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Written Answers

Volume 684: debated on Friday 14 July 2006

Written Answers

Friday 14 July 2006

Afghanistan: Helmand Province

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How many United Kingdom soldiers and personnel are now deployed or employed in the Helmand province of Afghanistan; and how many of these are directly engaged in reconstruction and development, as distinct from security and defence.[HL6705]

Currently, there are around 3,600 UK military personnel in the south of Afghanistan, in addition to civilian staff from a range of other government departments (OGDs) and from other nations. As I announced to the House on 10 July 2006, the Helmand Task Force is to expand to some 4,500 personnel, including around 320 engineers who will engage specifically in reconstruction work. The primary role of UK forces deployed in Helmand will remain to support the Afghan security forces in creating a secure environment that enables others, including the Afghan Government, the United Nations, OGDs and non-governmental organisations, to engage in reconstruction and development work.

Age Concern

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What consideration they have given to the report from Age Concern, Promoting Mental Health and Well-being in Later Life; and whether they will take any action as a result of its conclusions and recommendations.[HL6830]

The Government welcome the publication of the report of Age Concern and the Mental Health Foundation's jointly sponsored Promoting Mental Health and Well-being in Later Life. The inquiry has been instrumental in raising awareness and creating better understanding of mental health promotion in later life.

The Department of Health has been working with Age Concern and the Mental Health Foundationto give prominence and profile to this importantissue. Key themes that emerged from the inquiry’s findings are described in the mental health promotion chapter in Everybody's Business, the department’s new service development guide for older people’s mental health services, which outlines the elements of a comprehensive older people’s mental health service.

Armed Forces: Allowances

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Which targeted allowances for the Armed Forces are expected to generate savings with the introduction of the joint personnel administration system so that the changes are broadly cost neutral.[HL6804]

As part of the introduction of joint personnel administration (JPA) a number of new allowances have been introduced and some old allowances have had their policy changed. Both of these actions have, in some instances, generated savings to offset increased provision in other areas and so ensure that the overall allowance package is broadly cost neutral. The new/revised allowances which may produce savings include:

Female Clothing Grants

Civilian Clothing Grants (Hot Posts)

Compensation for Lost and Damaged Effects

Local Overseas Allowance

Get You Home (Overseas)

Get You Home (Islands)

Northern Ireland Journeys

Northern Ireland Resident's Supplement

Recruitment and Retention Allowance (London)

Disturbance Allowance

Removal Expenses

Separation Allowances

Get You Home (Early Years)

Get You Home (Seagoers)

Subsistence Allowances

Missed Meal Payments

Special Messing Allowance

Northern Ireland Compensatory Food Allowance

Home to Duty Travel (Public) and (Private)

It should be noted that some of the above allowances will be affected by other policy changes which will increase the costs of the allowance package; hence in some instances the net result may be an increase.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether the new harmonised Armed Forces allowances are broadly cost neutral for each individual service.[HL6805]

The harmonised Armed Forces allowances package is broadly cost neutral. However, in the short term across all three services there will be individuals who receive additional financial benefit and those who receive less; indeed, there may well be individuals who see an immediate increase in one allowance that they receive and a reduction in another. The financial effect on individual service personnel depends entirely on what allowances they are eligible to claim at any point in their service career. This is clearly dependent upon their particular circumstances at that time.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What process of consultation with members of the Armed Forces was undertaken before the introduction of the new harmonised allowances; and what surveys are planned to test the success of the new schemes and the new joint personnel administration system.[HL6806]

The new harmonised allowances were introduced with the full involvement and agreement of the single service principal personnel officers, and their allowances policy staff.

The extent of administrative savings delivered by the joint personnel administration (JPA) system will be continually assessed through the key performance targets for pay and other services delivered by the Armed Forces Personnel Administration Agency.The JPA project will also be subject to a formal post-project evaluation.

Armed Forces: Personal Load Carriage Equipment

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What assessment they have made of the operational effectiveness of the personal load carrying equipment issued to British soldiers; and what plans they have to replace or upgrade it.[HL6818]

The operational effectiveness of the personal load carriage equipment (PLCE) issued to the UK Armed Forces is continually assessed as new equipments are added or integrated into the existing system. Future requirements forland forces are currently being assessed as part of project PECOC (personal equipment and common operational clothing).

