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Air Pollution

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much funding has been made available by her Department to tackle air pollution in Buckinghamshire in each year since 1997. [27791]

Mr. Meacher: Resources to allow local authorities in Buckinghamshire and elsewhere to carry out their local air quality management duties have been provided every year since 1997 through the annual Local Government Finance Settlement. A total of a little over £2 million is included for these purposes in the annual settlement. Resources for individual local authority duties are not ring-fenced, however, and decisions on the allocation of resources are a matter for local authorities themselves. In addition to this, supplementary credit approvals are made available each year to local authorities to help with the purchase of air quality monitoring and modelling equipment. Since 1997, we have awarded a little over £420,000 (Table 1) to support local authority capital expenditure in Buckinghamshire on air quality equipment.

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Table 1. Value of supplementary credit approvals to local authorities in Buckinghamshire, 1997 to 2002

YearValue (£)


Mrs. Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what progress is being made to help small businesses continue to sell secondhand refrigerators, previously collected from the large retail outlets. [29524]

Mr. Meacher: The majority of old refrigerators are now being collected by local authorities. We would encourage small businesses to work with local authorities to identify those units suitable for re-use. Such arrangements are likely to be welcomed by local authorities as a means of reducing their costs.

Mr. Gordon Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much of the money to help local authorities with the extra costs of storing refrigerators announced on 4 December 2001 has been made available to Blackpool borough council. [28824]

Mr. Meacher: £6 million has been added to the provisional local government finance settlement for 2002–03 for the costs of implementing the ozone depleting substances regulation relating to the period 1 January 2002 to 31 March 2002. This will be distributed to local authorities using Standard Spending Assessments (SSA). The extra money has been added to the upper tier sub-block of the Environmental, Protective and Cultural Services SSA.

Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what representations she has received from local authorities with regard to the allocation of Government resources available in order to meet the cost of implementing the refrigerator disposal regulations. [29111]

Mr. Meacher: The Department has received a number of representations from local authorities concerning the allocation of funding for the implementation of EC Regulation 2037/2000. We have received representations through letters, e-mail and telephone calls. Officials are maintaining a close dialogue with local authority representatives with a view to obtaining a comprehensive understanding of the additional costs which local authorities face.

Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what representations she has received from the Environment Agency concerning the arrangements for the storage and disposal of refrigerators in advance of the development of purpose- built infrastructure in the UK. [29096]

Mr. Meacher: The Department has worked very closely with the Environment Agency on the development of guidance on the storage and disposal of fridges. There continues to be close co-operation on the finalisation of

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technical standards and new fridges recycling facilities and, more generally on the implementation and enforcement of the European Ozone Depleting Substances Regulation.

Regulatory Impact Assessments

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many regulatory impact assessments have been produced by her Department since August 2001; and if she will list those produced (a) following initial consultation with affected parties about the most appropriate methodology for assessing costs and other impacts and (b) which set out full commercial impacts, including profitability, employment, consumer prices and competitiveness, as recommended in good policy making. [28401]

Mr. Morley: I refer the hon. Member to the reply given by my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary, Cabinet Office, on 17 January 2002, Official Report, column 483W.

Stolen Equipment

Mr. Menzies Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what equipment has been stolen from her Department since 1 May 1997; and what the approximate value of each item was. [26823]

Mr. Morley [holding answer 22 January 2002]: The Department's records show that the following items have been stolen since 1 May 1997. Data from 8 June 2001 relate to Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs while previous information covers Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.

