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Waste Disposal: Nappies

Mrs. Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the potential contribution of reusable nappies to reductions in landfill material. [146506]

Mr. Bradshaw: Disposable nappies form 2-3 per cent. of the household waste stream, approximately 400,000 tonnes per year.

Reusable nappies may reduce demands on landfill but they still impact on the environment in other ways, such as the water and energy used in washing and drying them. In May 2005, the Environment Agency published a report entitled "A Life Cycle Assessment of disposable and reusable nappies in the UK". The report concluded that there was no significant difference between any of the environmental impacts of the disposable, home use reusable and commercial laundry systems that were assessed. None of the systems studied were more or less environmentally preferable.

The DEFRA-funded Waste and Resources Action Programme's (WRAP) Real Nappy Campaign was established to promote the use of reusable nappies. The three-year campaign succeeded in diverting approximately 23,000 tonnes of biodegradable nappy waste from landfill in England.

Mrs. Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate his Department has made of (a) the length of time required for a disposable nappy to fully decompose in landfill and (b) the number of tonnes of (i) carbon dioxide, (ii) methane and (iii) other greenhouse gases which are emitted by landfill disposable nappies in each (A) first 10 years after disposal and (B) subsequent decade until total decomposition. [146507]

Mr. Bradshaw: The Wisard software tool used by the Environment Agency in their report, "Life Cycle Assessment of Disposable and Reusable Nappies in the UK", assumed a 500 year time boundary for leachate in landfill. The Environment Agency therefore concluded that it would take that amount of time for the plastic part of a disposable nappy to decompose. The paper-fluff and faeces should take approximately 100 and 10 years respectively to degrade.

My Department does not hold the information requested on the gases emitted by landfilled disposable nappies. However, the Environment Agency's report (available from their website and the Library of the House) does contain some information on the impacts of disposable nappies on global warming and the gases involved.

Mrs. Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate his Department has made of the annual volume of disposable nappies going to landfill in each of the last five years. [146552]


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Mr. Bradshaw: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Romsey (Sandra Gidley) on 26 January 2007, Official Report, column 2122W.

Waste Management

Martin Horwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer of 15 June 2007, Official Report, column 1371W, on waste management, which measures his Department (a) has introduced and (b) plans to introduce that are specifically designed to reduce the amount of waste that the UK produces. [146100]

Mr. Bradshaw: Waste Strategy for England 2007, published on 24 May 2007, sets out a range of measures which will drive the reduction of the amount of waste produced in England. Table 8.6 of the strategy summarises how these measures will help to drive waste reduction. Further detail is available throughout the strategy which is available on the DEFRA website and in the Library of the House.

Waste management is a devolved matter and, in the rest of the United Kingdom, is the responsibility of the respective devolved Administrations.

Written Questions

Sir Michael Spicer: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when he expects to respond to the letter from the hon. Member for West Worcestershire of 17 May to the Minister of State on recycling plants. [146705]

Mr. Bradshaw: A reply was sent to the hon. Member on 20 June 2007. I apologise for the delay which occurred due to high volumes of correspondence received.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Cuba: Politics and Government

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the political situation in Cuba. [145771]

Dr. Howells [holding answer 28 June 2007]: The June EU Council Conclusions on Cuba reaffirmed the UK view that there have been no significant changes to the political, economic and social system in Cuba over the last year, despite the temporary transfer of power from Fidel to Raul Castro last July. The conclusions state that the Council

and observe that

In response to this lack of change, UK/EU policy continues to be based on the 1996 EU Common Position, which states that the EU’s main objective is to encourage a peaceful transition to pluralist democracy in Cuba. The UK/EU remains committed to a two-track policy of intensive dialogue with both the Cuban Government ‘and’ civil society in Cuba. We also continue to urge the
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Cuban Government to improve human rights standards in Cuba, including the unconditional release of all political prisoners.

Departments: Pay

Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many bonuses were awarded to senior civil servants working in his Department and its agencies in each year between 1997 and 2001-02; and at what total cost. [146589]

Dr. Howells: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office introduced performance-related bonus payments for staff in its senior management structure (senior civil service) in 2003-04. We did not pay bonuses to senior staff during the period from 1997 to 2001-02.

European Constitution Treaty

Mr. Redwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many meetings involving UK (a) officials and (b) Ministers with (i) officials and (ii) Ministers of other EU countries were held to discuss the EU Amending treaty in the three months before 23 June 2007. [146250]

Dr. Howells: My right hon. Friend the former Prime Minister, Mr. Tony Blair, my right hon. Friend the Member for Derby, South (Margaret Beckett), the former Foreign Secretary, my right hon. Friend the Member for Ashfield (Mr. Hoon), the former Minister for Europe and officials had numerous meetings with EU partners in the period leading up to the European Council. Discussions covered many areas, including EU institutional reform. My right hon. Friend the former Foreign Secretary’s discussions included those with her EU counterparts at the 17-18 June General Affairs and External Relations Council, which considered a presidency report on EU institutional reform.

Iraq: Asylum

Mr. Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assistance has been given to Iraqi citizens who have provided interpretation services for official UK representatives in Iraq to (a) enter and (b) remain in the UK on grounds of their security; and how many Iraqis have been assisted in this way. [146018]

Dr. Howells: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office does not hold a central record of applications for assistance to enter and remain in the UK on grounds of security, from Iraqi citizens who have provided interpretation services for UK representatives in Iraq. In order to answer my hon. Friend’s question accurately, officials at all diplomatic posts, and some Departments in the UK, would be required to examine all their records since 2003, which would incur disproportionate cost.