Armed Forces: Procurement

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How many sections or units of the proposed new merged organisation to cover all military procurement and supplies will be sited in areasof high unemployment or in the north of England.[HL6796]

The organisation of a merged Defence Procurement Agency and Defence Logistics Organisation, proposed in the Enabling Acquisition Change review, will be subject to further detailed work during the implementation planning phase over the coming months. Given the investment already made in the creation of an acquisition hub in the Bristol/Bath area, including the recently announced collocation of DLO and DPA staffs, this location is likely to remain the centre of gravity for the Ministry of Defence acquisition.

Armed Forces: Unused Buildings

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How many acres of the guarded compound containing the Defence Logistics Organisation headquarters at Andover, Hampshire, are occupied by abandoned and boarded-up buildings; how long these buildings have been unused and unoccupied; what plans for the development of these areashave been made; and when they will be implemented.[HL6797]

Approximately 14 acres of land at the Defence Logistics Organisation site at Andover, Hampshire, are unused and segregated from the main site. The majority of buildings within that area have been unoccupied since 1997, although a few remained in use until 2002. These buildings are maintained in a weatherproof state. There are plans to redevelop some 3.5 acres of the area by 2009 in connection with the proposed relocation of the new land forces headquarters to Andover. At present, there are no plans to develop the remainder of the unused area.

British Citizenship

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Under what circumstances a consular officer at a British post abroad can refuse to accept an application for British nationality.[HL6900]

Consular sections in posts overseas act only as a “forwarding post box” for applications for British nationality that are processed by the Home Office. The application is refused only if the application form has not been completed in full or the correct fee has not been paid.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Why there is no system to track British nationality applications made at British consular posts abroad and forwarded to the Home Office for processing; and whether there is a procedure for British consular posts abroad to make inquiries on the status of an outstanding British nationality application made at that post.[HL6901]

There is no obligation for British posts overseas to check the status of nationality applications that are processed by the Home Office. However, if the applicant requests an update, there is a dedicated email address where our consular staff overseas can obtain this information from the Home Office. There is also a dedicated caseworker in the Home Office where members of the nationality section in the Consular Directorate in London can direct inquiries. Applicants themselves are also able to contact the Home Office nationality directorate inquiry line themselves for any updates.

Children: Use of Restraint

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether medically trained personnel are involved when oxygen is used in the course of restraint of children in secure training centres; and, if so, what level of medical training those personnel have.[HL6432]

If for any reason it is necessary to administer oxygen to a trainee, it is done only by a qualified nurse. However, oxygen is never used in the course of restraint of children.


asked Her Majesty's Government:

In what way the isolation of northern Cyprus has been reduced since Turkish Cypriots voted in favour of the Annan plan for a settlement in Cyprus; and what steps the European Union has taken to reduce this isolation.[HL6752]

In recognition of their support for reunification in the 2004 referenda, EU Foreign Ministers agreed to lift the isolation of the Turkish Cypriots. Since then, the EU has agreed €139 million of financial aid to bring them closer to the EU in pursuit of a settlement. Financial aid is only a first step and we are supporting the Commission and the presidency in their attempts to find a mechanism for the Turkish Cypriots to trade directly with the EU.

We also welcome the opening of new crossing points on the green line and amendments to the green line regulation that better facilitate trade between the two sides.

Democratic Republic of Congo: Election

asked Her Majesty's Government:

In the light of funding provided by the Department for International Development for the presidential election in the Democratic Republic of Congo, what is their assessment of the current state of the pre-election preparations.[HL6864]

Organising the elections in the DRC is a difficult task in a country the size of Western Europe and with few roads or other transport infrastructure. Despite the immense technical and logistical challenges, the plans of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), supported by the UN and international community, are on track, and we are confident that the IEC will be ready to administer presidential and parliamentary elections on 30 July. The final electoral list will be published this week. With assistance from the international community, the IEC is training staff for over 40,000 polling stations; and printing and deploying ballot papers across the country.

DfID, working with the South African police service, is supporting the Congolese police to prepare for providing a safe environment for voting. Essential communications equipment will be fully deployed and police trained in its use. Knowledge of the elections remains limited in many areas. We are also supporting a national multi-faith coalition to deliver civic and voter education to help address this but lack of knowledge about the electoral process will be an issue on polling day.

