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Radioactive Waste: Public Participation

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what decision-making procedures he plans to put in place where differences of opinion arise regarding the hosting of a radioactive waste repository between a host community, wider local interests and decision making bodies; who will manage those procedures; and what legislation would regulate and establish such processes. [161787]

Mr. Woolas: We are currently consulting on the proposals for implementing geological disposal of the UK’s higher activity radioactive waste in the consultation document “Managing Radioactive Waste Safely: a Framework for Implementing Geological Disposal”.

The consultation is clear that to be credible, any community that expresses an interest in hosting a geological disposal facility must demonstrate a broad level of support. This can involve support from the host community, wider local interests and decision making bodies.

The consultation proposes that a host community works in partnership with the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, and with other parties such as decision making
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bodies, wider local interests and other relevant interested bodies. Proposals are not prescriptive and suggest it will be up to the local communities to decide on the constitution of a partnership.

The consultation document invites comments on the proposed approach.

Recycling: Standards

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what (a) statutory and (b) non-statutory central Government targets exist for local authorities to increase recycling and composting rates; what the dates are for those targets to be met; and on what dates the targets were introduced. [158114]

Joan Ruddock: Bi-annual statutory performance standards for recycling and composting were set for all local authorities in England for 2003-04, 2005-06 (as part of Waste Strategy 2000) and 2007-08 (announced in late 2006). Performance against these targets is measured by adding together recycling and composting rates under Best Value Performance Indicators (BVPIs) 82a (household waste the local authority sends for recycling) and 82b (waste sent by the authority to composting or anaerobic digestion). All BVPIs are monitored annually by the Audit Commission.

There are a number of BVPIs which relate to waste. Each year, Communities and Local Government (CLG) works with other Government Departments to set indicators for the next financial year. All authorities have a statutory duty to secure continuous improvement against these indicators.

Many of the BVPI’s have been in effect since the start of Best Value in April 2000. However, some new indicators have been set, and some existing indicators have been revised either to improve their definition or to be more keenly aligned with Government policy.

The new set of national indicators for local authorities and local authority partnerships was announced on 9 October. These will apply from 2008-09 and will be measured on an annual basis. The 198 indicators are the means of measuring national priorities agreed by the Government and will allow us to performance-manage outcomes delivered by local government, working alone or in partnerships

There are three annual waste indicators:

CLG will be consulting shortly (November 2007) on technical definitions for all these indicators.

The Landfill Allowances Trading Scheme (LATS), which was launched in April 2005, also places limits on the amount of biodegradable municipal waste that local authorities can landfill. Local authorities that exceed their limits are liable to a penalty of £150 per tonne.

In addition, the Household Waste Recycling Act 2003 requires all waste collection authorities (subject to certain exemptions) to provide a separate kerbside collection service for at least two recyclable materials by 2010.

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Renewable Energy: Standards

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent representations he has received from (a) industry and (b) other Government Departments on the EU target to achieve 20 per cent. of energy needs from renewable sources by 2020; and if he will make a statement. [161732]

Mr. Woolas: The Secretary of State regularly meets representatives from industry and colleagues in other Government Departments to discuss the most effective ways to reduce carbon emissions, including issues relating to renewable energy.

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent discussions he has had with other EU member states on means of achieving the agreed EU renewable energy targets. [161733]

Mr. Woolas: It has not proved possible to respond to the hon. Member in the time available before Prorogation.

Rural Areas: Community Councils

Mr. Todd: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when he plans to announce funding support for rural community councils for 2008-09. [161433]

Jonathan Shaw: A project to assess the case for further investment by DEFRA in the Rural Community Council network, and the means by which it might be delivered, is currently in progress. Decisions will be taken as soon as possible, in the context of DEFRA’s current business planning round.

Vaccines: Pirbright Laboratory

Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when he expects to permit Merial to recommence research into bluetongue vaccines at Pirbright. [160627]

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when he expects Merial to start manufacturing the BTV-8 vaccine at Pirbright; and if he will make a statement. [161258]

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when he expects the manufacture of foot and mouth virus to recommence at Pirbright; and what conditions will be placed on that manufacture. [161260]

Jonathan Shaw [holding answer 29 October 2007]: We have not prevented Merial from conducting research into a bluetongue vaccine as its Pirbright site is primarily a production, rather than research, facility. Merial conducts the majority of its research elsewhere.

The Merial facility at Pirbright has been unable to carry out work with live virus since 4 August when it
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became evident that Pirbright was a potential source of the recent outbreak of foot and mouth disease (FMD). Merial voluntarily agreed to suspend the use of live virus at that facility because of the large volumes involved in vaccine production. This arrangement was subsequently formalised through an amendment to their licence under the Specified Animal Pathogens Order (SAPO) 1998.

The suspension has meant that Merial has temporarily been unable to produce vaccine at Pirbright, although we have recently permitted it to use small quantities of viruses for quality control and vaccine tests following further SAPO inspections.

Detailed inspections are urgently being completed at the site and, provided these are fully satisfactory, and that the new heat treatment system is operating satisfactorily, we hope to be able to permit the use of large amounts of live virus within the next few weeks. This would enable Merial to re-commence vaccine production, but only under strict controls.

