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Written Answers

Volume 502: debated on Monday 14 December 2009

Written Answers to Questions

Monday 14 December 2009

Scotland

Christmas

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many Christmas trees were purchased by his Department in each of the last five years; what the cost was of those trees in each year; from where the trees were sourced; what account was taken of the sustainability of the sources of the trees; and by what process the trees were disposed of. (305632)

The Scotland Office do not set aside a specific budget for Christmas trees and the costs are not separately identifiable. All the trees came from sustainable sources and are recycled into green compost.

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how much his Department has budgeted for Christmas trees in 2009. (306692)

Departmental Buildings

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how much his Department spent on works and refurbishment to offices allocated to Ministers in his Department's buildings in the last 12 months. (305674)

Under the terms of its building leases the Office is required to maintain its buildings to an acceptable standard of decoration and repair. The Scotland Office does not separately identify the costs of renovation and refurbishment from the routine repair and replacement of existing facilities. Over the period of the last 12 months, the expenditure on offices allocated to Ministers was £3,150.

Departmental Conferences

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland which conferences held overseas have been attended by civil servants based in his Department in the last three years; and what the cost to the public purse was of such attendance at each conference. (305857)

No civil servants in the Scotland Office have attended conferences held overseas in the last three years.

Departmental Electronic Equipment

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many plasma screen televisions his Department has purchased since 2001; and what the cost has been of purchasing and installing such screens in each such year. (306070)

Departmental Lost Property

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many (a) laptop computers, (b) desktop computers and (c) memory sticks his Department has recorded as having been (i) lost and (ii) stolen (A) in total and (B) from its offices in Scotland in each of the last 10 years. (306697)

The Scotland Office was established on 1 July 1999. Since this date one laptop used by a Scotland Office official was stolen in February 2000. The laptop did not contain any secure information. There are no recorded losses or thefts of memory sticks or desk top computers.

Departmental Sick Leave

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many days sickness absence were taken by staff in his Department in each of the last 12 months for which figures are available; and what the cost to his Department was of such absence. (305548)

All staff are on secondment from the Scottish Executive or the Ministry of Justice; who as parent Departments have absence management policies that apply to those of their staff working in this Office. We do not maintain a separate central record of sick absences. Such records are held by the parent Departments who publish their sick absence statistics.

Departmental Training

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many overseas training courses were attended by his Department's civil servants in the latest period for which figures are available; how many civil servants attended each course; and what the total cost to the public purse was of each course. (305889)

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how much his Department spent on away days in the last 12 months; and what the (a) subject and (b) location of each away day was. (306403)

The Scotland Office business planning away day in Edinburgh at a cost £2,660, was the only expenditure incurred in the last 12 months.

Departmental Written Questions

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many and what percentage of parliamentary questions tabled for written answer by his Department on a named day in session 2008-09 received a substantive answer on that day. (307545)

In session 2008-09, 32 named day parliamentary questions were tabled to the Scotland Office. 75 per cent. received a substantive answer on the named day.

Central guidance on answering parliamentary questions is now available in the 'Guide to Parliamentary Work', at:

http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/parliamentary-clerk-guide.aspx

In the response to the Procedure Committee Report on written parliamentary questions, the Government accept the Committee's recommendation that Departments be required to provide the Procedure Committee with sessional statistics in a standard format on the time taken to respond to written parliamentary questions, accompanied by an explanatory memorandum setting out any factors affecting their performance. This will be taken forward as soon as possible.

Dungavel Immigration Removal Centre

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland when he last visited Dungavel Immigration Removal Centre on official business. (305734)

I have never visited Dungavel Immigration Removal Centre on official business in my capacity as Secretary of State for Scotland.

Excise Duties: Fuels

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will discuss with the Chancellor of the Exchequer the merits of reducing the rate of fuel duty levied in rural areas of Scotland. (307123)

My right hon. Friend and I have regular discussions with HM Treasury about a range of issues affecting Scotland. Decisions on fuel duty rates are a matter for the Chancellor, who takes into account a range of factors in setting them. Reducing the rate of fuel duty levied in rural areas of Scotland would represent a departure from the principle of uniform duty rates across the UK.

Transport

Civil Servants: Allowances

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport when the business expenses incurred by senior civil servants in his Department will be published on his Department's website. (305947)

Business expenses incurred by Department for Transport senior civil servants were published on our website on 9 December 2009:

http://www.dft.gov.uk/about/howthedftworks/costs/

Additional information in the form of a departmental senior civil servant hospitality register will be published shortly, although a release date is currently to be confirmed.

Civil Servants: Pay

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what the total basic pay bill was of members of the senior civil service within his Department in (a) 2008 and (b) 2009. (305950)

The total basic pay bill for the senior civil service in the Department for Transport was £15,580,392 in 2008 and £16,686,383 in 2009.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what the mean average percentage pay increase for members of the senior civil service in his Department was in 2009. (305951)

The average percentage pay increase in 2009 for members of the senior civil service in the Department for Transport was 2.3 per cent.

Departmental Buildings

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport how much his Department spent on works and refurbishment to offices allocated to Ministers in his Department’s buildings in the last 12 months. (305679)

The Department for Transport spent £1,693.24 on works and refurbishment to Ministers’ offices over the last 12 months. There was also some expenditure on general maintenance of the plant and equipment related to the location of the Ministers’ offices but this was not separately identified from general building maintenance.

Departmental Electronic Equipment

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport how many plasma screen televisions his Department has purchased since 2001; and what the cost has been of purchasing and installing such screens in each such year. (306067)

The breakdown requested is not held centrally and to attempt to provide it now would incur disproportionate cost.

Departmental Freedom of Information

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport how many requests under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 his Department received in 2008; and how many of these received a substantive response within 20 days. (305489)

Statistics published by the Ministry of Justice on Freedom of Information in central Government for 2008 show that a total of 1,964 non-routine requests were received by the Department for Transport (based on aggregated quarterly data), 85 per cent. (1,679) received a substantive response within 20 days. 89 per cent. (1,751) of requests were dealt with ‘in time’, that is within 20 days by meeting the deadline or other permitted extension deadlines.

The statistics can be found on the Ministry of Justice website at:

http://www.justice.gov.uk/publications/freedomofinformation quarterly.htm

and copies are available in the Library of the House.

Departmental Internet

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what redesigns of websites operated by (a) his Department and (b) its agencies have taken place since 27 June 2007; and what the (i) cost to the public purse and (ii) date of completion of each such redesign was. (306158)

Tables have been placed in the Libraries of the House showing a list of websites currently operated by the Department for Transport and its agencies who have undertaken a redesign since 27 June 2007; the cost of the redesign and subsequent date of completion. Costs provided are those incurred by external suppliers and do not include internal staff costs. To provide internal staff costs would incur disproportionate costs.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what redesigns of websites operated by the Office of Rail Regulation have taken place since 27 June 2007; and what the (a) cost to the public purse and (b) date of completion of each such redesign was. (306212)

The independent Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) redesigned their intranet and website during 2007-08. The total cost for the redesign of both was £107,169, including consultancy fees, costs of external suppliers involved in the redesign and provision of specialist IT equipment to deliver the project. The updated intranet and website went live on 10 November 2008.

Departmental Mobile Phones

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport how much his Department spent on (a) purchases of and (b) bills for use of (i) Blackberrys and (ii) other mobile telephones in (A) 2008-09 and (B) 2009-10. (303103)

The information requested for the Department for Transport and its agencies is as follows:

DfT(central)1

DVLA2

HA3

DSA4

MCA5

VOSA6

VCA7

GCDA8

2008-09

Purchases and bills for Blackberrys— £32,400 and £47,300. Purchase of mobiles—£372.

Purchases and bills—£117,104 for mobiles.

Purchases were nil for Blackberrys. Bills for both were £212,035.

Purchases and bills—£45,300 for mobiles and £1,620 for Blackberrys.

Purchases £4,550 for mobiles, £96,400 for Blackberrys. Bills were £101,630 for mobiles and £32,400 for Blackberrys.

Purchases were £2,520 for Blackberrys. Combined bills were £298,000.

Purchase and bills for mobiles—£1,080 and £39,700.

Mobile purchases—£175, bills—£43,100.

2009-10 to date

Purchases and bills for Blackberrys— £25,700 and £63,900. Purchase of mobiles—£2,000.

