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8 Jun 2006 : Column 798Wcontinued
In relation to the Lodge Road Roundabout, unfortunately census points exist on only three of the five approach roads. While I have detailed the average daily number of vehicles entering the roundabout from these roads in the table below, I am unable to provide you with the full information requested.
|Lodge road roundabout||Average daily flow|
|(2)These figures relate to the 2004 Census.|
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what Geographical Information System data is used by the Valuation and Lands Agencys domestic rates Automated Valuation Model. 
Mr. Hanson: Valuation and Lands Agencys CAMA (Computer Assisted Mass Appraisal) system uses the following Geographic Information System data:
Ordnance Survey for Northern Irelands (OSNI) digital database of vector and raster maps;
OSNI's X Y coordinates (geocodes) linked to VLAs database of property attributes;
Northern Ireland Statistical Research Agencys Census output areas; and
VLAs neighbourhood and estate code polygons.
Mr. Letwin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which recommendations made in the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollutions report of May 2004 on biomass the Government has implemented. 
David Miliband: The Governments response to the report was published in October 2004 and set out the measures that were in place at that time, or were being developed to address the issues raised in the recommendations. Copies of the Government's response have been placed in the House Library. Significant developments have since taken place on a number of issues relevant to the report:
In March 2006, the Government published the new Climate Change Programme which sets out the UKs programme to tackle climate change domestically and to secure agreement on action to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions.
A new support scheme for biomass heat in the industrial, commercial and community sectors will be introduced. The scheme will be worth at least £10-15 million in England over the next two years and will run for a total of 5 years.
Subject to State aid approval, a second application round of the Bio-energy Infrastructure Scheme will be launched during 2006-07.
DTIs Low Carbon Buildings Programme started in April 2006 and supersedes the previous Clear Skies Initiative and Solar PV programmes. The scheme provides grants for householders, community organisations, schools, the public sector and businesses to install microgeneration technologies.
Following the report from the Biomass Task Force, setting out their recommendations to overcome the barriers to developing biomass heat and electricity, the Government published its response in April 2006. This accepts that energy from crops, trees and waste can make a strong contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and sets out 12 key ways to make this happen. A number of the initiatives have already begun.
The 2006 revisions to the Building Regulations, together with the changes in 2002, will improve energy efficiency standards by 40 per cent. A draft Code for Sustainable Homes has been issued which sets out voluntary standards going beyond the minimum set out in the Building Regulations. The Minister for Housing has set out the Governments aim to support a long term
ambitious framework for moving first to low carbon and then towards carbon neutral development.
Miss Kirkbride: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when the list of change management and other consultants undertaking carbon management programmes will be opened up to other consultants. 
Ian Pearson: The Carbon Management Programme has been developed by the Carbon Trust. As the Trust is a private company, the management of contracts is a matter for its Board. Officials from the Carbon Trust will contact the hon. Member direct about this.
Mr. Kemp: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many nursery and creche places are provided for people working in his Department; what charges are made for the provision of such services; and what other facilities are provided for the children of employees of her Department 
Barry Gardiner: DEFRA is committed to childcare support both for the benefit of its staff but also as an essential element of addressing the Departmental business need DEFRA's childcare provision set out in the following table.
DEFRA employees are able to use a salary sacrifice scheme to reduce their childcare costs by up to £243 per month.
|Defra childcare provision and costings 2005-06|
|Full-time placement costs|
|Childcare type/Location||Places||To users||Subsidy rates||Cost to Defra 2005-06 (forecast)|
|(1 )February Playscheme 2006 costs estimated|
David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what promotion boards have been held in his Department in each of the last five years. 
Barry Gardiner: Most posts in DEFRA are filled on the basis of individual advertisements, in-house, across the civil service or as open competition, based on a competence-based selection process. The aim is to obtain precise and verifiable information about when candidates have displayed the particular behaviours and expertise at the level required for the vacancy. There have only been two general promotion boards, in 2003 and in 2004, to fill a number of vacancies and projected vacancies in the senior civil service. Selection was also through a generic competence-based process, supported by psychometric and cognitive tests, a presentation and final panel interview.