Presidential candidates and parliamentary candidates, started campaigning on 29 June. DRC's media authority is overseeing the organisation of radio and TV debates. The UK, in concert with other international partners is closely monitoring the campaign and has called for the authorities to respect the freedoms of all candidates.

Observers are crucial to giving the people of DRC confidence in the electoral process. DfID is supporting up to 50,000 national observers, and observers from the Carter Center. The UK will participate in the 300-plus EU observer mission, and an observer mission from the Electoral Institute of Southern Africa. Further missions are expected from the African Union and SADC.

The UK is the largest bilateral donor to the elections in DRC, providing £25 million for the elections process and elections security. The Government are also heavily engaged politically in supporting preparations for credible, fair elections in DRC.

Equal Opportunities Commission

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Why they have reduced the budget of the Equal Opportunities Commission.[HL6792]

All government departments are under financial pressure and this has resulted in some non-departmental public bodies facing a reduced funding allocation. However the Equal Opportunities Commission baseline budget allocation of just over £8 million (£8,005,000) for 2006-07 has not been reduced. Additional funding of £1 million has been promised, of which £500,000 is ring fenced for gender equality duty.

Last year 2005-06 the Department of Trade and Industry provided additional funding of £1.75 million to cover specific one-off items including genderduty, transition to the Commission for Equalityand Human Rights and a new general formal investigation.

EU: Alternative Medicine

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What is the current status of, and what outcome they anticipate on, European Union legislative proposals which concern (a) food supplements;(b) herbal medicines; and (c) any other area of alternative medicine.[HL6798]

The Food Supplements Directive was agreed in July 2002 and has applied in full since 1 August 2005. The directive includes provisions for setting maximum levels of vitamins and minerals in food supplements, and the European Commission has indicated that it will publish proposals for these within two years for discussion with member states.

There are no current proposals from the European Commission for legislation specifically relating to herbal medicinal products or other areas of complementary or alternative medicine.

Extradition: Shackling

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they will make representations to the Government of the United States regarding the possible use of shackling or leg irons by the United States authorities on British nationals extradited to the United States who have not been convicted of any crime.[HL6823]

Rule 33 of the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, adopted by the United Nations in 1955, although not legally binding, states that instruments of restraint, such as shackles and leg irons, shall not be applied as a punishment. However, the standard minimum rules do recognise that restraints may and will be used in certain circumstances, including precaution against escape during transfer. The Government will therefore not make representations on this issue but will continue to monitor closely the welfare of all British detainees in the USA.


asked Her Majesty's Government:

What is the total number of eggs obtained from patients since the enactment of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990; how many have been used for research; and how many have been used for fertility treatments; and [HL6785]

What data are collected about hyperstimulation syndrome, and other adverse clinical effects, when eggs are collected at fertility centres for research purposes.[HL6786]

Most of the information requested is not routinely collected by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) or the Department of Health because the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990 and the remit of the HFEA extends only to research involving the use of human embryos.

The HFEA does hold data on egg collections from 1 August 1991 to 31 March 2004. This indicates that the total number of eggs collected from patients was 3,080,812. For data collected between 1 August 1991 and 31 March 1999 this related to eggs collected solely for treatment purposes. From 1 August 1991 to 31 March 2004, 2,806,764 eggs were mixed with sperm for treatment purposes.

From 1 April 1999 to 31 March 2004, 393 eggs were donated to research.

Food: Imports

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether the powers of the Food Standards Agency to check imported meats for individual purchase are equally applicable to meat for the catering trade and meat for processed food products.[HL6782]

We have been advised by the Food Standards Agency that all foods of animal origin, including meat imported to the United Kingdom from outside the European Union, are subject to harmonised EU import controls at designated border inspection posts by local authorities. These include documentary and identity checks and a prescribed proportion are subject to physical checks. These powers are equally applicable whether the meat is destined for retail trade, the catering trade or for processed food products.

In addition to controls at the point of entry, imported food may be subject to further checks throughout the food chain and subject to the same controls as food produced in the UK.

Health Bill: Clause 2(2)

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they will enforce the provisions of Clause 2(2) of the Health Bill, if enacted, in domestic premises used by two or more sex workers as both their home and their place of work; and which members of the public might attend for the purpose of seeking services. [HL6663]

Smoke-free requirements for private accommodation where work also takes place will be set out in regulations to be made under powers contained within the Health Bill.

