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28 Mar 2006 : Column 842W—continued

Kyoto Protocol

Mrs. Dorries: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps the Government is taking to meet its commitments on carbon reductions under the Kyoto Protocol; and if she will make a statement. [60451]

Mr. Morley: The UK expects to exceed by about 7percentage points its Kyoto Protocol commitment to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 12.5 per cent. below base year levels by 2008–12. Latest available figures indicate that in 2004 UK greenhouse gas emissions were 14.6 per cent. lower than base year levels. The additional policies and measures to be introduced from the current review of the UK's Climate Change Programme will achieve further reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

Operating and Financial Review

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when she was first informed by HM Treasury of the decision to abandon the Operating and Financial Review. [58249]

Margaret Beckett [holding answer 13 March 2006]: The Government took the collective decision in November 2005 to repeal the mandatory requirement on quoted companies to prepare an Operating and Financial Review (OFR) as contained in the OFR
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regulations so that they are required to prepare a Business Review instead, and I was consulted prior to the decision being taken.


Colin Challen: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the change has been in the level of (a) carbon dioxide emissions and (b) carbon dioxide emissions from (i) aviation and (ii)shipping from the UK since 1990. [60569]

Mr. Morley: According to latest Government statistics published in January 2006, total net carbon dioxide emissions (including removals by sinks) fell by 5.6 per cent. between 1990 and 2004. Over the same period, carbon dioxide emissions from domestic aviation have increased by an estimated 80 per cent. and carbon dioxide emissions from domestic shipping have decreased by an estimated 11 per cent. The figures presented in the following table do not include emissions from international aviation or international shipping which, according to rules agreed internationally, are estimated and recorded by the UK in its greenhouse gas inventory but are not counted in assessments of progress against international climate change targets.
UK, million tonnes carbon (MtC)
19902004Percentage change
Total net carbon dioxide emissions (including removals by sinks)161.5152.5-5.6
Carbon dioxide emissions from domestic aviation0.350.63+80
Carbon dioxide emissions from domestic shipping1.121.0-11

Sustainable Building

Alan Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what proportion of the Department's building programme budget was allocated to (a) energy self-generation and (b) water recycling measures in the 2004–05 financial year. [58748]

Mr. Bradshaw: Defra incorporates significant sustainable features in all major new buildings and refurbishment works that it undertakes. However, no energy self-generation or water recycling measures were installed during the financial year 2004–05.

Defra is implementing the Framework for Sustainable Development on the Government Estate which sets specific targets for reduction of water use per person per annum, and for sourcing electricity from renewable and self-generated sources.

In 2005–06 3.2 per cent. of the capital building programme budget has been committed to item (a) energy self-generation. No item (b) water recycling capital investment was made.


Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what plans the Government have to ensure adequate supplies of water to houses proposed under the Sustainable Communities Plan; [60106]
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(2) what (a) assessment her Department has made of and (b) research has been conducted by her Department on the effect of the Sustainable Communities Plan on water supplies. [60112]

Mr. Morley: It is for the individual water companies concerned to consider the need for increasing provision of water in fulfilment of their statutory duties to maintain adequate supplies of water. They have 25 year water resource plans which seek to reconcile supply with anticipated demand. This forward planning framework exists to take account of factors such as the water supplyand disposal infrastructure required to service significant new housing developments such as that proposed under the Sustainable Communities Plan. Water resources plans will become a statutory requirement under the provisions of the Water Act 2003.

ODPM and Defra jointly commissioned a major research project, 'A Sustainability Impact Study of Additional Housing Scenarios in England', to consider the environmental, social and economic impacts of additional housing supply proposed by the Barker Review. As part of the project a nine-region model was developed to examine the relationship between housing supply and various environmental impacts, including land take, waste production, water use and energy use. The research indicated that the reaching the Government's ambition of 200,000 additional new houses would result in an additional demand of 12 million litres per day in 2016 above the 12,728 million litres/day in the baseline.

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what her Department's policy is on making water meters compulsory for new build domestic properties. [60107]

Mr. Morley: The Government's policy is that metering, with appropriate tariffs and protection for vulnerable groups, is a fair method of water charging. Household customers have the right to opt for a measured charge or to remain on an established unmeasured basis of charging while using water only for normal household purposes in their current home. Subject to those rights it is for water companies to decide in which circumstances to base their charges on metering and in which circumstances on another basis. All water companies choose to meter new homes.

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what assessment the Government have made of the demographics of households who have volunteered for water meters; [60109]

(2) what assessment the Government have made of the effect of compulsory water metering on (a) the water bills of families and (b) poorer socio-economic groups. [60111]

Mr. Morley: Before the introduction of the statutory free meter option, DETR commissioned and published Incidence Effects of Charging for Domestic Water and Sewerage Services' in June 1998. That project developed a model that calculated the distributional effects on households of changing water charging from a rateable value basis to alternative unmeasured and measured
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options. This showed that switching to alternative water charging systems created not only winners but also a large numbers of losers.