Purchases and bills—£64,808 for mobiles.

Purchases were £8,250 for Blackberrys. Bills for both are £116,877.

Purchases and bills—£31,178 for mobiles and £835 for Blackberrys.

Purchases were £2,500 for mobiles and nil for Blackberrys. Bills were £65,000 for mobiles and £46,400 for Blackberrys.

Purchases of Blackberrys were nil. Combined bills are £167,200.

Purchase and bills for mobiles—£510 and £26,200.

Mobile purchases—£227, bills £18,790.

1 Purchase costs of mobiles only available from 1 October 2008 when purchase centralised. Mobile bills can be provided only at disproportionate cost due to decentralised accounting procedures.

2 DVLA does not currently buy Blackberrys. Separation of costs between purchases and bills can be provided only at disproportionate cost.

3 Bills figures cannot be separated between mobiles and Blackberrys. Mobile purchase costs are in bills and be separated only at disproportionate cost. 2008-09 figures only available from August to March.

4 Separation of costs between purchases and bills can be provided only at disproportionate cost.

5 Mobile figures include data only mobile costs.

6 Separation of bills between Blackberrys and mobiles can be provided only at disproportionate cost.

7 Blackberrys not used.

8 No spend on Blackberrys.

Departmental Pay

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what percentage pay increase the Chief Executive of each of his Department's agencies received in 2009. (306510)

Information on the remuneration of individual Agency Chief Executives in the Department for Transport is included in their Agency's Annual Report and Accounts. Copies of these are available in the Libraries of the House.

Departmental Public Expenditure

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport how much his Department spent in Wales in each financial year since 1997; and what major projects in Wales received funding from his Department in each of those years. (306630)

The Department for Transport publishes estimates of its Total Expenditure on Services per head by region and country in its Annual Report. These figures rest on a number of assumptions, for example about how total expenditure on strategic highways and rail should be attributed to different regions.

These figures exclude grant to local authorities, as this information is collated separately by the Department for Communities and Local Government, Department for Children, Schools and Families and Department for Work and Pensions and devolved Administrations.

The Total Expenditure on Services attributed to Wales by the Department since its formation in May 2002 is provided in the following table:

£ million

2002-03

165.8

2003-04

138.6

2004-05

172.8

2005-06

161.4

2006-07

138.4

2007-08

136.0

Further details of total expenditure on Wales can be found in Public Expenditure Statistical Analyses (PESA) published by HM Treasury.

Details of expenditure on individual major projects should be sought from the devolved Administration for Wales.

Departmental Rail Travel

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport with reference to the answer of 12 May 2009, Official Report, column 645W, on departmental rail travel, if he will place in the Library a copy of the relevant section of his Department’s staff handbook on claiming travel expenses. (305149)

The section of the Department’s Staff Handbook, and those of its agencies, relating to rail travel has been placed in the Libraries of the House.

Departmental Scientists

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport how many (a) scientific advisers and (b) civil servants in scientific posts there are in his Department. (301922)

The information requested in part (a) is two: the Department for Transport has a chief and a deputy chief scientific adviser.

The information requested in part (b) is not readily available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. However, based on the latest data from the Government Science and Engineering (GSE) Network, which is on an ‘opt in’ basis, 39 respondents from this Department indicated that they had a science background, which is either essential or useful to their post.

Departmental Security

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport how many security passes his Department has issued to contractors providing consultancy services in the last 12 months. (303955)

The Department for Transport includes seven agencies, a shared service centre and the central Department.

The information requested on departmental passes issued to contractors providing consultancy services in the last 12 months is not held centrally on the Department’s access control systems.

Some information in records held locally by security liaison officers within the Department and its Agencies could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

The Department’s access control policies are in line with the HMG Security Policy Framework Mandatory Requirements 56, 57 and 58, and provide the appropriate security standards for controlling and monitoring access to the Government Estate. This includes enabling visitors, including non-staff employed by a Department, to enter facilities and go about their business safely and in a controlled way.

Departmental Travel

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport on what date he last travelled by (a) bus and (b) taxi in the course of his official duties. (302725)

I last travelled by bus in the course of my official duties on 10 December 2009 and by taxi (a green car provided by the Government Car and Despatch Agency) on the 25 November 2009.

Hotels

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport how much the Office of Rail Regulation has spent on hotel accommodation for its officials in each of the last five years. (306043)

Spending on hotel accommodation for its officials at the independent Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) in each of the last five years is set out in the following table.

Hotel accommodation

(£)

200-/09

2007-081

2006-072

2005-06

2004-05

UK

98,885.47

106,337.53

104,522.15

3,938.80

7,794.43

Overseas

19,122.48

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

Total

118,007.95

106,337.53

104,522.15

3,938.80

7,794.43

1 Hotel accommodation spend was not split between UK and Overseas on ORR's financial ledger prior to 2008-09.

2 The merger of Her Majesty's Railway Inspectorate (HMRI) with ORR in 2006-07 explains the increase in spend between 2005-06 and 2006-07. In a typical year pre-merger HMRI spent approximately £90,000 on hotel accommodation.

Lorries: Licensing

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport for each year from 1997 to date, how many operating licences for road hauliers have been extant; and how many vehicles were registered under such licences in each year. (306959)

The figures are contained in the Traffic Commissioners’ Annual Report and are:

Licences

Vehicle

1998-99

111,119

401,165

1999-2000

110,067

397,193

2000-01

105,455

392,299

2001-02

105,218

409,836

2002-03

102,828

410,653

2003-04

102,946

407,456

2004-05

101,857

396,203

2005-06

99,889

368,200

2006-07

99,794

371,522

2007-08

98,469

381,109

2008-09

95,436

362,706

Figures for 1997-98 are not available as they were recorded in a different format.

M6: Walsall

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport pursuant to the answer of 7 December 2009, Official Report, column 37W, on the M6: Walsall, whether the Chief Executive of the Highways Agency plans to visit the managed motorway works on the M6 within Walsall borough before Christmas 2009. (306274)

The chief executive of the Highways Agency is planning to visit the site of the Managed Motorway works on the M6 at Walsall before Christmas 2009. He wrote to my hon. Friend on 10 December to advise him of a date.

Piracy

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what information his Department holds on the number of pirate attacks that have been recorded in each region of the world in each year since 2006. (305775)

The number of ships that have reported piracy incidents to the International Maritime Bureau in each of the last four years are as follows:

Number of attacks

UK registered

2006

239

3

2007

263

3

2008

293

6

2009

380

3

In areas of significant pirate activity the numbers of attacks in each of the last four years are as follows:

Number

Bangladesh

Indonesia

Malacca Straits

Nigeria

Gulf of Aden

Somalia

2006

47

50

11

12

7

10

2007

15

43

7

42

10

31

2008

12

28

2

40

92

19

2009

15

12

2

26

113

74

Public Transport: Public Expenditure

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport how much direct Government funding has been allocated to public transport schemes in (a) Merseyside, (b) Manchester and (c) West Yorkshire since 2006. (305766)

The Department for Transport (DFT) allocates integrated transport block (IT Block) funding to local transport authorities for smaller transport schemes costing less than £5 million. This funding is not ring-fenced and local authorities have discretion to spend their allocations in line with their priorities, including public transport schemes. Local transport authorities can apply for additional funding for specific major projects. The Government also provide rural bus subsidy grant which helps local authorities to support rural bus services in England.

The Department has provided the following funding for the support of public transport schemes in Merseyside, Manchester and West Yorkshire. The figures are £ millions.

(a) Merseyside

£ million

IT Block

Major schemes

Bus subsidy

Total

2008-09

34.55

0

0.14

34.69

2007-08

36.50

0

0.14

36.64

2006-07

33.02

0

0.14

33.16

(b) Manchester

£ million

IT Block

Major schemes

Bus subsidy

Total

2008-09

45.71

95.60

0.32

141.63

2007-08

46.38

40.10

0.31

86.79

2006-07

39.91

13.60

0.30

53.81

(c) West Yorkshire

£ million

IT Block

Major schemes

Bus subsidy

Total

2008-09

29.45

0.50

1.10

31.05

2007-08

27.96

0.70

1.07

29.73

2006-07

28.49

6.30

1.04

35.83

In addition, the Government subsidise bus services in England through the Department's Bus Service Operators Grant (BSOG). BSOG is paid directly to operators of local bus services and funding figures are unavailable by geographic region.

