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9 Jun 2005 : Column 619W—continued

Street Lights

Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many and what percentage of street lights were broken on the last date for which figures are
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available; and what the average time taken to repair a street light was in the most recent period for which figures are available. [2417]

Ms Buck: Street lighting is the responsibility of individual highway authorities, and the information requested is not held centrally. However, from 2005–06, local authorities will be required to report best value performance indicator (BVPI) 215, which will measure the average time taken to rectify street light faults.

The Department for Transport works with the UK Lighting Board to encourage local authorities to adopt best practice in street lighting management, especially through promotion of Well-lit Highways: Code of Practice for Highway Maintenance Management (TSO, 2004).

Traffic Management Act

David Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he expects Part VI of the Traffic Management Act 2004 to be brought into force. [2778]

Ms Buck: Part 6 of the Traffic Management Act 2004, which covers the civil enforcement by local authorities of a range of parking and traffic contraventions, will be brought into effect in stages as the necessary regulations and statutory guidance are completed. We are working on the parking provisions first and hope that they will be put in place during 2006.

Vehicle Excise Duty

Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport on how many occasions in the last 12 months for which figures are available the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency initiated court proceedings against people who were believed not to have paid vehicle excise duty, broken down by regional authority. [1471]

Dr. Ladyman: During the period April 2004 to the end of March 2005 192,818 cases were prosecuted in court for Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) evasion. A VED offence is prosecuted in the area in which it is detected. A breakdown of cases by regional authority could only be provided at disproportionate cost.



John Battle: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what progress his Department's alternative livelihoods programme in Afghanistan has made in the last six months; and if he will make a statement. [2141]

Hilary Benn: Over the past six months the Government of Afghanistan has strengthened its resolve to tackle the problem of opium cultivation and placed greater emphasis on the role of alternative livelihoods in a successful counter-narcotics effort. There is evidence
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which suggests that figures for poppy planting in 2005 may be lower than they were in 2004. This is good news, but the challenge will be to maintain that trend.

In view of this, DFID has increased the amount of its funding allocated to the development of alternative livelihoods. This year, DFID is spending around half its total development assistance budget to Afghanistan on alternative livelihoods (approximately £50 million). In total, the international community is providing over US$300 million in alternative livelihoods assistance across all 34 provinces.

We know from experience that development of sustainable alternative livelihoods takes time. Sustained reductions in levels of opium cultivation will ultimately be the measure of the success of our efforts, but on their own the availability of alternative livelihoods will not stop people growing opium. People stop growing opium poppy for a number of reasons, including the impact that interdiction and other law enforcement activities have, as well as the availability of other ways of earning a living. Collectively, the UK Government is helping the Afghans to work out how to co-ordinate these efforts better in the future.

Examples of what DFID, working closely with the Government, will provide, in terms of alternative livelihoods opportunities over the next year or so, include: 5.8 million days of work, benefiting 190,000 people and providing a range of essential local infrastructure; agricultural inputs e.g. seeds and fertiliser to at least 36,000 farmers; micro-credit to 125,000 new clients and block grants totalling $40 million to 1,090 democratically elected Community Development Councils for small-scale productive and social infrastructure in villages in the top seven poppy growing provinces.

Private Finance Projects

Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will list the private finance initiative and public private partnership projects his Department is undertaking; and what the status of each is. [2368]

Hilary Benn: The Department for International Development is not currently undertaking any private finance initiative or public private partnership projects.


Animal Welfare

16. Mr. Evennett: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps her Department plans to take to improve animal welfare. [2617]

Mr. Bradshaw: Animal welfare is primarily the responsibility of animal owners and keepers. The UK Government play an active role to improve animal welfare internationally and at EU level where most rules governing farmed animals are agreed. The Animal Welfare Bill which we hope to bring before the House shortly will be the most important piece of animal welfare legislation for nearly 100 years.
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Dairy Supply Chain

17. Mr. Liddell-Grainger: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps her Department is taking to improve transparency in the dairy supply chain. [2618]

Jim Knight: In September 2004, the Milk Development Council published its first annual report on margins across the dairy supply chain. DEFRA has also made a grant of nearly £0.5 million to the Food Chain Centre to conduct a value chain analysis which should help improve understanding and trust along the dairy supply chain.

Bovine Tuberculosis

18. Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many cattle were slaughtered in the last recorded month as a result of bovine tuberculosis. [2619]

Mr. Bradshaw: Latest provisional TB statistics indicate that 2,613 cattle were slaughtered as bovine tuberculosis reactors or direct contacts in April 2005.

Gangmasters Licensing Authority

19. Mark Simmonds: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on progress on the establishment of the gangmasters licensing authority. [2620]

Jim Knight: The Gangmaster Licensing Bill received Royal Assent on 8 July 2004. Regulations establishing the Gangmasters Licensing Authority were approved by Parliament in March and the authority started work on 1 April.

Water Leakages

21. Mr. Forth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the level of water leakage from pipes. [2622]

Mr. Morley: Ofwat publish leakage figures annually. Overall water company leakage for 2003–04 showed a small increase (1 per cent.) from the previous year. However, most companies achieved the leakage targets set by Ofwat and are operating at their economical level of leakage. Figures for 2004–05 are expected to be available from Ofwat in July.

Paddy Tipping: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the water leakage rate for each water company was in the latest period for which figures are available. [2726]

Mr. Morley: The Director General of Water Services publishes leakage figures annually in the 'Security of Supply, Leakage and the Effective Use of Water'. The figures for 2004–05 have not yet been published. Ofwat will publish these figures in July and the formal report will be published towards the end of 2005.

However, in 2003–04 total water company leakage, in Megalitres per day, was reported as follows:
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Bournemouth and W Hants22
Dee Valley10
Dwr Cymru231
Folkestone and Dover8
Mid Kent30
Northumbrian North160
Northumbrian South70
Severn Trent512
South East69
South Staffordshire71
South West84
Sutton and East Surrey24
Tendring Hundred5
Three Valleys152
United Utilities479

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