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1 Feb 2007 : Column 436W—continued

Electoral Registration

Chris Ruane: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs which local authorities (a) used and (b) did not use doorstep canvassers to compile the 2007 electoral register. [112096]

Bridget Prentice: This information is not held centrally. Section 9 of the Electoral Administration Act 2006 placed a new duty on electoral registration officers to take all necessary steps to maintain the electoral register, which includes making on one or more occasions house to house inquiries. Section 67 of the Act requires the Electoral Commission to set and monitor performance standards for electoral services and this will help to provide more information about activity in this area in the future.

Chris Ruane: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs if she will assess the merits of ring fencing funds allocated to local government for registration of voters. [112098]

Bridget Prentice: Provision for the registration of voters is provided through the local authority formula grant, which is not ring-fenced. Spending decisions are made by local authorities, taking into account their statutory responsibilities and local needs. Under the Electoral Administration Act, the Electoral Commission has the power to require financial information from authorities that will show the level of funding. This, coupled with the introduction of performance indicators for registration, will increase transparency in this area.

£19.9 million has been transferred to English local authorities in 2006-07 and £1.2 million will be transferred to the National Assembly for Wales in 2006-07, to cover the new burdens arising from the Electoral Administration Act 2006; notably the new duty on electoral registration officers to maximise the register. The same level of funding will be transferred in 2007-08.


1 Feb 2007 : Column 437W

Chris Ruane: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs how much of the funding allocated to local authorities for registration for elections taking place in 2006-07 has been spent on registration. [117523]

Bridget Prentice: Funding for registration activities is included in the local authority formula grant issued by central Government. Once these funds are allocated, the decision on how they are utilised is a matter for the local authorities concerned.

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Supermarkets

13. Jo Swinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent assessment he has made of the environmental impact of supermarkets and the food industry. [117823]

Barry Gardiner: The food industry has a major environmental impact, accounting for 14 per cent. of energy consumption by UK business and 7 million tonnes of carbon a year. I am pleased that the sector is responding positively to the Food Industry Sustainability Strategy, published last year.

Single Payment Scheme

14. Andrew Selous: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many farmers have received incorrect payments under the 2005 single payment scheme. [117824]

David Miliband: Detailed analysis of all the payments made under the 2005 single payment scheme is not yet available. Once the remaining 2005 scheme payments have been completed, a decision will be taken on the level of detail that will be published.

Government's Waste Management Strategy

15. John Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what his policy is on incineration in the Government’s waste management strategy. [117825]

Mr. Bradshaw: Recovering energy from burning waste is significantly better in environmental terms than landfill. The UK still has high levels of landfill and low levels of recovering energy from waste. We want to see more energy recovery and less landfill.

Climate Change

16. Mark Lazarowicz: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent discussions he has had with the Indian Government on tackling climate change. [117826]

David Miliband: I visited New Delhi and Mumbai from 21 to 24 January 2007 where I met with Minister Raja, Minister of Environment and Forests. We
1 Feb 2007 : Column 438W
discussed how to strengthen our bilateral co-operation on climate change and issues relating to future climate change agreements.

21. Martin Horwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what progress has been made in international negotiations for action on climate change after 2012; and if he will make a statement. [117833]

Ian Pearson: In December 2005, at the UN Climate Change Conference in Montreal, negotiations started on new commitments for developed countries after 2012. The momentum initiated in Montreal was continued at Nairobi in November 2006, but 2007 will be an important year and at the December Bali Climate Change Conference we will be pressing for a decision that a post-2012 framework should be agreed by 2009 at the latest.

Low Energy Light Bulbs

17. Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps his Department is taking to encourage the use of low energy light bulbs; and if he will make a statement. [117828]

Ian Pearson: We are taking a number of steps to encourage more use of energy efficient bulbs, including energy labelling, and promoting the most energy efficient bulbs. The Energy Efficiency Commitment and Warm Front Scheme are reducing the price consumers pay.

Since 2000 the number of low energy light bulbs used in UK homes has more than trebled.

Air Quality

18. Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment his Department has made of air quality since 1997. [117829]

Mr. Bradshaw: Overall, air quality has improved since 1997 and is now cleaner than at any time since before the industrial revolution.

However, we are concerned about ozone and particulates which remain a problem in some locations because of transport emissions. We are also concerned about the impact of climate change on air quality.

MSC Napoli

19. Mr. Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the environmental impact on Lyme Bay on the beaching of the MSC Napoli. [117831]

Mr. Bradshaw: Monitoring by scientists at Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science, the Environment Agency and Natural England has not shown any adverse effects, although seabirds have been affected by some leaking oil.