Revenue expenditure on transport is generally supported through the Department for Communities and Local Government's formula grant.

DFT funding for rail projects is not available on the basis of local authority boundaries.

Railway Stations: Repairs and Maintenance

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport (1) what assessment his Department has made of the proportion of financial support for station improvements identified for priority improvement by the Station Champions that will come from (a) local authorities, (b) industry and (c) central Government; (306280)

(2) what assessment his Department has made of the proportion of financial support for station improvements at Stockport Railway Station which will come from (a) local authorities, (b) rail industry and (c) central Government;

(3) whether station improvements on the 10 major interchange stations identified for priority improvement by the Station Champions would go ahead without financial support from local government and industry;

(4) what assessment his Department has made of the ability of (a) local authorities and (b) local industry to provide financial support for station improvements at railway stations as part of the new £50 million fund;

(5) by what date he expects to announce the amount of funding from the new £50 million fund to be distributed for station improvements at Stockport railway station.

The Department for Transport has agreed with Network Rail that they will make up to £50 million available in the near future to tackle improvements at the 10 key stations, including Stockport, identified in the Station Champions’ report as being in most need of improvement.

We are challenging the industry and local government to raise part of the money required for each of these stations themselves to help us maximise the impact of the £50 million. At this stage it is not possible to anticipate the proportion of funding that will come from Network Rail, industry and local government either at Stockport or at any of the other priority stations. However, we are expecting third party funding to be a key feature of those schemes that are taken forward. We realise that seeking additional funding in the current economic climate may be difficult, but this is crucial in maximising the benefit of the schemes.

We are keen for improvements at these stations to begin as soon as possible, and anticipate that the £50 million will be used as part of a rolling programme before 2014. Announcements will be made as improvement packages at individual stations are agreed.

Railways

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport for what reason the target of 25 new light rail schemes by 2010 was abandoned; and how many such schemes he is now progressing. (305617)

[holding answer 10 December 2009]: The 10 Year Plan published in July 2000 set out indicative figures for the number of light rail schemes that might be delivered by 2010. This was neither a target nor a commitment for the Government.

Since 2000 the following schemes have been completed in England:

Scheme name

Date of opening

Croydon Tramlink

May 2000

Manchester Metrolink—Extension to Eccles

July 2000

Tyne and Wear Metro Extension to Sunderland

March 2002

Nottingham Express Transit Line 1

March 2004

Docklands Light Railway—Extension to London City airport

December 2005

Docklands Light Railway—Extension to Woolwich Arsenal

January 2009

In addition, we have granted final funding approval to extend the Manchester Metrolink to Oldham, Rochdale and Chorlton and a scheme to refurbish the Blackpool and Fleetwood tram system. These schemes are currently under construction.

We also announced in July 2009, Conditional Approval for two extensions for the Nottingham Express Transit which are currently in procurement.

The Department is currently considering further proposals to extend the Manchester Metrolink system to East Didsbury and Ashton; an extension of Midland Metro Line One in Birmingham to the city centre and a proposal to fund a capital renewal programme on the Tyne and Wear Metro system.

Road Traffic Control

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what assessment his Department has made of the effect on traffic volume of the introduction of speed bumps in residential roads of less than 200 metres in length. (306015)

The Department for Transport has commissioned various research projects into the effectiveness of road humps. These considered the effect on traffic flow but did not include the length of the road as a factor. While results for the different types of hump varied, the research found an average flow reduction of 20 per cent. can be expected through the traffic calmed area after the installation of road humps.

Roads: Accidents

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport (1) how many accidents involving vehicles in the other motor vehicle category have been recorded by his Department in each of the last five years; (306491)

(2) pursuant to the answer of 26 November 2009, Official Report, column 264W, on “Invalid Vehicles: Accidents”, which types of vehicle his Department includes in the other motor vehicle category.

The number of reported personal injury road accidents involving vehicles in the “other motor vehicles” category in each of the last five years is shown in the table:

Reported personal injury road accidents involving 'other motor vehicles': Great Britain, 2004-08

Number

2004

3,788

2005

2,078

2006

1,970

2007

2,971

2008

3,238

Other motor vehicles are types of motor vehicle that do not fall into any of the main categories recorded by the police. Examples include ambulances, fire engines, motor caravans, motorised wheel chairs and quad bikes. Details of what vehicles are included in the main categories, together with further examples of other motor vehicles, can be found on pages 44 and 45 of the ‘Instructions for the Completion of Road Accident Reports’, which is on the Department's website at the following link:

http://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/statistics/datatablespublications/accidents/casualtiesgbar/s20instructionsforthecom5094.pdf

Roads: Construction

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport how many new (a) bypasses and (b) major local road schemes he plans to construct by 2015. (305619)

[holding answer 10 December 2009]: 62 bypasses (on both the strategic highway and local road network) and 39 local major road schemes (costing over £5 million) have been completed since 2000. A further four bypass and 14 local major road schemes are currently under construction in England.

Regions in England have allocated funding within their Regional Funding Allocations programme for approximately 14 bypasses and 57 local major road schemes to be taken forward to construction by 2015.

A scheme's inclusion within the Regional Funding Allocation programme does not necessarily mean the funding has been approved. Schemes will only proceed once they have successfully completed the Department's funding approval processes and secured any necessary legal powers.

Speed Limits: Cameras

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport how many speed cameras were deployed in each local authority area in Wales in each year since 1997; and how much revenue there was from fines in each area in each such year. (306631)

The Department for Transport only holds information about the number of speed camera sites operating within the National Safety Camera Programme which started in 2001 and ended on 31 March 2007. Separate information for each local authority in Wales is not held. The number of camera sites operating each year in Wales from 2001 to 2007 is outlined in Table 1. Details of fine revenue collected is outlined in Table 2.

Table 1: Fixed and mobile speed camera sites in Wales by partnership area and year

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

Mid and South Wales

74

266

327

353

354

355

355

North Wales

27

28

66

72

73

73

73

Table 2: Speed and red light revenue from fixed penalty notices paid in Wales by financial year and partnership area

£

2000-01

2001-02

2002-03

2003-04

2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

Mid and South Wales

126,117

1,876,260

7,264,560

7,281,180

6,553,440

6,060,840

5,881,860

North Wales

648,780

2,609,040

3,374,820

3,029,700

3,962,280

3,323,940

1 This figure refers to the number of fixed penalty tickets issued and paid. From 1 April to 31 October 2000 the fixed penalty was £40.00, this was increased to £60.00 on 1 November 2000.

Transport: Planning

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport if he will make it his policy to ensure that any planning application for a major transport matter will continue to be subject to the public inquiry system that has hitherto operated until such time as the relevant national planning statement has been agreed by Parliament. (306875)

The Government intend that the Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC) established under the Planning Act 2008 will deal with applications for nationally significant transport projects, as defined by that Act, with effect from 1 March 2010, with the aim of delivering decisions in a more timely, efficient and predictable way. As part of the process of examining such applications, the IPC will consider evidence from interested parties and will where it considers appropriate hold open hearings at which oral evidence can be given. Until the relevant National Policy Statement has been designated, the final decisions on such applications will be taken by the relevant Secretary of State, on the basis of the IPC’s recommendation.

Underground Railways: Tyne and Wear

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport whether his agreement is required before the Tyne and Wear Metro concession is awarded. (306515)

Nexus, the Tyne and Wear Passenger Transport Executive, as the procuring authority, do not require the agreement of the Secretary of State to award a contract for the concession for the operation of the Tyne and Wear Metro. Nexus are, however, seeking the Department's commitment to provide funding support towards the operating costs of the Metro before they award such a contract.

Olympics

Departmental Public Relations

To ask the Minister for the Olympics what payments the Olympic Delivery Authority has made to Mandate/AS Biss in the last 12 months; for what purpose; and if she will place in the Library a copy of the contract under which such payments have been made. (305107)

The Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) has a programme of active engagement across central, regional, devolved, and local government.

To assist this process it has used the services of Mandate Communications, jointly with the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG), to provide research, administrative and event management support. This contract was competitively tendered. Over the last 12 months the ODA spend with Mandate was £51,634.82 excluding VAT.

