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Justine Greening: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many Certificate of Completion DL196 certificates were reissued to motorcyclists following the expiry of a DL196 certificate previously issued in each of the last five years, broken down by local authority area; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. McCartney: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the written ministerial statement of 10 July 2007, Official Report, columns 53-54WS, on the new cross country rail franchise, which North West passengers will lose current direct journey opportunities; from which stations in the North West; and to which destinations in the South West and south coast. 
Mr. Tom Harris: At the commencement of the December 2007 passenger rail timetable, direct rail services are no longer specified from Carlisle, Penrith, Oxenholme, Lancaster, Preston, Wigan North Western and Warrington Bank Quay to Cheltenham Spa, Bristol Parkway, Bristol Temple Meads and stations in Somerset, Devon and Cornwall or to Birmingham International, Coventry, Leamington Spa, Banbury, Oxford, Reading and stations in Hampshire and Dorset.
Mr. Tom Harris: Our position is still as set out in the former Strategic Rail Authoritys Strategic Rail Freight Interchange Policy 2004 that, for London and the South-East, required capacity would be met by three or four new strategic rail freight interchanges in the region. But it is for the private sector to develop such proposals and progress them through the necessary approvals including planning consent.
David Heyes: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when she expects (a) the negotiation of the Highways Agency to appoint a firm of consultants on fees to be completed and (b) the results of the negotiation to be made public, referred to in the statement by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport of 14 December 2005, Official Report, column 489WH. 
Mr. Tom Harris: The Highways Agency appointed consultants in January 2006 to make recommendations on the amount it should repay to a successful claimant under Part I Land Compensation Act 1973 for the work of his/her agent. The consultants have produced a draft report and conducted further consultation with interested parties. The Highways Agency is now considering their recommendations and hopes to make an announcement shortly.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many staff are employed by the Environment Agency at the regional emergency control centre in Worthing; how many of these he expects to be made redundant when the Worthing office closes; and what impact he expects the closure of the office to have on the capability to manage flooding and other emergencies in the area. 
Mr. Woolas [holding answer 12 July 2007]: The Environment Agency employs approximately 350 people in Worthing, based on two principal officesa regional office in Guildbourne House and an area office in Saxon House.
Staffing matters are an issue for the Environment Agency. The Government would not expect the changes to have any adverse impact on the Agency's capability to manage flooding and emergencies in the area.
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on what evidential basis the Environment Agency reaches its conclusions about the probability of particular
flooding episodes; whether any change will be made to the Agency's mechanisms for assessing that probability following the recent floods; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Woolas: The Environment Agency uses the methods contained in the Flood Estimation Handbook (published by the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology), in conjunction with the data on rainfall and river flows collected during a flood event, to assess the probability of such an event.
Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether he intends to revise the Government's first response to the Making space for water consultation following the recent floods. 
Mr. Woolas: The first response to Making space for water, the cross-Government flood and coastal erosion risk management strategy, sets out what we plan to do. A detailed programme of work has been developed to take this forward.
The programme is already addressing some of the issues highlighted by recent events, but we will consider whether there are any further implications, including changes to our long-term aims and objectives, following the completion of the lessons learned exercise.
Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what standards are required of water companies to ensure that pumping stations for drainage of low-lying areas are themselves protected against flooding. 
Mr. Woolas: Sewage pumping stations are designed to convey flows arising from a once in 30 years storm. The majority of stations are designed with submersible pumps and many have duplicated multi-pump arrangements to mitigate against the failure of one pump. As part of the design check, they should be reliable, efficient and capable of dealing with the once in 30 years level of storm intensity at the pumping station itself. Emergency overflows are also provided at most sewage pumping stations to further protect the station from flooding in extreme wet weather events. The detailed design and site-specific design of such facilities is a matter for the water companies and, where appropriate, the planning authority.
Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what information he has received from (a) the Environment Agency and (b) the insurance industry on the proportion of flooding in England caused by surface water in each of the last five years. 
[holding answer 12 July 2007]: I have received no such information. The Environment Agency's national flood risk assessments estimate the numbers of properties at different probabilities of
flood risk (but do not separately identify those which have actually flooded). The most recent of these was completed in 2006. The Office of the Water Regulator (Ofwat) compile figures on the numbers of properties at varying risk of flooding from overloaded sewers. DEFRA does not hold comprehensive national figures on the numbers of properties flooded from all sources of flooding (river, sea, surface, groundwater and sewer) in any given year.
Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions he has had with (a) the Environment Agency, (b) district councils and (c) Gloucestershire county council on the recent floods in Gloucestershire; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Woolas: I have discussed the recent widespread flooding with the Environment Agency but have not yet had focused discussions on the specific flooding that occurred in Gloucestershire. We will review the circumstances surrounding the flooding as a whole to see if lessons need to be learned and applied.
Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment his Department has made of the condition of the drains in Gloucestershire following the recent floods in that county; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Woolas: Drainage is a complex issue and responsibility rests with water and sewerage companies, the Environment Agency, local authorities and private owners. It is for the owners of the drains to assess and ensure their operability.
There is a need to review the circumstances surrounding the recent flooding to see if lessons need to be learned and applied. This will have to consider the complex interaction between the various sources of flood risk involved.
Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what assessment his Department has made of the damage caused by flooding in Hertfordshire in the last five years; 
DEFRA provides the Environment Agency with a budget (£436 million this year) towards
its national flood risk management activities. Decisions on which improvement projects to promote with this money rest with the Environment Agency within the overall policy and prioritisation framework set by the Government. I have not yet had any discussions with the Agency about Hertfordshire in particular.
I understand from the Environment Agency that the only significant flooding that has occurred in the last five years was in 2002 when the River Colne overtopped its banks adjacent to Lower High Street, Watford. 25 commercial properties were flooded.
The Environment Agency completed works to construct a flood wall at the location in March 2007. The Environment Agency carries out routine inspections of flood defence assets. Currently, 95 per cent. of all Environment Agency and third party-owned flood defence assets within Hertfordshire are at or above a nationally defined target level.
The Environment Agency operates a risk-based inspection programme of all flood defence structures located upon the main river network. The frequency of these inspections is determined by a risk assessment of the consequences of failure of a particular structure. The rolling programme of inspection covers Hertfordshire and the rest of the country.
The recent weather conditions have not presented new information that creates a need to revise this inspection programme for any main river systems within Hertfordshire. All main river flood defences within Hertfordshire are fully assessed in terms of their adequacy and priority for any maintenance needed. Where third party-owned assets require maintenance the Environment Agency informs the owners of what is needed and follows up to ensure that the works are carried out.
The following tables provide information on Environment Agency spending on (a) managing and (b) improving flood defences in Hertfordshire in each of the last five years for which the information is available.
|Amount spent (£)|
|(1 )Amount scheduled for current financial year|
(2) This figure is estimated
Mr. Clegg: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what financial support the Government plan to provide to assist Sheffield in the aftermath of the recent floods. 
Mr. Woolas [holding answer 29 June 2007]: Emergency financial assistance can be made available to local authorities under the Bellwin scheme. The scheme is operated by the Department for Communities and Local Government to help with non-insurable clear-up costs incurred in taking immediate action to safeguard life and property following a disaster or emergency in their area.
In addition, a support package has been put together by Department for Communities and Local Government to assist recovery from the floods. £10 million is being made available to local authorities in flood hit areas to support the work that they and other organisations are already doing to help recovery. A further £3 million from Department for Transport for local authorities is available to pay for repair to damaged roads. A contingency reserve of £1 million is to be made available by the Department for Work and Pensions to meet additional grant applications arising out of the recent floods. This can cover replacement of essential household items for communities.
In relation to commercial businesses, Yorkshire Forward, the regional development agency (RDA) for the Yorkshire and Humber region, intends to set up a small-scale recovery scheme for small businesses. The scheme will be run in conjunction with Business Link South Yorkshire and will provide funding assistance for immediate recovery needs. They will be contacting larger companies on an individual basis to discuss their specific needs and how best the RDA might support them.
Peter Bottomley: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many charges were heard in court during the prosecution of John Rawlings for storing illegal pesticides; what the results of the case were; what order was made for costs; why the complete report on the case was not posted on the website of the Pesticides Safety Directorate and his Department; what steps he proposes to take following the words of the judge in the case about his Departments collaboration with chemical companies to maintain a cartel; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Woolas: In the case of R. v. Rawlings heard in Shrewsbury Crown court last month, the defendant was found guilty on three out of 14 counts of storage of non-approved pesticides. The judge imposed a conditional discharge for two years in relation to each count. The jury were unable to reach a verdict on the remaining 11 counts. The defendant was ordered to pay £8,500 towards prosecution costs but was granted 50 per cent. of his defence costs from central funds to be calculated at the legal aid rate. The Department does not post complete reports of court cases on its website as it is impractical. A news release, however, was issued summarising the outcome.
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