In December 2004 Defra published the 'cross-Government review of water affordability report'. That report showed the scope and scale of the water affordability issue, including the effects on lower income groups and pensioners. Following the recommendations of the report Defra is currently working with Ofwat, the Consumer Council for Water, and water companies to look at the effects on types of households of alternative methods of measured charging as part of a range of measured and unmeasured tariff options.

Alistair Burt: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether she plans to review the licence fees and charges incurred under the Water Framework Directive by homeowners who install environmentally friendly heat pumps by means of Clear Skies grant. [60370]

Mr. Morley: Abstraction licences and discharge consents may be required for the operation of heat pumps, depending upon the exact configuration and operation of any given system. Controls on abstractions and discharges have been in place for many years under the Water Resources Act 1991.

The Environment Agency sets out charges for abstractions and discharges in charging schemes that are approved by Ministers on an annual basis. There are no plans to dispense with charges in relation to heat pumps installed under the Clear Skies grant scheme.

Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what research her Department has carried out into the feasibility of creating a national grid of water pipes. [61646]

Mr. Morley: My Department has conducted no such research. The Environment Agency is the statutory body with a duty to manage water resources in England and Wales. As part of the Agency's management role it has national and regional water resource strategies, published in 2001, which set out the pressures over the next 25 years. The strategies indicated that a national water grid would suffer a number of drawbacks. These include that pipelines for long distance transfers are large and their construction may be disruptive, and that pumping can consume much energy and add to carbon emissions. The Agency is currently undertaking some further work to update its earlier conclusions.

Water companies have statutory duties to maintain water supplies. It is for them to plan the investment necessary to deliver their services, including the necessary financial provision, and it is for Ofwat, in the light of companies' plans, to secure that companies carry out and are able to finance their functions. Each water company operates its own network of water pipes, but I am not aware that water companies collectively are considering the establishment of a national grid of water pipes.

The merits of a water grid would be considered by Ministers if applications for planning and other consents came before them for determination.
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Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what information her Department collects on the charges levied on (a) domestic and (b) commercial consumers of (i) metered and (ii) unmetered supplies by each water and sewerage undertaking in each county of England. [60888]

Mr. Morley [holding answer 23 March 2006]: The Department does not collect information on the charges levied by water and sewerage undertakers in England. The Office of Water Services (Ofwat), the economic regulator of the water industry, collects information on the household and non-household charges made by the water and sewerage undertakers. This information is based on the areas that the companies serve rather than administrative counties.

Ofwat publishes information on charges in its annual Tariff structures and charges report". Companies have recently sent out bills for 2006–07. Information for this charging year will be available in the 2006–07 report which will be published in April.

The following tables show water and sewerage companies' charges to households for 2005–06. The first table provides the average unmeasured household bill for this period charged by each water and sewerage undertaker. The second provides the average measured bill for this period charged by each water and sewerage undertaker.

Detailed information on companies' charges for non-household customers can be found in Ofwat's Tariff structures and charges 2005–06 report" which is available in the Library of the House. Most non-household customers pay a charge calculated via a volumetric rate. Most water and sewerage undertakers also levy a fixed charge on their non-household customers according to the size of the meter that the customer has. This fixed charge varies from company to company.
Average unmeasured household bills—2005–06

Water and sewerage companies
Dwr Cymru153199352
Essex and Suffolk (part Northumbrian)159
Severn Trent135125260
South West177323500
United Utilities139157296
Yorkshire (including York)133145278
Water only companies
Bournemouth & West Hampshire137
Dee Valley129
Folkestone and Dover175
Mid Kent156
South East163
South Staffs105
Sutton and East Surrey151
Tendring Hundred204
Three Valleys (including North Surrey)148


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Average measured household bills 2005–06

Water and sewerage companies
Dwr Cymru105114219
Essex and Suffolk (part Northumbrian)116
Severn Trent113118231
South West116194310
United Utilities124140264
Yorkshire (including York)111119230
Water only companies
Bournemouth & West Hampshire114
Dee Valley89
Folkestone and Dover127
Mid Kent124
South East130
South Staffs100
Sutton and East Surrey114
Tendring Hundred139
Three Valleys (including North Surrey)122


Mrs. Lait: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions she has had with the relevant water companies on ensuring water supply to homes in London and the South East in summer 2006; and if she will make a statement. [61305]

Mr. Morley: Water companies supplying London and the South East, in common with the other water companies, produce drought plans, which are now a statutory requirement as a result of changes introduced by the Water Act 2003. The drought plan sets out how the company will continue to meet its duty to maintain an adequate supply of water during a short term water shortage.

One of the actions may involve applying to my Department for drought orders to restrict non-essential uses of water. My officials have had discussions relating to water supplies, and possible drought orders, with Thames Water, Sutton and East Surrey Water, Southern Water, Mid Kent Water and South East Water.

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