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28 Feb 2007 : Column 1312W—continued

Table 2: Percentage change in farm business output by farm type, England 2000-01 to 2005-06
Percentage change from previous year
March/February 2001-02 2002-03 2003-04 2004-05 2005-06







Grazing livestock (less favoured area)






Grazing livestock (lowland)












General Cropping






Specialist Pigs






Specialist Poultry


















All farm types






Farm business survey

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of the annual average incomes of dairy farmers in (a) England and (b) Lancashire in each of the last five years. [122448]

Barry Gardiner: The average net farm income for dairy farm businesses in Lancashire and England for the past five years is set out in table 1 as follows. Net farm income is defined as the return to the principal farmer and spouse for their manual and managerial labour and on the tenant type capital of the business.

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Average net farm income on dairy farm businesses in Lancashire and England, 2001-02 to 2005-06
£ per farm
Lancashire England
















(1) Excluding farms subjected to compulsory foot and mouth disease cull.
Farm Business Survey

Flood Control

Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what account he has taken of any increase in the number of homes assessed to be at significant risk of flooding when determining funding for flood defences in 2006-07. [123650]

Ian Pearson: The Environment Agency (EA) is the principal operating authority with responsibility for managing flood risk in England and undertakes an annual National Flood Risk Assessment. The 2004 assessment (NaFRA 2004) identified 1.9 million domestic and commercial properties at risk of flooding in England, with 285,000 being at significant risk (defined as a probability of flooding in any one year greater than 1.3 per cent. or one in 75). NaFRA 2005 identified 2.1 million properties at risk of flooding with 517,000 being at significant risk. The results from NaFRA 2006 will be published shortly—indicative results suggest a similar number of properties at risk of flooding, but a slightly lower number at significant risk compared to 2005.

This estimation is a complex process and, although techniques are developing rapidly from research to operational methodology, they are not yet able to track real annual changes in flood risk on the ground. Any changes between annual assessments are almost entirely due to changes in data and analysis techniques. An improvement in the 2005 assessment was that the number of houses in the ‘no data’ category was significantly reduced from the 2004 assessment to less than 1 per cent. of the total. This inevitably added properties to each of the identified risk bands.

Funding for flood risk management has increased significantly in recent years and the Department remains on target to achieve the spending review 2004 target of improving the standard of protection for at least 100,000 households over the period 2005-06 to 2007-08. The NaFRA estimates are one factor informing spend on flood risk management within the overall departmental funding allocation set in the 2004 spending review up to 2007-08.

Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the effect on flood risk of recent changes in the level of capital funding available for local government and internal drainage board flood defence projects in 2006-07. [123665]

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Ian Pearson: Local authorities and internal drainage boards are currently forecasting to spend £12.7 million of DEFRA grant on capital flood risk improvement projects in 2006-07. This excludes local authority spend on coast protection projects which also often provide significant benefits in terms of reducing flooding from the sea.

The original allocation of £15.7 million has, therefore, been reduced by £3 million which has been transferred to the Environment Agency’s capital flood risk budget. There has been no overall reduction in capital spend on flood risk management as a result. No specific assessment of the impact of this transfer has been made, but overall flood risk management should not be adversely affected.

Flood Control: Expenditure

Mr. Todd: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of the increases required in flood defence expenditure to meet the effects of climate change over the next (a) 10 and (b) 50 years; and if he will make a statement. [123288]

Ian Pearson: The Government’s 2004 Foresight Future Flooding report estimated that average annual flood damages could increase by between two and 20 times by the end of the century. This takes into account the likely effects of climate change and increased development and economic wealth. However, changes will be highly dependent on the actual impact of climate change and sea level rise, patterns of growth, development and future flood risk management activity.

Effective flood risk management remains a priority for the Government and we have increased funding significantly in recent years. Overall departmental funding in future years, of which spending on flood risk management is a large part, is being considered in the 2007 comprehensive spending review and we continue to work with the Environment Agency in preparation for this.