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Environmental Liability Directive

20. Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry on the application of the polluter pays principle in the EU Environmental Liability Directive to the release of genetically modified organisms. [117832]

Ian Pearson: My right hon. Friend has regular discussions with the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry on a range of issues. The Government are currently consulting on its policy on implementation of the directive, which will strengthen application of the polluter pays principle in respect of a number of forms of environmental damage including potentially from activities related to the release of GMOs.

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the effects of the transposition of the EC Environmental Liability on the capacity of environmental protection to deliver overall benefit. [111506]

Ian Pearson: The Environmental Liability Directive is concerned with the prevention and remedying of narrowly-defined environmental damage. A consultation seeking views on options for implementing the Environmental Liability Directive was launched in December 2006. It includes a partial Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA) which estimates, on the best information available, the cost benefits associated with the different options.

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps he is taking to ensure that the transposition of the EC Environmental Liability Directive conforms with the Government's policy that the polluter should pay. [111530]

Ian Pearson: The Environmental Liability Directive is founded on the “polluter pays” principle. The Government wishes to encourage a change in behaviours so as to bring about reductions in the risks of serious environmental damage occurring and more effective application of the “polluter pay” principle where such damage does occur. The options in the consultation document launched in December, including the Government’s preference, would reinforce the “polluter pays” principle.

Carbon Dioxide Emissions

22. Michael Fabricant: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the contribution of the transportation of food and food-related products to carbon dioxide emissions in the UK. [117834]

Ian Pearson: The transportation of food and food-related products and its contribution to carbon dioxide emissions in the UK was assessed in a research report commissioned by DEFRA and published in July 2005. The figures for carbon dioxide emissions due to
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food transportation in the UK are updated annually. Both the report and the update in 2006 are on DEFRA’s website.

Access Management Grant Scheme

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which access authorities have received funding via the Access Management Grant Scheme since 2004; and how much each received in each year. [117594]

Barry Gardiner: Details of payments made under the Access Management Grant Scheme in 2004-05 and 2005-06, as well as commitments made for 2006-07, are as follows:

Payments made 2004-05
£

Bath and north-east Somerset

2,475.00

Blackburn with Darwen

5,935.63

Bradford

18,397.00

Brighton and Hove

3,997.50

Buckinghamshire

9,262.42

Calderdale

58,543.50

Cornwall

37,501.24

Cumbria

112,872.71

Devon

6,884.00

Dorset

28,938.03

Durham

80,299.74

East Riding of Yorkshire

7,408.53

East Sussex

42,270.54

Hampshire

10,566.00

Herefordshire

5,250.00

Kent

20,963.00

Kirklees

3,580.50

Lancashire

93,228.27

Lincolnshire

8,453.85

North Yorkshire

76,514.72

Northumberland

53,888.18

Oldham

2,982.50

Poole

924.31

Rochdale

1,406.00

Somerset

6,532.44

South Gloucestershire

3,900.00

Suffolk

18,750.00

West Sussex

125,708.15

Wiltshire

5,786.25

Total

853,220.01



1 Feb 2007 : Column 441W
Payments made 2005-06
£

Barnsley

11,815.30

Bath and north-east Somerset

10,891.00

Bedfordshire

25,824.00

Bolton

14,691.00

Bradford

3,051.00

Brighton and Hove

2,919.56

Buckinghamshire

30,159.66

Calderdale

53,768.25

Cambridgeshire

10,514.63

Cornwall

50,756.00

Cumbria

228,761.94

Derbyshire

2,110.50

Devon

64,082.00

Doncaster

12,845.00

Dorset

351,490.16

Durham

91,025.80

East Riding of Yorkshire

34,714.15

Essex

10,173.00

Gloucester

40,215.00

Hampshire

24,726.00

Herefordshire

2,831.00

Hertfordshire

9,660.00

Kent

25,573.50

Kirklees

24,037.05

Lancashire

70,751.75

Leeds

6,108.00

Leicestershire

34,264.80

Lincolnshire

6,786.75

Norfolk

400.00

North Lincolnshire

807.00

North Yorkshire

39,026.25

Northumberland

96,894.63

Nottinghamshire

2,190.00

Oldham

6,836.25

Oxfordshire

34,012.50

Poole

7,110.00

Rochdale

3,451.95

Shropshire

68,044.59

Somerset

21,745.50

South Gloucestershire

12,971.00

Staffordshire

12,331.50

Suffolk

120,769.90

South Downs (east Sussex)

134,721.00

Wakefield

5,248.41

West Berkshire

2,049.75

West Sussex

7,842.05

Wiltshire

11,060.00

Worcestershire

24,792.11

Total

1,866,851.19


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