencies Executive Committee (E3C) on contingency arrangements for a pandemic influenza. Ministers are updated regularly and work is continuing to ensure the energy sector is well prepared should there be any impact on energy supplies. DECC Ministers have been advised by National Grid that robust contingency arrangements are in place to maintain energy supplies during a flu pandemic.

Currently, energy supplies are being delivered normally.

Along with other Government Departments, DECC Ministers and officials have also been in attendance at the weekly meetings of the Civil Contingencies Committee, held at COBR, which decides the overall Government response strategy to the pandemic.

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change whether Ministers in his Department plan to meet (a) the National Grid, (b) energy supply companies and (c) electricity generators to discuss contingency arrangements for pandemic influenza in the next three months. (286865)

Ministers meet regularly with National Grid, energy companies, and electricity generators to discuss a wide range of factors that could impact on energy supplies, including the risks to energy supplies of pandemic flu. I plan to meet shortly with National Grid and one of the issues for discussion will be contingency arrangements for pandemic flu. Regular updates on the pandemic flu outbreak are provided to the energy sector by DECC officials, and through Business Link, Directgov, Department of Health and NHS websites.