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The Energy Saving Trust, which is funded by the Government, encourages local authorities to develop
energy efficiency strategies for their housing stock. The sustainable energy beacon councils have also been funded to develop a benchmark and toolkit that draws on their good practice. This will enable councils to evaluate their current performance and provide specific guidance to make improvements.
In the 2006 Climate Change Programme, the Government committed to ensure that the new Local Government Performance Framework will include an appropriate focus on action on climate change, sufficient to incentivise more authorities to reach the levels of the best. Further details can be found on the Defra website at:
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which projects run by the consultancy Eunomia (a) his Department and (b) the Environment Agency has funded since 1997; and what the (i) cost and (ii) objective was of each project. 
Barry Gardiner: The Department came into being in June 2001. The core-Department does not hold information centrally of any work commissioned by Defras executive agencies or non-departmental public bodies with Eunomia. This information could be provided only at disproportionate cost. Information held centrally in the core-Department on expenditure with Eunomia is as follows:
|Financial year||Expenditure (£)|
|(1) First six months.|
From information held centrally, this expenditure relates to work commissioned from Eunomia as part of the direct consultancy support provided to local authorities under Defras Waste Implementation Programme (WIP). The consultancy concerned environment regulation policy, and various aspects of waste management strategy including but not limited to waste disposal; waste and recycling; municipal waste; waste procurement; waste minimisation; regulatory impact assessments; planning and pollution central regimes; waste technologies; and waste practice guidance.
Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many outstanding payments were due to farmers in (a) England, (b) the North West and (c) Eddisbury constituency in each month since April 2005. 
Ian Pearson: I informed the Environment Agency in December that their grant in aid allocation from Defra for flood risk management for 2007-08 will be £435.7 million. This is an increase compared to the 2006-07 original allocation and more than restores the in-year reduction to the agencys flood risk budget in 2006-07.
Overall departmental funding in later years, of which grant in aid to the agency forms a part, is being considered in the 2007 Comprehensive Spending Review and we continue to work with the agency in preparation for this.
Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate his Department has made of the number of new homes which have been built in high risk flood areas in the last 12 months; and what steps his Department is taking to protect such homes from flooding. 
The Government aim to discourage inappropriate development in areas at risk of flooding. The Department for Communities and Local Government leads on development planning policy and, following public consultation, has just published new planning policy on development and flood risk. Planning Policy Statement 25 aims to direct development away from the areas at highest risk and ensure that, where new development is necessary in areas at risk of flooding, it
is appropriate and safe, does not increase flood risk elsewhere and where possible reduces flood risk overall.
Defra funds the Environment Agency to advise planning authorities on development proposals to ensure flood risk is properly taken into account but does not fund provision of measures to reduce flood risk specifically to facilitate new development. Measures needed to reduce risk for new development must be funded as part of the development, primarily through either a formal agreement under Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 or by way of developers incorporating effective design measures to mitigate the risks of a flood event.
New development will often benefit from infrastructure already in place to reduce flood risk such as defences and flood warning systems; many areas at risk of flooding are already protected to a high standard. Building resilience to flooding into new development is being looked at as part of the developing cross-Government Making space for water strategy for flood and coastal erosion risk management.
Barry Gardiner: The EU Forest Law Enforcement and Governance Action Plan required the assessment of potential additional legislative options to tackle imports of illegal timber into the EU. Such measures would add to the existing EU regulations, which provide for the licensing of legally produced timber imports from countries which enter into voluntary partnership agreements with the EU. The Government has been encouraging the European Commission to publish its proposal on this subject and has supported background research into the effectiveness of possible options. On 20 December 2006, the Commission launched a public consultation on alternative options.
A number of approaches will be required to deal with illegal logging and the damage it causes. We will continue to be active in exploring options for excluding timber that has been illegally logged from UK markets.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he plans to carry out of the effect on the use of inland waterways of the possible loss of re-fuelling points following the removal of the fuel tax derogation for private pleasure craft. 
Barry Gardiner: Treasury officials are consulting concerned and affected organisations on the implications of the Commission's decision not to renew the UK's derogation on red diesel for powered pleasure craft. They will discuss how the new arrangements can be administered so as to minimise compliance costs to businesses and individuals.
Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent discussions he has had with the European Commission on subsidies paid by the Irish Government to Irish milk producers. 
Barry Gardiner: The Irish Government has notified the European Commission of the subsides to the Irish dairy sector in line with its treaty obligations and has received state aid clearance. We therefore have no grounds to intervene with the Commission. Aid for investments in the processing and marketing of agricultural products are permitted under European Union rules providing they meet certain requirements.
Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many information technology projects within the responsibility of his Department, its agencies and their predecessors have been cancelled since 1997; what the total cost was of each project at cancellation; and if he will make a statement. 
Barry Gardiner: Details of the cancellation and costs of projects started before October 2004, when DEFRA formed a strategic partnership with IBM as providers of IT services, are not held centrally and the information could not be gathered without disproportionate costs from the many business units involved.
The only project cancelled since then was the roll out of Catalyst (an electronic document and records management system) which was halted in March 2006 in the light of the outcome of a pilot. The total cost of the project at cancellation was £12,642,000.
Barry Gardiner: The Department came into being in July 2001. From information held centrally, the core-Department has spent the following sums on external legal payments in each of the past five years:
|Financial year||Value (£)|
The core-Department does not hold details centrally of any expenditure on external legal services incurred
by DEFRAs agencies and non-departmental public bodies. The information could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) when the Environment Agencys National Flood and Coastal Defence database will be finished; what information the database will contain; and how regularly the database will be updated once it becomes operational; 
(2) whether external parties will be able to access the Environment Agencys National Flood and Coastal Defence database (NFCDD); and whether access to the NFCDD will be granted to external parties without charge. 
Ian Pearson: The National Flood and Coastal Defence database (NFCDD) has been developed in a number of phases and was first available in 2002. Following the completion of phase 3, it is live within the Environment Agency (EA) and is available to all operating authorities with the required software and local configuration. All operating authorities will be able to use the database as they set themselves up to do so and complete their training programmes.
The data that are held in NFCDD can be categorised into two main types. Firstly, mapping data showing the areas at risk of flooding and secondly, data about the defences themselves (their type, location and condition etcetera) and the areas that benefit from those defences. The data in NFCDD will be continually updated as defences are constructed, inspected and as better information about flood risk becomes available.
At present, no further phases are planned but requests for changes and improvements are kept under review and will be progressed to meet the needs of the flood and coastal erosion risk management service.
The NFCDD will contain data provided by, and make information directly available to, the flood and coastal defence operating authorities (the EA, local authorities and internal drainage boards (IDBs)) and the Government. Linking these organisations with one common data source gives rise to potential benefits in terms of consistent policy development and improved procurement opportunities. The data in the NFCDD can be downloaded and made available to other interested organisations.
The NFCDD can be accessed at no charge by the Government, local authorities and IDBs who have the appropriate software. Data (other than that entered by the local authority or IDB themselves) that are downloaded for other than statutory purposes will generally incur a charge. In all instances the use of the data is subject to the issue an appropriate licence.
Mr. Nicholas Brown:
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the
implications of changes to Natural Englands budget are for the educational elements of the Higher Level Scheme. 
Barry Gardiner: Natural Englands budget for 2006-07 was announced on 22 December as £169.59 million. This represents core funding, largely in relation to running costs. The Higher Level agri-environment scheme is funded under separate arrangements to support the UKs Rural Development Programmes.
Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps his Department is taking to fight paratuberculosis (Johnes Disease) in livestock; and what research his Department has (a) undertaken and (b) commissioned into the disease. 
Mr. Bradshaw: Johnes Disease is caused by Mycobacterium Avium subspecies paratuberculosis, often known as MAP. DEFRA is responsible for undertaking measures to reduce the prevalence of MAP in dairy herds, while the Food Standards Agency (FSA) lead on the aspects which relate to consumer health protection. The Governments strategy to control MAP in cows milk is available on the FSA website at:
In 2001, DEFRA funded a comprehensive review by the Scottish Agricultural college which assessed the surveillance and control of Johnes Disease in farm animals. The review recommended appropriate systems of surveillance and control for Great Britain. This is available on the DEFRA website at:
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