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10 Jan 2005 : Column 172W—continued

Flooding

Tom Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much money has been spent on flood protection measures within the Greater London area in each of the last five years. [204739]

Mr. Morley: Defra has overall policy responsibility for flood and coastal erosion risk in England. My Department funds most of the Environment Agency's activities in this area and provides grant aid on a project by project basis to the other flood and coastal defence operating authorities (local authorities primarily) to support their investment in improvement works.

The Environment Agency is the principal authority responsible for management of flood risk. Its expenditure profile for London for operational, maintenance and capital works during the last five years is as follows:
£ million
1999–200045
2000–0142
2001–0236
2002–0335
2003–0439

Defra has not provided grant aid for improvement projects to local authorities in Greater London in the last five years although they may have received some support for their own spend on flood risk management through the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's local government finance mechanism.

Mr. Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent research she has commissioned on the incidence of flooding in Oxford; what the terms of reference were; and what the expected date for the (a) report and (b) publication is. [205884]

Mr. Morley: Defra has overall policy responsibility for flood and coastal erosion risk in England. The Department funds most of the Environment Agency's activities in this area and provides grant aid on a project by project basis to the other flood and coastal defence operating authorities (local authorities and internal drainage boards) to support their investment in improvement works.

The Environment Agency is the principal authority responsible for management of flood risk. I understand the Agency commissioned the 'Oxford Strategy Study' in February 2002. This reported in April 2004.

An important part of the 'terms of reference' identified that the Study should establish the best course of action to reduce the risk of flooding within the Oxford flood plain.
 
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The six potential solutions identified by the Study are now being developed within the Agency's Oxford Scheme Feasibility Stage 1. This was commissioned in November 2004 and aims to be complete by March 2006. It will enable the Agency to establish and take forward the scheme which is most viable environmentally, economically and technically.

Foot and Mouth

Mr. Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many farms in England have been subject to decontamination activity by her Department this year as a result of inappropriate burial of material associated with the 2001 foot and mouth epidemic; what the cost of such activity has been; and how many more farms she expects will be subject to similar activity. [205364]

Mr. Bradshaw: Two farms in England, both in Worcestershire, have been subject to the removal of agricultural waste or pyre ash this year as a result of FMD activities in 2001.

The Department has removed buried agricultural waste from one farm, and buried and unburied pyre ash plus a small quantity of scrap metal from another. Agricultural waste, which could not be adequately disinfected, was burned and/or buried on the affected premises during the 2001 FMD outbreak to prevent the risk of disease spread.

The total estimated costs of these operations in England are £355,000.

One additional farm in England is known to require similar activity. Further sites may be identified as a result of risk assessments and the precautionary monitoring programme.

Hydrometeorological Disaster

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what research her Department has carried out into hydrometeorological disaster. [206809]

Mr. Morley: Defra Flood management currently has a research project on Extreme Event Recognition as part of its joint funded programme with the Environment Agency. The purpose of the project is to improve advance identification of meteorological conditions with the potential to cause extreme flood conditions. An initial phase of the project was undertaken by Salford University in 2001–02 and carried out some initial analysis of historical events and defined the potential for areas of further research. A summary of the project is also available at http://sciencesearch.defra.gov.uk/Document.aspx?DocumentID=1849

Phase 2 of the research, a three-year programme from 2004 to 2006, is being carried out by a consortium involving the Met Office, Centre for Ecology and Hydrology and Salford university. The outcome of the work will feed into operational flood forecasting by the Environment Agency and other severe weather forecasting services provided by the Met Office.
 
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Other research into wider meteorological conditions that may cause disasters is undertaken directly by the Met Office who are a Trading Fund of the Ministry of Defence.

IT (Disciplinary Procedures)

Mr. George Osborne: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many staff in her Department have (a) received official warnings and (b) faced disciplinary procedures following breaches of IT policy in each year since 1997. [205818]

Alun Michael: The Department does not maintain a central list of breaches of IT policy as these are generally handled through the line management chain. Therefore, there is no central record of warnings issued in cases where IT policy has been breached. Since Defra came into existence on 9 June 2001 six members of staff have faced disciplinary procedures for breaches of this policy.

The Department seeks to ensure that all users of computer systems are fully aware of their responsibilities and legal obligations. This is done by a variety of methods such as through system training programmes, published user guides and usage policies together with general security policy guidance and advice. This material is subject to regular review and is easily accessible through the Departmental Intranet. Regular Office Notices also provide reminders of key points.

Landfill

Sue Doughty: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairshow many tonnes of biodegradable municipal waste were diverted from landfill in (a) 2001–02 and (b) 2002–03. [206825]

Mr. Morley: The estimated quantities of biodegradable municipal waste diverted from landfill in England are as follows:
Million tonne
2001–024.01
2002–034.56

Sue Doughty: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate she has made of the total tonnage of biodegradable municipal waste that will need to be diverted in (a) 2010, (b) 2013 and (c) 2020 to comply with Article 5 of the Landfill Regulations. [206826]

Mr. Morley: The UK targets for the amount of biodegradable municipal waste that can be landfilled in the three target years, as set out in the Landfill (Scheme Year and Maximum Landfill Amount) Regulations 2004, are:
Million tonne
2009–1013.7
2012–139.13
2019–206.39









 
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Therefore, the total cumulative reductions in the amount of biodegradable municipal waste going to landfill for the UK, from 2005–06, to meet each of the targets, are approximately:
Million tonne
July 20105
July 20139.5
July 202011.5

Marine Conservation (North Sea)

Mr. Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what her policy is on the establishment of marine conservation zones in the North Sea. [205885]

Mr. Bradshaw: The Government are committed to establishing an ecologically coherent network of marine protected areas throughout UK waters, including the North Sea.

We are close to completing the UK's contribution to the Natura 2000 network under the Habitats and Birds Directives within Territorial Waters and are preparing regulations to extend the Habitats and Birds Directives to the offshore marine area.


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