Landfill: Milton Keynes

Dr. Starkey: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much waste was disposed of at Newton Longville landfill site in the last 12 months from areas other than Milton Keynes; and from which local authority areas that waste originated. [123397]

Mr. Bradshaw: The Environment Agency holds records of the amount of waste disposed of at Newton Longville landfill site. The data, based on landfill operator returns for 2006, are as follows:

28 Feb 2007 : Column 1315W
Area Tonnes of waste







Milton Keynes












Greater London


East London Waste


West London Waste




The total from areas other than Milton Keynes is 423,066 tonnes.


Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what his Department’s policy is on the peak oil concept; and what planning his Department has undertaken on the basis of estimates of oil reserves in (a) 25, (b) 50 and (c) 100 years time. [120522]

Ian Pearson: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary for Trade and Industry on 20 February 2007, Official Report, column 658W.

Radioactive Waste Management

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs from which organisations he has sought advice on technical and security aspects of radioactive waste disposal as a part of taking forward the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management’s recommendations. [122730]

Ian Pearson: With the devolved Administrations, we are working through the Managing Radioactive Waste Safely Implementation Planning Group to prepare a public consultation on the framework for implementing geological disposal.

The group is chaired by Defra, and other relevant parts of Government are represented—the Department of Trade and Industry, the Ministry of Defence, the Department for Communities and Local Government, Her Majesty’s Treasury. The group also has representatives from the devolved Administrations, regulators (notably the Health and Safety Executive and the environment agencies), and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.

As well as seeking advice from representatives of this group, their agencies and others (including the Office for Civil Nuclear Security), advice has been sought from other interested parties including the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management and the Local Government Association’s Nuclear Legacy Advisory Forum. We are also proposing the creation of a national expert group and an independent peer review panel to develop and assess geological criteria proposals.

We aim to publicly consult on the framework for implementing geological disposal later this year.

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what people are being sought for appointment to the new Committee on Radioactive Waste Management. [122742]

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Ian Pearson: The relevant skills required by people sought for appointment to the new Committee on Radioactive Waste Management (CoRWM) are set out in the draft terms of reference published on 25 October 2006 in the Government’s response to the CoRWM’s report and recommendations.

The reconstituted CoRWM will have a strengthened scientific and technical membership who will provide independent advice on long-term management (including storage and disposal) of radioactive waste to the Government and devolved Administrations. We expect to advertise for applicants for the new CoRWM shortly.

Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps his Department is taking to implement the recommendations of the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management (CoRWM) report on disposal of nuclear waste; and what steps his Department has taken to consult local authorities on a process for deciding on the location of a nuclear waste disposal site following the recommendations of CoRWM. [123557]

Ian Pearson [holding answer 26 February 2007]: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State responded to the report by the Committee on the Management of Radioactive Waste (CoRWM) on 25 October 2006. In his response, he accepted CoRWM’s recommendation that the UK’s higher activity waste should be managed, in the long term, through geological disposal. His response also accepted the continuing need for safe and secure interim storage until geological disposal is available.

The Secretary of State also invited any local authority, or group of authorities, with a particular interest in helping us to develop a public consultation document on the Government’s framework for implementation, to come forward. Furthermore, we are in discussion with local authorities through their Nuclear Legacy Advisory Forum (NULEAF) special interest group.

The framework for implementation, which we aim to publish for consultation later this year, will include an outline geological disposal delivery programme and proposals for a voluntarist/partnership approach to site selection.

Rural Areas: EC Grants and Loans

Anne Moffat: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will make a statement on the EU rural development budget. [121593]

Barry Gardiner: In December 2005, the European Council agreement on future financing for 2007-13 fixed the amounts for the EU rural development budget. This was set at €69.75 billion for the seven- year period, through Council Decision 493 of 2006. The EU rural development budget allocations for each member state (including price adjustments) were confirmed in Commission Decision 636 of 2006. The UK receives approximately €1.9 billion, of which €1 billion will be allocated to England.

However, the total size of the rural development budget cannot be confirmed at this stage. Any
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decisions about national exchequer co-financing will be made once the EU regulation governing the use of voluntary modulation has been adopted.

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