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2 May 2007 : Column 1664Wcontinued
Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) pursuant to the written ministerial statement of 24 April 2007, Official Report, column 21WS, on Iraq, whether he expects the review team considering issues of media access to serving military personnel (a) to investigate and (b) to report on the sequence of events leading to the decision to allow some sailors to sell their stories; and whether the identities will be disclosed of the individuals in his Department who took that decision; 
(2) pursuant to the answer of 24 April 2007 to question 132019, Official Report, column 1013W, on service personnel: media, if he will give an example of an instance of which his Department is aware of a relative of a serving serviceman or woman selling a second-hand account to a media outlet. 
Mr. Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what role the Department played in managing the bids by media organisations for the stories of naval personnel recently seized by the Iranians. 
Des Browne [holding answers 27 April and 1 May 2007]: I refer my right hon. Friend and the hon. Member to the statement I made to the House on 16 April 2007, Official Report, columns 23-26, and my further written statement of 24 April 2007, Official Report, columns 21-22WS. While the independently-led review of media access to personnel is under way, it would be inappropriate for me to comment further on the issues involved.
Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence with which sonar systems (a) HMS Daring and (b) HMS Dauntless are being fitted. 
Mr. Ingram [holding answer 1 May 2007]: Both HMS Daring and HMS Dauntless will be fitted with the Medium Frequency Sonar 7000 system.
Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make an assessment of the evidence submitted to the Defence Select Committee in its inquiry into the future of the UKs strategic nuclear deterrent by Professor Richard Garwin, on the timetable for replacement of Trident submarines. 
Des Browne: The rationale for the timetable for the replacement of the Vanguard-class submarines was set out in the White Paper: The Future of the United Kingdoms Nuclear Deterrent (Cm 6994) published on 4 December 2006. The Ministry of Defence provided further detail on the expected life of the Vanguard-class in a letter to the Defence Select Committee dated 1 February 2007, which the Committee published in Volume II of its Ninth Report of Session 2006-07 (Ev 122) on 27 February 2007. I also covered this issue in detail during my evidence session with the Committee on 6 February, a transcript of which was published in the same Report (Ev 57).
Mr. Dunne: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much and what proportion of the total personal consumer debt was written off as a result of the use of individual voluntary arrangements in each of the last five years. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: The extent of any debt written off by means of an individual voluntary arrangement (IVA) is a matter for agreement between the debtor proposing the arrangement and the creditors who must approve it. Such information is not held by Government.
Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what representations the Government has made to the US authorities on the impact on UK tourists and businesses of the expansion of extra-territorial financial measures against Cuba. 
Mr. McCartney: The European Commission has responsibility within the European Community for dealing with extraterritorial measures taken by third countries against EU member states. Council regulation EC2271/96 (the EU blocking statute) was introduced by the EU in 1996 to offer protection to EU individuals and companies against certain specific extraterritorial legislation, including the US Helms/Burton Act which applies sanctions against Cuba.
My officials are in discussion with the European Commission in relation to recent cases of US extraterritoriality in the context of UK trade with Cuba, and the commission is considering how best to take these issues forward.
David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what measures are in place to limit the amount of money spent on alcohol for hospitality purposes by his Department. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: Heads of management units are responsible for ensuring that the principles governing hospitality and rules concerning expenditure are followed in their management units and, as is the case for all other expenditure, that an effective system is in place for dealing with claims and accounting for expenditure.
Expenditure on alcohol at public expense is governed by the general principles of financial propriety set out in Government accounting and further guidance is set out in the Departments staff handbook.
Martin Horwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps he is taking to ensure that (a) existing and (b) new housing stock has access to high speed broadband; and if he will make a statement. 
Margaret Hodge: The information is as follows:
(a) While the Government believe that the delivery of higher bandwidth broadband services is best left to the market, we are working with Ofcom and the industry-led Broadband Stakeholders Group to understand the potential barriers to further investment and how these might be addressed.
(b) DTI works closely with DCLG and built environment stakeholders, including English Partnerships and the Building Research Establishment, to raise awareness of the benefits and practicalities of digital connectivity. Examples of this work include the Data ServicesConnecting to Homes guidance for developers, currently in preparation, and the digital access provision (DAP) forum, producing best practice for digital connectivity at the earliest stages of the construction process.
Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what monitoring his Department undertakes of the eventual disposal of materials exported to China for recycling. 
Mr. Bradshaw: I have been asked to reply.
There are a range of controls in place to safeguard human health and the environment from exports of waste. All exports of waste from the UK for disposal are generally prohibited. However, certain non-hazardous wastes such as paper, glass and plastic can be exported for recovery or recycling, including to China, provided the wastes are destined for genuine and environmentally sound recovery operations. It is in the Chinese authorities' interest to ensure that imported recyclables are tracked and properly processed in an environmentally sound manner.
