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23 July 2007 : Column 650W—continued

Flood Control: Telephone Services

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs where urgent calls dealt with by the Worthing emergency control centre of the Environment Agency will be routed following the closure of that office. [149296]

Mr. Woolas [holding answer 12 July 2007]: The Environment Agency has two principal offices in Worthing, a regional office in Guildbourne House and an area office in Saxon House.

The southern regional emergency control centre is based in Guildbourne House, where staff receive and route calls associated with incidents and emergencies.

These calls will continue to be dealt with there until at least June 2008, at which point a decision will be taken as to whether to transfer them to the well established National Customer Contact Centre in Sheffield.

However, if a local incident occurs these will continue to be managed by local centres within the affected region.

Heating: Carbon Emissions

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the potential effect on carbon dioxide emissions of commercial and residential buildings adopting heat pump technology in place of gas boilers. [150214]

Joan Ruddock: The Federation of Environmental Trade Associations (FETA) has confirmed that 200,000 heat pumps were sold in the commercial sector in 2006, of which around 90 per cent. were air source.

Estimates for the costs and savings in the housing market have been made for the Carbon Emissions Reduction Target (CERT). Ground source heat pumps
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are not currently a cost-effective substitute for gas condensing boilers. In a typical three bed-roomed semi-detached house, carbon dioxide (CO2) savings are around 0.46 tonnes CO2 each year.

However, if they replace conventional electric heating, they are cost-effective, with annual CO2 savings of around 4.3 tonnes CO2 each year. If they replace solid fuel stoves, they are not cost effective but save around 5.7 tonnes CO2 each year. By comparison, cavity wall insulation would save 0.575 tonnes CO2 each year in a gas condensing boiler-heated house.

If 10 million homes with gas condensing boilers had them replaced with ground source heat pumps, national savings would be around 4.6 MtCO2 (million tonnes of CO2) each year. This compares with the impact of all the policies in the Climate Change Programme by 2010, of 17.6 MtCO2 each year.

Lighting: Nuisance

John Penrose: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will issue quantitative guidance on the levels of obtrusive light which constitute a statutory nuisance. [151273]

Jonathan Shaw: There is no set level at which an activity becomes a statutory nuisance. It is for local authorities to consider what is a statutory nuisance on a case-by-case basis, taking into account a number of factors, including the character of the locality, the frequency of the occurrence, its duration, reasonableness of use, and the sensitivity of the complainant.

Marine Bill

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when he expects to publish a draft Marine Bill. [151044]

Jonathan Shaw: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given on 19 July 2007, Official Report, column 505W.


Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what his policy is on the promotion of single-stream recycling by local authorities; [149721]

(2) what research he has commissioned into the take-up of recycling facilities, including door-step collection, where single-stream recycling is employed. [149722]

Joan Ruddock: Decisions on the best way to collect waste and recyclables are rightly a matter for local authorities, not central government. Decisions to collect recyclables for sorting at kerbside or in a single-stream (co-mingled) for sorting at a Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) will depend on a range of factors, including the local housing stock, the range of materials being collected and the sorting and re-processing facilities available.

No research has been commissioned by my Department on the take-up of recycling facilities where co-mingled recyclable collection is employed. Assessments on the uptake of local recycling facilities would normally be undertaken by individual local councils.

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WRAP will be undertaking a study into the cost and performance of different kerbside collection schemes later in the year and they are planning for that study to investigate several of these issues.

Household waste recycling/composting has doubled in the last four years to reach 27 per cent. in 2005-06, which exceeds the Waste Strategy 2000 target of 25 per cent. This excellent progress is thanks to the commitment and hard work of the vast majority of local authorities, ever more enthusiastic householders and carefully targeted Government support.


Departments: Flint Bishop Solicitors

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland whether (a) his Department and (b) its agencies have made payments to Flint Bishop solicitors since 1997. [151373]

David Cairns: The Scotland Office was established on 1 July 1999 and, since that date, has made no payments to Flint Bishop.

Departments: Ministerial Red Boxes

John Hemming: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many ministerial red boxes the Department bought in each of the last five years; what the cost of each was; who the suppliers were; and what tendering process was used in selecting them. [150292]

David Cairns: Details of boxes purchased by the Scotland Office are set out in the table.

Number of boxes Cost (£)
















Ministerial red boxes are supplied via Banner Business Supplies.

Departments: Visits Abroad

Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many overseas visits were made by (a) officials and (b) Ministers within his responsibility, and at what cost, in each year since 1997. [151647]

David Cairns: The Scotland Office was established on 1 July 1999. Since 1999, the Government have published on an annual basis, a list of all overseas visits by Cabinet Ministers costing in excess of £500, as well as the total cost of all ministerial travel overseas. Copies of the lists are available in the Libraries of the House. Information for 2006-07 is currently being compiled and will be published before the summer recess. All travel is undertaken in accordance with the “Civil Service Management Code” and the “Ministerial Code”. The Office does not maintain a central record of overseas trips by officials.

