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John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs who the independent quality assessors appointed by his Department are; who are responsible for ensuring that Warm Front's pricing system is fair and reflects the market rate. 
Mr. Dunne: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) when the post of Deputy Director of Science, Institute of Animal Health at Pirbright was (a) created and (b) filled; 
Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs who will be represented on the Interdepartmental Working Group on British Waterways which was referred to in the Governments response to the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committees Seventh Report of Session 2006-07, page 5; when the Group is expected to hold its first meeting; and if he will make a statement. 
Jonathan Shaw: I have recently written to the Secretaries of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Transport, Health and Communities and Local Government seeking their support for a cross-Government group on inland waterways. I envisage this group working together to strengthen contact between departments and to help with better recognition of what inland waterways can achieve in delivering a wide range of Government objectives.
Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what representations he has received from the Amenity Forum on the use of pesticides; and if he will meet representatives of the Forum to discuss the matter. 
Mr. Woolas: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has received various representations from the Amenity Forum on the use of pesticides. He currently has no plans to meet with representatives of the forum but will be happy to do so, diary permitting.
Alan Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management recommendation that any consideration of new nuclear waste arising from new nuclear build would raise practical issues which would need to be subject to a separate assessment and consultation process. 
Mr. Woolas: The way in which the Government views the issue of new build wastes in light of the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management's recommendations is set out in the consultation document "The Future of Nuclear Power: the Role of Nuclear Power in a Low Carbon UK Economy". The consultation document Managing Radioactive Waste Safely: a Framework for Implementing Geological Disposal gives further details of the Government's proposals for managing any future new build nuclear waste. The management arrangements for any future new nuclear build waste will be decided in light of the outcome to these two consultations.
Alan Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which parts of the Managing Radioactive Waste Safely: A framework for implementing geological disposal consultation specifically address the issue of new build nuclear waste. 
Mr. Woolas: It is not the purpose of the Managing Radioactive Waste Safely consultation to address the issue of whether or not it is in the public interest to allow energy companies to invest in new nuclear power stations. This is being considered by the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform in a separate consultation The Future of Nuclear Power: the Role of Nuclear Power in a Low Carbon UK Economy. This consultation closed on 10 October 2007 and responses are now being analysed.
The Managing Radioactive Waste Safely consultation anticipates that, in the event that there were new nuclear power stations, waste and spent fuel from those stations could be accommodated in the same geological disposal facility.
Alan Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) if he will publish the results of the Managing Radioactive Waste Safely: A framework for implementing geological disposal consultation at the same time as those of the Future of Nuclear Power consultation; and what steps he plans to take to ensure that the two exercises are integrated; 
(2) how the timing of any decision arising from the Future of Nuclear Power consultation will take account of the High Courts findings that waste issues from any future nuclear new build must be explained in full. 
Mr. Woolas: We will publish the results of the Future of Nuclear Power: the Role of Nuclear Power in a Low Carbon Economy and the Managing Radioactive Waste Safely: a Framework for Implementing Geological Disposal consultations once the respective response analyses are complete. Any decision to allow new nuclear build would include guidance on how resulting radioactive waste could be safely managed.
Alan Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether community benefit packages will be extended to those communities which host interim stores of nuclear waste pending permanent waste disposal; and whether those packages will be extendable permanently if disposal does not occur within a set time period. 
Mr. Woolas: The statement made by the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to Parliament on 25 October 2006 stated that circumstances surrounding the long-term disposal of higher activity radioactive waste are unique. The proposals set out in the consultation document Managing Radioactive Waste Safely: a Framework for Implementing Geological Disposal only apply to the disposal of such waste.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what specific actions the Waste Strategy Board is undertaking to ensure the adequacy of biological treatment infrastructure in order to meet targets in waste strategy 2007; 
Joan Ruddock: The Waste Strategy Board has been established to drive forward and monitor delivery of Waste Strategy 2007 targets across Government. The board will develop new policy actions to achieve Waste Strategy objectives as necessary and in light of progress made in specific areas.
The Waste Strategy sets out measures that the Government have put in place to secure the investment in infrastructure needed to divert waste from landfill. This includes working with Communities and Local Government to take forward specific aspects of the strategy, including planning.
It remains vital that regional spatial strategies and local development documents look forward and make adequate provision for the appropriate types and scales of infrastructure and waste treatment facilities needed, including biological treatment plants. It is also important for specific, suitable sites to be identified in plans.
DEFRAs Waste Implementation Delivery Programme (WIDP) is maintaining a national overview of existing and planned residual treatment capacity to ensure that resources are applied in the most effective manner.
DEFRAs New Technologies Demonstrator Programme aims to demonstrate innovative waste treatment technologies as possible alternatives to landfill. The programme aims to prove the economic, social and environmental viability of each selected technology, half of which are biological treatment technologies. Each site will have a visitor centre, which will be open throughout the plants participation in the programme. These will enable representatives from local authorities and the waste sector to learn more about the particular strengths and weaknesses of each technology.