It is for waste producers, including local authorities and waste management contractors, to ensure that their waste is properly managed throughout the steps in the recycling chain, including at its final destination. They should assure themselves that exported waste is in compliance with the relevant environmental legislation, including that which applies to waste exports, and the duty of care. In support of this, the Environmental Services Association in the UK recently launched a compliance scheme for exports of recyclable materials, which the Government welcome. The code of practice, which is part of the scheme, includes requirements on members of the scheme to have documented control systems to demonstrate that waste recyclables are recovered under standards broadly equivalent to EU standards.
The Environment Agency (EA) is the competent authority in England and Wales responsible for the regulation and control of transfrontier shipments of waste. The EA has a programme of inspections of sites exporting waste and has taken part in joint enforcement projects with other EU regulators as part of the Sea Ports Projects, which includes detailed monitoring of waste exports from the EU.
In addition, in March 2005, DEFRA wrote to all waste collection and disposal authorities in England reminding them of their responsibilities regarding the export of waste to the EU and other countries.
Mr. Kevan Jones: To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speakers Committee on the Electoral Commission what criteria were used by the Electoral Commission to select appropriate printers for their approved list to produce ballot papers for the local elections 2007. 
Peter Viggers: Selection of a printer for the production of ballot papers is a responsibility of the relevant Returning Officer. The Electoral Commission informs me that it does not produce an approved list of printers, but its guidance manuals for Returning Officers offer advice on how to approach outsourcing of the production of ballot papers.
Mr. Kevan Jones: To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speakers Committee on the Electoral Commission if he will place in the Library a copy of the advice issued to Derwentside district council by the Electoral Commission following the issuing of faulty ballot papers for the local elections 2007; and if he will make a statement. 
Peter Viggers: The Electoral Commission informs me that it has provided no such written advice. The Commission did, however, provide oral advice to Derwentside district council following the discovery of errors in the instruction sheets in the postal ballot packs for the 16 wards with multi-member vacancies. The Commission concurred with the councils proposed response, which was to inform immediately all electors registered as postal voters in the relevant wards, and to offer a replacement ballot pack to any who considered themselves to have been confused by the error.
Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speakers Committee on the Electoral Commission what involvement the Electoral Commission had in the recent local government restructuring proposals. 
Peter Viggers: The Electoral Commission informs me that it had no involvement with the Governments original invitation to local authorities to bid for unitary status, nor with the drawing up by the Government of a shortlist of local authorities that it considered likely to meet the criteria. However, as with a number of other organisations, the Commission has since been consulted by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government over the shortlist.
To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission, how many (a) glass and (b) plastic
bottles of water were bought by the House in 2006; and how many were returned to the supplier for re-use. 
Nick Harvey: The House of Commons Refreshment Department purchases water in 500ml and one litre bottles for resale and for use in Committees and other meetings. The number of bottles purchased in the financial year 2006-07 was as follows:
|Type of bottle||Number of bottles|
None of these bottles was returned to the supplier for re-use. They are, however, recycled and in the financial year 2006-07 the House sent 174.2 tonnes of glass and 2.7 tonnes of plastic bottles for recycling.
Other Departments purchase 18.5 litre bottles for use in chilled water dispensing machines. These are returned to the supplier for re-use. The number purchased during 2006-07 was 651.
Chris Huhne: To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission, how often Portcullis House has been assessed for its (a) energy efficiency and (b) carbon emissions; what the trends in performance were; what plans the Commission has to assess Portcullis House in this way; and if he will make a statement. 
Nick Harvey: Portcullis House is assessed on a regular basis both for energy efficiency and carbon emissions. There is a reducing trend for both as can be seen from the following table:
All electricity consumed on the parliamentary estate has come from renewable sources since 1 February 2007, therefore there will be no carbon emissions resulting from electricity consumption in future. This has contributed to the reduction in carbon emissions for the year 2006-07.
The Board of Management will consider again next month whether the House should seek to achieve ISO14001 and then eco-management and audit scheme accreditation (EMAS).
David Simpson: To ask the Leader of the House what percentage of paper used (a) for photocopying and (b) in printed publications by his Office was from recycled sources in each of the last three years. 
Mr. Straw: In the last three years, 100 per cent. of paper used by the Leader of the House of Commons Office for photocopying has been from recycled sources.
Paper used for printed publications complies with the Government's sustainable procurement quick wins agenda, which states that coated papers must contain a minimum of 60 per cent. recycled fibre and uncoated papers 100 per cent. recycled fibre. In practice most papers used comprise at least 75 per cent. recycled fibre for coated and 100 per cent. for uncoated.
David Simpson: To ask the Leader of the House how many people took sick leave for stress in his Office in the last 12 months; and what percentage of the total staff number this represents. 
Mr. Straw: None. They all enjoy working here so much. It is a stress free environment.
Mr. Scott: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the effect of plans by the National Air Traffic Services for new holding stacks for aircraft in relation to flights from (a) Stansted, (b) Luton and (c) City airport. 
Gillian Merron: No definitive plans have been submitted by NATS for new holding stacks for aircraft in relation to flights from (a) Stansted, (b) Luton and (c) London City airport. Plans for such changes, following full consultation by NATS as the change sponsor, would be submitted to and assessed by the independent aviation regulator, the Civil Aviation Authority, in accordance with the Airspace Change Process:
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