Dawn Primarolo: I announced at the hearing of the Treasury Sub-committee earlier today that from next month, subject to final testing of the procedures by HMRC, where a claimant disputes the recovery of an overpayment action will be taken to prevent automatic recovery of any outstanding amount owed, until the TCO has looked into the case and made a decision. This will apply both to the cases on hand and to new cases going forward.
[holding answer 18 October 2005]: I refer the hon. Member to my reply to my right hon. Friend the Member for Birkenhead (Mr. Field), on 17 October 2005, Official Report, column 723W.
26 Oct 2005 : Column 367W
From next month, subject to final testing of the procedures by HMRC, where a claimant disputes the recovery of an overpayment action will be taken to prevent automatic recovery of any outstanding amount owed, until the TCO has looked into the case and made a decision. This will apply both to the cases on hand and to new cases going forward.
Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment his Department has made of the impact of the level of UK tobacco taxation on the volume of cigarette smuggling into the UK. 
John Healey: HM Revenue and Customs and LSE academics have developed a new economic model of the tobacco market, designed to take full account of the complexities of the modern tobacco market, including the impact of smuggling. The model is published in GES Working Paper No 150 The Demand for Tobacco Products in the UK" December 2004 and is available on HMRC's website.
Mark Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what (a) work his Department's Green Minister has undertaken in the last three months and (b) meetings that Minister has attended in the last 12 months in his official capacity within that role. 
On 20 July I spoke at the launch of National Parks Week, referring particularly to the sustainable tourism strategy being developed by the three National Park Authorities together with other partners. Because of its cross-cutting nature, sustainable development is a consideration in most meetings which I attend.
I am a member of the Ministerial Sub-Committee on Sustainable Development in Government (EE(SD)). Although the Government publishes the title, membership and terms of reference of cabinet committees, it has been the practice of successive Governments not to disclose details of their proceedings.
Mark Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will list the meetings his Department has been present at regarding the delivery of sustainable development across Government as coordinated by the Ministerial Sub-committee of Green Ministers. 
Nick Ainger: Following the General Election in May, the Cabinet Sub-Committee of Green Ministers (ENV(G)) was replaced by the Ministerial Sub-Committee on Sustainable Development in Government (EE(SD)) whose members are departmental Sustainable Development Ministers.
Peter Law: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will set a timetable for the implementation of those parts of the Richard Commission Report on powers of the National Assembly for Wales that he intends to implement. 
Jim Knight: I refer the hon. Member to the figures contained in the annual report Analysis of Sickness Absence in the Civil Service published by the Cabinet Office. Table A of the report gives details of both the average working days absence per staff year and the number of staff years on which that calculation is based on. The most recent report for the calendar year 2003 was published on 1 November 2004, copies of which are available in the Library. This report and those for 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2002 are available on the Cabinet Office website at: http://www.civilservice.gov.uk/management _of_the_civil_service/conditions_of_service/occupation al_health/publications/index.asp
The Department is fully committed to the management of sickness absence and introduced a new Sickness Absence Management policy on 1 December 2004, which included many of the best practices contained in the Report of the Joint Review by the Ministerial task Force for Health, Safety and Productivity and the Cabinet Office 'Managing Sickness Absence in the Public Sector' (November 2004), such as;
Defra is supporting the recommendations made in the 'Managing Sickness Absence in the Public Sector' report, by taking part in a trial of more sensitive arrangements for the use of special/compassionate leave.
Mr. Graham Stuart: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether the Environment Agency's flood risk maps indicate areas (a) of known flood risk, (b) of potential risk and (c) where further study is required. 
Mr. Morley: The Environment Agency's Flood Map on the Internet illustrates the areas that could flood in a 1 per cent. (1 in 100) annual probability of flood from rivers and a 0.5 per cent. (1 in 200) probability flood from the sea. This is consistent with the requirements of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's Planning Policy Guidance note 25 on Development and Flood Risk. Hence, the flood map shows both areas of known flood risk and potential risk. While it does not identify where further study is required the flood risk maps are subject to a programme of update and refinement. Areas that have previously flooded are shown on a separate historic flood map held by the Environment Agency.
Mr. Graham Stuart: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of (a) the number of (i) homes and (ii) businesses and (b) land allocated for development at risk from flooding in the East Riding of Yorkshire. 
Mr. Morley: For part (a) the Environment Agency's assessment is based on those properties found within the Extreme Flood Outline. This is an area with an annual probability of flooding of 0.1 per cent. (or 1 in 1,000 year chance of flooding). The Environment Agency defines the extent of the natural floodplain as if there were no flood defences or manmade structures in place.
East Riding of Yorkshire" has been taken to cover the areas of East Riding of Yorkshire and Kingston-Upon-Hull local authorities. There are 146,800 homes and 8,350 businesses. Planning Policy Guidance Note 25, Development and Flood Risk (PPG 25) recommends that when drawing up or revising development plans, local authorities should give priority in allocating sites for development in descending order of flood risk (known as the 'sequential test').
To make these decisions as well informed as possible, the Environment Agency encourages local authorities to carry out a Strategic Flood Risk Assessment. This assesses flood risk across the whole local authority area, rather than for an individual development, and enables local planning authorities to understand spatial variations in flood risk. Future development proposals can then be assessed in line with the 'sequential test'.
In the meantime the Environment Agency is providing them with advice and information to assist the process, and continuing to comment on land
26 Oct 2005 : Column 370W
allocations and individual planning applications in respect of flood risk, through their role as a planning consultee.
Mr. Graham Stuart: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the impact on the (a) access to and (b) cost of insurance for people living in areas designated as at risk from flooding, with particular reference to Beverley and Holderness. 
The insurance industry is a competitive and commercial one and makes decisions based on risk, indications from the Association of British Insurers suggest that flood insurance cover remains broadly available to households in areas at risk of flooding, in accordance with their Statement of Principles on this. Premium charges are a matter for individual insurers.
Mr. Graham Stuart: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the financial impact on property-owners of flood risk designation in (a) England and (b) the East Riding of Yorkshire since the latest flood maps were published. 
Mr. Morley: We have not carried out any such formal assessment. Flood risk mapping is an important part of the Government's strategy on public awareness, to ensure that the risk from flooding is better understood by all concerned. It is important that people living and working in the floodplains should know about the probabilities of flooding so they can take informed decisions about precautionary action. Similarly those responsible for development planning decisions and emergency planning also need this information.