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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. 
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.
23 Jan 2002 : Column 925W
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. 
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. 
Mr. Meacher: £6 million has been added to the provisional local government finance settlement for 200203 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. 
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. 
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
23 Jan 2002 : Column 926W
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. 
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. 
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.
|Date||Number||Items stolen||Cost (£)|
|2 May||1||Laboratory equipment||250|
|17 July||1||Camcorder and accessories||1,300|
|9 September||1||Kitchen equipment||475|
|24 September||1||Mobile phone charger||10|
|13 October||1||Mobile phone||125|
|26 January||1||Special telephone handset||80|
|2 February||1||Video recorder||190|
|10 June||1||Answering machine||80|
|16 November||1||Answering machine||50|
|Thefts in 1999|
|1 February||1||Laptop plus zip plus mouse||2,300|
|23 February||2||Central processing units||2,250|
|26 March||2||PC plus 8 copies of software plus 2 ethernet cards||2,250|
|19 April||1||Psion Organiser||350|
|27 April||4||Power adapters with accessories||400|
|23 July||1||Field equipment and mobile phone||70|
|6 September||1||Mobile phone and accessories||100|
|27 September||3||Software CDs||400|
|28 October||1||PC plus printer||2,000|
|13 February||1||PC plus printer||3,192|
|27 February||1||Laptop plus floppy disk||2,765|
|21 March||1||Psion Organiser||380|
|28 March||1||Psion 5 MX||383|
|5 April||1||Laptop plus mobile printer||1,000|
|16 May||29||Processors plus 1 Toshiba laptop||5,478|
|26 May||1||Laptop, printer and accessories||1,244|
|10 June||1||Mobile phone||120|
|7 July||3||2 PCs and 1 laptop||5,000|
|19 July||4||Compaq processors||4,000|
|20 July||1||PC plus modem card||1,100|
|2 August||1||Laptop plus 1 printer plus 1 printer lead||1,820|
|11 September||1||Laptop, mouse and connections||1,500|
|12 October||1||Modem card||100|
|20 November||1||Laptop plus 1 floppy disc and CD drive||2,660|
|29 November||3||Compaq processors||675|
|12 March||2||PC plus printer||2,500|
|9 May||2||DIM chips||146|
|16 August||1||Laptop plus 1 modem and carry case||2,000|
|21 November||1||Laptop plus one projector||1,879|
23 Jan 2002 : Column 927W
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. 
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 200205 (EEC) would lead to greater improvements.
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