It is not possible to provide a copy of the contract as it is a joint contract with LOCOG, which is a private company.

To ask the Minister for the Olympics with reference to the answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Welwyn Hatfield of 3 February 2009, Official Report, column 976W, on departmental public relations, which public relations consultancy was hired; for what purpose; and what consideration was given to undertaking the activity using Government press officers. (305168)

Fleishman-Hillard Group Limited were procured to provide a consultancy service, which included research and communications advice.

Government Press Officers were not considered for this role as the service required did not involve media work and was therefore outside press officers expertise.

Olympic Games 2012

To ask the Minister for the Olympics who is responsible for the planning of sports events in the Olympic Park after the London 2012 Olympics. (305791)

The Olympic Park Legacy Company is responsible for developing and implementing plans for the use and regeneration of the Olympic Park site after the Games. This work will include planning for sporting events in the Park in the post-games period.

Olympic Games 2012: River Thames

To ask the Minister for the Olympics if she will make an assessment of the economic effects on businesses of the closure of sections of the River Thames for the duration of the rowing events at the London 2012 Olympic Games. (303925)

No decision has been made to close any section of the River Thames for the duration of the rowing events at Dorney Lake, Windsor during either the Olympic Games or the Paralympic Games in 2012.

The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) is responsible for staging the event and is keen to keep the river open. Should it become necessary to close any part of the river, all interested parties will be consulted and economic effects evaluated.

Wales

Chief Information Officer

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales on what pay band his Department's chief information officer (CIO) is employed; whether the CIO is employed on a fixed-term or permanent contract; and what the size is of the budget for which the CIO is responsible in the period 2009-10. (307556)

As the Wales Office obtains its IT services through the Ministry of Justice, my Department does not have a chief information officer.

Christmas

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many Christmas trees were purchased by his Department in each of the last five years; what the cost was of those trees in each year; from where the trees were sourced; what account was taken of the sustainability of the sources of the trees; and by what process the trees were disposed of. (305636)

My Department has purchased two Christmas trees each year since December 2007, prior to this we were gifted two trees each year from Wales Forestry Commission.

In 2007-08 and 2008-09 we purchased Christmas trees through the Ministry of Justice, from a sustainable source, at a cost of £120 and £210 respectively.

In December this year we purchased our trees from a sustainable source in South Wales for £300.

Since 2006-07 all trees have been disposed of through our recycling contract.

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how much his Department has budgeted for Christmas trees in 2009. (306690)

As a small Department with only two offices we do not budget separately for Christmas trees. Their expenditure is included with the general office supplies.

Departmental Buildings

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how much his Department spent on works and refurbishment to offices allocated to Ministers in his Department’s buildings in the last 12 months. (305673)

Departmental Conferences

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales which conferences held overseas have been attended by civil servants based in his Department in the last three years; and what the cost to the public purse was of such attendance at each conference. (305856)

In the last three years, civil servants in my Department have only attended one overseas ministerial conference, for e-Inclusion, in November 2008. The cost to the public purse was £275.90.

Departmental Electronic Equipment

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many plasma screen televisions his Department has purchased since 2001; and what the cost has been of purchasing and installing such screens in each such year. (306071)

Departmental Internet

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what redesigns of websites operated by (a) his Department and (b) its agencies have taken place since 27 June 2007; and what the (i) cost to the public purse and (ii) date of completion of each such redesign was. (306167)

Departmental Official Hospitality

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how much his Department spent on (a) alcohol and (b) entertainment in the last 12 months. (305529)

In the past 12 months my Department has spent £308.86 on alcohol and £1,851 on entertainment. The costs for the alcohol and the majority of the entertainment were for hosting two ministerial receptions. The additional entertainment expenditure was for hosting a tea party for Latch, a Welsh children’s cancer charity.

Departmental Publicity

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how much his Department has spent on (a) Ministerial photoshoots and (b) production of videos in which Ministers appear in the last three years for which figures are available. (305526)

In the last three years my Department has spent the following on:

(a) Ministerial photo shoots:

2006-07—£0

2007-08—£1,133.88

2008-09—£546.25

(b) Production of videos in which Ministers appear:

£0

Departmental Training

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how much his Department has spent on away days in the last 12 months; and what the (a) subject and (b) location of each away day was. (306407)

In the last 12 months my Department has spent £597 on an away day for policy branch to plan for the year ahead. The away day was held in Cardiff.

Hotels

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how much his Department spent on hotel accommodation for (a) Ministers, (b) special advisers and (c) civil servants in each of the last five years. (305654)

The Wales Office does not keep records in this form, and the information could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Out of Area Treatment

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many patients resident in England have received medical (a) treatment and (b) consultation in Wales in each year since 1997. (306513)

The following figures represent the published total number of all non-Welsh residents admitted for treatment in Welsh trusts for the periods 1999-2000 to 2008-09 but exclude out-patients. Reliable data prior to 1999 are not available. It is not currently possible to provide information on non-Welsh residents treated as out-patients at Welsh trusts. In the time available it has not proved possible to separate out the number of English residents treated as in-patients at Welsh Trusts but I will write to the hon. Member with this information as soon it is available and a copy of the letter will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

Period

Number of patients

1999-2000

9,890

2000-01

9,829

2001-02

10,689

2002-03

10,491

2003-04

10,539

2004-05

10,340

2005-06

12,671

2006-07

12,671

2007-08

12,537

2008-09

11,468

The information is drawn from tables available at

http://www.infoandstats.wales.nhs.uk/home.cfm?orgid=869

Due to a change in the procedures for recording the information figures from 2005 onwards include day-case patients that may have been excluded from statistics in earlier years.

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Birds: East of England

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will publish the report commissioned from the Farm and Wildlife Advisory Group by Natural England into the effect of the proposal to re-introduce sea eagles to East Anglia. (306017)

There are no plans to publish the Suffolk Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group (FWAG) report in isolation, but the proposed management package will be made publicly available, as part of the consultation that will be undertaken before any decision to proceed with the reintroduction is made. The consultation is planned to occur before March 2010. Although the development of the management options is not yet complete, Natural England will make available a copy of the, as yet unfinished, FWAG report to interested parties on request, and I will ensure the hon. Member receives a copy.

Commission for Rural Communities: Public Relations

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what public relations companies the Commission for Rural Communities has hired in the last three years; at what cost; for what purposes; and if he will place in the Library a copy of the contract between the Commission and each such company. (305296)

The following figures set out the Commission for Rural Communities’ (CRC) spend on public relations companies over the last three years, 1 April 2007 to 31 October 2009.

Total (£)

2007-08

1,697.58

2008-09

45,935.65

2009-10

26,938.44

Grand total

74,571.67

CRC has contracted with the following bodies:

Pam Beddard PR (south west)

Navigator PR (north east, north west and Yorkshire and the Humber)

Kendalls (east of England)

Aura PR (east Midlands)

Rhian French Communications (south east)

Danks Cockburn Public Relations (west Midlands)

The increase in 2008-09 was largely due to the preparation and publication during that year of the CRC’s “State of the Countryside” report. The CRC has used public relations companies to support activities relating to the gathering of evidence and the launching and dissemination of reports, research and guidance, particularly at a regional level.

Due to commercial sensitivity and constraints CRC will not be placing copies of the contracts in the Library.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what public affairs companies the Commission for Rural Communities has engaged in the last three years; at what cost and for what purposes; and if he will place in the Library a copy of the contracts under which such payments were made. (305753)

The Commission for Rural Communities (CRC) contracted one public affairs company, Connect Public Affairs, to provide events management and communications support in respect of the CRC’s activities at the 2007 and 2008 party conferences. The cost was as follows:

Total (£)

2007-08

11,889.88

2008-09

25,329.83

2009-10

0

Grand total

37,219.71

Due to commercial sensitivity and constraints CRC will not be placing these contracts in the Library.

Common Land: Property Development

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what changes he plans to propose to guidelines on town and village greens to prevent their application to land which already has planning permission for development. (305743)

DEFRA recently received the final report of research into the registration of new town or village greens: “Study of registered town and village greens and the attitudes towards applications”. A summary of the research, together with the final report, is available on the DEFRA website.

The findings of the research, as well as feedback from local authorities and others, lead me to conclude that there is sufficient evidence to justify a review of the existing system, with a view to exploring possible changes. Therefore, DEFRA plans to consult in spring 2010 on whether there is a need for reform of the registration system, and the options for reform that exist.

