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Departmental Policies (Bristol, East)

Jean Corston: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will set out, with statistical information relating as directly as possible to the Bristol East constituency, the effects on Bristol of her Department's policies and actions (a) from 5 May 1994 to 2 May 1997, (b) from 2 May 1997 to 7 May 1998, and (c) since 7 May 1998. [35599]

Mr. Morley: I refer to my hon. Friend to the reply given to her by the Minister of State, Cabinet Office on 4 March 2002, Official Report, column 80W. As this Department was created in June 2001, the historical information requested is not readily available and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

Working Conditions and Practices

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment has been made of the effect of the Working Time Directive on her Department's employees; how many employees are working in excess of 48 hours per week; what steps she is taking to reduce this number; and if she will make a statement. [35897]

Mr. Morley: The European Working Time Directive was incorporated into UK law by the Working Time Regulations 1998.

This Department takes the work/life balance seriously and is taking a number of steps to raise awareness. As a general rule staff in core-DEFRA will not be asked to work more than 48 hours per week. Agreements to disapply the 48 hour limit are entered into only very exceptionally and after thorough examination of the working arrangements of the staff involved. Prior to an expected increase during the Foot and Mouth crisis only about 30 staff had agreed to disapply the 48 hour limit and a number of these related to junior staff with second jobs.

8 Mar 2002 : Column 639W

The Pesticides Safety Directorate, the Rural Payments Agency and the Veterinary Medicines Directorate are covered by the Departmental response. RPA currently has two members of staff who work in excess of 48 hours though this number was greater during the BSE and Foot and Mouth crises. Managers continually review the position of those staff who regularly work more than 48 hours per week. PSD has no staff who work in excess of 48 hours.

Responsibility for the Working Time Regulations within the Central Science Laboratory, the Veterinary Laboratories Agency and the Centre for Environmental Fisheries and Aquaculture Agency has been delegated to Agency Chief Executives and I have asked them to reply direct.

Letter from Victor Bye to Dr. Vincent Cable, dated January 2002:

Letter from Steve Edwards to Dr. Vincent Cable, dated February 2002:

Letter from Michael Roberts to Dr. Vincent Cable, dated 13 February 2002:

British Trust Conservation Volunteers

Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will list the grants made to the British Trust Conservation Volunteers for the last five years for which figures are available. [35675]

8 Mar 2002 : Column 640W

Mr. Meacher: DEFRA—and DETR before it—contributes directly to the funding of BTCV's activities with the main grant each year going towards the organisation's core costs. The Countryside Agency, which we fund, also provides some financial support.

Details of DEFRA/DETR core funding and additional grant funding for the last five years are as follows:

Core grant398,775
Project grants: Small woods12,000
Tree wardens16,767
Trees and Woods11,516
Local Project fund grants:
Drayton Wood Nature Reserve3,500
Takely Environment Centre6,000
Dog Kennel Wood Tree Nursery4,988
Vicarage Orchard994
Woodside Community Landscape600
Core grant386,812
Project grants: Small Woods12,240
Flying Slug11,000
Core grant297,000
Regional grant: Flying Slug11,350
Core grant:297,000
Regional grant: Local Trees and Healthy Living13,269
Green Gym Regional Development21,057
Flying Slug11,610
Core grant:306,000
Regional: Developing Sustainable Tourism10,340
Pond Warden Scheme21,324
Green Gym Regional Development18,557

Energy Efficiency

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to her answer of 4 February 2002, Official Report, column 751W, on central heating, if she will make it her policy to include assistance to upgrade inadequate central heating systems in the Home Energy Efficiency Scheme. [38304]

Mr. Meacher: We have no plans at the present time to replace working or aged central heating systems under HEES. Our priority remains to seek to end fuel poverty in vulnerable households by 2010 through the installation of insulation and heating measures for those over 60 in receipt of an income related benefit where there is currently no working central heating system.

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the use of information technology in energy efficiency; and what good practice exists in the United Kingdom. [39378]

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Mr. Meacher: Information technology is frequently used to control and monitor energy use in buildings, industry and commerce as an integral part of intelligent energy management technologies which can provide potential energy savings of up to around 40 per cent. The Department's Energy Efficiency Best Practice Programme provides information and guidance on the use of information technology to save energy. Under the programme, further investigation is also underway to identify ways of achieving wider market acceptance of such technologies.


Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the recycling rates are for local authorities in England and Wales. [37130]

Mr. Meacher [holding answer 26 February 2002]: Household recycling rates for individual local authorities for England are published in the consultation paper on "Distribution of the £140 million Waste Minimisation and Recycling Fund" at Annex B. A copy of the paper is available in the Library of the House and also on the Department's website at:

Recycling rates for local authorities in Wales are a matter for my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Wales.

Job No: 715993 Folios: 000-000Operator: Operator No 3. Date: 08/03/02

Pollution Inspection

Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many inspections per annum per polluting process by local authorities are (a) expected by her Department and (b) covered by existing legislation; and what plans she has to change (i) the expected level of inspections and (ii) legislation covering the requirements placed upon local authorities. [38644]

Mr. Meacher: Guidance issued by the Department of Environment in 1995 and re-issued by the Department of Environment, Transport and the Regions in 1998 specified a normal inspection rate of twice a year (with certain qualifications) for processes regulated under the Local Air Pollution Control system.

As regards inspection in future, DETR commissioned consultants in 2000 to investigate the scope for establishing a risk-based regulatory approach, whereby inspections and regulatory effort would be determined according to the potential environmental impacts of a process and operator performance. The consultants reported last year and we consulted on their report. We have since commissioned the consultants to trial the recommended methodology, involving local authorities, process operators, and trade associations. Their report is expected shortly and we again plan to issue it for comment. The introduction of such a system would not require legislation.

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