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31 Oct 2006 : Column 274W—continued


31 Oct 2006 : Column 275W

Office of Climate Change

James Duddridge: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on what date he expects the Office of Climate Change to report on its audit of existing work on climate change; and if he will make the report publicly available. [97791]

Ian Pearson [holding answer 30 October 2006]: The Office of Climate Change will support Ministers as they develop future UK strategy and policy on domestic and international climate change. We do not expect the Office to publish its reports.

James Duddridge: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the membership is of the (a) Ministerial and (b) official board of the Office of Climate Change; and which Department each member represents. [97792]

Ian Pearson [holding answer 30 October 2006]: The Office of Climate Change will be governed by a ministerial board chaired by the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and including the Foreign Secretary, Secretaries of State from the Department for Communities and Local Government, the Department for Trade and Industry, the Department for International Development and the Department for Transport, the Financial Secretary, and relevant Ministers of State.

The Office’s Officials Board will comprise a similar representation of Departments.

Rural Watercourses

Mr. Graham Stuart: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the impact of the reduction in spending by the Environment Agency on the maintenance of rural watercourses over the last 12 months; and if he will make a statement. [93436]

Ian Pearson: Defra and the Environment Agency are working closely to mitigate any impacts from the recently announced reductions to the Agency’s budget. These will be in the order of £14.9 million from the flood risk management budget, and are focused on resource and not capital spend. Following these changes the Agency’s flood risk management budget for 2006-07 is still 35 per cent. higher in real terms than in 1996-97.

Sewage System (London)

Justine Greening: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what meetings his Department has had with the Mayor of London in relation to London's sewage system; when those meetings took place; and if he will place in the Library a copy of the minutes of those meetings. [91811]

Ian Pearson [holding answer 9 October 2006]: My hon. Friend the then Minister for Climate Change and the Environment, the hon. Member for Scunthorpe (Mr Morley) met with Ken Livingstone and discussed London's sewage system on 9 February 2005. I met with him on 8 June 2006.


31 Oct 2006 : Column 276W

I will arrange for a copy of a summary of the notes of the meetings on 9 February 2005 and 8 June 2006 to be placed in the Library of the House. Most of this information is already in the public domain through Defra press releases on 2 December 2005, 18 January 2006 and 27 July 2006, and the Thames Tideway Strategic Study report of November 2005. I am withholding some information, the release of which could prejudice the ability of the Department to develop policy effectively in this area.

Sustainable Energy

Ann Keen: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps he is taking (a) to encourage and (b) to support home-owners who wish to move to sustainable energy sources from a reliance on fossil fuels. [97034]

Ian Pearson: Many of the Government initiatives which support low carbon microgeneration by householders are set out in the Microgeneration Strategy (March 2006) “Our Energy Challenge”. This includes details of the grants available for projects under the £80 million, three year, Low Carbon Buildings Programme, for which householders are eligible.

Defra is providing the Energy Saving Trust (EST) with around £28 million of funding in 2006-07. It promotes energy-saving products including microgeneration products.

Under the Energy Efficiency Commitment, electricity and gas suppliers have to meet targets for improving household energy efficiency. The current phase provides incentives for innovative action. In future, we are looking to include other renewable microgeneration technologies such as micro-wind. With the Department for Trade and Industry and Ofgem, we are considering how to make it easier for householders and other microgenerators to export their energy to the national grid.

Under the Renewables Obligation, energy suppliers are required to source a rising percentage of their energy from renewable sources. Microgenerators, such as householders, are entitled to claim Renewable Obligation Certificates under this obligation. The Government are looking to make it easier for groups of householders to claim these valuable certificates. This has also provided incentives for the emergence of a number of “green tariffs” so that householders can choose to buy energy from renewable sources.

Communities and Local Government

Casinos

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer to the right hon. Member for Maidenhead (Mrs. May) of 20 October 2005, Official Report, column 1135W, on casinos, what the (a) name of the applicant, (b) location and (c) date was of each of the casino planning applications that the Deputy Prime Minister considered. [85493]


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Meg Munn: The First Secretary of State considered two mixed use developments that included a casino element. Dunstall Park Centre Ltd. made an application for planning permission at the Dunstall Park Centre in Wolverhampton on 30 June 2003, a call-in letter was issued on 28 April 2004 and the decision was issued on 4 July 2005. Lear Management Ltd. made an application for planning permission at Waterloo Road, Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent on 26 October 2001, a call-in letter was issued on 28 May 2002 and the decision was issued on 8 March 2004. Copies of these decisions can be found in the Library of the House.

Civil Servants (Expenses)

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Brentwood and Ongar (Mr. Pickles) of 19 June 2006, Official Report, column 1595W, on civil servants (expenses), what the expenditure was of the private office of the Deputy Prime Minister on overnight subsistence in each year of the existence of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. [82947]

Angela E. Smith: The information requested is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Consultancies

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer of 24 July 2006, Official Report, column 802W, on consultancies, when the requested document will be placed in the Library. [94606]

Angela E. Smith: The document was placed in the Library of the House on 24 July 2006.

