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Barry Gardiner [holding answer 27 April 2006]: No specific research has been conducted. However, Ministers keep in close contact with a range of stakeholders, including representatives of the major banks, in order to help ensure that a full picture is maintained of the issues facing farmers in relation to the timing of payments under the 2005 Single Payment Scheme.

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether the Government will extend the deadline for making 2005 single farm payments from 15 May to 9 June to avoid paying penalties of 1 per cent. per working day. [75047]

Barry Gardiner: The 15 May 2006 deadline for submitting applications under the 2006 Single Payment Scheme is fixed in EU legislation and is not a matter for national discretion.

However, as my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State explained in his written statement on 9 May 2006, Official Report, column 10WS, farmers have been advised that the normal ‘late claim’ penalties will not apply to applications received between 16 and 31 May 2006.

Small Change Big Difference

Anne Milton: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps his Department and its agencies have taken following the launch of the Government's Small Change Big Difference Campaign. [72005]

Barry Gardiner: A number of Defra activities fit well with this important campaign.

Considerable work is being done by Defra to promote healthy living and a better understanding of the natural world through increased access to the English countryside and urban green spaces. This is for people of all ages and backgrounds. Defra has recently launched a public consultation exercise, in collaboration with the Countryside Agency, called “Access for All?”. This seeks views on a draft action plan that aims, over a 10 year period, to increase the number of people who choose to make use of outdoor recreational facilities. In particular, the plan is aimed at the nine million disabled people and the five million people from ethnic minority communities in the UK, often living in areas of high urban density, who do not currently access proportionate benefit from England's green areas.

Following the Countryside and Rights of Way Act (CROW) 2000, since 31 October 2005, about 750,000 hectares of English land have been made available to the public. This “right to roam” means that walkers can freely explore such land without having to stay on footpaths.

As the programme of work develops the Department of Health (DoH) will be working across all of government to ensure the programme joins up to promote maximum impact. DoH is leading the implementation for this initiative as part of its cross-government commitment to deliver the November 2004 White Paper “Choosing Health: Making healthy choices easier”.

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Our Food Industry Sustainability Strategy (FISS), published in April 2006, shows how we are following up the March 2005 paper “Choosing a Better Diet: a Food and Health Action Plan” that arose from the White Paper. This follow-up action will include Defra membership of a new Government working group to establish and develop nutritional standards for food procured by the NHS, armed forces and HM prisons. Defra will act as the group's link to the Public Sector Food Procurement Initiative, which is working with buyers to ensure that as much as possible of the £1.8 billion spent per annum on food supply and catering services for the public sector is sustainably produced.

Sovereign Strategy

Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on what dates over the last 12 months (a) he and (b) (i) Ministers and (ii) officials in his Department met a representative of Sovereign Strategy. [72341]

Barry Gardiner: There have been no meetings between any Defra Ministers or officials with any persons in their role as representatives of Sovereign strategy in the last 12 months.

All such contacts are conducted in accordance with the requirements of the Ministerial Code, Civil Service Code, Code of Conduct for Special Advisers and Guidance for civil servants on contacts with lobbyists and people outside Government.

Sustainable Farming

Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what funding her Department has provided for research into sustainable farming in each of the last 10 years; how much of that funding was spent on contracts with the Institute of Grassland and Environmental Research (IGER); and if she will make a statement on the future of the IGER. [59299]

Barry Gardiner: Figures are provided from 2001-02 (the year when Defra was formed), since it was from this time that sustainable farming became the main objective for R and D programmes in the agriculture area. The figures are:

£ million
Defra R and D funding into sustainable farming Sustainable farming R and D funding with IGER( 1)
















(1) Figures exclude Defra contributions to consortia projects of which IGER is a partner.

Defra procures research to support Government policies relevant to sustainable farming at a range of research establishments including IGER. As IGER is a Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) research institute, its future is a matter for the BBSRC and the institute.

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However, as a customer for the services provided by IGER, Defra has an interest in the maintenance of areas of expertise and service provision that relate to our present and developing needs. IGER is, and will continue to be, a very important research partner for Defra, as reflected in my Department’s continuing significant investment; we are committed to investing over £5 million in research programmes at IGER in 2006-07. The reduction in IGER's contractual income from Defra is a consequence of certain projects and programmes reaching their natural end point. No active research programmes are being terminated early.

Television Stand-by Switches

Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to his Answer of 19 April 2006, Official Report, column 729W, on television stand-by switches, what estimate he has made of the percentage of televisions in use which consume three to eight watts in stand-by mode. [74192]

Ian Pearson: The Government's Market Transformation Programme (MTP) estimates that of the 60 million televisions in UK homes around half use more than 3 watts in stand-by mode. The MTP considers that this percentage will fall as older televisions are replaced with newer models which use on average less than 3 watts in stand-by mode.

Thames Water

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what the maximum capacity was of Thames Water storage facilities in each of the last five years for which figures are available; [73824]

(2) what the level of water available in Thames Water storage facilities was on 1 April in each of the last five years for which figures are available. [73825]

Ian Pearson: Annual figures for both the maximum useable volume possible and actual useable volume for water in the Thames Water area for the period April 2001 to April 2006, in mega litres (Ml) are given in the following table which also includes a column depicting the percentage of maximum available water being used.

