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Written Answers to Questions

Wednesday 28 February 2007


Rail Fares

Mr. Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will review the structure of rail season ticket prices in relation to their affordability for people working from home for one or more days a week. [122781]

Mr. Tom Harris [holding answer 27 February 2007]: Rail season ticket prices provide a discount on the cost of the daily peak return. This incentivises passengers to buy season tickets and benefit from the flexibility that they bring. For example, the standard class weekly season ticket from Oxford to London costs £92.80, which is less than three times the £39.30 cost of the daily peak return. Season ticket holders who work at home up to two days a week still save money over the cost of daily tickets. The Department is not currently reviewing this structure.

Mr. Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the affordability of unregulated rail fares for First Great Western journeys between Oxford and Reading; and what steps he is able to take to ensure that these do not rise disproportionately. [122779]

Mr. Tom Harris [holding answer 27 February 2007]: Unregulated rail fares are set by operators on a commercial basis and are a matter for the operators concerned. It is in the interests of each operator to set a range of fares.

Immobilisation of Vehicles: Tamworth

Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many vehicles were clamped in Tamworth constituency in each of the last three years. [122434]

Dr. Ladyman: The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency clamps vehicles on the public road that have no valid vehicle excise licence. This is administered through its national contractor, National Car Parks (NCP). A total of 18 vehicles have been clamped in the past three years in Tamworth constituency.








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Neither the police nor Tamworth borough council clamp illegally parked vehicles.

Information about wheel clampings on private land is not collected by Government.

Railways: Milton Keynes

Mr. Lancaster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answer of 19 January 2007, Official Report, column 383W, on rail services, why passengers are not allowed to get on those services referred to which stop at Milton Keynes in order to set down passengers. [123692]

Mr. Tom Harris: There are two trains a day which call at Milton Keynes Central to set down but do not pick up passengers. The morning peak hour service is designed to set down a number of regular commuters who travel from the west midlands. The late night service is scheduled only to set down as essential engineering work may prevent the service from being provided.

Railways: Romford

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many passengers travelled on the train service between Romford and Liverpool Street Station in each year since 2000. [122467]

Mr. Tom Harris: The Department for Transport does not hold this information. The Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) publishes regional passenger flows in the National Rail Trends Yearbook, editions of which are available in the House Library or from its website at www.rail-reg.gov.uk

Trans-European Networks: Republic of Ireland

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what progress has been made on the construction of the Trans-European Network number 13 linking the UK to the Republic of Ireland. [122469]

Dr. Ladyman: The European Commission have invested trans-European network-transport (TEN-T) funds into several projects on Priority Corridor 13. The projects and awards from 2001 are set out in the following table.

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Project Award (€ million)


A120 Stansted to Braintree road upgrade



A120 Stansted to Braintree road upgrade



A120 Stansted to Braintree road upgrade



A120 Stansted to Braintree road upgrade



A1 Loughbrickland to Beech Hill road upgrade



A1 Loughbrickland to Beech Hill road upgrade



A1/N1 Newry to Dundalk road upgrade



A5117 Deeside Park Junction improvements


Future EC funding will be subject to meeting strict TEN-T selection criteria.

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Agriculture: Subsidies

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when he expects all single farm payments to have been made. [122447]

Barry Gardiner: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State informed the House on 22 February 2007, Official Report, column 59WS, that 87 claims under the 2005 single payment scheme had not received any payment and 92 claimants were awaiting the balance of their payment having already received a partial payment. This is roughly equivalent to the position that applied at a similar stage under the old Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) schemes.

The Rural Payments Agency is continuing to clear the outstanding cases as quickly as possible. However, the complex issues involved in some of these cases—such as probate issues—make it difficult to predict when the last payment will be made under the scheme.

The Secretary of State also reported on progress by the RPA in making payments under the 2006 single payments scheme. £919.13 million had been paid representing 59 per cent. of the estimated amount due. The RPA’s target is to pay 96.14 per cent. of the amount due by 30 June 2007.

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much was paid by the average family per week for farm subsidies and other rural support in each of the last three years. [122743]

Barry Gardiner: We can estimate the UK consumer cost of the CAP by comparing the difference between UK and world prices for agricultural products and applying that difference to the volume of UK consumption. The estimated UK taxpayer contribution to the CAP includes payment through the EU budget plus the direct cost of co-financed expenditure under Pillar II of the CAP. Note that the UK contributes to the total EU budget and not to its individual components, therefore we have calculated a notional UK contribution to the CAP which takes account of the rebate.

The following table sets out the combined UK consumer and taxpayer costs of the CAP for the last three years for which estimates are available.

Cost per family of four per week (£)







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These estimates exclude the UK taxpayer cost of rural support that is provided outside the CAP either through the EU budget (including Objective 1 Structural Funds and LEADER+), or through expenditure on UK rural communities programmes. The cost of these programmes is comparatively small and is expected to have a minimal effect on the above estimates; it would not be possible to quantify this effect except at disproportionate cost. Most rural support in the EU is funded through Pillar II of the CAP, and is thus captured in the above estimates.

