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Written Answers to Questions

Tuesday 3 July 2007

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Domestic Wastes: Waste Management

Martin Horwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer of 19 June 2007, Official Report, column 1659W, on domestic wastes: waste management, if he will provide statistics for the amount of waste produced per person in local authorities operating (a) alternate weekly collections and (b) traditional weekly collections, based on the data on which councils operate alternate weekly collections referred to in the answer to the hon. Member for Meriden (Mrs. Spelman) of 16 April 2007, Official Report, column 77W on domestic waste. [146161]

Joan Ruddock: It is not possible to provide an accurate comparison of the amount of waste produced per person in local authority areas running alternate weekly collection (AWC) services and the amount produced in those that are not. The list provided to the hon. Member for Meriden (Mrs. Spelman), Official Report, column 77W, reflected our knowledge at the time, but it is subject to change. Additionally, the collection of the data does not neatly coincide with the roll-out of AWC schemes. Indeed, many schemes are currently being rolled out, so not all households in a local authority area on the list will receive the service. In addition, AWC is being trialled in some areas and no decision has been taken as to whether such schemes will be rolled out more widely.

The 2005-06 municipal waste statistics, which include tonnages for individual local authorities, can be found on DEFRA's website at:

Data on the performances of individual local authorities can also be found on the websites of the Department for Communities and Local Government and the Audit Commission.

Electoral Commission Committee

Ballots: Trade Unions

Mr. Heald: To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speaker’s Committee on the Electoral Commission how many meetings the Certification Officer or his representatives have held with the Electoral Commission on trade unions since the establishment of the Commission. [147192]

Peter Viggers: The Electoral Commission informs me that, while it has no record of any meetings having taken place with the Certification Officer or his
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representatives, it contacts the office of the Certification Officer periodically to verify the registration of trade unions which are reported as having donated to political parties.

Leader of the House

Departments: Sick Leave

David Simpson: To ask the Leader of the House what percentage of sick leave taken by her staff was stress-related in each of the last three years. [145979]

Ms Harman: None.

Short Money

Mr. Kemp: To ask the Leader of the House what estimated Short Money funding allocation she plans to make to Opposition political parties in the House of Commons for the 2008-09 financial year. [147468]

Ms Harman: Financial Assistance to Opposition Parties, known as Short Money, is calculated under a formula established by a resolution of the House in 1999. It is set at £6,618,982 for the 2007-08 financial year. This will increase in April 2008 by the year-on-year rise in the retail prices index as at 31 December 2007. Equivalent arrangements, known as Representative Money, are also in place for Opposition parties whose Members decide not to take up their seats. The amount of Representative Money for 2007-08 is £90,036. This, too, will be increased in April 2008 by the rise in the RPI to the previous December. Detailed allocations for 2007-08 are set out in the Library’s Standard Note SN/PC/1663.

Westminster Hall Sittings

Mr. Hollobone: To ask the Leader of the House what assessment she has made of the merits of holding additional Westminster Hall sittings on Mondays. [146404]

Ms Harman: I have made no specific assessment of the merits of holding such sittings on Mondays.


Aviation: Northern Ireland

David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answer of 18 June 2007, Official Report, columns 1616-17W on aviation: Northern Ireland, what the reasons were for the three airprox incidents in Northern Ireland between 1 June 2006 and 31 May 2007. [146800]

Jim Fitzpatrick: Two of the three airprox incidents in airspace over Northern Ireland during the period 1 June 2006 to 31 May 2007 remain subject to assessment by the UK Airprox Board (UKAB). In due course, findings will be published both on the UKAB’s website at

and subsequently in hard copy.

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The third airprox was the result of a conflict in Class G airspace between a hang-glider and a light aeroplane. Both pilots had a responsibility to “see and avoid”. Avoidance action by the light aircraft resolved the conflict and prevented there being any actual risk that the aircraft would have collided. The UKAB assessed the degree of risk as Category B “safety not assured”. The full report (reference number 118/06) is available from the UKAB’s website.

Petrol Alternatives: Ribble Valley

Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many filling stations in Ribble Valley are able to accommodate alternative fuel types for cars. [147430]

Jim Fitzpatrick: This information is not held centrally by Government. However information on geographical locations is available on the Energy Saving Trust website at

The Government provides funds to the Energy Saving Trust to run their Infrastructure grant programme. The grants assist the building of refuelling stations for alternative fuels (natural gas/biogas, hydrogen and bio-ethanol).