As mentioned in the Waste Strategy 2007, DEFRA is also considering ways to raise public awareness of the options and issues relating to waste management infrastructure, including biological treatment plants. The aim is to provide evidence-based information which will aid public comprehension of the options. Communications activity is tentatively planned for early 2008.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what advice (a) his Department and (b) the Waste and Resources Action Programme has given to local authorities on the use of surveillance in relation to (i) fly-tipping and (ii) waste collection. 
The Regulation and Investigatory Power Act 2000 legislates for using methods of surveillance and information gathering to help the prevention of crime. Information and guidance, including a code of practice is available on the Home Office website.
DEFRA has, along with the Welsh Assembly Government, funded the development of Flycapture Enforcement, a training package specifically designed for local authority enforcement officers, lawyers and managers to increase their knowledge of the relevant fly-tipping legislation and to develop skills in effective fly-tipping enforcement and prosecution. This training package contains a module on the Regulation and Investigatory Power Act 2000.
DEFRA has also provided funding to the Jill Dando Institute of Crime Science to produce research on fly-tipping (Fly-tipping: Causes, Incentives and Solutions). This included a Good Practice Guide for Local Authorities which contains material on a variety of crime prevention techniques, including surveillance. Both documents have been distributed to all local authorities in England.
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much it cost the Environment Agency to (a) write and assemble, (b) print and (c) distribute the Yorkshire Derwent Catchment Flood Management Plan. 
Mr. Woolas: The Catchment Flood Management Plan for the river Derwent was one of the national pilot plans, and as such much shaping work was done in this plan, which cost £250,000 to write and assemble.
Mr. Malik: DFID monitors the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan very closely. We receive regular updates from The United Nations Assistance Mission to Afghanistan and other UN agencies such as the High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Office for Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA).
Since 2001 over 4.8 million refugees have returned to Afghanistan, but it still has the largest number of refugees in the world. Over one-quarter of the countrys population is reported to have sought refuge outside the country. As of August 2007, more than 120,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) were spread across the country but mainly in the south. More long term IDPs are occurring in the south, caused mainly by drought and insecurity. Recent displacement is caused by human rights violations, inter-communal tensions, floods or drought. According to government figures, conflict in the south this year has displaced 15,000-20,000 families. Afghanistan remains one of the most heavily mined countries in the world and estimates suggest that mines and unexploded ordinance kill or injure an average of two Afghans every day; 50 per cent. of these victims are children.
According to recent reports from the United Nations, humanitarian access has become a growing challenge, with at least 78 districts rated as extremely risky and inaccessible to UN agencies. At the end of August this year, the total number of reported incidents show that 41 humanitarian workers had been killed, and 70 had been abducted, with one tenth of those abducted killed by their captors.
In 2006-07 DFID provided £1.6 million in bilateral humanitarian aid to Afghanistan. Afghanistan is also one of the largest recipients of UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) support, to which the UK is the largest contributor (23 per cent. of total CERF value in 2006). Afghanistan received $32.3 million from CERF in 2006. We also provide core funding to UNICEF, the World Food Programme, and UNHCR, all of whom have operations in Afghanistan.
Mr. Ellwood: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps are being taken to introduce a UN approved co-ordinator to head international reconstruction and development work in Afghanistan. 
Mr. Malik: The introduction of a UN approved co-ordinator to head international reconstruction and development work in Afghanistan would be a decision for the UN Security Council, and would require a vote on and creation of a new UN mandate by member states.
Tom Koenigs is the current special representative to the Secretary-General in Afghanistan. He has responsibility for co-ordinating the activities of UN agencies in Afghanistan, including their reconstruction and development work. Broader co-ordination of international reconstruction and development work is carried out through donor conferences (for example; the London Conference on Afghanistan in 2006) and their follow up mechanisms such as the Joint Co-ordination and Monitoring Board.
Mr. Thomas: The Secretary of State has had no discussions with the World Food Programme (WFP) on the recent flooding in Africa. However, DFID officials are in regular contact with WFP staff at headquarters and country level. In Uganda and Ghana, several discussions have taken place around the need for detailed assessments to determine the level and nature of impact on the flood-affected population.
Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of the likely effect of the European Blue Card Scheme on the technical and engineering capacity of developing African countries (a) in conflict and (b) post conflict; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Thomas: Detail from the European Commission on how the blue card scheme would work is not yet available. This makes it difficult to assess the potential impact of the scheme on technical and engineering capacity of developing African countries both in conflict and post-conflict.
However, DFID is very conscious of the consequences for developing countries of brain drain and is taking measures to address skills shortages in key sectors in Africa. For example, DFID is working to strengthen the capacity of health systems in countries such as Malawi to retain health workers, and in some countries we are supporting efforts to attract skilled professionals back to key sectors. Countries in conflict are prone to losing skilled staff through out-migration. Post-conflict reconstruction and development programmes can create new job opportunities for engineers and some technical specialists, although it takes time to rebuild an adequate pool of skilled people.
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