Innovation, Universities and Skills

Adult Education: Basic Skills

Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills pursuant to the answer of 18 June 2007, Official Report, columns 1462-63W, on adult education: basic skills, what criteria were used to determine whether a learner was someone who could contribute towards the Skills for Life target in the figures provided. [161242]

Bill Rammell: Skills for Life has been a successful strategy for improving adult literacy and numeracy skills since its launch in 2001. Over 4.7 million people have participated in learning programmes and have taken up over 10.5 million learning opportunities.

The figures provided in the answer of 18 June 2007, Official Report, columns 1462-63W, show the number of people who could have contributed towards the Skills for Life target between 2001 and July 2006. Learners who could have counted towards the target were those who were aged 16 and over, were eligible for support from LSC in their learning and who were enrolled on programmes leading to an approved Skills for Life qualification. Skills for Life qualifications include English and Maths GCSEs, key skills in communications and application of number and approved adult basic skills qualifications at levels 1 and 2 and entry level 3.

Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills pursuant to the answer of 18 June 2007, Official Report, columns 1462-3W, on adult education: basic skills, how many adults aged 25 and over and funded through further education or University for Life were enrolled on programmes which had a weighting for Skills for Life in (a) 2003-04, (b) 2004-05 and (c) 2005-06; how many learners enrolled through employment and training providers or Train to Gain are on programmes that receive such a weighting; and whether these learners are additional to the number of learners given in the answer. [161243]

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Bill Rammell: Figures for adults funded by the Learning and Skills Council under the Skills for Life programme can be derived from the individualised learner record. The number of learners aged 25 and over and enrolled on programmes in either FE or with University for Industry for each of the three years is as follows:

Adults aged 25+ ( T housand)







All of these learners were working towards Skills for Life learning aims and their achievements had the potential to contribute to the Skills for Life public service agreement target. However, Skills for Life involves a number of funding streams, some of which provide an additional weighting for those programmes deemed most accessible to the most disadvantaged learners, but not all. It is not possible to determine from LSC ILR data how many of these learners are workplace learners.

Train to Gain was rolled out gradually from April 2006. Therefore, there are no data available for the years specified for Skills for Life achievements within Train to Gain. However, 28,660 took up Skills for Life learning opportunities through the employer training pilots that pre-dated Train to Gain from September 2002 until August 2005. No further data are available beyond this date at present. No Skills for Life weighting applies to Skills for Life learning within either ETPs or Train to Gain, but all achievements have the potential to count towards the target.

Cambridge-MIT Institute

Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills (1) if he will make available annual reports of the Cambridge-MIT Institute for each year since its inception in 2000; [155023]

(2) how the Cambridge-MIT Institute has performed against each of its performance targets set by Government for each year since its inception in 2000. [155024]

Ian Pearson [holding answer 10 September 2007]: The annual returns to Companies house for the Cambridge-MIT Institute Limited are already in the public domain. The Cambridge-MIT Institute has published an annual review for the year 2004-05. The final report on the Cambridge-MIT Institute will be published shortly. There are no annual performance targets set by Government for the Cambridge-MIT Institute.

Departmental Responsibilities

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills on what date the transfer of functions order detailing the changes in his Department was laid before Parliament for approval. [157721]

Bill Rammell: No transfer of functions order has yet been made relating to the machinery of Government changes affecting this Department in June 2007.

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Departments: Correspondence

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what guidance his Department follows on the maximum time taken to respond to hon. Members’ correspondence; and what performance against that target was in the most recent period for which figures are available. [158592]

Bill Rammell: The DIUS complies with Cabinet Office guidelines for the maximum time for responding to correspondence.

The DIUS will publish statistics as part of the Cabinet Office’s annual report on Departments’ and agencies performance on handling Members and peers correspondence. This includes the target set by each Department to reply to hon. Members, the number of letters received and the percentage of replies within target.

Departments: Official Visits

David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills on how many occasions he has visited each region in an official capacity since appointment. [158921]

Mr. Denham: Since the creation of the Department in June 2007, I have visited the following regions in an official capacity: east midlands once; the north-east once; the north-west once; the south once; the south- west once; London five times and Yorkshire and Humber three times.

All ministerial travel is undertaken in accordance with the ministerial code.

Departments: Public Bodies

Mr. Letwin: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills if he will list his Department’s and its predecessors’ (a) executive agencies, (b) executive non-departmental public bodies, (c) advisory NDPBs, (d) tribunal NDPBs, (e) trading funds and (f) public corporations in each financial year since 2005-06. [156625]

Bill Rammell: The Department's bodies are listed as follows:

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Department ’s bodies


Executive Agencies

National Weights and Measures Laboratory

Intellectual Property Office (formerly Patent Office)


Executive NDPBs

British Hallmarking Council (part of NWML)

Design Council

Technology Strategy Board

National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts

Research Councils:

Arts and Humanities Research Council

Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council

Economic and Social Research Council

Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council

Medical Research Council

Natural Environment Research Council

Science and Technology Facilities Council formed by the merger between Council for the Central Laboratory of the Research Councils and Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council on 1 April 2007

Construction Industry Training Board

Engineering Construction Industry Training Board

Higher Education Funding Council for England

Investors in People UK

Learning and Skills Council

Office for Fair Access

Quality Improvement Agency for Lifelong Learning

Sector Skills Development Agency

Student Loans Company Ltd

UK Commission for Employment and Skills


Advisory NDPBs

Council for Science and Technology

Strategic Advisory Board for Intellectual Property


Tribunal NDPs

Copyright Tribunal (part of Patent Office)

Insolvency Practitioners Tribunal

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