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Mr. Todd: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps he has taken to increase local authority access to means of detecting and locating the source of low-frequency noise. 
Mr. Bradshaw: Detecting and locating the source of low frequency noise can be extremely challenging. Disturbance can occur at levels only slightly higher than the hearing threshold and its effects can therefore vary from one individual to the next.
To help local authorities and environmental health practitioners investigate disturbances caused by low frequency noise, DEFRA commissioned the University of Salford to develop proposed criteria and a methodology for the assessment of low frequency noise complaints.
The University's report, Procedure for the assessment of low frequency noise complaints, was published in February 2005. It is now available on the DEFRA website:http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/noise/research/lowfrequency/pdf/nanr45-procedure.pdf
Mr. Mark Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps she is taking in conjunction with local authorities to meet European Union targets on nitrogen dioxide emissions. 
Mr. Bradshaw: The First Air Quality Daughter Directive (1999/30/EC) sets binding limit values for nitrogen dioxide; a one hour mean (200 microgramme/m(3)) and an annual mean (40 microgramme/m(3)) to be met by 2010.
Action is being taken at international, national and local level to tackle air pollution. We are involved in a number of international and European fora in dealing with air quality issues. We are currently negotiating a new ED Air Quality Directive. We are also currently negotiating further .stringent reductions to European emission standards on nitrogen dioxide and particles (PM-10) for light duty vehicles.
Nationally, we are undertaking a review of the Air Quality Strategy (AQS) to identify potential new additional measures to move us closer to meeting the national air quality objectives, which are similar or tighter than the ED limit and target values, and at the same time generating cost-effective health benefits. An AQS consultation document was published on 5 April 2006 and can be found at http://www.defra.gov.uk/corporate/consult/airqualstrat-review/index.htm. The consultation period finishes on 11 July 2006.
At the local level, local authorities also have a role to play in helping the Government deliver cleaner air. Local authorities have a duty to review and assess the air quality against nationally prescribed air quality objectives for seven main air pollutants. Where local authorities consider that one or more of the air quality objectives is unlikely to be met by the relevant deadline, they must declare an air quality management area (AQMA), covering the area where the problem is expected. These local authorities must then take action, along with other agencies and organisations, to work towards meeting the air quality objectives.
Mr. Mark Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the nitrogen dioxide emission statistics for (a) Marylebone Road, (b) Brompton Road and (c) Cromwell Road were in each of the last five years. 
Mr. Bradshaw: The following are annual nitrogen dioxide concentration statistics based on automatic air quality measurement data for London Marylebone and Cromwell roads over the period 2001-05. Data for Brompton Road have been provided by the Royal borough of Kensington and Chelsea.
|Knightsbridge (LAQN) Brompton Road site|
|Statistic||2001||2002||2003||2004||( 2) 2005|
|Data capture > 90 per cent. in each case|
(1) 200 micrograms per metre cubed hourly mean limit value not to be exceeded more than 18 times per year
(2) 2005 Knightsbridge data is provisional
Data for London Marylebone and Cromwell roads are available from the National Air Quality Information Archive www.airquality.co.uk and data for Brompton Road are available from the London Air Quality Network website www.londonair.org.uk/london/asp/home.asp.
Mr. Mark Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on air quality standards in central London, with particular reference to nitrogen oxide emissions. 
Mr. Bradshaw: The national Air Quality Strategy, published in 2000, sets a one hour mean air quality objective for nitrogen dioxide of 200 micrograms per cubic metre not to be exceeded more than 18 times per year and an annual mean of 40 micrograms per cubic metre, both to be achieved by 31 December 2005. These objectives are to be achieved sooner than the equivalent EU limit values which have to be met by 2010.
The Greater London Authority Act 1999 gave the Mayor responsibility for improving air quality in London. The Mayor published his Air Quality Strategy for London in September 2002, setting out his proposals for implementation of the policies in the national Air Quality Strategy and achievement of the objectives prescribed in regulations. London local authorities have to take account of the Mayor's Strategy when carrying out their local air quality management duties.