Agriculture: Wastes

Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what material is included within his Department’s definition of agricultural waste; [123192]

(2) what percentage of agricultural waste was (a) landfilled, (b) recycled, (c) re-used and (d) incinerated in the latest period for which figures are available. [123193]

Mr. Bradshaw: Agricultural waste is waste from premises used for agriculture within the meaning of the Agriculture Act 1947 which provides that:

There is no definitive list of what is or is not agricultural waste. However, agricultural waste can include materials such as discarded pesticide containers, plastics such as silage wrap, bags and sheets, packaging waste, tyres, batteries, clinical waste, old machinery and oil.

Modelling carried out by the Environment Agency, based on the DEFRA Agricultural Census, showed that agricultural waste arisings in the UK were estimated to be 544,000 tonnes in 2004. This estimate does not include manure and slurry as these are considered to be important nutrient resources that are applied to land as a fertiliser for the benefit of agriculture.

Agricultural waste was included as a “controlled waste” only when the Waste Management (England and Wales) Regulations (S.I. 2006 No. 937) came into force on 15 May 2006. These applied the same national waste management controls to agricultural waste that have long applied to other sectors of industry. Data on agricultural waste arising and its disposal routes, are, therefore, not yet available.

Bernard Matthews

Derek Wyatt: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much compensation he expects to be paid to Bernard Matthews for the outbreak of avian influenza. [120663]

Mr. Bradshaw [holding answer 19 February 2007]: The Animal Health Act 1981 requires compensation to be paid for all healthy birds slaughtered for disease control purposes at the value of the bird immediately
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before slaughter. This applies to all birds suffering from any strain of avian influenza regardless of whether it is high or low pathogenicity. We also compensate for eggs or other property that is seized and destroyed. Valuation tables are available on the DEFRA website.


Mrs. Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the effect of staff changes at (a) Monks Wood and (b) Winfrith Centre for Hydrology and Ecology research stations on (i) the Government’s biodiversity programme and (ii) progress towards the 2010 target on biodiversity loss; and if he will make a statement. [122543]

Barry Gardiner: Defra contracts with the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology generally include a risk assessment and, where relevant, these include an assessment of the risks of staff changes to the success of individual projects. New contracts which span the anticipated period of re-structuring will include such an assessment. The Government have not made a specific assessment of how staff changes at Monks Wood and Winfrith research stations will affect progress towards the 2010 target on biodiversity loss. The Centre for Ecology and Hydrology is one of very many organisations which contribute to achievement of the 2010 target, many of which undergo staff changes and re-structuring from time to time.

Carbon Dioxide: Air Pollution

Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what unit cost was given to carbon in estimates of the social costs of carbon calculated by (a) his Department and (b) Sir Nicholas Stern’s review; and if he will make a statement. [123434]

Ian Pearson: Defra and all other Government Departments use the Government Economic Service (GES) estimates of the social cost of carbon. The GES illustrative estimate for the global damage cost of carbon emissions is £70 per tonne of carbon, within a range of £35 to £140 per tonne, rising by £1 per tonne per year in real terms from the year 2000.

The Stern Review’s modelling suggests the current social cost of carbon:

Carbon Dioxide: Pollution Control

Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps he intends to take to achieve active citizen engagement on taking forward policy on climate change as referred to in his paper presented on Her Majesty’s Government Policy Review to the Liaison Committee on 6th February. [123462]

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Ian Pearson: We will be giving a big push to consumer engagement on action to tackle climate change with a new campaign to be launched in the next few months.

A range of events are planned, starting in March and continuing into the autumn. These will include a Citizens’ Summit on Climate Change, on-line, press and TV advertising, the launch of a web-based CO2 calculator, a new short film and an educational brochure.

A consultation is currently under way on a Code of Best Practice on Carbon Offsetting (due to close on 13 April 2007). The code is part of the package of information and tools we are developing for the public so that they can make informed choices on avoiding and reducing emissions, and to consider offsetting. The aim of the proposed code is to allow consumers to offset with confidence by giving accreditation to offsetting products available.

Departmental Pay

Mr. Ian Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the pay grades are of staff in his Department; how many staff earn (a) under £20,000, (b) £20,000 to £29,999, (c) £30,000 to £39,999, (d) £40,000 to £49,999, (e) £50,000 to £59,999, (f) £60,000 to £69,999, (g) £70,000 to £79,999, (h) £80,000 to £89,999 and (i) above £90,000 per annum; how many and what percentage of staff in each band received performance related bonuses in 2005-06; and what the average award received by staff was in each band. [110407]

Barry Gardiner: Two separate sets of pay grades operate in the core-Department (covering core-DEFRA, State Veterinary Service, Pesticides and Safety Directorate, Veterinary Medicines Directorate, Marine Fisheries Agency and Government Decontamination Service) for staff in the senior civil service (SCS) and for staff at grade 6 and below.

Separate pay and grading arrangements operate for staff at grade 6 and below in those Executive agencies who operate delegated pay arrangements i.e. Central Science Laboratory, Centre for Environment, Food and Aquaculture Science, Rural Payments Agency and Veterinary Laboratories Agency.


The SCS have three separate pay grades:

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