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7 Dec 2006 : Column 582W—continued

Communications expenditure covers a wide range of activities and is not centralised. A figure for all communications expenditure by the Department could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. Total external communications expenditure through the Communications Directorate budget was £4.01 million for financial year 2005-06. This includes £890,000 expenditure on advertising (24 May 2006, Official Report, column 1818W) with the remainder of the expenditure covering attendance at agricultural shows, publications, direct information literature mailings and other external communications. This figure excludes non-centralised expenditure, and expenditure by non-departmental public bodies, Executive agencies and independent statutory bodies.

It is not possible to break down expenditure by types of communication staff.

Departmental Expenditure

Mr. Swire: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much was spent by his Department on television advertisements in the last year for which figures are available. [104442]

Barry Gardiner: DEFRA (excluding non-departmental public bodies, executive agencies and independent statutory bodies) has not spent any funds on television advertisements in the last 12 months (October 2005-October 2006).

Departmental Secondments

Mr. Duncan Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which staff in his Department are seconded from organisations with
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charitable status; and which have (a) costs and (b) salaries met (i) in part and (ii) in whole (A) from public funds and (B) by the charity from which they are seconded. [102410]

Barry Gardiner: Defra continues to promote and encourage the exchange of personnel between the Department and a range of organisations. Defra currently has three secondees from ENCAMS an environmental charity—the following annex provides further detail.

Annex-PQ 0141
Secondee Costs Salary

Andrew Osborne



James Martin



Robert Ingle

Environment Agency

Environment Agency

The status of all three secondees—Andrew Osborne, James Martin, Robert Ingle within Defra is that of secondee from ENCAMS. They all continue to be employees of ENCAMS for the duration of the secondment with all their present terms and conditions of employment being maintained. During the secondment, ENCAMS continue to be responsible for total remuneration package (including salary, pay-related benefits, holiday, sick pay and pension etc.).

In respect of other costs for:

Andrew Osborne

James Martin

Robert Ingle

Departmental Task Forces

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which task forces have been set up by his Department in each year since 1997; and what the cost of each of these task forces was in each financial year in that period. [106900]

Barry Gardiner [holding answer 4 December 2006]: Details of the task forces set up since Defra was established in 2001 are published in the annual Cabinet Office publication “Public Bodies”, available at:

The cost of setting up and running these task forces is not held centrally. Collating such information would incur disproportionate cost.

Energy Efficiency

Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what further plans the Government have for encouraging households to improve their insulation. [107023]

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Ian Pearson: Under the Energy Efficiency Commitment (EEC), we require energy suppliers to meet targets for the promotion of improvements in household energy efficiency. They do this by encouraging and assisting household consumers to take up measures like cavity wall and loft insulation.

During the first half of the current EEC (2005-08), 88 per cent. of supplier activity was through insulation measures. The 2006 Climate Change Programme announced that the EEC target will be increased by 50-100 per cent. for EEC3 (2008-11) and we would expect that insulation will be a major part of the work.

In addition to this, the Government funded Warm Front Scheme, which is the key programme in tackling fuel poverty in England, provides a range of insulation measures to those households qualifying for assistance.

The Energy Saving Trust (which is supported by Government funding) carries out work to inform and encourage households to take up energy efficiency measures including insulation.

Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) how many houses had insulation installed that meets the recommended standard in each of the last five years; [107025]

(2) what estimate he has made of the (a) number and (b) percentage of houses in the (i) public and (ii) private sector have insulation which meets the current recommended standards. [107026]

Ian Pearson: There is no official “recommended standard” for insulation in existing buildings (only new builds require certain minimum standards for insulation to be met via the Building Regulations, part L). However, general advice is to install all cost-effective insulation measures, which in most cases means cavity wall insulation and loft insulation. Although it is not so cost-effective, double glazing would also normally be considered essential by modern standards (for new dwellings it is required by the Building Regulations) and it is a popular measure. The following table shows the estimated number of installations of cavity wall insulation, loft insulation and double glazing in existing homes in each of the years 2000-05 (note that in addition about 180,000 new homes are built each year and these will also automatically incorporate these measures where relevant).