Under Part IV of the Environment Act 1995, currently 30 out of the 33 London local authorities have declared air quality management areas in respect of nitrogen dioxide mainly relating to road transport emissions.
Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what agreements
the Government has entered into with (a) EU and (b) other international organisations on the use of perfluorooctane sulfonate. 
Ian Pearson: On 5 December 2005, the European Commission published a proposal for a Directive (76/769/EC) relating to restrictions on the marketing and use of perfluorooctane sulfonates (PFOSs). While the UK welcomes the proposals we do not feel that they go far enough, and the UK is working to strengthen these proposals.
We are also working to have PFOS agreed asa persistent organic pollutant and subject to international controls under the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants and the UNECE Protocol on Persistent Organic Pollutants.
Mr. Todd: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the cost has been of Rural Payment Agency (RPA) services supplied to the National Fallen Stock Company since it was established; and what assessment she has made of the RPA's relationship with the company. 
Barry Gardiner: The total cost of RPA services supplied to the National Fallen Stock Company to the end of March 2006 was £3,424,798.78. This can be broken down into £2,481,211.10 for scheme set-up costs (including IT development) and £943,587,68 for scheme running costs.
Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many telephone calls have been made to the Rural Payments Agency's Customer Service Centre in (a) each ofthe last 12 months and (b) the period commencing13 April 2006; how many calls in each period have gone unanswered; and if he will make a statement. 
Barry Gardiner: The figures in the table show calls to the main RPA Customer Service Number 0845 603 7777 only. This line is the main customer telephone number for all subsidy and SPS related calls. RPA operate several other call lines.
|Calls offered to 0845 603 7777||Number unanswered||Percentage unanswered|
|(1) May, June and July 2005 figures are an amalgamation of statistics collected from several call centre systems and represent our best estimate. (2) The November 2005 figure was the result of a high volume of calls and repeat calls on a day during an emergency evacuation of the call centre.|
Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many requests the Rural Payments Agency received (a) before 13 April 2006 and (b) on or since 13 April 2006 for claim forms for the 2006-07 Single Payment Scheme; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of the number of potential applicants under the 2006-07 Single Payments Scheme to whom the Rural Payments Agency did not send a claim form before 13 April 2006 having been asked to do so; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions he has had on deferring of the deadline for applications to the Rural Payments Agency for single farm payments. 
Barry Gardiner: My noble. Friend Lord Bach, the former Minister with responsibility for sustainable farming and food has over the last two months met weekly with the Presidents of the National Farmers Union, the Country Landowners Association and the Tenant Farmers Association to discuss Single Payment Scheme (SPS) issues. An outcome of these discussions is that although farmers should continue to aim to meet the 15 May deadline for SPS applications, late claim penalties will not be applied to applications received between 15 and 31 May. Applications submitted between 1 and 9 June will attract the normal 1 per cent. per working day penalty and any applications submitted after 9 June will be rejected.
Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions he has had concerning the position of those who are
yet to receive their Single Farm Payments but are expected to submit their application forms for the following year by 15 May; and if he will make a statement. 
Barry Gardiner: My noble Friend Lord Bach, the former Parliamentary Under Secretary, had for the last two months met weekly with the Presidents of the National Farmers Union, the Country Landowners Association and the Tenant Farmers Association to discuss Single Payment Scheme (SPS) issues. An outcome of these discussions is that although farmers should continue to aim to meet the 15 May deadline for SPS applications, late claim penalties will not be applied to applications received between 15 and31 May. Applications submitted between 1 and 9 June will attract the normal 1 per cent. per working day penalty and any applications submitted after 9 June will be rejected.
The Secretary of State announced on 9 May that some £730 million would be paid in the next week in the form of a substantial partial payment. Once this sum has been paid there will remain around 31,000 claimants who will not have received a payment. Some 26,000 of these claimants are due to receive a payment amounting to less than €1,000. Making full payments to the 5,000 farmers due to receive more than €1,000 will now be given the highest priority by the Rural Payments Agency.
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