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31 Oct 2006 : Column 270W—continued


Energy Efficiency

Mr. Meacher: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the estimated level of energy efficiency achieved by each local authority in buildings and services within its own area was in the last period for which figures are available; and what the comparable figures were for each local authority (a) five and (b) 10 years ago. [97203]

Ian Pearson [holding answer 26 October 2006]: The Department does not carry out central monitoring of either the energy consumed or the savings achieved in individual local authorities buildings or in the provision of their services. Local authorities are responsible for their own energy consumption and achieving efficiency savings will be a matter for local authority energy managers. Therefore the information could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

The 1995 Home Energy Conservation Act requires local authorities with housing responsibility to prepare a strategy for improving energy efficiency within residential accommodation in their areas and report annually on progress. Since 1996 authorities have reported an average total improvement of approximately 16.7 per cent. to 31 March 2005.

Results for all local authorities can be found at: http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/energy/heca95/pdf/heca-data2005.pdf

Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what events in support of Energy Efficiency Week his Department has (a) sponsored and (b) participated in. [97220]


31 Oct 2006 : Column 271W

Ian Pearson: The Energy Saving Trust (EST) is funded by Government to encourage and promote, through partnership, the sustainable and efficient use of energy. Defra is providing EST with around £28 million funding in 2006-07 to help support its work of promoting energy efficiency through advertising programmes, advice centres and the endorsement of energy saving products. Its Energy Efficiency Week, now in its tenth year, plays a key part in its public awareness strategy.

This year's Energy Saving Week (Monday 23 October to Sunday 29 October) focused on how individual consumers can make a difference by adopting small measures to reduce the amount of energy they consume on a daily basis. The overall campaign theme is “Commit to Save Your 20%”, and Energy Saving Week contributes to this by promoting the idea that ordinary actions make extraordinary things happen. The EST are aiming to highlight that through everyday, “normal” actions, consumers are able to make an enormous difference—both to help the environment and save themselves money.

Enhanced Capital Allowance Scheme

Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will reform the Enhanced Capital Allowance scheme to widen its scope to include thermal mass and night time ventilation. [96714]

Ian Pearson [holding answer 25 October 2006]: The Carbon Trust administers the Enhanced Capital Allowance (ECA) scheme for energy-saving plant and machinery and considers the technical merits of further technology classes for inclusion in the scheme. I understand that the trust has carefully considered an application for the inclusion of thermal mass and night time ventilation technologies. On the details provided to the Carbon Trust it appears that rather than comprising plant and machinery covered by the scheme, the primary components of these technologies are flooring and roofing. However, some equipment which is occasionally used with thermal mass or night time ventilation installation is included in the ECA scheme and can already qualify for the accelerated allowances.

Flood Protection

Hugh Bayley: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much (a) the Government, (b) North Yorkshire county council and (c) City of York council spent on flood alleviation and protection in the Ouse catchment in each year since 1992. [96614]

Ian Pearson: Defra funds most of the Environment Agency's flood related work and grant aids individual capital improvement projects undertaken by local authorities and, in low-lying areas, internal drainage boards. The programme to manage risk is driven by these operating authorities; Defra does not build defences, nor direct the authorities on what specific projects to undertake.


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The following table shows expenditure on flood protection and alleviation measures in the Ouse catchment area. This is defined as that part of the Ouse catchment between the confluence with the River Ure and the confluence with the River Derwent. The figures for local authority spend have been taken from returns by the authorities to the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) and represents their own spend plus their levies to internal drainage boards. This local authority spend is largely supported by revenue support grant from DCLG.

Grant payments by Defra for local authority and internal drainage board capital improvement projects are not recorded by catchment. We have not been able to identify any such funding for the area and years in question.

