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24 Jan 2007 : Column 1800W—continued

Public Finance Contracts

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what (a) public private partnerships and (b) private finance initiative contracts have been entered into by his Department; what assets were transferred to the private sector as part of each deal; what the value of these assets was; what the total cost is of each contract; and what estimate was made of the cost to his Department of traditional procurement over the life of each contract. [109338]

Barry Gardiner: The core Department is currently undertaking one private finance initiative (PFI) project to provide office facilities at Brooklands Avenue, Cambridge. There are, however, a number other PFI and public private partnership (PPP) projects being undertaken by DEFRA’s sponsored bodies i.e. non-departmental public bodies (NDPBs) and public corporations. The information requested about these projects is set out in the following table. The total cost of each PFI contract reflects the sum of the unitary charge payments which are projections to the end of the contract, and are conditional on the performance of the private sector contractor. These costs include not only the repayment of the capital value of the project but also service and maintenance charges.

The Department also provides support in the form of PFI credits to allow local authorities to enter into PFI contracts to provide waste recycling and management facilities. However, as the Department itself has not entered into these contracts and they are between the local authority and the service provider, we have not provided information about these deals.

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Organisation Project Assets transferred to private sector Total cost of contract Estimated cost of traditional procurement over the life of contract

Environment Agency

Broadland Flood Alleviation Project


Total payments estimated at £167.4 million (inc VAT) reflecting current prices and inflation for the life of the project.

£155 million (inc VAT) at March1998 prices but £209 million based on indexation rates.

Environment Agency

Pevensey Bay Sea Defences


Total payments estimated at £35.4 million

The present value of the initial contract in1998 was estimated at £15.8 million compared to its traditional procurement cost of £19.2 million. Since the coverage of the contract was extended in 2002 to include another frontage, no comparable present day cash figures are available.


Office Facilities at Brooklands Avenue, Cambridge

Building and land at Brooklands Avenue. Value £28.2 million.

Total payments estimated at £92.3 million

Information not available.

Natural England (successor to Countryside Agency)



£1.3 million

Information not available.

Organisation Project Assets transferred to private sector Total cost of contract Estimated cost of traditional procurement over the life of contract

British Waterways

Waterside Pub Partnership

Property worth £13.9 million as at November 2006. Assets worth £2.9 million are planned to be sold in the future

This PPP is a partnership agreement and does not have a priced contract in place.

No comparison made with traditional procurement costs.

British Waterways

Wood Wharf (London) development

None at present but assets worth £57.2 million are planned to be sold in the future.

As above

As above

British Waterways

ISIS (development of river and canal side property)

Property worth £15.4 million as at November 2006. Assets worth £52.2 million are planned to be sold in the future.

As above

As above

Rain Forests

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what measures he has put in place to develop (a) national and (b) international policies to protect rain forests; and what assessment he has made of the merits of funding mechanisms to pay developing countries not to remove such forests. [115910]

Barry Gardiner: The UK Government are pursuing rainforest protection through a number of measures that include research on improving forest management, banning trade in endangered species and reducing trade in illegally logged timber products.

On reducing the trade in illegal timber from rainforests, and all other forest types, the Government are working to implement the EU Forestry Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (FLEGT) regulation, adopted in 2005. This allows the EU to enter into Voluntary Partnership Agreements with timber producing countries, and will include a licensing system to identify legal timber products for export to the EU.

Collaboration continues with other major consumer countries in the G8 (plus China) and with the private sector. In particular, the UK Government’s timber procurement policy, which requires all timber supplied to have derived from legally harvested trees, has become a beacon for other Governments to tackle illegal logging through voluntary consumer action.

Developing countries currently have no obligations to mitigate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, although they can contribute to global emission reductions by hosting projects under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). The CDM includes afforestation and reforestation projects, but not deforestation, because of concerns that forestry protection projects would displace the deforestation elsewhere, with little or no net gain.

Under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change negotiations, Papua New Guinea and the Coalition of Rainforest Nations (CRN), and subsequently Brazil, have proposed that developing countries might participate in climate change agreements by voluntary targets to reduce deforestation below national (rather than project specific) baselines.

Achievement relative to a national reference level would take account of any displacement of deforestation within a country.

At the launch of the Stern Review in October 2006, my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced that the UK would be working in partnership with a number of partners to explore ways of mobilising international resources to assist developing countries in sustainable forestry management. These partners include Brazil, the CRN, other developing countries, Germany (as Presidency of the G8) the EU and the World Bank. We are currently in talks with Germany and developing countries to establish how best to take this forward.

Furthermore, the UK Government are committed to working with other countries to promote the conservation of the world’s wildlife, for example, through our membership of agreements such as the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).

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Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs where deforestation of rain forests is continuing; where policies have been introduced to prevent further depletion of the rain forests; and if he will make a statement. [115912]

Barry Gardiner: United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) data shows that about 13 million hectares of the world's forests are lost annually due to deforestation. Brazil (3,103) and Indonesia (1,871) demonstrated the largest net forest loss (1,000 hectares per year) between 2000 and 2005. However, the net rate of loss is slowing down, thanks to new planting and natural expansion of existing forests. A range of initiatives introduced by Brazil are thought to have reduced deforestation rates in the Amazon by an estimated 31 per cent. in 2004-05 and 30 per cent. in 2005-06.