Afghanistan: Peace Keeping Operations

Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the resilience of the Mastiff vehicle for service in Afghanistan. [145103]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: Mastiff is a robust and capable vehicle and it has already saved the lives of soldiers on operations in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

Armed Forces Compensation Scheme

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many personnel injured in (a) 2005-06 and (b) 2006-07 are (i) awaiting payment under the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme and have been waiting (A) less than six months, (B) less than one year and (C) more than one year and (ii) have not applied for payment under the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme. [139620]

Derek Twigg [holding answer 4 June 2007]: The AFCS injury came into operation on 6 April 2005 and applies to injuries and deaths caused by service on or after that date. All injury claims made between that date and 31 March 2006 have been cleared and a decision issued to the claimant. Therefore none are awaiting a decision.

With regards to the year 2006-07, as at 31 March 2007, there were 593 AFCS injury claims being processed. Of these, 585 claims had been outstanding for less than six months; the remaining eight claims had been outstanding for less than one year.

Outstanding claims are, by definition, at varying stages of being processed, and it is therefore not possible to say how many of the 593 claims will go on to receive an award.

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Information is not held on the number of injured personnel who have not made a claim to an AFCS award. Following the evaluation of the first year of operation of the AFCS, which found that the number of claims had been less than forecast, measures are being taken to ensure full awareness of the scheme. Possible lack of awareness in the early days of the scheme does not mean that personnel will lose out: they have five years to claim from the date of the injury.

Armed Forces: Casualties

Mr. Nicholas Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what support is available to the families of service personnel killed in armed conflict. [147137]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to the hon. Member for Lancaster and Wyre (Mr. Wallace) on 27 February 2007, Official Report, column 1161W.

Armed Forces: Deployment

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the current (a) percentage and (b) number of postings is with less than four months notice in (i) the armed forces and (ii) each service. [121495]

Derek Twigg: The information requested is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. While the majority of postings are administered well in advance there will always be short notice postings where guidelines on notice to deploy cannot be met due to, for example, operational or compassionate/welfare reasons.

Mr. Hollobone: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will take steps to restrict the disclosure of information about the future deployment into combat zones of armed forces personnel. [146390]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: We make every effort to ensure that information regarding the future deployment of armed forces personnel is not released publicly until a statement is made in Parliament, while simultaneously providing our armed forces with enough notice of the deployment to complete appropriate pre-deployment training.

Armed Forces: Mental Health Services

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence where he expects the mental health pilot schemes to be held; and what criteria will be used to assess their performance. [145195]

Derek Twigg [holding answer 25 June 2007]: The MOD is working with the four UK Health Departments to pilot a new community-based service that will provide NHS health professionals with assured access to expertise in military mental health. We are in discussion with a number of health trusts across the UK, including in the devolved Administrations, who have indicated an interest in participating in the pilot scheme. I expect the first pilots to launch later this summer. The pilots are planned to last for two years, after which they will be evaluated.

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MOD will commission a process and outcome evaluation of the pilots over the two-year period. This will be an integral part of the project. The terms of the evaluation, which will cover the two years of the pilots and an additional period for follow-up and report-writing, have been advised by the Project Expert Group which comprises national clinical and health care experts. The evaluation will involve a comparison of the new model of services with services previously available in the same area and will compare the particular approach of individual pilot sites. The key measures will be the assessment and treatment regimes provided, and the patient (and carer) experience and outcomes.

Armed Forces: Pensions

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his latest estimate is of the total cost of defence pensions as a share of defence spending in each year from 2002-03 to 2050-51; and if he will make a statement. [144275]

Derek Twigg: The percentage of Ministry of Defence's budget spent on contributions to the Armed Forces Pension Scheme for the period 2002-03 to 2007-08 is set out in the following table. It is not possible to calculate percentages out to 2050-51 as the Ministry of Defence does not know what its budget will be for this period; the Defence budget for 2008-09 to 2010-11 will be set in the comprehensive spending review.

AFPS as a percentage of Defence spending













Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the value was of the war disablement pension in each year since 1997. [146072]

Derek Twigg: War pension is awarded at different rates and is based on the degree of disablement caused as a result of service in HM forces. The weekly 100 per cent. rate of basic war disablement pension since 1997 payable is as follows:
























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The maximum tax free weekly war disablement pension, including allowances that could be payable to a single, very seriously disabled war pensioner since 1997 is as follows:
























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