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26 Jun 2006 : Column 28Wcontinued
Data on sickness absences for 2005 is not yet available.
The estimated total cost of sickness absence for Defra and its agencies each year is as follows:
These figures represent the average salary costs for the number of working days lost.
The average number of working days lost per employee due to industrial action since 2001 is shown in the following table.
The figure given for 2001 covers Defra and the agencies. Individual figures for the agencies are not available. There were no days lost to industrial action in 2002 or 2003.
Estimated cost figures for industrial action are not applicable since pay is stopped for the period of absence.
David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the total cost was of (a) staff away days and (b) staff team building exercises in his Department in each of the last three years. 
Barry Gardiner: Each business area within the core Department holds its own devolved learning and development budget which it uses to fund locally arranged training for its staff, including staff away days and team building exercises.
The costs of locally funded staff away days and team building events in each of the last three calendar years were:
|Away days||Team building events||Totals|
Joan Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will reconsider his response to the Environmental Audit Committee's Second Report of Session 2005-06 on sustainable timber; and if he will make a statement. 
Barry Gardiner: The Government's response to the Environmental Audit Committee Report on sustainable timber, as published on 4 May 2006 (HC 1078), acknowledges that more should be done to facilitate sustainable forestry both domestically and internationally. Further measures to strengthen the Government's commitment to sustainable and productive forests will be developed in the near future and the Government will write to the Environmental Audit Committee about these measures in due course.
Mr. Ian Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps he is taking to encourage the use of sustainable water systems in new housing developments. 
Ian Pearson: Defra is working closely with the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) to introduce measures that encourage the use of sustainable water systems in new housing.
DCLG has consulted on proposals for a new Code for Sustainable Homes. This would promote sustainable drainage and set out standards for water efficiency above the current statutory baseline. DCLG has announced plans to strengthen elements of the proposed code, and is considering making minimum standards of water efficiency mandatory. From April 2006 all new homes
funded by English Partnerships and the Housing Corporation will be required to meet code level three (equivalent to the EcoHomes Very Good, 2006 standard).
In addition Defra and DCLG are working jointly on new regulations to improve water efficiency in buildings. We intend to consult jointly this summer on ways of making minimum standards of water efficiency mandatory in new homes, existing buildings and in respect of domestic uses in non-household property.
Mr. Ian Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions the Water Saving Group has had on rainwater harvesting for use in households. 
Ian Pearson: The Water Saving Group is currently working on an agreed action plan to encourage the efficient use of water in households, although it has not looked at rainwater harvesting specifically. However, the Government's Market Transformation Programme is looking at technologies that could potentially reduce overall water consumption by reusing rainwater and/or greywater (from baths/showers etc). A project has started this year to develop the necessary evidence, economic case, feasibility, performance standards, policy action plan and impact scenarios to determine the best use of rainwater and greywater technology.
Mr. Ian Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether there are plans to provide financial incentives for households to use (a) rainwater harvesting and (b) other water conservation technologies. 
Ian Pearson: The Government encourage the use of water butts as a sensible way to harvest rainwater for use in garden watering and car washing. As part of the duty to promote the efficient use of water by their customers, many water companies offer subsidised water butts, as well as other devices that can save water. Metered customers have a financial incentive to use water carefully and install water efficient fittings.
Paul Holmes: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the average daily (a) volume and (b) speed of traffic travelling on the A303 was in each year since 1997. 
Dr. Ladyman: Average daily traffic flows on the A303 are available at several locations. However, not all locations have data as far back as 1997. Regular speed monitoring started in 2002-03. The following sites are typical of the flows on different sections of the road:
|Andover Bypass||East of Longbarrow Roundabout (near Stonehenge)||Ilminster Bypass|
Flows are average numbers of vehicles per 24-hour day (vpd) to the nearest thousand and speeds are the average spot speed for all vehicle types during the 24-hour day, in mph.
Paul Holmes: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what projections have been made by his Department of traffic volumes on the A303. 
Dr. Ladyman: Projections specifically related to the growth of traffic on the A303 in its entirety are not readily available.
Individual sections of the A303 have been subject to study or are part of the Highways Agencys Targeted Programme of Improvements. For each of these studies and schemes, traffic forecasts have been produced and these can be made available from the Highways Agency upon request.
Paul Holmes: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many road traffic (a) accidents and (b) fatalities have occurred on the A303 in each year since 1997. 
Dr. Ladyman: The number of personal injury road traffic accidents and fatalities that have occurred on the A303 in each year since 1997 are as shown on the tables below. The accident data for 2006 is not available at present. Information is not available for accidents where there is no personal injury.
|Accidents on the A303 from its junction with the M3 at Popham to the Wiltshire/Hampshire border|
| Number personal injury accidents (PIAs)|| Number of fatalities as a result of accidents|
|Accidents on the A303 between the Hampshire/Wiltshire border (A338 junction) and its junction with the A30 in Devon|
|Number personal injury accidents (PIAs)||Number of fatalities as a result of accidents|
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