No single action can stop illegal logging. Combating it requires the simultaneous implementation of many policies and measures in and between those countries that produce timber and those that import it. In 2002, the UK signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Indonesia that commits both Governments to work together to tackle illegal logging and the associated trade in timber between the two countries. Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) legislation was adopted under the UK Presidency of the European Union (EU) in December 2005. This will allow the EU to enter into agreements with developing countries that export timber.

In January 2006, new funding of £24 million over five years to tackle illegal logging and underlying governance problems was announced. This will focus on tropical countries in Africa and Asia.

Action to reduce emissions from deforestation is not currently included under the Kyoto Protocol. This is because of the risk of such projects simply resulting in displacement of deforestation, to no net environmental gain. Proposals recently put forward by Brazil, Papua New Guinea (PNG) and Costa Rica, supported by the Coalition of Rainforest Nations, measure reductions in emissions relative to a national baseline, rather than a project-specific one. This greatly reduces the risk of displacement. The UK welcomes both proposals, and is actively working with the EU and international negotiating partners to secure a successful outcome on reducing emissions from deforestation in developing countries at the UN climate negotiations in Bali, in December 2007.


Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the merits of compelling water companies to introduce sewer baiting to reduce the rat population. [117443]

Ian Pearson: There is no specific duty on water companies in relation to the control of rats in sewers. A joint protocol, published in 1999 by the Local Government Association and Water UK, set out arrangements for closer working between water companies and local authorities on rodent infestations in sewers. However, sewer baiting is a matter for individual water companies.

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Royal Mail

Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much his Department spent using Royal Mail in each of the last five years. [115243]

Barry Gardiner: From information held centrally, the core Department has spent the following sums with Royal Mail and Parcelforce:

Royal Mail Parcelforce



















The core Department does not hold information centrally for what its Executive Agencies may have spent with either organisation.

Rural Economy

Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps his Department is taking to support tourism in rural areas; and what assessment he has made of the effect of cuts in spending to inland waterways on rural economies. [116286]

Barry Gardiner: The regional development agencies (RDAs) in England were given the strategic lead for tourism in the regions, and have been tasked with ensuring the appropriate delivery structures are in place. Their remit includes rural areas as well as urban. Defra contributes to the RDA ‘single pot’ to support such activity. VisitBritain was established as the national lead tourism marketing organisation, promoting the UK overseas, and England domestically, including rural areas.

A high quality environment is a key part of the visitor experience in rural areas and Defra has a wide range of policies which support this including agri-environment schemes, landscape conservation and waterways. Defra sponsors the three major navigation authorities—British Waterways, the Environment Agency and the Broads Authority. It provides them with financial support in their important work of maintaining and improving canals and waterways. The Government recognise that waterways act as a catalyst for regeneration. For example, British Waterways has around 1,500 miles of rural waterways and has been involved with over £10 billion of waterside regeneration. In 2006-007, the in-year cut to Defra's navigation bodies will have no demonstrable effect on rural economies.


Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much is spent in the EU on paying for set-aside; and for what reasons. [116640]

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Barry Gardiner: The data requested are not available as payments against set-aside entitlements are not separately identified from other single payment scheme (SPS) expenditure at EU level. Despite the introduction of the SPS, set-aside was retained as a production control measure as part of the 2003 common agricultural policy (CAP) reforms. The Government have already signalled their view to our EU partners that constraints on production such as set-aside should be eliminated as part of the 2008 CAP reform ‘health check’.

Single Farm Payments

Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many single farm payment (SFP) claimants in England have been fined for errors found within their completed (a) 2005 and (b) 2006 SFP forms; what the total sum is of these fines; and if he will make a statement. [117154]

Barry Gardiner: The Rural Payments Agency (RPA) does not fine farmers. However for a variety of reasons penalties can be applied to a Single Payment Scheme (and associated schemes) application.

As at 15 November 2006 25,551 penalties have been applied to 2005 scheme year claims, affecting 19,673 Single Business Identifiers, equating to deductions of £15,090,280. In addition a further 1,823 claims were penalised owing to non-compliances found during inspections.

For the 2006 scheme year the RPA has only made a small number of payments and a figure of the number of penalties applied is not available.

Sugar Imports

Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much per kilo is levied on the import of sugar from developing countries; for what reasons levies are imposed; and what assessment he has made of the global shortage or surplus of sugar production. [116500]

Barry Gardiner: The European Union (EU) imposes customs duties on imports of sugar in order to protect the minimum prices which are offered to EU growers and processors under the common organisation of the market. The rates of import duty vary; for white and raw sugar they are €0.419 per kilogram, or €0.339 per kilogram where the sugar is imported for refining.

In principle, these duty rates apply to imports from all third countries but some countries are eligible for preferential terms. Currently, the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) group of countries may supply 1.3 million tonnes to the EU, duty-free, and at the EU market price. However, under the Everything But Arms agreement, the duty that would otherwise be payable by the least developed countries is being progressively reduced and will be completely suspended from 2009.

My Department has not made an assessment of the balance between world sugar production and consumption.

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