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Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when the Rural Payments Agency will begin to distribute single farm payments for 2006-07; if he will give a date by which his Department expects all payments to be made; and if he will make a statement. 
My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State said in his statement on 22 June 2006, Official Report, column 1478, that delivery of the 2006 single payment scheme will be very challenging and that he
did not want to commit to a particular payment timetable until the chief executive of the Rural Payments Agency has had an opportunity make a realistic assessment of the prospects. That remains the position.
Mr. Walter: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs by what date farmers in England are expected to receive the full balance of their 2005 Single Payment Scheme payment. 
Barry Gardiner [holding answer 17 October 2006]: As at 11 October, 113,461 claimants (97.41 per cent.) had received a total of £1.504 billion (99.27 per cent.) in full or partial payments based on an estimated total number of eligible claimants of 116,474 and an estimated total fund value of £1.515 billion.
Of approximately 3,000 customers who have yet to receive any payment, most have claims valued below €1,000 (£682). This figure includes 75 outstanding priority one customers (those due an estimated €1,000 or above) with complex cases involving issues such as probate, liquidation and business partnership disputes. In addition, some 6,361 customers are awaiting the balance to their partial payment.
Mr. Skinner: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when farmers in the East Midlands are expected to receive the full balance of their 2005 single payment scheme payment. 
As at 11 October, 113,461 claimants (97.41 per cent.) had received a total of £1.504 billion (99.27 per cent.) in full or partial payments based on an estimated total number of claimants of 116,474 and an estimated total fund value of £1.515 billion.
Of approximately 3,000 customers who have yet to receive a payment, most have claims valued below €1,000 (£682). This figure includes 75 outstanding priority one customers (those due an estimated €1,000 or above) with complex cases involving issues such as probate, liquidation and business partnership disputes.
Better Plumbing Services Ltd
BGC Gas Services Ltd
Blue Flag Ltd
East Coast Gas Services (Grimsby)
Heating Efficiency Systems Ltd
Heating Solutions t/a Premier Services
Interglow (Contracts) Ltd
J&I Crump & Son Ltd
Joatrad Services Ltd (IsI)
JPS Insulation Ltd
Kershaw Contracting Services Ltd
Lionheart Heating Services Ltd
Mark Insulations Ltd
Miller Pattison Ltd (Biggleswade)
Millfold Group (Rotherham)
Paul Brant Plumbing & Heating
Smethwick Energy Action Ltd
Sun Realm Heating Co. Ltd
Mr. Skinner: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many homes have been provided with heating under the Warm Front Scheme in (a) England and (b) Bolsover constituency in the last two years. 
Mr. Bradshaw: Data from the Local Environment Quality Survey of England, conducted by ENCAMS, show that there has been a steady improvement in cleansing performance over the last four years since the survey began. The following table shows how the national benchmarks for litter and detritus (combined) have improved:
|Proportion of unsatisfactory sites for litter and detritus (percentage)|
However, certain types of litter are on the increase. For example, fast food litter has increased over the past four years. In 2001-02 it occurred on 4 per cent. of sites surveyed, rising to 16 per cent. in 2002-03, 18 per cent. in 2003-04, and 22 per cent. in 2004-05.
No estimates have been made of any change in the level of vermin. The only recent objective national survey of rat presence is within the English House Condition Survey. The 2001 survey revealed that 0.3 per cent. of properties had rats indoors and 2.9 per cent. had rats present outside.
Advisory leaflets are also available on the Defra website, which deal with a range of wildlife problems and ways to resolve them, including the control of rats. These can be found at: http://www.defra.gov.uk/wildlife-countryside/vertebrates/leaflets.htm.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs why the Government have ruled out mandatory testing of new build residential accommodation for water efficiency targets. 
Ian Pearson: Defra and the Department for Communities and Local Government have been looking at ways of improving water efficiency in buildings. We are considering a number of proposals on water efficiency in new and existing homes, and on the domestic uses of water in non-household property. No decisions have yet been made, and we intend to hold a full public consultation on the content of any regulation proposed. This process will begin before the end of the year, and decisions will be made early in 2007.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what measures the Government have in place to ensure efficient use of water supply; and how it is liaising with (a) the water companies, (b) Ofwat and (c) the Environment Agency to see such measures implemented. 
Ian Pearson: Under the Water Industry Act 1991, water companies in England and Wales have a duty to promote the efficient use of water by their customers. The extent of the measures that water companies undertake to promote water efficiency varies according to their water resource position. I expect water companies in water stressed areas to have a more comprehensive programme of measures.
In October 2005, the Government established the Water Saving Group, which I chair. It brings together key water industry stakeholders including water companies, Ofwat and the Environment Agency, to promote the efficient use of water in households. The group has a comprehensive action plan to deliver in a
two year period. It includes work on measuring success, including looking at .possible targets and benchmarks, research into customers perceptions of (and attitudes to) water use, the policy and regulatory framework, developing incentives for water efficiency and identifying and addressing gaps in the knowledge base.
The Government announced in March 2006, following the end of the consultation on the Code for Sustainable Homes, that it was planning to introduce mandatory minimum standards for water efficiency. A joint Defra and Department for Communities and Local Government project is developing proposals for new homes, existing buildings and domestic uses of non-household buildings. The proposals will be the subject of consultation by the end of the year.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much grant-in-aid his Department allocated to British Waterways in each year since 1997 expressed in (a) actual and (b) real terms; and what future payments are planned, expressed in the same terms. 
|Financial year||Actual cash grant||Grant in real terms at todays prices|
The Department is reviewing future budgets with its agencies and non-departmental public bodies as part of a Department-wide review of spending plans to ensure full alignment with strategic priorities.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the effect on inland waterways of the reduction in the budget of the Environment Agency. 
Barry Gardiner: The EAs board has decided to maintain the level of spending on its navigation capital works towards addressing the existing backlog of maintenance on its built assets. However, the EA has made a reduction of £0.5 million in its navigation operating budget for 2006-07. In making this reduction the EA has sought to minimise the impact on front line service delivery.
The scheme sets out the service that DEFRA will provide to the public in Wales with regard to Welsh language provision. This scheme applies to the areas of work that DEFRA has responsibility for in Walesdevolved areas are the responsibility of the National Assembly for Wales which has its own scheme. Further information is available on the DEFRA website at: http://www.defra.gov.uk/corporate/welshlangscheme/index.htm.
Stewart Hosie: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what the value was of each monthly transfer to the Scottish Consolidated Fund in the most recent year for which figures are available. 
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