Draft regulations to be made under the powers in Part 1 of Chapter 1 of the Health Bill will be published for public consultation shortly.

Iraq: Military Casualties

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Drayson on 26 June (WA 127) on military casualties in Iraq, whether they will publish the figures referred to in the Official Report.[HL6771]

The figures referred to in the Official Report are published onthe Ministry of Defence website and are updatedon a monthly basis. They can be found at I am placing a copy of the latest figures in the Library of the House.

Israel and Palestine

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they have made an assessment of the likely impact of the recent kidnapping of anIsraeli soldier and Israel’s retaliatory measures on the prospects for early recognition of Israel by the Hamas Government; and what steps they are taking to revive these prospects through the European Union's representation in the quartet.[HL6812]

We remain deeply concerned by the recent events in Gaza and call for the immediate and unconditional release of Corporal Shalit. We also urge Israel to act with restraint and in accordance with international law.

We continue to call upon Hamas to commit to the quartet’s (EU, US, UN and Russia) three principles: to renounce violence, recognise Israel and accept previous agreements and obligations. Hamas needs to start implementing these principles. We are ready to take the peace process forward with it if it does.

We have made no assessment on Hamas’ likelihood of recognising Israel since the abduction of the Israeli soldier.

Israel and Palestine: Gaza

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What representations they have made to the Government of Israel concerning the kidnapping of a civilian doctor and his brother from a house in Gaza, the day before the Palestinian attack on a Israeli army position when Gilad Shalit was abducted.[HL6775]

We remain deeply concerned by the current situation in Gaza. My right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary raised her concerns with Israeli Foreign Minister Livni and Palestinian President Abbas on6 July. We have made no representations about this particular incident.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they will seek an urgent meeting with the Government of Israel to discuss the recent attacks on civilians in Gaza.[HL6814]

My right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary called Israeli Foreign Minister Livni and Palestinian President Abbas on 6 July to raise her concerns about the recent situation in Gaza. Senior Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials met with the Israeli Ambassador on 4 July. Our ambassador in Tel Aviv has also remained in close contact with the Israeli Government to raise our concerns.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they will make representations to the Government of Israel about the destruction of civic facilities such as power stations and university buildings in the Gaza strip.[HL6816]

My right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary raised her concerns about the current situation in Gaza with Israeli Foreign Minister Livni and Palestinian President Abbas on6 July. On 29 June, our defence attaché in Tel Aviv raised our concerns about the worsening situation in Gaza, in particular about the loss of power and water supplies with the Israel Defence Force. We have made no specific representations about the university.

Middle East

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What effect their action and the action by United Nations partners to promote a just peace in the Middle East will have on radicalisation of members of ethnic minority communities.[HL6811]

The situation in Israel and the Occupied Territories is a source of genuine concern and sometimes anger for many, including British Muslims. As my right honourable friend the Prime Minister has said, there is no higher priority for the international community than progress towards peace and a viable two-state solution. But we must all do more to address the global ideology that seeks to exploit such issues as a justification for extremism and terrorism. Upholding and promoting the core values of tolerance and democratic freedoms should be our response to the tyrannical ideas expounded by extremists.

NHS: Audiology

asked Her Majesty's Government:

When they will publish the action plan to reduce waiting times for audiology services referred to in Tackling Hospital Waiting: The 18 week patient pathway; and [HL6682]

Whether they will monitor the possible re-routing of direct access audiology referrals to ear, nose and throat consultants by general practitioners anxious to expedite their patients’ treatment; and [HL6683]

Given that referrals are subject to waiting time targets for assessments but not for the fitting of digital hearing aids, how they will ensure that audiology services do not prioritise appointments for assessment over appointments for fitting aids.[HL6684]

The Department of Health is continuing its work with stakeholders to develop a national action plan for adult hearing services and we aim to announce the publication of the action plan in the near future.

