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Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will make a statement on the effect of the timescale for the introduction of improved flood defences in Lewes arising from the allocation of existing funding by HM Treasury. 
It is working closely with Lewes district council and private developers to identify opportunities to provide improved defences as part of redevelopment schemes within the town. Following completion of the Cliffe works, expected in late 2009, 166 residential and 58 other properties will benefit from improved protection.
No final decisions have been taken on the allocation of the £200 million of increased spending in 2010-11. Following the comprehensive review settlement, expected by the autumn, and a subsequent departmental allocations exercise, a separate prioritisation process will determine funding for individual flood risk management projects.
Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what capacity of excess rainfall the storm water and sewerage system of each major urban area in England can bear; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Woolas: My Department does not hold this information. Water and sewerage companies are responsible for assessing the capacity of public sewers in order to ensure the effectual drainage of their area.
Typically, the public sewerage system overall is designed to withstand a one-in-30-year storm event
and waste water treatment works are designed to deal with six times dry weather flows without discharging excess water to a watercourse.
It has been estimated that up to 50 per cent. of the sewerage network may be in private hands (for example, householders) and information on capacity for this section of the network is not available. Earlier this year, the Government announced that existing private sewers and lateral drains that drain to public sewers would be transferred into the ownership of water and sewerage companies. This will significantly improve the integrated management of the sewerage network as a whole.
As well as private sewers, there is also an extensive network of surface water drainage associated with highways which is the responsibility of highways authorities. This frequently discharges and interacts with the public sewerage network.
The Office of the Water Services compiles figures on the numbers of properties at varying risk of flooding from overloaded public sewers. The price limits for 2005-10 allowed a programme of nearly £1 billion to safeguard homes against the risk of sewer flooding. By then, the proportion of properties at risk would reduce to 0.01 per cent. of households.
Mr. Greg Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent assessment his Department has made of levels of deforestation in England; and if he will make a statement. 
Joan Ruddock: A national survey of trees and woodland is carried out every 15-20 years by the Forestry Commission. The most recent inventory was published in 2001 and the next survey is planned to start next year. When completed this will enable an assessment of deforestation (i.e. the area of woodland lost between the two surveys) to be carried out. However, the Forestry Commission estimates that the current level of deforestation in England is running at between 500 and 1,000 hectares per year. This is almost entirely due to the removal of planted woodland to restore priority open habitats including lowland heath and upland peat bog.
David T.C. Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether her Department provides financial incentives to local authorities to increase take-up of adoptions of babies under the age of six months. 
John Healey: The Department for Communities and Local Government and the Office for the Deputy Prime Minister before it has since 2000 provided a system of performance incentivisation for local authorities in England across a range of service areas. This system operated via the local public service agreements, which have since been merged with local area agreements. These agreements offered a reward grant to local authorities who could deliver outcomes over and above the level of performance Government would otherwise expect.
Sixty one local authorities chose to include in their LPSA or LAA a measure performance on adoption and/or stability of placements for looked-after children, though the targets would not refer specifically to babies under the age of six months. Reward would be payable to local authorities and their partners for achievement of these particular targets, and in a number of cases this has now been claimed. Details on each target have been made available in the Library of the House, though we do not have data on the age of the children adopted in local authority areas.
John Healey: The Department launched a third sector strategy discussion paper on 7 June which includes consideration of the need of third sector organisations for more sustainable forms of investment. Our women and equality unit has commissioned a study to understand the barriers to ethnic minority women entering social enterprise and the support they need. Assistance for social enterprises is also available through the local enterprise growth initiative. So far, 29 local authorities have benefited from the first two rounds. Local authorities that have been successful may include projects to support social enterprises to encourage entrepreneur ship.
We will set out future proposals for supporting the third sector, including social enterprise, in the light of our assessment of responses to the discussion paper and the outcome of the 2007 comprehensive spending review.
John Healey: The Department does not currently hold information on suppliers in a way that captures the identification of contracts held with social enterprises. The Department is, however, seeking to revise its financial systems to capture information on third-sector suppliers, including social enterprises, and is liaising with the Office of the Third Sector to ensure that we adopt a common approach with the rest of Government.
Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment she has made of the contribution of the Holocaust Educational Trusts Lessons from Auschwitz project to (a) community cohesion, (b) race relations, (c) faith groups relations and (d) the understanding of the Holocaust by young people; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Dhanda: I believe that the Lessons from Auschwitz project makes an important contribution to the promotion of good relations between people from different ethnic, cultural and faith backgrounds, and in particular to ensuring young people appreciate the continuing lessons of the Holocaust for our society today. This is reflected in the Governments recent response to the all-party parliamentary inquiry into anti-semitism. The Department has contributed £20,000 to the Searchlight Educational Trusts Young Citizen magazine, the first issue of which contains testimonies from students who have participated in the Lessons from Auschwitz project.
Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much her Department paid to Common Purpose in each of the last five years; for what purpose; and what the outcome of the expenditure was. 
|Financial year( 1)||Spend (£)|
The purpose of the expenditure was to procure management training in leadership for senior managers and others within the Department, with the objective of enhancing their capability as potential leaders, both within their own organisation and in society as a whole.
The outcome of the expenditure should be that participants will gain new skills and competencies for leadership development and the Department will benefit from stronger, more inspired leaders who are more outward looking and closer to the community.
Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many and what proportion of staff in her Department took early retirement in the last five years, broken down by grade; and at what cost. 
Mr. Iain Wright:
The numbers of staff taking early retirement from the Department for Communities and Local Government, and its main predecessor the Office
of the Deputy Prime Minister, are set out, analysed by grade, and at what cost, in the following table. This does not include departmental agencies or non-departmental public bodies.
The cost of the earlier years exits, less than 15 per cent. of the 492 exits total, and analysis by grade of 13 of the earliest staff exits, is not shown as it could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
|Department for Communities and Local Government (including Government offices)|
|(1) Obtaining information for earlier years would entail disproportionate cost.|
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