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Mr. Bradshaw: Government policy is to move away from reliance on landfill and to encourage more sustainable waste management through greater reduction, reuse and recycling. There are alternative waste management options for dealing with waste television sets so we would not generally expect this type of waste to go to landfill.
The EU landfill directive introduces requirements that aim to reduce the negative effects of landfilling on the environment and any risk to human health. The Government have transposed the requirements of the landfill directive via The Landfill (England and Wales) Regulations 2002 (as amended). The Environment Agency is responsible for enforcing waste legislation in England and Wales.
The landfill directive also requires that only waste that has been subject to treatment can be landfilled. Items such as cathode ray tubes, which are found in televisions, are classified as hazardous wastes. The pre-treatment requirement for hazardous waste has been in place since July 2004. The requirement to pre-treat non-hazardous waste comes into effect from 30 October 2007. If waste television sets are destined for landfill, they will have to meet the pre-treatment requirements.
From 1 July 2007, waste television sets will also be subject to selective treatment requirement prior to disposal under regulations implementing the waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) directive, which is due to come into force in early January 2007.
Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment his Department has made of the environmental effects of tax relief options available to private owners of woodland; and if he will make a statement. 
Barry Gardiner: No assessment has been made. There is no evidence to suggest that the need to manage woodland on a commercial basis, as required in order to be eligible for business property relief, is having a detrimental effect on the environment. Woodland management work, including felling and replanting, can often enhance biodiversity and other environmental values.
Detailed plans for the initiative have yet to be worked up. However, to date DEFRA has provided £30,000 to assist in developing the concept of the year. We have also agreed to second a member of staff to the secretariat, hosted by the Royal Agricultural Society of
England, which will oversee delivery of the year alongside the charity Farming and Countryside Education (FACE).
In addition, DEFRA is already actively engaged in reconnecting young people with food, farming and the countryside. For example, over 1,000 farmers around England currently receive grants to provide educational visits free of charge for schools and other educational groups as part of their agri-environment scheme agreement. Visits allow the farm to be used as a countryside classroom for a variety of curricular subjects and other studies which include explanation of environmentally sensitive farming methods and how the food we eat is produced.
Meg Munn: In the Local Government White Paper, we announced an independent review of the incentives and barriers to serving on councils. The review will look at a range of issues, including the time commitments expected of councillors and Cabinet members. The review will be established early next year, and we expect it to report in the autumn.
23. Tony Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government for what reason the Government commissioned Roger Tym and Partners to produce a report on the South East Plan. 
Angela E. Smith: The Government commissioned this research to augment the evidence base for the Examination in Public. It is important to note that this is not a report on the South East Plan as suggested by the hon. Member. The intention in commissioning the work was to make sure that the evidence is available to inform an open and wide ranging debate at the EiP. The report has not reviewed or revised the South East Plan or developed alternatives to the plan.
24. Mr. George Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how she will assess the benefits of proposed neighbourhood management or governance models in local authority areas. 
Mr. Woolas: The Local Government White Paper announced a policy that is strongly devolutionary. It will be primarily for each local authority to assess the benefits of any new models it implements. The impact of neighbourhood management will be judged under the new performance framework announced in the White Paper, which will come into force in due course.
25. Julie Morgan: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment she has made of the effect of the provisions of the Civil Partnerships Act 2004 on same sex couples. 
Mr. Woolas: The Civil Partnership Act gives lesbian and gay couples legal recognition for their relationships and provides a legal framework of rights and responsibilities. Figures released by the Office for National Statistics show that there were over 15,000 civil partnerships formed in the UK between December 2005 and the end of September 2006.
Yvette Cooper: Reducing regional inequalities is a key Government priority. The joint review of sub-national economic development and regeneration will establish how the Government can best devolve powers to support growth and reduce regional inequalities.
Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether she expects the proposed town council for Brixham to be established before 1 April 2007 as referred to in a letter from the Chairman of the Electoral Commission to the hon. Member for Totnes of 27 April 2006. 
Mr. Woolas: The Department for Communities and Local Government made an order on 4 December 2006 creating a new parish of Brixham with effect from 1 April 2007. This order directs Torbay council to establish a parish council for the new parish. The parish council once created may resolve to call itself a town council.
Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the timetable will be for the election of a town council for Brixham; and whether she plans to schedule it to coincide with the election for the unitary authority on 5 May 2007. 
Mr. Woolas: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given on 26 April 2006, Official Report, column 924W, advising that the electoral arrangements for the new parish council of Brixham are the responsibility of the Electoral Commission. Subject to the Commission issuing an order for electoral arrangements this should be in time for any elections in 2007.
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the (a) names, (b) length of service, (c) relevant experience and (d) organisational affiliations are of the (i) current
and (ii) previous members of the steering group of the Commission for Equality and Human Rights. 
Meg Munn: The Commission for Equality and Human Rights Steering Group was an advisory body to Government made up of key stakeholders including representatives of the equality commissions, the new equality strands and human rights, business, the TUC and Scottish and Welsh interests. Its main role was to advise on the work needed to establish the CEHR as a fully functioning organisation. It also provided a mechanism for the Government to keep stakeholders abreast of developments towards the Equality Act and seek views as appropriate. Meetings are usually held monthly.
The steering group members were in post for slightly more than two years, as the group was set up in September 2004 and disbanded on 17 October 2006 in light of the appointment of Commissioners for the CEHR. When it was first set up it was chaired by a senior DTI official and later by the Deputy Minister for Women and Equality.
|Steering group members|
Academic at Cardiff University specialising in gender inequality in fields such as education, training and the labour market. Former EOC Commissioner for Wales, long-term consultant to EC and adviser to Welsh Assembly Government in its commitment to pay due regard to equality of opportunity for all.
Founding Chief Executive Officer of Forum Against Islamophobia and Racism and British Muslim Research Centre. CRE commissioner since January 2004 and EOC Commissioner from spring 2005. Adviser to Muslim Council of Britain.
Chair of ACASs Council since 2000. 30 years experience working in employment relations. Member of the Low Pay Commission, the Equal Opportunities Commission Task Force and chaired the TUC Disabilities Forum. In 2004 appointed to the Committee on Standards in Public Life.
Angela Watkinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will publish the minutes of the meetings of the steering group of the Commission for Equality and Human Rights. 
Meg Munn: The steering group advising Government on the establishment of the Commission for Equality and Human Rights has recently completed its work. The minutes of the meetings will be published on the CEHR website in the new year.
Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government when she will reply to the letter dated 25 September 2006 from the hon. Member for North Down in relation to her Departments proposals to outlaw sexual orientation discrimination in the provision of goods and services. 
Greg Mulholland: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the change in the number of households on council waiting lists for social housing has been since 1997. 
Meg Munn: 1.63 million households in England are on the waiting list for social housing. The number of households on the waiting lists was broadly unchanged from 1997 until 2001-02. There has been a significant increase in the last four years which reflects the difficulties of affordability faced by those trying to get on to the housing ladder.
Mr. Woolas: The council tax received by Coventry council in each of the last 10 years is shown in the following table. The figures shown for each year include both arrears received for previous years and prepayment of council tax for subsequent years.
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