As I said in my response to the hon. Member for Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk (Mr. Moore) on 21 June 2007, Official Report, column 2206W, in line with our policy worldwide, we do not comment on the substance of individual immigration or consular cases, and all applications are dealt with on a case-by-case basis.


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Health

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Health Services

Bill Etherington: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what assessment his Department has made of the impact of the adequacy of specialist services for chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis; and if he will make a statement; [146603]

(2) when (a) he and (b) officials in his Department last met representatives of the charities and organisations working on behalf of chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis patients; and what matters were discussed. [146604]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: We have made no assessment of the impact of the adequacy of specialist services for chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME).

We are not aware of any recent meetings by ministers or officials with representatives of charities and organisations working on behalf of those living with CFS/ME.

NHS: ICT

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much Connecting for Health has paid Google for the sponsored link on Google's search engine; and which words or phrases in the search criteria bring up Connecting for Health as a sponsored link. [141977]

Caroline Flint: This link was established by a communications agency contracted to NHS Connecting for Health without authorisation and without consultation on the search criteria used. This was part of a wider programme of initiatives to improve communications about the Connecting for Health programme. The arrangement has been terminated. No costs have been borne by NHS Connecting for Health or indeed by the taxpayer.

We are exploring with the agency concerned the circumstances under which this arrangement was made and the terms under which it operated, including the search criteria. We will write to the hon. Member when these inquiries are complete, and a copy will be placed in the Library.

Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust: Finance

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much was allocated to the Royal Cornwall Hospital Trust in each of the last 10 years; and what the average allocation was to hospital trusts in England over the same period. [146245]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: Revenue allocations are made directly to primary care trusts (PCTs), not national health service trusts or individual hospitals. NHS trusts receive most of their income through the commissioning arrangements they have with PCTs.

Home Department

Immigration Appeals

Mr. Clegg: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what the average time a Home Office presenting officer spent on (a) a deportation
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appeal, (b) an asylum appeal and (c) an immigration appeal, excluding the time spent travelling and waiting for, and presenting, an appeal hearing was over the last 12 months. [141409]

Jacqui Smith: Over the last 12 months the average time spent by a presenting officer on an individual deportation appeal or an individual asylum appeal was three hours and thirty-six minutes. The average time spent by a presenting officer on an individual immigration appeal was one hour and thirty-six minutes. These figures exclude time spent travelling, waiting for and presenting appeal hearings. They represent the average preparation time spent by a presenting officer for each case type.

It should be noted, however, that this is only an average time. Cases vary tremendously in their complexity, therefore Presenting Officers will spend whatever time is required to prepare a case to the necessary standard.

Innovation, Universities and Skills

Higher Education: Trade Unions

Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills on how many occasions he has met members of the University and College Union to discuss academic boycotts. [146158]

Bill Rammell: In the course of regular discussions with the University and College Union I have discussed academic boycotts and made clear the Government’s opposition to them.

International Development

CDC Capital Partners: Pensions

Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what plans he has to provide guarantees for (a) present and (b) former employees of CDC that their pensions will be assured following any flotation or sale. [146706]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: DFID has no present plans for a flotation or sale of CDC.

Pension benefits for current and former CDC employees are provided through the CDC pensions scheme. This is a conventional UK occupational pension scheme, established under trust and with its assets entirely separate from CDC. No payment can be made from the scheme to CDC, except in circumstances where the scheme is wound up, and a surplus exists after all benefits have been secured in full by the purchase of annuities.

The most recent actuarial valuation was undertaken on 31 March 2006. This showed the scheme, although better funded than most UK pension schemes, to have a shortfall of assets against liabilities. Additional contributions are being paid by CDC to remove that shortfall. In addition, CDC has put aside significant
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additional assets in a contingent funding arrangement which safeguards the future payment of the shortfall contributions and provides materially improved security for the accrued benefits of scheme members.

Developing Countries: Sight Impaired

Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what discussions he has had with EU counterparts on improving the availability of accessible eye-care in developing countries. [146478]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: Neither I nor my predecessor have had any discussions with EU counterparts about improving the availability of accessible eye-care in developing countries.

Justice

Asylum

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice on what date the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal notified the Home Office of the judge’s decision in Tribunal Case VA/31440/2006 (FCO number 1198381), promulgated on 29 March, about the case of Mr. M.I. sponsored by Mr. R.A. of Aylesbury. [146722]

Mr. Sutcliffe: Information shows that the immigration judge decision was served to all parties on the 29 March 2007.

In entry clearance and family visitor appeals the determination is served upon BIA who will arrange for the forwarding of the determination to the entry clearance post that made the original refusal.

National Offender Management Service

Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how much was spent on the National Offender Management Service in each year since its inception; and what the budget distribution was per region in each year. [146746]

Mr. Sutcliffe: The National Offender Management Service was created on 1 June 2004. The net resource outturn as recorded in the Home Office accounts, is as follows:

£

2004-05

(1)3,695,058,000

2005-06

4,084,141,000

2006-07

(2)4,342,070,000

(1) Figures relate to the full year
(2) Provisional subject to audit

Significant parts of the NOMS’ budget are not distributed on a regional basis, and the local services may serve a wider catchment area than their geographical location, so a regional analysis of the overall NOMS budget cannot be achieved without disproportionate cost.


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