DateNumberItems stolenCost (£)
2 May1Laboratory equipment250
3 May20PC39,500
6 May1PC673
9 June1Laptop4,000
11 June1Calculator10
17 July1Camcorder and accessories1,300
1 August2PC4,700
11 August1Laptop900
9 September1Kitchen equipment475
9 September1PC1,787
24 September1Mobile phone charger10
30 September1PC1,990
2 October1Laptop2,000
13 October1Mobile phone125
12 January2Laptops6,000
26 January1Special telephone handset80
2 February1Video recorder190
10 June1Answering machine80
21 June1Laptop2,500
5 September1Laptop3,110
21 September2Laptops6,000
16 November1Answering machine50
Thefts in 1999
1 February1Laptop plus zip plus mouse2,300
16 February1Dictaphone 50
23 February2Central processing units 2,250
26 March2PC plus 8 copies of software plus 2 ethernet cards2,250
14 April1Laptop2,000
19 April1Psion Organiser350
27 April4Power adapters with accessories400
23 July1Field equipment and mobile phone70
18 August1Laptop1,570
6 September1Mobile phone and accessories100
20 September1Laptop2,300
27 September3Software CDs400
28 October1PC plus printer2,000
15 November1Laptop1,950
22 November1Laptop1,580
20 December1Laptop1,320
28 January1Laptop1,000
13 February1PC plus printer3,192
27 February1Laptop plus floppy disk2,765
21 March 1Psion Organiser380
28 March 1Psion 5 MX383
5 April1Laptop plus mobile printer1,000
16 May29Processors plus 1 Toshiba laptop5,478
24 May 1Laptop2,000
26 May 1Laptop, printer and accessories1,244
10 June1Mobile phone120
7 July 32 PCs and 1 laptop5,000
19 July 4Compaq processors4,000
20 July 1PC plus modem card1,100
2 August 1Laptop plus 1 printer plus 1 printer lead1,820
7 August 3PCs3,250
17 August 1Processor500
11 September 1Laptop, mouse and connections1,500
12 October 1Modem card100
30 October 1Laptop2,585
20 November 1Laptop plus 1 floppy disc and CD drive2,660
29 November 3Compaq processors675
1 February 1Laptop2,998
6 February 2Laptops3,500
8 February 1Laptop2,000
12 February 2Laptops4,000
12 March2PC plus printer2,500
21 March 1Laptop1,500
2 April1Laptop2,000
9 May2DIM chips146
20 May1Keyboard96
2 July 1PC700
2 August 1Chips1,000
16 August 1Laptop plus 1 modem and carry case2,000
14 September1Laptop1,500
28 September 1Laptop1,500
1 October 1Laptop1,579
5 October 1Laptop1,579
21 November 1Laptop plus one projector1,879
19 December 2Printers300
8 January12PCs6,000

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Home Energy Conservation

Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what percentage of local authorities (a) in the United Kingdom and (b) in Scotland are on course to achieve a 30 per cent. improvement in home energy conservation by 2010. [25893]

Mr. Meacher [holding answer 15 January 2002]: As domestic energy efficiency is a devolved matter, it is the responsibility of the respective Parliament and Assemblies to comment on the situation in their countries.

Statutory guidance issued on the Home Energy Conservation Act 1995 (HECA) in England makes it clear that local authorities are expected to identify measures that will lead to "substantial progress" towards 30 per cent. improvement in energy efficiency in all residential accommodation within 10 years of April 1996, but that some authorities may feel it more appropriate to develop a strategy which covers a different time scale.

23 Jan 2002 : Column 928W

In the four years to 31 March 2000, authorities have reported that overall their HECA strategies have achieved energy efficiency improvements of 6 per cent. Of the 354 local authorities in England with HECA responsibilities, almost 50 per cent. are reporting 6 per cent. or more improvement. Details of percentage improvement to March 2001 are not yet available but we expect to publish these shortly.

If we assume a similar rate of progress over the next six years, ECAs might on average be expected to achieve a 15 per cent. improvement in domestic energy efficiency. However, we would expect that schemes such as Warm Front and the Energy Efficiency Commitment 2002–05 (EEC) would lead to greater improvements.

In order to help local authorities achieve greater energy savings in the future, we are looking at the working of HECA as part of our current review of local authority energy efficiency activity.

The Home Energy Conservation Bill 2001 would require local authorities to implement their energy conservation reports, something missing from the current legislation.

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