David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many non-pensionable bonuses were awarded to members of his staff in each of the last three years; and at what total cost. 
Barry Gardiner: DEFRA changed its payroll provider in November 2004. It would be disproportionate cost to report on the archived data prior to 2005-06.
During the period 1 April 2005-31 March 2006, Defra paid 4362 non-pensionable bonuses at a cost of £3,356,845.67. This equates to 1.25 per cent. of the 2005-06 pay bill.
These figures, taken from the DEFRA payroll also include agency staff in the: Pesticides Safety Directorate, State Veterinary Service, Veterinary Medicines Directorate, Marine Fisheries Agency and Government Decontamination Service.
David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many staff in his Department did not achieve an acceptable mark in their annual report in each of the last three years; and what percentage this represented of the total number of staff in each case. 
Barry Gardiner: For 2003-04 17 staff (0.27 per cent.), and in 2004-05 18 staff (0.28 per cent.) were assessed as unacceptable. The 2005-06 annual appraisal exercise is on going.
These figures are for staff in core DEFRA, the Pesticides Safety Directorate, State Veterinary Service, Veterinary Medicines Directorate, Marine Fisheries Agency and Government Decontamination Service.
Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans he has to help areas which may suffer flooding in the next 12 months. 
Ian Pearson: The Government invest significant sums of money each year to reduce the risk of flooding. Total central and local government funding for flood and coastal erosion risk management has nearly doubled from £307 million in 1996-97 to around £600 million in 2005-06.
Local authorities and the emergency services have contingency plans in place to cope with a range of incidents in their areas, including flooding. The Environment Agency (EA) also maintains its own local, regional and national level flood contingency plans. At the national level, DEFRA is the lead role for flood emergencies within Government, and our Lead Department Plan sets out the co-ordination arrangements needed at all levels.
The Government have set up a regional resilience team in each of the English regions to enhance the co-ordination of planning for wide impact events, such as major flooding, and to improve lines of communication between central Government and local response teams if a serious incident does occur. The EA, with other stakeholders, also carries out a regular programme of exercises to test its capability at all levels. This included a national level exercise in 2004, Exercise Triton.
Post-flooding, the recovery effort would be led by local authorities. Where they have incurred excessive expenditure as a consequence of a disaster or emergency they may be able to apply to the Department for Communities and Local Government for exceptional funding under the Bellwin Scheme.
Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the impact on rural communities of the ban on fox hunting; and if he will consider the merits of repealing the ban. 
Barry Gardiner: The Government have no plans to repeal the Hunting Act 2004. Since the ban came into effect, evidence has shown that hunts are continuing to meet and ride within the law and that the dire consequences for rural communities predicted by opponents of the Act have not materialised.
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what matched funding will be raised in 2006-07 to permit the rural development programme in England to be adequately funded; 
(2) what steps he is taking to match fund modulation for farmers. 
Barry Gardiner: During 2006, the England rural development programme will continue to be funded by EU rural development money from the European agricultural guidance and guarantee fund (EAGGF) and by transfers from Pillar 1 direct payments through voluntary modulation. Receipts from both of these funding sources will continue to be co-financed on an equal basis by the UK Exchequer and the EU.
From 1 January 2007, a new rural development programming period will commence with slightly different rules. The EAGGF will be replaced by a new fund called the European agricultural fund for rural development (EAFRD). This will include funds transferred from the 5 per cent. compulsory modulation applied in the old EU-15 member states. Any money from this fund must be co-financed by the national exchequer. This will normally involve equal funding by the Exchequer and the EU, although new rules allow this to be set at a ratio of 45 per cent. exchequer funding to 55 per cent. EU funding for some schemes.
The December 2005 EU budget summit agreed that from 2007, member states could decide at what level to match-fund any receipts from voluntary modulation. However, final decisions have yet to be taken about the levels of voluntary modulation and co-financing which will apply during the period 2007-13.
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