Norman Baker: To ask the hon. Member for Roxburgh and Berwickshire, representing the House of Commons Commission pursuant to his answer of 20 January 2005, Official Report, column 247, on bottled water, (1) what proportion of glass from bottles containing drinking water which is on sale in parliamentary canteens or provided by House of Commons Departments for hon. Members' use was (a) recycled and (b) sent for disposal in landfill sites in the most recent year for which figures are available; 
Sir Archy Kirkwood: All water bottles disposed of from the Refreshment Department's restaurants, bars and banqueting rooms in the Palace of Westminster are recycled, as are the bottles purchased from the Refreshment Department by the Serjeant at Arms Department for use in Westminster Hall, Committee and other meeting rooms in the Palace. Glass water bottles sold in the self-service cafeterias are not currently recycled, as most of these are bought by customers for consumption elsewhere, and there are no recycling facilities for empty bottles in the other buildings on the Parliamentary Estate; the re-cycling of glass bottles from these areas is being actively pursued. The Refreshment Department estimates that approximately 50 per cent. of its total purchases of water bottles are recycled. None are sent for disposal in landfill sites.
The Serjeant at Arms Department purchases its bottled water through the House of Commons Refreshment Department; its costs are therefore included within those given in the table for the
4 Feb 2005 : Column 1128W
Refreshment Department. Of these totals, purchases of bottled water by the Serjeant at Arms Department are estimated at the following values in each year since 200102:
Andrew George: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what discussions he has had with the Deputy Prime Minister in respect of the budget settlement for each responsible authority and the ability of each to fulfil its legal duties under the Civil Contingencies Act 2004. 
Mr. Miliband: The Cabinet Office and the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister have regular discussions on a range of issues, including the distribution of civil protection funding for local authorities.
Andrew George: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what assessment he has made of the ability of the Council of the Isles of Scilly of the ability to fulfil its (a) legal duties under the Civil Contingencies Act 2004 and (b) other emergency service responsibilities. 
Mr. Miliband: The Government assessed civil protection funding for local authorities collectively as part of Spending Review 2004, and agreed a level of funding with the Local Government Association to reflect the aggregate civil protection responsibilities across all local authorities. The Government's contribution to local authorities' civil protection work will be paid for via the mainstream Revenue Support Grant from 200506. This funding is not ring-fenced, and it is a matter for individual local authorities to determine how they use the overall formula grant allocation to achieve the outcomes required by legislation.
Andrew George: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what discussions he has had with the council of the Isles of Scilly in respect of its ability to fulfil its legal duties to meet the requirements of (a) the Civil Contingencies Act 2004 and (b) other civil emergency responsibilities. 
Throughout the development of the Civil Contingencies Act and supporting regulations and guidance, the Government have maintained a close dialogue with local authorities. In respect of some matters, most notably funding, the Government have sought the views of authorities through the Local Government Association. More generally, the Government have sought the views of individual local authorities through three public consultations.
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Mrs. Anne Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many contracts were awarded by (a) the Department and (b) agencies for which the Department is responsible to small and medium-sized enterprises in each year since 200102; and what the total value of those contracts was in each year. 
Alun Michael: From information held centrally and for the financial year 200102, the Department placed 13,647 contracts and purchase orders worth £105 million with companies employing less than 249 employees; in 200203 the figures were 7,788 and £59 million respectively; and in 200304 the figures were 7,008 and £54 million respectively.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many contracts in her Department have been granted to (a) EDS, (b) Fujitsu and (c) EDS and Fujitsu jointly in each of the last two years; whether they were open to competition; for what they were granted; for how much, and over what period of time; and if she will make a statement. 
Alun Michael: From information held centrally, I am not aware of any contracts let by the Department to EDS or Fujitsu over the last two years other than assignments under the overall Fujitsu Software Maintenance Services Contract. Information on Defra's Executive Agencies and Non Departmental Public Bodies is not held centrally.
Mr. George Osborne: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much her Department spent on (a) indoor bought plants, (b) indoor hired plants, (c) outdoor bought plants and (d) outdoor hired plants in each year since 1997. 
Alun Michael: Purchases of plants are not separately identified. There has been a trend towards the provision of artificial plants to save ongoing maintenance costs. In the Department's offices there are now only two locations where live plants remain with maintenance charges of £2,566 per annum.
Mr. McNamara: 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 Kingston upon Hull, North constituency, the effects on Kingston upon Hull, North of her Department's policies and actions since 2 May 1997. 
Alun Michael: Since its establishment in 2001 Defra has put in place a comprehensive programme of action on issues including sustainable development, climate change and energy, sustainable consumption and production, natural resource protection, sustainable rural communities, and a sustainable farming and food sector. A summary of some our achievements to date can be found at http://defra/corporate/achievements. htm. I am confident that the Kingston upon Hull, North constituency will have benefited from these.
Through our national strategy for waste, we are committed to delivering a step change to more sustainable waste management, including tough national targets to recycle or compost 17 per cent. of household waste by 200304, and 25 per cent. by 200506. To help local authorities achieve their own targets Defra's Waste Minimisation Fund was set up in 2002. As a result of successful bids for money from this fund by Kingston upon Hull City Council, the residents of the city should over the next few years reap the benefits, with a total of almost £2.4 million being awarded to the city council for the period 200304 and 200506 for projects to expand kerbside recycling schemes across the city covering a total of 110,000 households, including those in the Kingston upon Hull, North constituency.
River water quality has improved along the River Hull over the last seven years. In 1997, none of the river's length within the city council area was considered to be of fair or better chemical quality, while by 2003 70 per cent. was measured as being of fair chemical quality. Over this same period the biological quality of the river has been of fair quality or better throughout. These improvements reflect Defra's policy to improve river water quality, which is one of the headline indicator's of sustainable development and to raise compliance with the EC Water Framework Directive.
With grant support from Defra the Environment Agency has undertaken maintenance and improvement of flood defences around most of the Humber estuary, including those in front of Hull, while also managing the River Hull defences along with the city council, and riparian owners. Since the mid 1990s, and as a result of this Defra funding the Agency has invested approximately £25 million on improvements to the Hull defences on the estuary, and approximately £5 million on works on the River Hull.
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