Departmental Databases

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many confirmed security breaches have occurred of computer databases controlled by her Department and its predecessor in each of the last five years. [95879]

Angela E. Smith: The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) was created in May 2006. Since that date no such security breaches have been reported. Prior to this there were three instances which affected ODPM since its creation in May 2002.

Home Information Packs

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will delay the implementation date for home information packs. [94814]

Yvette Cooper: No, the implementation of thehome information packs, including valuable energy performance information is set for 1 June 2007.


31 Oct 2006 : Column 278W

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government in what ways sellers will be encouraged to take up voluntary home information packs during the dry run. [95835]

Yvette Cooper: Home information packs (HIPs) will be promoted by participating estate agents and local information campaigns. To get the trials going and to test the HIPs, there will be a limited number of free packs and reduced cost packs, for sellers who want to try them out, as well as full cost packs.

House Sales

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) how many completed sales through (a) Shared Ownership and (b) Key Worker Schemes were funded by the Housing Corporation in each year since 1997-98; [94809]

(2) how many completed sales through the Starter Home Initiative there have been in each year since its inception. [94811]

Yvette Cooper: The following table shows the homes funded through the Housing Corporation’s Affordable Housing Programme, Local Authority Social Housing Grant and Starter Home Initiative since 1997-98.

Shared Ownership LASHG Shared Ownership Key Worker Living Starter Home Initiative

1997-98

6,515

637

0

0

1998-99

5,812

491

0

0

1999-2000

3,147

533

0

0

2000-01

2,551

567

0

0

2001-02

2,211

695

0

90

2002-03

2,315

672

0

2,650

2003-04

3,574

577

0

7,029

2004-05

5,093

508

3,812

290

2005-06

7,127

382

6,539

0

Source: Housing Corporation

The two Shared Ownership columns include both new build and refurbishment and acquisition as well as Do-it-yourself Shared Ownership. The latter being purchases on the open market but on shared ownership terms. These figures exclude the specific Key Worker schemes: Key Worker Living and the Starter Home Initiative.

Key Worker Living includes both shared ownership schemes and HomeBuy. It does not include units purchased by Key Workers in non-Key Worker specific schemes.

The table does not include any units provided by resales, staircasing or by SI06 obligations not in receipt of grant.

Ministerial Duties

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many events she has attended hosted by the (a) Muslim, (b) Hindu, (c) Christian, (d) Buddhist, (e) Sikh, (f) Jewish and (g) gay and lesbian communities since her appointment. [96199]


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Meg Munn: The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government has attended a range of events involving representatives of different faith groups, interfaith organisations and other communities since her appointment.

Planning

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer of 15 May 2006, Official Report, column 813W, on planning, if she will publish an updated list with the name of the (a) applicant and (b) agent of the applicant. [95797]

Yvette Cooper: Decision Letters, which provide details of the applicant (and agent where applicable), for planning cases that have been approved or refused by the Secretary of State, and her predecessor, from 1 April 2002 to 1 March 2006, can be found on the Department for Communities and Local Government website at: http://www.communities.gov.uk/index.asp?id=l143333

The details of cases from 1 March 2006 onwards are currently being uploaded on to that website.

Tablighi Jamaat

Mr. Paul Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether (a) Ministers and (b) others in her Department have met representatives of Tablighi Jamaat during the last three years; and if she will make a statement. [94344]

Meg Munn: Since the Department for Communities and Local Government’s creation in May 2006, neither the Secretary of State, her Ministers or officials within her Department have held meetings with anyone representing Tablighi Jamaat.

Travellers

Julie Morgan: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps she plans to take to ensure uniformity in the way that local authorities undertake assessments of Gypsy and Traveller accommodation needs. [97451]

Meg Munn: The Department has issued draft guidance for local authorities on undertaking accommodation needs assessments for Gypsies and Travellers and assessments are under way or completed in 80 per cent. of local authorities. The guidance will be revised in light of emerging experience on the ground, including feedback from housing and planning professionals and researchers who are helping my Department to identify best practice. The final version of the guidance will be published in the new year and this will help to ensure consistency of approach. Ultimately, the quality of accommodation needs assessments will be tested through the soundness of regional and local plans that make provision for Gypsy and Traveller accommodation, based on requirements identified through such studies.


31 Oct 2006 : Column 280W

Culture, Media and Sport

Departmental Telephone Inquiries

Mr. Swire: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many (a) missed and (b) received calls there were to her Department's general inquiries telephone number in each week of the last 12 months; and how many members of staff are employed to answer that telephone line. [96975]

Mr. Lammy: The information relating to call response rates is not currently held centrally.

Since July this year, the Department's main switchboard has been permanently manned by one member of staff from 09.30 to 6.30, Monday to Friday, with a voicemail service provided so that inquiries arriving at busy periods can be dealt with as quickly as possible as call volumes subside.


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