Departmental ICT

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the rules of his Department and its agencies are on the use of work computers for personal communication. (306705)

Personal computers, email and other DEFRA IT facilities are provided primarily for work related purposes. A reasonable level of personal use of the work email account is permitted providing that:

the sending or receipt of personal email messages does not interfere with work commitments;

the email messages do not constitute any misuse of email, e.g. downloading or forwarding chain mail, or material of a pornographic, sexist, racist or derogatory nature;

staff do not use the departmental email system for any kind of private business or to raise money for themselves or anyone else. To use email in connection with fund-raising activities for a recognised charity, staff must first consult about the propriety aspects;

the email messages could not adversely affect DEFRA's reputation.

DEFRA agencies have similar rules in place for the use of work computers for personal communication.

Departmental Pay

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much was claimed in reimbursable expenses by press officers in his Department in each of the last three financial years. (303770)

During the 2009-10 financial year (from April to November 2009), £11,703.61 was claimed in reimbursable expenses by press officers within the Department. This figure includes all cash reimbursed expenses and those claimed on corporate credit cards for travel and subsistence. It would incur disproportionate cost to identify other minor expenses on corporate credit cards.

We are unable to provide figures for 2006-08 due to disproportionate costs.

Departmental Public Relations

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what payments the National Forest has made to Cavendish Communications and Cavendish Public Affairs in the last 12 months; for what purposes; and if he will place in the Library a copy of the contract under which such payments were made. (305426)

In the last 12 months the National Forest Company has made payments amounting to £16,997.80 to Cavendish Place Communications for advice on communication with cross-parliamentary audiences, necessary for the delivery of the National Forest Delivery Plan 2009-14. There is no contract in place with Cavendish Public Affairs.

Due to commercial sensitivity and constraints, the National Forest Company will not be placing copies of contracts in the Library.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what payments the Waste and Resources Action Programme has made to Fishburn Hedges in the last 12 months; for what purpose; and if he will place in the Library a copy of the contract under which such payments were made. (305427)

Following a competitive tender, the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) contracted Fishburn Hedges to develop and deliver communications support across five separate areas of work. This has included three highly successful nationwide consumer campaigns:

Recycle Now, which has delivered a step change in recycling by UK households resulting in more than two thirds of households recycling as a way of life.

Love Food Hate Waste, which has highlighted the problem of food waste and helped cut around 160,000 tonnes of food waste, and saved consumers more than £400 million a year, preventing 725,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases being emitted.

Home Composting Campaign, which has contributed to selling over two million compost bins in England and Scotland which are estimated to divert over 260,000 tonnes of organic waste each year.

In addition, Fishburn Hedges provided support to pilot campaigns in 12 local authority areas to encourage the recycling of small waste electrical products, funded by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, as well as helping a WRAP programme promoting recycling to schools and their pupils.

All the communications material generated for these campaigns is made freely available to local authorities, allowing them to reduce their costs.

WRAP also used Fishburn Hedges to advise on how to raise awareness among senior local authority officers and elected members of the support on waste prevention and recycling services it offers.

In the last 12 months (from 9 December 2008 to 8 December 2009) Fishburn Hedges was paid a total of £959,000 for this work.

Fishburn Hedges was contracted by WRAP. The terms of the contract are subject to commercial confidentiality.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what payments British Waterways has made to (a) Four Communications, (b) Cavendish Communications and (c) Atherton Associates in the last 12 months; for what purposes; and if he will place in the Library a copy of each contract under which such payments were made. (305436)

British Waterways has advised that payments made in the 12 months since 1 November 2008 (excluding VAT) to Four Communications, Cavendish Place Communications and Atherton Associates are as follows:

(a) Four Communications—£39,805.53 for public affairs support for British Waterways London. The contract was not renewed.

(b) Cavendish Place Communication—£61,627.57 for public affairs support. This is a rolling contract.

(c) Atherton Associates—None.

Due to commercial sensitivity and constraints, British Waterways will not be placing copies of contracts in the Library.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what payments the Commission for Rural Communities has made to Connect Public Affairs in the last 12 months; for what purposes; and if he will place in the Library a copy of the contract under which such payments were made. (305437)

DEFRA sponsors the Commission for Rural Communities (CRC)—a non-departmental public body which acts as an independent rural adviser, advocate and watchdog, with a particular focus on social disadvantage and economic underperformance. The CRC is tasked to advise and challenge the Government and delivery bodies at all levels to improve performance and embed best practice. The functions of the CRC are specified in the Natural Environment and Rural Communities (NERC) Act 2006.

During the last 12 months, the CRC has paid Connect Public Affairs £25,329.83 for events management and communications support relating to the CRC’s activities in raising awareness of the needs of rural people, in line with the NERC Act, at all three major 2008 party conferences. The CRC adhered to Cabinet Office “NDPBs: Attendance at Party Conferences” guidance in relation to these events. No contracts have been entered into and no payments made during the current financial year.

Due to commercial sensitivity and constraints, I am unable to place a copy of the contract between the CRC and Connect Public Affairs in the Library.

Flood Control

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what decisions have been made on amending emergency regulations to increase the minimum amount of water to be provided in an emergency in accordance with recommendation 40 of the Pitt Report. (305072)

Sir Michael Pitt's report on learning the lessons from the 2007 floods included the recommendation that DEFRA should amend emergency regulations to increase the minimum amount of water to be provided in an emergency, in order to reflect reasonable needs during a longer-term loss of mains supply.

The Government's response, published on 17 December, supported changes in response to this, and supported all Sir Michael's recommendations.

Discussions have taken place with the water sector, the Drinking Water Inspectorate, the Health Protection Agency, the Consumer Council for Water, Ofwat and the Welsh Assembly Government. We expect to provide updated guidance to water companies on the minimum amount of water to be provided in an emergency before the new year.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent estimate he has made of the number of homes at risk of (a) coastal and (b) inland flooding in each region. (305228)

The following table shows the number of homes at risk of river and tidal flooding in each Environment Agency region.

Residential

EA Water Management region

Tidal

River

Both

Total

Anglian

179

109

9

297

Midlands

22

175

5

201

North East

148

111

5

264

North West

41

127

2

169

South West

50

64

27

140

Southern

113

38

5

156

Thames

299

187

5

492

Wales

54

81

24

158

Total

906

892

81

1,879

Note: Figures are shown in thousands of properties.

The Environment Agency's ‘Flooding in England’ report published in June 2009 estimated that, in addition to the above, a further 2.8 million homes and businesses in England are at risk of surface water flooding. This was an estimate to assess the scale of the risk and was not broken down by region.

Fly Tipping: Bexley

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of the number of incidents of fly-tipping in the London Borough of Bexley in each of the last three years. (306896)

The number of incidents of fly-tipping cleared by local authorities is reported each year to DEFRA's Flycapture database and published on DEFRA's website.

The number of incidents of fly-tipping on public land reported as having been dealt with by the London borough of Bexley in each of the last three years is shown in the following table. There is currently no estimate of the number of fly-tipping incidents occurring on private land as these are the responsibility of the landowner to clear.

Total number of incidents

2008-09

1,185

2007-08

1,086

2006-07

581

Food Supply

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much funding his Department allocated to research on food sustainability in each year since 2001; and how much such funding it has allocated in 2009 to date. (302477)

Between 2001 and 2009, DEFRA has invested in a wide range of research activities associated with food sustainability (including animal health and welfare). Total spend (in millions) allocated since 2001 is shown in the following table. The table also shows the funding of related food and farming R and D by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council where figures are available.

£ million

DEFRA R and D spend on food sustainability1

BBSRC funding for related food and farming R and D

2001-02

82

2002-03

81

132

2003-04

75

129

2004-05

79

138

2005-06

78

150

2006-07

74

171

2007-08

70

185

2008-09

65

189

2009-10 (provisional)

65

Total of main sponsors for farming and food

669

1,094

1 These figures are taken from the DEFRA Science Information System database.

Forests: Disease Control

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent steps he has taken to reduce the spread of pests and diseases of woodland trees. (305626)

[holding answer 10 December 2009]: The Forestry Commission, through its Forest Research Agency, is carrying out research into a number of pests and diseases of trees including, more recently, increased investigation into Acute Oak Decline. It is also continuing collaborative research into a better understanding of the diseases caused by Phytophthora ramorum and P. kernoviae as part of the five-year programme announced by my right hon. Friend the Member for Liverpool, Wavertree (Jane Kennedy) on 3 March 2009.

