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9 Jun 2005 : Column 623W—continued

Rural Crime

22. Mr. Hollobone: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions she has had with the Home Office to develop strategies to reduce crime in rural communities. [2623]

Jim Knight: I, my ministerial colleagues and DEFRA officials frequently meet with colleagues in the Home Office to discuss issues which are of importance to rural communities, including crime.

Renewable Energy (Crops)

Mr. Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps she is taking to promote alternative crops for renewable energy. [2650]

Mr. Morley: The Government is committed to supporting energy crops. Ministers and officials work closely with other Government Departments on the development of policy. Officials are working closely with farmers, project developers and others to promote the potential of energy crops.

Aid is available to establish crops for the production of heat, electricity and transport biofuels, and to develop supply chains for crops for heat and electricity generation. R and D programmes and commissioned reports support the development of current and new energy crops. Funding has been provided for farmers' open days and industry conferences. £66 million has been allocated to develop markets for biomass, including energy crops, in heat and electricity generation. The co-firing of energy crops with fossil fuels in conventional power stations is promoted under the Renewables Obligation. The biomass study task force, led by Sir Ben Gill, is working with all stakeholders to identify the barriers to developing biomass heat and electricity and will recommend ways
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to overcome the problems. The production of transport biofuels is promoted through duty rate cuts and the Government is carrying out a feasibility study on the possible introduction of a renewable transport fuel obligation. A number of companies have indicated that such an obligation would encourage them to build processing plants in this country and to include UK-grown crops as a feedstock.

Tenant Farmers

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the average net annual income for a tenant farmer has been in each year since 1980. [1482]

Jim Knight: The average annual net farm incomes for a tenanted farmer since 1980 are shown in the following table. For comparative purposes mixed tenure, owner occupied and all tenure farms are also shown. Net farm income is defined as the return to the principal farmer and spouse for their manual and managerial labour and on the tenant type capital of the business.
Net farm incomes in England by tenure types

Fully tenantedMixed tenureOwner occupiedAll tenure types

(1) Excluding farms subject to compulsory foot and mouth disease cull.
Farm Business Survey

Water Meter Charges

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many people in Coventry South were in receipt of the social tariff for water meter charges in each of the last three years. [2615]

Mr. Morley: Figures for water charges are not collected on a constituency basis.

The following table sets out the numbers of households who are customers of Severn Trent Water in receipt of the social tariff, also known as the vulnerable groups tariff, over the last three years for which figures are available, as collected by the Office of Water Services (Ofwat).
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Number of households



Glenda Jackson: To ask the Prime Minister (1) when he last discussed with NATO colleagues the situation in Darfur; and if he will make a statement; [2398]

(2) when he last discussed with G8 colleagues the situation in Darfur; and if he will make a statement; [2399]

(3) when he last discussed with his EU counterparts the situation in Darfur; and if he will make a statement. [2400]

The Prime Minister: I regularly have discussions with our NATO, G8 and EU colleagues on a wide range of international issues, including the situation in Darfur. We continue to be in constant contact with the Government of Sudan, both at ministerial and official level. Our presidency of the EU and G8 will give an opportunity to continue these discussions at all levels.

Lord Chancellor

Mr. Heald: To ask the Prime Minister whether it is his intention that the Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs should retain this title in addition to the title of Lord Chancellor. [2818]

The Prime Minister: Yes.


Air Pollution

Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate she has made of the number of (a) fatalities and (b) respiratory hospital admissions caused by transport-related air pollution, excluding ozone in the last period for which figures are available. [2380]

Caroline Flint: This information is not collected directly as it is not possible to identify individual patients affected by air pollution. The link between air pollution and hospital admissions is derived from statistical correlations between daily air pollution levels and routine daily statistics on total deaths or respiratory hospital admissions.

The Department's committee on the medical effects of air pollutants (COMEAP) estimated in 1998 1 that there were 10,500 respiratory hospital admissions (additional or brought forward) and 8,100 deaths brought forward per year due to PM 1 0 (particles less than 10 micrometres in diameter) in urban areas of Great Britain.

Assuming that around a quarter of the PM 1 0 2 in urban areas is due directly or indirectly to emissions from transport, as a rough estimate it can be assumed that up to around 2,500 respiratory hospital admissions and
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around 2,000 deaths brought forward in urban areas of Great Britain may have been related to emissions from transport at that time.

This estimate does not include the impact of transport emissions on life expectancy and on cardiovascular admissions. These were not quantified by COMEAP at the time of the 1998 report. Further work on this issue is likely to be considered as part of the work of the new COMEAP sub-group on quantification.

Ambulance Service

Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many ambulance stations there were in London in each of the last five years. [2531]

Jane Kennedy: The information requested is not held centrally.

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