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Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what changes he has made to the Environment Agencys 2006-07 budget allocations since January; and if he will make a statement; 
Ian Pearson: Following completion of the Spending Review in 2004, the Environment Agency (EA) was given a provisional budget for DEFRA funding of £575 million for 2006-07 (including Flood Defence, Fisheries and Environment Protection). After the budget setting exercise the total 2006-07 DEFRA funding to the EA was confirmed, at the beginning of the financial year, as £571 million. A budget reduction of £23.7 million has been applied in-year.
Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of the number of people defined as at high risk of flooding under the Environment Agencys definitions in each of the last 10 years; and what assessment he has made of the trend in this figure. 
Ian Pearson: The Environment Agency (EA) first produced an indicative floodplain map for the whole of England and Wales in 1999. This indicated that about 1.8 million properties were at risk from flooding from rivers and the sea. The EA has continued to improve its maps, and in October 2004 published a new Flood Map on the internet, which included the flood zones defined in the Department for Communities and Local Government's land use planning policy. Planning Policy Guidance Note 25 defines the high risk flood zone as having an annual probability of flooding of 1.0 per cent. (or 1 in 100 in any one year) or greater for river flooding, and 0.5 per cent. (or 1 in 200 for any one year) or greater for tidal and coastal flooding.
There are estimated to be about 1.83 million properties across England and Wales within this definition of a high risk flood zone, which equates to approximately 3.5 million people. This figure has not changed significantly over the last 10 years; changes in the figure arise from improvements in the EAs flood mapping and changes in the land use in these areas.
Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the total value was of flood risk management schemes started in England in each year since 2002-03; and what equivalent figure is forecast for (a) 2005-06 and (b) 2006-07. 
Mr. Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the effect on carbon dioxide emissions of putting the clocks (a) back and (b) forward. 
[holding answer 6 November 2006]: Work undertaken by the Building Research Establishment for the Department indicates that putting clocks in the UK back one hour (to match Central European time) would
lead to a net increase in carbon dioxide emissions from lighting, space heating and cooling energy consumption in UK buildings corresponding to around 1 per cent. of total UK emissions of carbon dioxide. The study also shows that a switch to British summertime all the year round would increase emissions by just under 0.5 per cent.
Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of the monthly administrative costs of his blog; and what the budget for the blog is for 2007-08. 
Barry Gardiner: It is estimated that around 10 hours of staff time per month is spent administering the Secretary of States blog, the cost of which is estimated at £300. In addition, technical support costs around £900 per year. It is expected it will cost a similar amount to administer the blog in 2007-08.
Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many staff hours each month on average are taken up administering his blog, broken down by (a) grade and (b) office or directorate of his Department in which the staff work. 
Barry Gardiner: On average, around 10 staff hours are taken up administering the Secretary of States blog each month. This involves staff at Grade 7, Senior Information Officers and Higher Executive Officers, all based in the Communications Directorate.
All central Government ministerial and official air travel is being offset from 1 April 2006. Departmental aviation emissions are calculated on an annual basis and subsequently offset through payments to a central fund. The fund purchases certified emissions reductions credits from energy efficiency and renewable
energy projects with sustainable development benefits, located in developing countries.
In addition, offsetting the flights of DEFRA, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Department for International Development, the Ministry of Defence and the Prime Minister has been backdated to 1 April 2005.
Carbon dioxide emissions arising from 32 (Royal) Squadron flights are included in the Government's carbon offsetting commitment. Carbon emissions arising from the use of these flights will be recorded and offset in the same way as the use of scheduled flights.
David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on how many occasions he has visited (a) Scotland, (b) Wales and (c) Northern Ireland in the last 12 months. 
Barry Gardiner: Since October of 2005, the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has not visited Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland. A visit to Wales has been arranged for 10 November this year and a visit to Scotland is being planned for early next year. The Secretary of State visited Northern Ireland in February of this year while a Minister in the then Office of the Deputy Prime Minister.
Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the reply to the hon. Member for Rochford and Southend, East (James Duddridge) of 31 October 2006, Official Report, column 275, on the Office of Climate Change, why the Office of Climate Change's reports are not expected to be published. 
Ian Pearson: The Office of Climate Change's reports will support Ministers as they develop future UK strategy and policy on domestic and international climate change. The ministerial board who govern the Office will keep Parliament informed of progress.
Ian Pearson: Licensing decisions on the commercial use of genetically modified (GM) products are taken at EU level. A type of GM oilseed rape known as GT73 received a favourable authorisation decision in August 2005 for import and processing within the EU, although not cultivation. This was under the procedures covered by Directive 2001/18 on the deliberate release into the environment of genetically modified organisms.
In addition, other EU consents have in the past been issued for the use of GM oilseed rape under the regulations governing the deliberate release of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in to the environment. However, in these instances the varieties of GM oilseed rape in question are no longer being marketed in the EU.
Peter Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment his Department has made of the environmental impact of transporting waste for recycling; what guidelines are issued on preferred maximum distances for such transportation; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Bradshaw: No specific assessment has been made. However, a report from the DEFRA-funded Waste and Resources Action Programme states that recycling in the UK saves 10 to 15 million tonnes of greenhouse gases a year. This is equivalent to taking 3.5 million cars off the road.
In July 2005, DEFRA published the document, Changes to Waste Management Decision Making Principles in Waste Strategy 2000', which put forward a number of principles on which waste decision making should be based:
(i) Individuals communities and organisations should take responsibility for their waste;
(ii) In taking decisions there should be consideration of alternative options in a systematic way;
(iii) Effective community engagement should be an important and integral part of the decision making process;
(iv) The environmental impacts for possible options should be assessed looking at both the long and short term.
These considerations are reflected in Planning Policy Statement 10 (PPS 10), published by the Department for Communities and Local Government. Guidance on PPS10 was published in June this year following a series of seminars with interested parties.
The Government also encourage all local authorities to have in place a fit-for-purpose and up-to-date municipal waste management strategy to assist their waste management planning. DEFRA has produced guidance on how to prepare a waste management strategy, which is available from the DEFRA website:
Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many Rural Payments Agency staff received a bonus in each of the last three years; what the average value of such bonuses was; what the (a) highest and (b) lowest bonus paid was over the period; and by what criteria such payments are awarded. 
|Number of staff in receipt of a performance bonus||Average value of performance bonus (£)|
|(1 )Estimates based on current available information.|
In 2004 the RPA paid a flat rate non-consolidated bonus payment of £500 for staff with Exceeded box marks following the end of year individual performance review. This arrangement was negotiated with TUS and implemented as part of the 2004 pay settlement.
In 2005 the RPA awarded a flat rate bonus of £550 to staff with Exceeded box marks. This was awarded in two parts. Part onea half step progression in the payscale. Part twothe remaining value of the bonus was paid as a non-consolidated lump sum up to the value of £550. This arrangement was negotiated with TUS and implemented as part of the 2005 pay settlement.
In 2006 the RPA proposes to pay a flat rate non-consolidated bonus of £500 to staff with Exceeded box marks. This will be pro rated for part time staff. This arrangement is currently the subject of negotiation within the 2006 Pay Settlement.
Under the terms of Johnston McNeills contract and in line with Cabinet Office guidance for SCS pay, these bonuses were related to annual salary and apportioned according to achievement of specific targets, including RPAs published key performance targets.
Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much farmers in (a) Lancashire and (b) the North West have received from the single farm payment scheme in each year since it was introduced. 
Barry Gardiner: It is not possible to calculate the proportion of farm income derived from the 2005 Single Payment Scheme as a statistical analysis by region is not yet available. This information will be published in due course.
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