The Forestry Commission has also recently set up a Biosecurity Programme Board with representation from key partners in the forest industry sector. The board will advise the Forestry Commissioners on how best to deliver a programme of protecting trees and woodlands against pests and diseases. This will be set out in a new Plant Health Strategy the Commission is helping to develop which it intends to publish in 2010.

Hydrofluorocarbons

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent assessment he has made of the amount of hydrofluorocarbon emissions which would be saved by (a) reducing the use of hydrofluorocarbons through reducing leakage and improving energy efficiency and (b) the introduction of a widespread ban; and if he will make a statement. (305884)

The impact assessment (IA) for the Fluorinated Greenhouse Gases Regulations 2009 published in February, considered the impacts of the action taken to regulate hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) through the EC F Gas Regulation and 10 associated Commission Regulations. The principal objective of these measures is to contain, prevent and thereby reduce emissions of HFCs. The IA considered both the “direct” savings relating to reductions in HFC emissions and also the “indirect” savings resulting from reduced energy consumption. A copy of the IA is available on the DEFRA website at:

www.defra.gov.uk/environment/quality/air/fgas/documents/impact-assessment.pdf

The introduction of a widespread ban on HFC use would lead to significant global reductions in HFC emissions that would otherwise not occur. However, the timing and scale of reductions would depend on how such a ban was implemented.

Hydrofluorocarbons: Government Departments

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent assessment he has made of progress by departments in reducing the use of hydrofluorocarbons on their estate; and if he will make a statement. (305882)

The Government's view is that the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) with high global warming potential is not sustainable in the long term. The Government's “Buy Sustainable: Quick Wins” procurement standards state that HFCs should only be used where other safe, technically feasible, cost-effective and more environmentally acceptable alternatives do not exist. All central Government Departments are required to comply with these procurement standards. Support for delivery and compliance with “Quick Wins” by central Government Departments is overseen by the Centre of Expertise in Sustainable Procurement in the Office of Government Commerce.

Data are not collected centrally on HFC use or emissions but the Government are currently reviewing the targets for the sustainable operations on the Government estate, and are considering expanding the scope of the climate change targets to include the six key greenhouse gases, including HFCs, in departmental carbon budget allocations for estate and operations from 2012 onwards.

Metals: Waste Disposal

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will bring forward proposals to extend the end of waste criteria for the purposes of including recycled metal. (306334)

The point at which scrap metal is recycled and ceases to be waste has been set by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in cases C-444/00 (Mayer Parry) and C-457/02 (Niselli). The practical effect of these judgments is that scrap metal does not cease to be waste until it is reprocessed into products such as ingots, sheets or coils of steel. It is not legally feasible for DEFRA to adopt criteria which purport to set the end-of-waste point for scrap metal at a point earlier than that set by the ECJ. However, the European Commission has announced its intention to bring forward EU-wide end-of-waste criteria for ferrous, aluminium and copper scrap metal using the powers available to the Commission under article 6 of the revised Waste Framework Directive (2008/98/EC). UK officials have participated in the working groups established by the Commission to develop the technical aspects of proposals for ferrous and aluminium scrap.

Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will list all guidance issued to Natural England under section 16 of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006, giving the date when each was published. (306016)

Section 16 of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006 gives the Secretary of State power to give directions to Natural England. No directions have been issued to Natural England under this section of the Act.

Organic Farming

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much has been paid to farmers migrants under the Organic Farming Scheme since 2003. (304589)

We do not hold information as to whether any payments made under the organic farming scheme were made to migrant farmers.

Origin Marking: Israel

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs for what reason guidance to retailers on the voluntary labelling of products from Israeli settlements in the West Bank no longer appears on his Department’s website. (304732)

The earlier guidance on labelling goods from the West Bank was felt to be in need of revision because it did not offer assistance in the specific matter of distinguishing those goods which were of Israeli settlement origin from those which were from Palestinian producers. As I explained in the debate on 2 December 2009, Official Report, column 106WH, the Government hope to be able to make an announcement shortly on this matter.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs with reference to the contribution of the Minister of State of 2 December 2009, Official Report, column 106WH, if he will make it his policy to include in the guidance on the voluntary labelling of produce imported from Golan the description “Made in Occupied Syrian Land”. (305253)

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs tabled a written ministerial statement on 10 December 2009 concerning technical advice on the labelling of produce from the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs). That advice has been issued in response to consumer and retailer concern about a lack of clarity on whether such produce comes from Israeli settlements or Palestinian producers. The situation in Israeli occupied Golan is quite different: we are not aware that there is such confusion between different producers, and we have not received representations from consumers or retailers. Therefore, the Government have not addressed the issue of produce imported from the Israeli occupied Golan in the technical advice to which I have referred.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what progress his Department has made on developing guidance on the labelling of food products sold in England which are produced in Israeli settlements in the West Bank; and if he will make a statement. (305714)

[holding answer 10 December 2009]: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs tabled a written ministerial statement on 10 December 2009 concerning technical advice on the labelling of produce from the occupied Palestinian territories. That advice has been issued in response to consumer and retailer concern about a lack of clarity on whether such produce comes from Israeli settlements or Palestinian producers.

Rural Development Programme

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much was spent by Natural England on administering the Regional Development Programme for England (RDPE) on behalf of his Department in the last 12 months; and whether any of the costs within Natural England’s Annual report are attributable to the RDPE. (306018)

Natural England was allocated £13,600,000 in 2008-09 to cover its direct costs associated with delivering the Rural Development Programme for England under the common agricultural policy. In addition to this, £22,400,000 was allocated to Natural England to cover the costs of DEFRA’s Genesis IT system which is the IT system to manage and administer the Rural Development Programme for England. This running cost includes depreciation, cost of capital and third party support.

These costs are all given in Natural England’s annual report.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much matched funding and other Treasury funding has been committed to the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE); and what the (a) consequences to date and (b) estimated consequences are of the change in the exchange rate of the euro to sterling on (i) amount of sterling to be funded from UK sources and (ii) the total amounts available for each Axis 1, 2 and 3 of the RDPE. (306019)

The total planned budget for the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) 2007-13, as announced on 29 March 2007, is £3.9 billion.

A higher than planned euro value has contributed to an underspend of the European budget allocated to the programme to date. Under EU regulations, unspent European budget may be rolled forward to be spent in later years and therefore remains as part of the total programme budget. For the remainder of the programme we plan to take advantage of the higher sterling value of the EU budget to contribute to savings in the Exchequer funded element. This will contribute to achieving the saving of £92 million in 2012-13 announced in the pre-Budget report1 to be delivered from efficiencies in Environmental Protection and RDPE. This saving can be achieved within the total of £3.9 billion planned for the programme.

1 http://prebudget.treasury.gov.uk/about_pbr.htm

(paragraph 6.45)

Scientists

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on how many occasions he has met (a) the Government chief scientific adviser and (b) his Department’s chief scientific adviser in the course of his official duties in the last 12 months. (303961)

[holding answer 7 December 2009]: The Secretary of State has had no formal meeting with the Government’s chief scientific adviser in the past 12 months, but has had the opportunity to meet him at various committees and events they have both attended. The Secretary of State meets DEFRA’s chief scientific adviser regularly.

Waste and Resources Action Programme: Public Relations

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs with reference to the answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Meriden (Mrs. Spelman) of 13 July 2009, Official Report, column 15W, on Waste and Resources Action Programme, if he will undertake an investigation into the appropriateness of the Waste and Resources Action Programme hiring Chelgate public affairs to lobby hon. Members and noble Lords. (305831)

Chelgate was contracted by WRAP for a period of six months to organise a series of meetings with parliamentarians from all three major parties, where WRAP explained its role and functions. No lobbying took place at any time.

Waste Disposal: EU Law

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what representations he has received on the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2009; for what reasons he does not plan to review the regulations before 2013; and if he will make a statement. (305010)

We received extensive responses to two public consultations on the review of exemptions, the second being on the draft Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) (Amendment) (No.2) Regulations 2009, which is due to come into force on 6 April 2010 but will not, subject to transitional provisions, be fully implemented until October 2013.