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Official Engagements

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what his official engagements were for the week of 9 to 15 July. [151508]

David Cairns: During the week of 9 to 15 July, the Secretary of State for Scotland had five engagements, primarily meetings with Ministers and officials, and participated in Scottish Questions in the House of Commons.


Departments: Agencies

Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how much his Department paid in fees to recruitment agencies for (a) temporary and (b) permanent staff in each year since 1997. [151665]

Mr. Hain: The Wales Office paid the following sums to agencies to supply temporary staff:

Amount (£)







We have not used agencies to recruit permanent staff.

Corresponding information for previous years could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

National Assembly for Wales: Powers

Mr. Paul Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what representations he has received on holding a referendum on extending the powers of the National Assembly for Wales. [150226]

Mr. Hain: None. There is widespread debate as to the timing of a future referendum and I am aware of the different views that exist. The Government of Wales Act 2006 allows for the National Assembly for Wales to obtain enhanced legislative competence by way of Orders in Council. I am focussed on ensuring that these new procedures are a success.

Revenue and Customs: Location

Mr. Paul Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what recent discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the likely effect on economic development of proposals to move HM Revenue and Customs jobs away from Objective 1 areas. [150218]

Mr. Hain: My hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State and I continue to take a keen interest in the HMRC Change Programme and its possible impact on Objective 1 areas. My hon. Friend’s predecessor also met Treasury Ministers to discuss this issue.

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The HMRC Change Programme is a genuine consultation; no official decision has yet been made on any Welsh HMRC office.

Welsh Language: Legislation

Mr. Paul Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales whether he plans to bring forward new legislation on the Welsh language; and if he will make a statement. [150227]

Mr. Hain: The Government have no plans to bring forward legislation at Westminster on the Welsh Language. The Welsh Assembly Government announced on 6 June this year, their intention to seek enhanced legislative competence in the area of Welsh Language by way of an Order in Council. If approved by the National Assembly for Wales and Parliament this would enable the administration in Cardiff to bring forward an Assembly Measure on the Welsh Language.

Duchy of Lancaster

East Midlands

22. Sir Peter Soulsby: To ask the Minister for the Olympics what support is available for local authorities in the east midlands to develop their strategies and policies for London 2012. [151116]

Tessa Jowell: Local authorities have a key role to play in ensuring we maximise the legacy of hosting the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games in 2012.

In the east midlands, as in other regions, local authorities are represented on the regional groups for 2012 and supported by the regional coordinator. Additionally, the Local Government Association is supporting local authorities across England to ensure they realise the opportunities that the 2012 Games bring.

All this work is being driven forward nationally by the London 2012 Nations and Regions group, chaired by Charles Allen.

Departmental Reorganisation

24. Mrs. Dorries: To ask the Minister for the Olympics how she expects the recent departmental reorganisation to affect the delivery of London 2012; and if she will make a statement. [151119]

26. Mr. David Jones: To ask the Minister for the Olympics how she expects the recent departmental reorganisation to affect the delivery of London 2012. [151121]

Tessa Jowell: I refer the hon. Members to the answer I gave today to the hon. Member for North-West Cambridgeshire (Mr. Vara).

Legacy Plans

John Barrett: To ask the Minister for the Olympics what legacy plans have been put in place for the venues to be used for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. [151120]

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Tessa Jowell: A key consideration in the design of Olympic venues is the provision of a lasting and sustainable legacy.

A legacy business plan is being developed for each venue to ensure economic viability.

Venues outside of the Olympic Park will revert back to their original use, although some with enhanced facilities, such as the Weymouth and Portland Sailing Academy, which will benefit from an expanded slipway and increased number of moorings.

Cabinet Office

Norman Baker: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will make a statement on the work programme of the Better Cabinet Office programme. [151261]

Edward Miliband: The Better Cabinet Office programme has been superseded by a new change programme aimed at addressing the findings of the Department’s Capability Review and the results of staff surveys. The capability review implementation plan, which was published 13 December 2006, covers actions up to the end of 2008. Copies of the Capability Review and the implementation plan are available in the Library for the reference of Members.


Mr. Geoffrey Robinson: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of the Government’s policy on funding for the third sector. [149512]

Phil Hope: Recent surveys indicate that Government funding for the voluntary sector has doubled between 1996-97 (£5 billion) and 2004-05 (£10 billion). Initiatives like Futurebuilders, Capacitybuilders, the Invest to Save budget, expansion of Gift Aid (which currently provides £838 million to the third sector) and the new youth volunteering charity, v, have helped build the sector’s ability to make a real difference in local communities. In November 2006, the Government launched an action plan for social enterprise which committed £18 million to supporting social enterprises achieve their social, environmental and economic goals and proposals on their access to finance.

The Comprehensive Spending Review 2007 review into “The future role of the third sector in social and economic regeneration” is to be published later this month and followed a one-year consultation with the sector. The interim report of the review, published in December 2006, recognised that there was more to do to improve the relationship between Government and the third sector which included ensuring that there is stable and longer-term funding. The interim report announced a £30 million community assets fund and in addition an £80 million grants scheme for small community organisation was announced in Budget 2007.

The Government have also launched a consultation on considering measures to improve the take-up of Gift Aid on 23 June 2007.

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