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Insulation measures in existing homes in Great Britain
Households (thousand)
Cavity wall insulation Cavity wall insulation (alternative source( 1) ) Loft insulation Double glazing































(1) The alternative figures are based on sales data from the Cavity Insulation Guarantee Agency (CIGC) and they refer to the UK rather than Great Britain.
GfK Marketing Services Ltd. Home Audit

At the end of 2004, 16 per cent. of households (about 3.9 million) in Great Britain (and 16 per cent., or about 3.4 million in England) had already installed all the above mentioned measures where appropriate. About 3 million of these properties are in the private sector and 0.9 million in the public/social housing sector. This is equivalent to 16 per cent. of the stock in the private sector and 14 per cent. of the stock in the public/social sector being fully insulated. The detailed figures are shown in the following table (note that the percentages are rounded to whole numbers).

With full insulation All households Percentage

All households (England)




All households (GB)




Owner occupied households (GB)




Private rented households (GB)




All private households (GB)




Local authority households (GB)




RSL households (GB)




All public/social households (GB)




1. Domestic Energy Fact File (2006): Owner occupies, local authority, private rented and registered social landlord homes. BRE 2005.
2. Domestic Energy Fact File (2007): England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. (Still in preparation—publication planned for mid-2007).

Flooding (Canvey Island)

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether a study has been made of the possible effects of flooding on Canvey Island as part of the Thames Estuary 2100 project. [107671]

Ian Pearson: The Environment Agency’s Thames Estuary 2100 project is assessing the impacts of flooding (including risk to life, property and the environment) across the whole tidal floodplain. This stretches from Teddington, west of London, to a notional line between Sheerness and Shoeburyness in the east of the estuary. This includes Canvey Island.

The design standard of protection afforded by the defences at Canvey Island is currently well in excess of 1 in 1,000 (that is, to protect against flood events with a 0.1 per cent. or greater chance of occurring in any one year). In some areas the standard is as high as 1 in 10,000 (that is, 0.01 per cent. chance of flooding in any one year) although this will reduce with rising tidal flood levels.
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For further information on the scope and progress of Thames Estuary 2100 project, I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to him on 18 September 2006, Official Report, column 2479W.


Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether the Forestry Commission recognises the International GCSE as an acceptable substitute for a GCSE for the purposes of recruitment. [104281]

Barry Gardiner: When the Forestry Commission stipulates in recruitment adverts that candidates should possess passes at GCSE level it always adds that equivalents are acceptable. These equivalents include the International GCSE.

Garden Centres

Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps his Department is taking to encourage garden centres to promote plants that are suitable for longer, warmer summers. [107851]

Barry Gardiner: The types of plants stocked by garden centres are commercial decisions for each individual business. However, DEFRA has commissioned a number of research projects of relevance to the Hardy Nursery Stock sector. Of particular interest, with regard to longer and warmer summers, is the need to conserve water use. Current research is looking at novel strategies for reducing water use while maintaining, or improving, quality.

Garden Waste

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what restrictions exist on the burning of garden waste; and if he will make a statement. [104288]

Mr. Bradshaw: Smoke nuisance and emissions created as a result of bonfires are covered under several pieces of legislation, including the Environmental Protection Act 1990 (EPA) and, on industrial or trade premises, the Clean Air Act 1993. However, most domestic bonfires are dealt with by local authorities under their statutory nuisance powers under the EPA.

In addition to the statutory nuisance powers, section 33 of the EPA (as amended by the Waste Management (England and Wales) Regulations 2006) provides that a person who keeps, treats or disposes of controlled waste in a manner likely to cause pollution of the environment or harm to human health commits an offence of illegal waste disposal. A person who commits the offence “in relation to household waste from a domestic property within the curtilage of the dwelling” is liable on summary conviction to a fine and/or a prison sentence.

We are currently considering further measures to address the nuisance caused by the burning of garden waste.

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Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether he has set a timetable for (a) the development of a Government response to the Affordable Rural Housing Commission Report and (b) a plan to implement those recommendations with which the Government agrees. [105286]

Barry Gardiner: The Affordable Rural Housing Commission delivered its report in May 2006. On the basis of the evidence collected, the report offers a range of practical recommendations for the Government and others on ways to improve access to affordable housing for those who live and work in rural areas.

Some of the recommendations challenge existing practice, while others are in line with current Government thinking. To reflect this, and the dynamic nature of policy development, Ministers decided that a formal response would not be appropriate, favouring instead an on-going web-based progress report. This is available from the Defra website at: and will be updated every three months.

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