We are committed to introducing a system to regularly review and amend exempt waste operations in the future. We have suggested that the first review should be conducted in 2013, to coincide with the end of the transitional period for existing operations to have re-registered or applied for an environmental permit.

This will provide the opportunity to draw on operational experience to assess how well the revised exemptions are working. However, DEFRA would consider specific amendments to the exemptions if it becomes necessary to do so.

We are currently consulting publicly on draft Government guidance to accompany the Regulations. Chapter 14 of the draft guidance sets out proposed criteria and considerations for future reviews.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what methodology his Department used to estimate the costs for policy option three as referred to in the Explanatory Memorandum to the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2009. (305011)

An explanation of the methodology used to estimate the costs for policy option three is provided in chapters six and seven of the impact assessment which accompanies the Explanatory Memorandum to the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2009.

These chapters explain the risk based approach adopted during the development of the revised exemptions and give an overview of the types of administrative and direct costs incurred under each option.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of the number of metals recycling businesses which will experience a net financial (a) benefit and (b) cost as a result of implementation of the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2009. (305012)

Based on the available information, we believe that around half of the metal recycling operations (c460) operating under the current chargeable paragraph 45 exemption from environmental permitting would continue to do so if the proposed tonnages applied.

Under the revised regime those operations which remain exempt or could register for an exemption for the first time would no longer be subject to either the initial registration fee (currently £724) or annual re-renewal fee of £272. The remainder will incur additional costs associated with applying for an environmental permit which are likely to exceed the current registration fee.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when he plans to issue guidance on individual exemptions that arise as a result of the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2009. (305013)

DEFRA is currently consulting on guidance to accompany the amendments being made by the 2009 regulations and is expecting to publish a final version in early 2010.

Water: EU Law

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what proportion of rivers he expects to meet the criteria for the classification of good ecological status under the European water framework directive by 2015. (306883)

The proportion of rivers expected to meet the criteria for the classification of good ecological status under the European water framework directive in England by 2015 is 29 per cent. This is as a result of measures implemented through the first set of River Basin Management Plans, to be published this month.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps his Department is taking to ensure that it meets the requirements of the European water framework directive by the deadlines set in the implementation timetable for that directive. (306884)

To date, we have met all the requirements of the European water framework directive as set out in the implementation timetable. The next key deadline is the publication of the River Basin Management Plans which we intend to publish on or before 22 December 2009, as required by the directive.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether the final river basin management plans will include mechanisms relating to diffuse pollution. (306885)

There are a number of mechanisms within the river basin management plans relating to diffuse pollution from agricultural sources, and non-agricultural sources. Non-agricultural sources can include run-off from transport, on-street activities such as car washing, industrial estates, forestry and leisure industries and discharges from contaminated land and disused mines. Examples of the mechanisms include the England Catchment Sensitive Farming Delivery Initiative which provides advice to reduce diffuse water pollution from agriculture and the pesticides statutory code of practice.

There are also a significant number of investigations contained within the plans which will enable a greater understanding of the sources and causes of diffuse pollution and will provide the evidence base to require further action.

In addition we will continue to demonstrate our commitment and bring forward significant work including Water Protection Zones, sustainable drainage systems, and deal with misconnections into the surface water sewer network.

Full details of mechanisms for diffuse pollution will be published on the Environment Agency's website at:

www.environment-agency.gov.uk

on 22 December 2009, in Annex F “Mechanisms for action”.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many rivers he expects to be subject to a reduction of abstraction pressure during the first round of implementation of river basin management plans. (306886)

During the first round of river basin management plans, action will be taken at 26 sites which will protect habitats directive sites.

Through developing the river basin management plans we have identified areas where we need to undertake further investigations to increase our certainty on the causal links between abstraction pressure and the achievement of ecological status. The Environment Agency will investigate approximately 300 sites where the abstraction pressure is greatest to improve its understanding, and where appropriate propose further action to tackle the problems during the first cycle.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether he plans to produce implementation plans under the EU Water Framework Directive for steps to be taken at local level in respect of that Directive. (306887)

The Environment Agency is the competent authority in respect of the water framework directive, and it has the responsibility for engagement and developing plans at the local level.

In some places there will be added value from adopting more detailed catchment plans to help deliver River Basin Management Plan objectives during the planning cycles and it supports the pilot project on the River Kennett to produce an implementation plan.

The Environment Agency will share the knowledge gained through this pilot with other River Basin Liaison Panels, to help identify other catchments that could benefit from a similar approach.

Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland Legal Services Commission: Public Relations

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what payments the Northern Ireland Legal Services Commission has made to Grayling Political Strategy in the last 12 months; for what purposes such payments were made; and if he will place in the Library a copy of the contract under which such payments were made. (305251)

I have been asked to reply.

The Northern Ireland Legal Services Commission has not made any payments to Grayling Political Strategy in the last three years.

Administration of Justice

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what recent progress has been made on devolution of responsibility for criminal justice and policing in Northern Ireland; and if he will make a statement. (306277)

Progress continues to be made towards the devolution of policing and justice. A financial package has been agreed and a Bill establishing the new Department of Justice has completed its Assembly passage. In addition the First and deputy First Ministers have written to Assembly members as part of a process to identify the new Justice Minister.

Bloody Sunday Tribunal of Inquiry: Expenditure

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland with reference to the answer of 12 November 2009, Official Report, columns 902-04W, on the Bloody Sunday Tribunal of Inquiry, under what budget headings the expenditure was incurred in each year. (306638)

The following table breaks down the yearly expenditure of the Bloody Sunday Inquiry on the basis of cash spend incurred by the Northern Ireland Office. The costs are divided into six broad categories:

legal costs, which include payments to counsel, inquiry solicitors, and all legal costs for witnesses and family representatives;

tribunal salaries and expenses, including judges' salaries and travel and accommodation costs, as well as allowances for the judges;

accommodation, which includes rent and rates for all inquiry offices and venues including costs to facilitate hearings in London;

IT, which includes cost of IT equipment and computers, consultants, and management of inquiry IT systems;

staffing, which includes salaries of all staff (both temporary and permanent), and travel and accommodation costs for staff;

administration costs, which include the running costs of the inquiry offices, cost of arrangements for publishing the report, payments to experts, and other general administration costs.

Type of cost

Expenditure (£) (NIO funding)

2009-10 (to end of September 2009)

Legal costs

388,106

Tribunal salaries and expenses

138,067

Accommodation

137,570

IT

188,832

Staffing

237,255

Administration costs

148,029

Total for 2009-10

1,237,859

2008-09

Legal costs

1,177,297

Tribunal salaries and expenses

657,125

Accommodation

1,259,280

IT

878,219

Staffing

533,869

Administration costs

361,248

Total for 2008-09

4,867,038

2007-08

Legal costs

1,714,001

Tribunal salaries and expenses

700,106

Accommodation

989,113

IT

819,702

Staffing

520,735

Administration costs

310,337

Total for 2067-08

5,053,994

2006-07

Legal costs

6,013,519

Tribunal salaries and expenses

709,638

Accommodation

998,562

IT

845,834

Staffing

478,390

Administration costs

472,921

Total for 2006-07

9,518,864

2005-06

Legal costs

3,108,239

Tribunal salaries and expenses

719,661

Accommodation

1,364,792

IT

910,273

Staffing

714,833

Administration costs

344,168

Total for 2005-06

7,161,966

2004-05

Legal costs

7,722,725

Tribunal salaries and expenses

744,526

Accommodation

1,673,794

IT

2,561,218

Staffing

1,008,623

Administration costs

662,504

Total for 2004-05

14,373,390

In addition to costs incurred by the Northern Ireland Office, the Ministry of Defence has also incurred £3.4 million since January 2005 primarily in relation to legal representation.

The total cost of the Bloody Sunday Inquiry to the end of September 2009 is £188.7 million, comprising £153.2 million incurred by the Northern Ireland Office and £35.6 million incurred by the Ministry of Defence.

Chief Inspector of Criminal Justice for Northern Ireland: Stratagem

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what payments the Criminal Justice Inspection has made to Stratagem in the last 12 months; for what purposes; and if he will place in the Library a copy of the contract under which such payments were made. (305423)

This is an operational matter for the Criminal Justice Inspection Northern Ireland, which operates independently of Government. I would encourage the hon. Member to write to Dr. Michael Maguire, the Chief Inspector of Criminal Justice Inspection Northern Ireland.