£000
Environment Agency City of York North Yorkshire county council
Revenue Capital Total

1992-93

280

570

850

109

0

1993-94

220

480

700

97

0

1994-95

220

180

400

122

0

1995-96

210

90

300

96

0

1996-97

200

60

260

373

0

1997-98

300

90

390

356

0

1998-99

400

90

490

660

0

1999-2000

490

100

590

411

0

2000-01

580

400

980

464

0

2001-02

675

920

1,595

559

0

2002-03

775

920

1,695

561

0

2003-04

850

2,120

2,970

582

0

2004-05

950

3,020

3,970

618

0

2005-06

1,050

5,600

6,650

928

0


Light Bulbs

Mr. McGovern: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will assess the merits of instituting a ban on the sale of incandescent light bulbs. [92383]

Ian Pearson: The Government are committed to using all suitable policy instruments to remove the least efficient products from UK markets. Our current assessment is that, by removing ordinary incandescent light bulbs (GLS bulbs) from the UK market and encouraging sales of the most efficient alternatives, we could avoid approximately one million tonnes of carbon emissions per year by 2020.

The UK cannot unilaterally ban or prevent the free trade in products such as incandescent light bulbs on the basis of their energy efficiency. However, the Government are pressing the European Commission to make light bulbs a priority for regulatory action under the recently agreed Eco-Design for Energy Using Products (EUP) framework directive. We are also discussing with retailers and manufacturers how we can remove inefficient lighting products from UK shelves in advance of regulations.


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Nirex

Mr. Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) which stakeholders have been consulted about his decision to merge Nirex into the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority; [98102]

(2) if he will initiate a public consultation on his proposals to merge Nirex into the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority. [98106]

Ian Pearson [holding answer 30 October 2006]: Other UK Government Departments, the devolved Administrations and the independent environment and nuclear safety regulators were consulted by my Department when formulating the response to the report of the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management.

Presentations have also been received from other bodies. United Kingdom Nirex Limited, who have made a number of representations to Ministers and officials, now have the opportunity to comment on the proposed ownership transfer and how it could best be brought about.

Mr. Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what representations he has received from the Sustainable Development Commission on the proposals to merge Nirex into the Nuclear Decomissioning Authority. [98103]

Ian Pearson [holding answer 30 October 2006]: No formal representations have been received from the Sustainable Development Commission. However, the issue of the UK Government and devolved Administrations’ response to the report of the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management has been referred to in meetings with the Sustainable Development Commission.

Nuclear Decomissioning Authority

Mr. Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the role of the Health and Safety Executive is in regulating the Nuclear Decomissioning Authority. [98231]

Ian Pearson [holding answer 30 October 2006]: The Health and Safety Executive regulates the Nuclear Decomissioning Authority (NDA) under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and associated relevant statutory provisions. In addition, it regulates the nuclear sites owned by the NDA under the Health and Safety at Work Act and the Nuclear Installations Act 1965. The Health and Safety Executive and the NDA have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU), accessible on the NDA website at www.nda.gov.uk/documents/mou_nda_and_hse.pdf

The MOU commits the NDA to:


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The Secretary of State recently announced that Nirex’s technical work will now be undertaken by NDA. By agreement, and through working in co-operation with HSE, the Environment Agency has exercised regulatory scrutiny over Nirex’s arrangements for ‘Letters of Compliance’ in relation to proposals from nuclear site licensees for radioactive waste treatment, and scrutiny of Nirex’s generic performance assessment for a phased geological repository concept which underpins the LoC system. The Health and Safety Executive will continue to scrutinise nuclear site licensees’ proposals for conditioning radioactive wastes, together with the underpinning technical work that will now be undertaken by NDA.

In respect of health and safety provisions within NDA offices, this is shared between the HSE and the relevant local authority, depending on the office location.

Mr. Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the role of the Environment Agency is in regulating the Nuclear Decomissioning Authority. [98378]

Ian Pearson [holding answer 30 October 2006]: The Environment Agency regulates the nuclear sites owned by the Nuclear Decomissioning Authority (NDA). The Environment Agency and the NDA have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU), accessible on the NDA website at www.nda.gov.uk/documents/mou_nda_and_environment_agency.pdf

The MOU commits the NDA to:

By agreement, and through working in co-operation with Health and Safety Executive, the Environment Agency has exercised regulatory scrutiny over Nirex’s arrangements for ‘Letters of Compliance’ in relation to proposals from nuclear site licensees for radioactive waste treatment, and scrutiny of Nirex’s generic performance assessment for a phased geological repository concept which underpins the LoC system. The Environment Agency will continue to scrutinise nuclear site licensees’ proposals for conditioning radioactive wastes, together with the underpinning technical work that will now be undertaken by NDA, as recently announced by the Secretary of State.


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