The department estimates that 80 per cent of referrals to adult hearing services from general practitioners are direct to audiology departments. We acknowledge the risk that there may be pressure to redirect these existing direct referrals to ear, nose and throat consultants in secondary care, as this way patients would be covered by the 18-week target. The measures that are being taken to address this risk are detailed on page 31 of the publication The 18 Week Patient Pathway: Delivery Resource Pack, which is available in the Library and on the department’s website at:

Referrals for the assessment and fitting for digital hearing aids are not subject to waiting times targets. We acknowledge that there are likely to be pressures in waiting times for audiology services, which is why we are in the process of developing the action plan. The department will be working with stakeholders to look at how best to support the National Health Service to do this.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they will issue commissioning guidance to ensure that existing levels of investment in adult audiology services are maintained while primary care trusts await the separate action plan promised by the Department of Health.[HL6839]

There is, and has been, much background work undertaken to support the agreement of a national action plan for adult hearing services, and we hope to announce details about how it will be taken forward in the near future.

The action plan will need to be scoped and developed with a range of stakeholders and may include information for commissioners. Service commissioners have a responsibility for commissioning services that promote their local population’s health and well-being, including those with hearing impairments.

Nuclear Energy: Magnox

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What is the proposed disposal route for Magnox fuel can splitter fins presently stored in vaults at the Magnox sites; and what transport methods are proposed.[HL6841]

Magnesium oxide fuel element debris (FED), created when uranium fuel was separated from the Magnox cans in order to ship the uranium to Sellafield for reprocessing, is stored in bunkers and vaults at some Magnox sites.

For all sites other than Dungeness A in Kent, the current disposal route is to recover the material, place it into specially designed steel containers, encapsulate it in a grout/cement matrix and store the containers in engineered stores on each site until a long-term waste management facility becomes available.

At Dungeness A the FED is being recovered and the soluble magnesium oxide dissolved with carbonic acid and discharged from the site via an Environment Agency authorised discharge route. Radioactivity is retained in sludges in the processing unit, and ion exchange resins and abatement filters in the discharge line. These are disposed of along with other sludges, resins and filters that are present on the site, by encapsulation and storage until a long-term waste management facility becomes available.

Any transportation of encapsulated waste—including FED—would have to satisfy the relevant transportation regulations and requirements.

Police and Justice Bill: Clause 12

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How the powers to be conferred upon police constables by Clause 12 of the Police and Justice Bill will improve their ability to detect and prosecute theft of passengers’ baggage and theft from items of passengers’ baggage by those employed at airports; and what is their estimate of the extra number of offences each year that will be prosecuted as a result.[HL6739]

Clause 12 of the Police and Justice Bill—“Information gathering powers: extension to domestic flights”—amends Section 32 of the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006 to enable the police to gain advance bulk access to passenger, crew and service information on air and sea journeys within the United Kingdom for certain purposes. The new power will enable the police to gain effective intelligence on the movement of known terrorist suspects and criminals and will allow them to build up a detailed picture of suspect passengers, travel patterns and networks. Improved intelligence will result in more targeted interventions and reduce the likelihood of innocent travellers being stopped. It is not intended to help the police to detect and prosecute the theft of passengers’ baggage at airports, which is more appropriate to Clause 10. Clause 10 introduces a new power for police to stop and search any person at an aerodrome, amending Part III of the Aviation Security Act 1982, to enable a police constable to stop and search, without warrant, any person, vehicle or aircraft in any area of an aerodrome where he has reasonable grounds to suspect that criminal activity has, or is about to, take place. The aim of this new power is to reduce opportunities for criminal activity at airports and, in turn, simultaneously to reduce opportunities for organised crime and terrorist activity. As such, it will extend to crimes involving the theft of and from passengers’ baggage although at this stage we have no reliable estimates of the number of prosecutions that may result.

Prisoners: Early Release

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What measures are in place to detain those found guilty of serious violent offences who become eligible for early release, but show no sign of remorse for their previous actions.[HL6424]

The Criminal Justice Act 2003 created new public protection sentences aimed specifically at sexual and violent offenders, including the sentence of imprisonment for public protection, which is an indeterminate sentence. These sentences ensure that dangerous sexual and violent offenders are subject to assessment by the Parole Board before release, and in the case of serious offences if the risk is not reduced to a safe level, they may never be released.

The offender’s attitude to his or her offending, including any expression of remorse, will form part of the Parole Board assessment.

Prisons: Sexual Health Services

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What resources are being made available to ensure primary care trusts are providing an adequate sexual health service to prisoners; and [HL6712]

Whether all women’s prisons offer cervical cancer screening and contraceptive advice to women prisoners.[HL6711]

Primary care trusts (PCTs) now have commissioning and clinical governance responsibility for the health services provided within publicly managed prisons. Prisons and PCTs work together through managed co-ordination to ensure that the quality of healthcare delivered within prisons is comparable to that provided by the NationalHealth Service for the wider community. Resource allocations are underpinned by prison health needs assessments.