Useable volume is always less than actual useable volume because of issues such as water quality, location of pumps, etc.

1 April: Maximum usable volume possible (Ml) Actual useable volume (Ml) Percentage of total volume being used

























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Waste Management

David Lepper: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) how his Department promotes reusable products as part of its policies on waste prevention and sustainability; and if he will make a statement; [72555]

(2) what assessment his Department has made of the comparative impact of reusable and single-use products on the waste stream; [72556]

(3) what programmes (a) run by and (b) supported by his Department promote reusable products. [72557]

Mr. Bradshaw: Reuse has an important role in sustainable waste management. It is second only to waste minimisation in the waste hierarchy.

In reviewing the Government's Waste Strategy, we are looking to put greater emphasis on waste prevention and resource efficiency, including re-use. This includes work to improve the evidence base and taking a. life cycle approach to identifying priority products so that we target our intervention at the most significant areas. Our existing consultation exercise seeks views on how re-use and re-manufacture could be further stimulated.

Some parts of the waste stream already have well-developed re-use networks, including textiles, second-hand vehicles, electrical and, to a lesser extent, electronic goods. In other areas the voluntary and community sector plays a valuable role through the work of charity shops, furniture and appliance re-use projects, the Community Re-Paint initiative, Fareshare's food programme and scrapstores using spare materials for educational purposes.

The Government's Business Resource Efficiency Programme (BREW) programme will be supporting a number of reuse activities through the Business Reuse Fund in 2006-07. In addition, the Packaging, End of Life Vehicles, and Waste Electrical and Equipment Directives all serve to encourage more re-use.

The Defra-funded Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) also supports a variety of reuse projects, including the Choose To Reuse shopping bag campaign and the use of real nappies. Further information is available on the WRAP website:

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of the amount of waste created by the (a) public and (b) private sectors in each of the last five years; what steps he is taking to reduce these amounts; and if he will make a statement. [74640]

Mr. Bradshaw: Various surveys are carried out on the amounts of controlled and non-controlled waste generated. Detailed figures and statistics on waste and recycling in England and Wales are available from the Defra website:

Good progress has been made on the minimisation and recycling of waste since the publication of the
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“Waste Strategy for England and Wales 2000”, which sets out Government's strategy for sustainable waste management.

Lesser amounts of most kinds of waste are being landfilled, and recycling and composting of household waste has doubled in the last four years. The latest figures show that local authorities in England recycled 22.9 per cent. of household waste in 2004-05 compared to 10.3 per cent. in 2001-02. More packaging waste is being recovered and recycled, rising from 33 per cent. to 56 per cent. between 1998 and 2004. The re-use and recycling of industrial and commercial waste has also increased, together with construction and demolition waste.

However, we still have much more to do. In 2000, our waste strategy set targets to recycle or compost at least 30 per cent. of household waste by 2010 and 33 per cent. by 2015. The Government have provided local authorities with greater levels of funding to enable them to meet their targets, and the majority of local authorities are working hard to improve their performance. Defra is proposing more targeted intervention and engagement with the poorest performers, and those local authorities with the lowest recycling rates in England have had their targets for 2007-08 raised from 18 per cent. to 20 per cent.

A number of programmes including the Waste Minimisation and Recycling Fund and its successor the Waste Performance and Efficiency Grant, the Business Resource Efficiency and Waste (BREW) Programme, and the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) have been set up to support and increase waste recycling and provide efficient markets for recycled materials.

A review of the Government's waste strategy is currently underway. The new strategy will support the use of waste as a resource. It will also focus on waste prevention and resource efficiency, the development of a recycling culture, and a more joined up approach across waste streams—particularly for business and local authority waste.


Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what definition the Government uses of water poor. [73188]

Ian Pearson: The issue of water affordability is one which the Government takes very seriously, but there is no Government definition of ‘water poor’. The percentage of households spending more than 3 per cent. of their income on water charges is used as an indicator of water affordability among DEFRA’s sustainability indicators.

The Government are currently working with industry and regulators to follow up the recommendations of the cross-Government Review of Water Affordability in December 2004.

Lyn Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what effect the declaration of a drought situation has on the economic
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levels of leakage method of calculating acceptable levels of leakage by water companies. [72854]

Ian Pearson: The declaration of a drought situation will not change a water company’s published long-term Economic Level of Leakage (ELL), but it should have an impact on leakage activity in the short-term.

In a drought situation, companies should apply the maximum available effort to reducing demand and increasing supply. This will have the effect of producing a new short-term ELL based on setting the costs of additional leakage reduction options against the economic valuation of other available short-term options such as increasing abstraction and hosepipe bans. As the cheaper longer term options are excluded from this calculation, the short-term ELL in a drought is lower than the published ELL.


A21 Dualling

Greg Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he expects to announce his decision on the scheme to dual the A21 between Tonbridge and Pembury and between Kippings Cross and Lamberhurst recommended by the South East England Regional Assembly in January. [73989]

Dr. Ladyman: We are currently considering advice from the South East region on the priority it attaches to these schemes within the indicative regional funding allocations announced in July 2005. We hope to announce our response before the summer recess.

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