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Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many (a) PFI and (b) PPP contracts have been agreed by her Department over the last five years; how many have been satisfactorily completed; and in how many has compensation been (i) paid and (ii) claimed for performance failure. 
Mr. Morley: I replied to my hon. Friend by letter on 6 August 2001, and placed a copy of my letter in the Library.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many PFI transactions have been overseen by her Department in each of the last 10 years; what her estimate is of the cost savings made in each of these transactions in comparison with the public sector alternative; what are the outstanding payments to be made in relation to these transactions for each of the next 15 years; and if she will make a statement. 
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Mr. Morley [holding answer 20 July 2001]: The Department has signed contracts for four PFI projects in the last 10 years. Each contract is still on-going.
The estimated total cost savings are:
|Broadland Flood Alleviation Scheme||5,40020,000|
|Pevensey Bay Sea Defences||1,900|
|Brooklands Avenue Cambridge||2,700|
|Countryside Agency's SPIRIT (IT Services)||1,300|
In addition to the above projects, the Department oversaw in the last 10 years eight waste management PFI projects where Local Authorities were the main contractors. Information on these projects is not held centrally and can be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
Details of individual payouts to contractors under PFI contracts are usually regarded as commercially confidential. Aggregate figures of estimated payments under all PFI contracts for the years 200102 to 202526 were published in Table C18 of the Budget 2001 "Red Book".
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will list the economic penalties imposed on private sector firms in each of the last five years for failures to deliver in relation to key performance indicators in projects involving the private finance initiative; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Morley [holding answer 20 July 2001]: In each of the last five years the Department has not imposed any economic penalties on private sector firms for failures to deliver in relation to key performance indicators in projects involving the private finance initiative, as there have been no such failures.
Hugh Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans she has to introduce a more transparent system of labelling for top fruit. 
Mr. Morley: EU marketing standards for fresh fruit and vegetables already lay down labelling requirements for top fruit throughout the marketing chain in respect of country of origin, class and variety. Amendments to these standards are considered from time to time as necessary.
Hugh Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans she has to exempt horticulturists from pesticide taxes. 
Mr. Morley: There are no present plans to introduce a pesticides tax. In the 2001 Budget, the Government welcomed the latest set of voluntary proposals for reducing the environmental impact of pesticides use and invited the industry to implement the voluntary package nationwide. Progress will be reviewed in the run up to
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Budget 2002 to assess whether a voluntary approach is delivering significant environmental benefits, over and above those that would result from a pesticides tax.
Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the accepted background level of dioxins in the environment is; what the deemed safe level is; what levels the Environment Agency has found at the Cleanaway site in South Ockendon; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Meacher: The levels of dioxins in the urban environment are, roughly:
The Environment Agency has not carried out any analysis of dioxins at the Cleanaway site in South Ockendon.
Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what information the Environment Agency has collated as to how much fly ash deposited in the past 20 years in the Cleanaway site at South Ockendon, and the extent to which this dumping regime involved the ash being (a) damped down on site and (b) drenched prior to its arrival; 
Mr. Meacher: Waste disposal sites operate under the terms of waste management licences and are subject to the controls set out in Part II of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and the Waste Management Licensing Regulations 1994. The licence for each site sets out the types and quantities of waste which can be accepted for disposal at that site. The licence for the South Ockendon site is available for inspection on the public register which the Environment Agency is required to keep under section 64 of the 1990 Act.
The Agency has not separately collated information on the amount of fly ash deposited or used for on-site roads or cover at the South Ockendon site. I understand that consignments of mixed fly ash and bottom ash were consigned from the Edmonton municipal waste incinerator to the South Ockendon site under the terms of the site's licence; and were classified and recorded by the
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licence holder as industrial waste. The Agency states that the deposit of this mixed ash at the site ceased in December 1997.
The Environment Agency also states that the mixed ash from the Edmonton incinerator was drenched in water as it was produced. It is a condition of the licence for the South Ockendon site that
Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the performance of the Eaga partnership in delivering under the Home Energy Efficiency Scheme; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Meacher [holding answer 18 July 2001]: The Department maintains a close watch on the performance of both scheme managersEaga Partnership Limited and Eastern HEES Limited. This includes both regular management reports, and the use of an external contractorWhite Young and Greento audit the systems operated by the two scheme managers to ensure their effectiveness.
The introduction of the radically improved Home Energy Efficiency Scheme in June 2000 represented a difficult challenge for both scheme managers. The national shortage of gas heating engineers has led to severe delays in some areas in the installation and repair of central heating systems. This problem is being tackled through the recruitment of additional installers and the training of 800 new engineers to work under the scheme. These measures have led to major improvements in the speed of work with over 2,800 boiler installations completed in June 2001, compared to 590 in January.
The Department continues to maintain a close watch on the performance of both scheme managers to ensure that they provide a quality service to households applying to the scheme.
Mr. Sayeed: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if energy efficiency targets set by the Government as part of the Home Energy Efficiency Scheme are being met; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Meacher: The Home Energy Efficiency Scheme (HEES) provides households with packages of heating and insulation measures, tailored to the condition of the property and the householders' circumstances.
The individual packages of measures were developed in conjunction with the Building Research Establishment and are designed to ensure that householders are no longer at risk from fuel poverty.
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Energy efficiency in homes is commonly measured using the standard assessment procedure (SAP). This is a fuel cost based rating system that is expressed on a scale of one (poor) to 100 (excellent).
While there are no specific energy efficiency targets set within HEES, on average, homes are left with an average energy efficiency rating of SAP 59. The average improvement from the work is SAP 19.
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