Sexual health is recognised to be an important healthcare need and therefore resources are allocated accordingly and to match the need within prisons. This process will include women’s contraception and cervical cancer screening, although information on which prisons provide these services is not held centrally.

Royal Travel

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Which members of the Royal Family are in receipt of royal travel grant-in-aid.[HL6734]

The grant-in-aid for royal travel may be used to pay for all official air and rail travel by members of the Royal Family. Official travel is, broadly, that undertaken for state, representational, or other royal duties, including journeys by the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh and the Prince of Wales between residences and travel when required for safety or security reasons.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Which individual journeys undertaken by those in receipt of royal travel grant-in-aid costbetween £2,500 and £10,000 during the year 2005-06.[HL6735]

Three hundred and seventy-seven journeys costing less than £10,000 were undertaken during 2005-06.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What plans they have to review the Memorandum of Understanding between the Keeper of the Privy Purse and the Secretary of State for Transport on royal travel grant-in-aid; and whether the need for greater use of sustainable transport will be included.[HL6736]

Finalisation of the review of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Royal Household and the Department for Transport was deferred pending publication of Sir Peter Gershon's independent report into the provision of air travel for the Royal Family and government Ministers. This was to allow the revision to take account of any implications for royal travel. Sir Peter’s report was published on 29 June. The department and the household will now take forward work to complete revision of the memorandum.

The original memorandum did not include any reference to sustainable transport. The department and the household will consider whether the revised memorandum should establish new criteria on sustainable transport. A copy of the revised memorandum will be placed in the Library of the House.

Sudan: Darfur

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they intend to raise with the Governments of China, Chad, Libya and Eritrea the findings of the recent United Nations report, The Supply of Small Arms, about the continuing sale of arms to the Darfur region of Sudan.[HL6787]

There is a UN arms embargo on Darfur and an EU arms embargo on the whole of Sudan. The UK scrupulously follows both of these. There is evidence, including in the recent report prepared by the UN Panel of Experts for Sudan, that the arms embargo is being breached by all sides involved in the Darfur conflict and by others in the region.

We are aware of reports that Chinese weapons have been found in Darfur. We are actively encouraging China and other states to support work towards an arms trade treaty which would end the irresponsible trade in conventional arms.

We have had no recent discussions on arms with Chad, Libya and Eritrea. However, we continue to discuss with all the states of the region how to promote lasting peace and stability in Darfur.


asked Her Majesty's Government:

During each of the past five years, how many terrorist attacks have been successfully averted by the police and other security personnel.[HL6863]

It is our policy not to comment on the details of specific operations as these are operational matters for the police and the Security Service.

Water Supply: Consumption

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How much water in total and per occupant in cubic metres was consumed in the headquarters of the Department for Communities and Local Government since its creation; and previously in the headquarters of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister in each year since its creation.[HL6569]

The Department for Communities and Local Government was created on 5 May 2006 and no water consumption data have yet been collated for the headquarters buildings. Data are available only for the water consumption within the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's headquarters buildings of Eland House and Ashdown House (Victoria). Consumption between May 2002 and31 March 2005 was as follows.


Consumption (cubic metres/annum)

Consumption (cubic metres/person/annum)













Note: Consumption per head is based on an estimate of the average number of people in occupation during the period and makes no allowance for visitors.

Specific water target in the Framework for Sustainable Development on the Government Estate was that departments should reduce water consumption in office buildings to an average of:

7.7 cubic metres person per year by 31 March 2004; and

7 cubic metres per person per year for all new buildings/major refurbishments after 2002.

Departments have submitted data against the framework water targets in annual sustainable development in government reports. The lastreport published by the Sustainable Development Commission in December 2005, covering the reporting period 2004-05, is available at The data reported for ODPM cover all ODPM’s buildings, including those of its executive agencies and of the government offices.

Departments have submitted data for SDIG reports, including total volume of water used across the whole of their estate, as well as annual staff numbers and full-time contractors. From these data departments have calculated an average.

New targets have been set for the government estate—they were announced on 12 June; the targets include water consumption.