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15 Dec 2005 : Column 2211W—continued

Research and Development

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much the Government have spent on the research and development of (a) energy conservation and (b) energy efficiency measures in each year since 1980; and what further sums are planned to be spent. [36589]

Mr. Morley [holding answer 12 December 2005]: The Government does not have information on spending on these programmes over the period 1980–2005, nor on the detailed split between energy efficiency and energy conservation. Over the period 2002–2005, the UK spent approximately £15 million per year on RD&D into demand-side energy-efficient technology; about £12millon from UK public bodies and £2.8 million from the European Commission framework programmes.

Rural Communities

Sir Michael Spicer: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps her Department is taking to sustain rural communities. [37631]

Jim Knight: In its rural strategy 2004, the Government announced an ambitious and targeted set of policy priorities for rural communities and for enhancing our natural environment, together with radical reforms for their delivery in the most customer-focussed, effective and efficient way, all firmly within a sustainable development framework.

Since the general election in May we have reinforced those priorities through actions such as the establishment of the Affordable Rural Housing Commission, the announcement of a new rural social and community funding programme and the introduction of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Bill. The Bill seeks, among other things, to establish both the Commission for Rural Communities—an expert advisor, advocate and watchdog for rural communities—and Natural England—a new integrated agency to conserve and enhance the natural environment.

Rural Housing

Mr. Liddell-Grainger: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what funding will be given to national parks to assist with providing rural housing to encourage young people to stay in their areas. [37251]


 
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Jim Knight: The National Park Authorities have a duty to seek to foster the social and economic well-being of local communities. However no specific amounts are ring-fenced within the National Park Grant. ODPM does not make any allocation to National Parks specifically for housing.

Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the estimated unit cost of compliance with the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive is for a television set. [37343]

Malcolm Wicks: I have been asked to reply.

This will vary according to the size and weight of TV and the proximity of treatment centres.

Waterways

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when she expects to receive a representation from British Waterways on an agreed future licence fee structure for boat owners on waterways. [37275]

Jim Knight: This is an operational matter for British Waterways. Last year, British Waterways consulted publicly about proposed changes to its licence fee structure. In the light of the responses, it has produced a further consultation paper setting out revised proposals. The closing date for responses is 16 January 2006. I expect British Waterways to let me know in due course how it intends to proceed.

World Water Forum (Mexico City)

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) who from her Department will attend the World Water Forum in Mexico City in March 2006; and what her Department's role will be at the forum; [37497]

(2) if she will make a statement on the World Water Forum being held in Mexico City in March 2006. [37498]

Mr. Morley: Defra officials will attend the forum as part of the UK delegation and are continuing to work closely with DfID who are the lead Department on preparations for this event.

HEALTH

Blindness

Mr. Bacon: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps she is taking to ensure that (a) parents understand the importance of eye examinations for children and (b) young people and adults have regular eye examinations. [30897]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Free sight tests are available under the national health service to large parts of the population including children, those aged 16 to 18 in full-time education, people on benefits, those people at particular risk of developing eye disease, and people who are registered blind or partially sighted or who have a complex spectacle prescription. Sight tests allow the
 
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opportunity to review all aspects of eye health, including investigations for signs of disease. Those at risk of specific eye disease, for example diabetic retinopathy, may be asked to attend regular screening.

Information about the extensive arrangements for providing help with NHS optical services and other health costs are publicised in leaflet HC11 Are you entitled to help with health costs?" Posters are also available for display in optical practices and hospital out-patient departments.

The number of NHS sight tests undertaken continues to increase. In 2004–05, there were 10.1 million NHS sight tests, an increase of 3 per cent. on 2003–04.

We have also promoted a system of child health and development checks. The programme of home visiting and community development makes an important contribution to many areas of health education and fosters the early detection of problems, including those associated with eye sight, in young, pre-school children.

Contagious Diseases

James Duddridge: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 6 December 2005, Official Report, column 1222W, on contagious diseases, whether her Department plans to issue new regulations under the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984. [37651]

Caroline Flint: The Department has no current plans to issue new regulations under the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act.

James Duddridge: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 6 December 2005, Official Report, column 1222W, on contagious diseases, how many applications have been (a) made and (b) granted under sections 37 and 38 of the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984 and the Public Health (Infectious Diseases) Regulations 1988 in each year since 1988. [37652]

Caroline Flint [holding answer 15 December 2005]: The Department does not collect this information.

James Duddridge: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 6 December 2005, Official Report, column 1222W, on contagious diseases, whether an individual who had contracted avian influenza could be removed to, and detained in, hospital under the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984 or associated regulations. [37653]

Caroline Flint [holding answer 14 December 2005]: In principle, regulations could be made under the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984 to make the powers in sections 37 and 38 of the Act available for avian influenza that was known to pass from one human to another. However, the Department has no current plans to do so. The H5N1 strain of avian influenza currently circulating in South East Asia and elsewhere is a disease which mainly affects birds. It has been contracted by some people through close contact with poultry, but is unlikely to be passed from one human to another.
 
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Continence Services

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans she has to respond to the findings of the Royal College of Physician's Clinical Effectiveness and Evaluation Unit in its audit of continence services for older people. [34828]

Mr. Byrne: Primary care trusts are responsible within their areas for providing quality services to their patients. This includes delivering the standards on continence care for older people, as set out in the national service framework for older people.

The Healthcare Commission has responsibility for assessing progress towards achieving these standards.


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