Crimes of Violence

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many violent crimes were committed against taxi drivers in Northern Ireland in each of the last two years. (305005)

That is an operational matter for the Chief Constable. I have asked him to reply directly to the hon. Member, and a copy of his letter will be placed in the Library of the House.

Departmental Freedom of Information

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many requests under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 his Department received in 2008; and how many of these received a substantive response within 20 days. (305491)

The following table provides details of the number of requests received by the Northern Ireland Office in 2008 and the number of requests which received a substantive response within 20 working days.

2008

Number

Requests received

179

Requests which received a substantive response within 20 working days

132

Note:

A further 26 requests were answered within permitted extensions to the 20 day deadline under the Freedom of Information Act; specifically, where the deadline for response was extended to allow consideration of the balance of the public interest test.

The Ministry of Justice (MOJ) has committed to publishing quarterly and annual updates in relation to departmental performance under FOI, including information on both the volume and outcome of requests. The annual statistics for 2008 can be found in the Libraries of both Houses and on the MOJ website at:

http://www.justice.gov.uk/publications/freedomofinformationquarterly.htm

Departmental Internet

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what redesigns of websites operated by (a) his Department and (b) its agencies have taken place since 27 June 2007; and what the (i) cost to the public purse and (ii) date of completion of each such redesign was. (306166)

The following table shows the cost and date for redesigns of websites since June 2007.

Website

(i) Cost (£)

(ii) Date

Organised Crime Task Force

6,825

November 2009

Youth Justice Agency

4,802.81

November 2007

Forensic Science NI

6,187.50

October 2009

Departmental Telephone Services

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many telephone lines with the prefix (a) 0870, (b) 0845 and (c) 0800 his Department (i) operates and (ii) sponsors; how many calls were received to each number in the last 12 months; and whether alternative numbers charged at the BT local rate are available in each case. (305215)

The requested information is set out in the following table. It is applicable to the Northern Ireland Office (NIO) core Department only.

Operate or sponsor

Call received to number in the last 12 months

Alternative number charged at the BT local rate available

Telephone lines with prefix 0870

Telephone lines with prefix 0845

Phoneline for Perpetrators of Domestic Violence 0845 1228608

National Phoneline is sponsored by Home Office for service for England and Wales. NIO sponsors service for NI callers

31 calls received from NI residents (during period 1 October 2008 to 30 September 2009 i.e. period for which stats are available)

No

Mentally Disordered Victim Information Scheme 0845 6025488

NIO

Less than 10 call per year

No

Telephone lines with prefix 0800

24 Hour Domestic Violence Helpline 0800 9171414

NIO sponsors in partnership with DHSSPS and NIHE

30,054 calls (during period 1 October 2008 to 30 September 2009 i.e. period for which stats are available)

No

Departmental Written Questions

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many questions tabled for answer on a named day his Department received in each of the last 12 months; and to how many such questions his Department provided a substantive answer on the day named. (305381)

Out of the 115 named day questions received for 2009 to date (as at 4 December), the Northern Ireland Office has answered 89 questions substantively on the day named. This equates to 77 per cent. The following table provides a breakdown per month.

Total received

Answered substantively

January

30

21

February

4

3

March

13

13

April

7

7

May

5

3

June

13

8

July

18

15

August

September

2

2

October

10

9

November

12

7

December

1

1

Total

115

89

Central guidance on answering parliamentary questions is now available in the “Guide to Parliamentary Work” at:

http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/parliamentary-clerk-guide.aspx

In the response to the Procedure Committee report on written parliamentary questions, the Government accepted the Committee’s recommendation that Departments be required to provide the Procedure Committee with sessional statistics in a standard format on the time taken to respond to written parliamentary questions, accompanied by an explanatory memorandum setting out any factors affecting their performance. This will be taken forward as soon as possible.

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many and what percentage of parliamentary questions tabled for written answer by his Department on a named day in session 2008-09 received a substantive answer on that day. (307549)

Out of the 122 named day questions received for 2008-09 to date (as at 4 December), the Northern Ireland Office has answered 94 questions substantively on the day named. This equates to 77 per cent. The following table provides a breakdown per month.

Total received

Answered substantively

2008

December

11

9

2009

January

30

21

February

4

3

March

13

13

April

7

7

May

5

3

June

13

8

July

18

15

August

September

2

2

October

10

9

November

9

4

Total

122

94

Central guidance on answering parliamentary questions is now available in the “Guide to Parliamentary Work”, at:

http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/parliamentary-clerk-guide.aspx

In the response to the Procedure Committee Report on written parliamentary questions, the Government accepted the Committee's recommendation that Departments be required to provide the Procedure Committee with sessional statistics in a standard format on the time taken to respond to written parliamentary questions, accompanied by an explanatory memorandum setting out any factors affecting their performance. This will be taken forward as soon as possible.

Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People: Public Relations

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what payments the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People has made to Chambré Public Affairs in the last 12 months; for what purpose; and if he will place in the Library a copy of the contract under which such payments have been made. (305158)

The sponsorship of the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People is a matter for the devolved Administration.

Security Forces Collusion With Loyalist Terrorists Enquiry: Stress

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether a member of the Stevens Inquiry team has been awarded a payment in respect of a work-related stress condition while working in Northern Ireland. (305481)

That is an operational matter for the Chief Constable, since Sir John Stevens’ investigation was funded by the Police Service for Northern Ireland. I have asked the Chief Constable to reply directly to the hon. Member, and a copy of his letter will be placed in the Library of the House.

Young People: Driving Offences

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many school pupils in Northern Ireland were convicted of (a) a motoring offence that resulted in a fatality and (b) careless driving in each of the last two years. (305016)

The information is not available in the format requested as it is not possible to determine from conviction data the number of offenders convicted of motoring offences causing death and offences related to careless driving, who were school pupils. It is only possible to give the number of persons aged 18 and under (at date of offence), of whom school pupils may be a subset, convicted for these offences. Figures for these are documented in the following table.

Data cover the calendar years 2005 and 2006 (the latest year for which figures are available) and are collated on the principal offence rule; so only the most serious offence with which an offender is charged is included.

Number aged 18 and under1 convicted of motoring offences causing death and careless driving/driving without due care and attention 2005-06

Motoring offences causing death

Careless driving/driving without due care and attention2, 3, 4

2005

1

130

2006

2

144

1 Based on the age at date of offence.

2 2005 figure includes three convictions for the offence ‘driving without reasonable consideration for others’ and one for ‘causing grievous bodily injury’ by driving carelessly with excess alcohol’.

3 2006 figure includes one conviction for the offence ‘driving without reasonable consideration for others’.

4 Excludes careless driving offences causing death and dangerous driving offences.

House of Commons Commission

Departmental Public Relations

To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission whether the House of Commons Commission has engaged any (a) public relations firms and (b) consultancies in the last 12 months. (305173)

There have been no additional engagements since my answer on 3 February 2009, Official Report, column 1102W.

Speaker's Adviser

To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission with reference to the answer of 15 October 2009, Official Report, columns 1039-40W, on the Speaker, for how many days Mr. Speaker's special adviser has worked since his appointment. (305839)

Culture, Media and Sport

Arts Council England: Administration

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how much Arts Council England has spent on administration costs in the last 12 months; and if he will make a statement. (306829)

Information on Arts Council England's administration costs is published in their annual accounts for 2008-09. These are the most recently available data.

Arts Council England: Conditions of Employment

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport pursuant to the answer of 30 November 2009, Official Report, column 374W, on Arts Council England: reorganisation, how much will be spent on (a) early retirement, (b) redundancy payments and (c) increases in pay for staff as part of the restructuring; and if he will make a statement. (306523)

This is a matter for Arts Council England, which operates independently of Government.

I have therefore asked Arts Council England’s chief executive to consider the question raised by the Member for West Bromwich, East and write to him direct.

Copies of the reply will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what recent discussions he has had with Arts Council England on (a) the final severance and (b) pension arrangements for outgoing senior employees of the organisation. (306687)

Final severance and pension arrangements are operational matters for Arts Council England. I have had no such discussions.