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Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much was spent on tackling climate change by his Department in 2006; and if he will provide a breakdown of this spending by main category of expenditure. 
Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what his policy is on rationalising his Departments property portfolio; and if he will make a statement. 
[holding answer 12 November 2007]: The Department has a business-led estates strategy which will deliver a reduction of the Estate of approximately
20 per cent. by March 2011. In London a 50 per cent. reduction in office accommodation has already been achieved from a 2003 baseline.
This rationalisation strategy supports the Renew DEFRA Business Reform Programme which is aimed at providing an efficient Department, including its Executive Agency delivery bodies, occupying a sustainable office portfolio and reducing the Departmental carbon footprint.
Disposals already identified over the current CSR period will deliver the initial 20 per cent. target reduction and the Department is already looking to identify other opportunities to further reduce the operational property portfolio both in London, and nationally in line with Departmental business need.
The principal strategy is to deliver a modern sustainable workplace which is cost effective and enables the Department, including its Executive Agency delivery bodies, to deliver its key business objectives.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what mechanisms his Department has established to evaluate the effectiveness of standard assessment procedures in relation to energy efficiency. 
We have contracted the Building Research Establishment (BRE) to evaluate third party produced SAP software that would be used by SAP assessors. Software submitted to BRE are tested against the approvals criteria which determine for example, the accuracy of assessment results.
If the software meets the requirements, then an approval for its use to determine compliance with Part L of the Building Regulations for England and Wales is issued by the Department for Communities and Local Government.
Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much was spent by central Government on energy conservation in Huddersfield in each year since 2004-05. 
Mr. Woolas: Energy conservation is a broad term that could refer to many activities implemented by a wide number of Government institutions. As such, it is not possible to accurately estimate the total Government spend in Huddersfield.
DEFRAs main programme for improving the energy efficiency of vulnerable households is the Warm Front Scheme, which provides grants for heating and insulation measures. Warm Front spend on measures in Huddersfield is set out in the following table:
|Financial year||Huddersfield (£)|
Mr. Woolas: The Environment Agency is currently reviewing its business plans for 2008-09 in light of the recent Comprehensive Spending Review settlement. It will announce its proposals for the improvement of flood defences in February 2008.
The proportion (by length) of flood defences such as raised walls and embankments, maintained by the Environment Agency that were in good or better condition in April 2007 was 55 per cent. A further 40 per cent. were in a fair condition.
The proportion (by number) of flood defence structures, such as sluices and outfalls, maintained by the Environment Agency that were in good or better condition in April 2007 was 69 per cent. A further 26 per cent. were in a fair condition.
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what funds were allocated for flood protection to (a) Yorkshire and the Humber, (b) East Anglia and (c) London in each of the last five years. 
Mr. Woolas: The Environment Agency is the principal operating authority with responsibility for flood risk management in England. The following table shows Environment Agency expenditure for the Yorkshire and Humber Regional Flood Defence Committee (RFDC) (which covers Yorkshire and the north bank of the Humber estuary) and Anglian RFDC. Thames RFDC covers a wider area than just London but the figures indicate funds allocated for flood protection in Greater London only.
|Area||2003-04||2004-05||2005- 0 6||2006-07||2007-08|
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans he has to encourage small businesses to take out business interruption insurance cover in relation to flooding. 
Together with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Department for Communities and Local Government and the Association of British Insurers, my Department is reviewing the current guidance that we make available on businesslink.gov and the best means to promote the importance of being adequately insured against the risk of flooding.
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the number of homes at risk from (a) river flooding, (b) coastal flooding and (c) surface water flooding in the North East region. 
Mr. Woolas: The Environment Agency's 2006 National Flood Risk Assessment identified 295,900 homes at risk from river and coastal flooding in the north east region. 138,200 of these are at risk from river flooding and 153,000 homes are at risk from coastal flooding. In addition there are 4,700 properties at risk from both river and coastal flooding.
The Environment Agency's National Flood Risk Assessment does not include surface water flooding, but its flood map shows areas that are known to have been flooded. This will include some areas of surface water flooding but in many instances this takes place in conjunction with river flooding and it is not possible to separate the two.
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what plans he has to review the number of bodies involved with and the coordination between them relating to mapping flood risk, including scope for better coordination; 
Mr. Woolas: The Environment Agency is the only public sector organisation that maps flood risk on a national scale and it is funded by DEFRA to do so. The agency co-operates with local authorities and other bodies undertaking flood risk assessments and mapping for different purposes. It will continue to improve its maps over time as technology develops.
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what review has been undertaken of the (a) channels of communication and (b) liaison on warnings between the Environment Agency and the Meteorological Office at times of flooding. 
Mr. Woolas: The Environment Agencys review of the summer floods will include looking at communications and liaison on flood warnings and will inform the independent review being undertaken by Sir Michael Pitt.
Separately, the agency is leading a joint project with the Met Office to identify improvements in notification of major rainfall or other flood-causing severe events and in the procedures to be followed by both organisations.
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what estimate he has made of the likely cost of putting in place defences to protect Yorkshire from river flooding; 
I understand the Yorkshire RFDC has a programme of possible expenditure on new defences of £364 million over the next 10 years. The amount that is eventually spent will depend on the relative priority of schemes in Yorkshire compared to those elsewhere in the country.
The current Environment Agency estimate of expenditure on all its flood risk management activities (i.e. including such activities as operations and maintenance as well as new defences) in the Yorkshire RFDC area over the next 10 years is £628 million.
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what percentage of total funding for flood protection Yorkshire and the Humber have received over each of the last five years. 
Mr. Woolas: The Environment Agency collects and holds data on the basis of Regional Flood Defence Committee (RFDC) boundaries. The Yorkshire RFDC boundary covers Yorkshire and the north bank of the Humber estuary.
The following table shows Yorkshire RFDC percentages of total DEFRA grant in aid allocated to the Environment Agency for flood risk management from 2004-05 onwards (when direct grant from DEFRA replaced the previous mixed system of majority funding from levies on local authorities with some capital grant from DEFRA).
|Percentage allocated RFDC of total FDGIA to Yorkshire|
Mr. Woolas: A revised approach to public service agreements (PSAs) was introduced in the comprehensive spending review 2007, with a new set of PSAs coming into effect from April 2008. There is a much smaller number of key cross cutting PSAs, setting a vision for continuous and accelerated improvement in the Government's priority outcomes, and delivered collectively by multiple Departments.
Fuel poverty is firmly embedded in this approach, no longer as a stand alone PSA, which is now contributing to the achievement of wider Government priorities. Fuel poverty is reflected as a component in the delivery of the PSAs on Child Poverty (led by Her Majesty's Treasury), on Independence and Well-being in Later Life (led by Department for Work and Pensions), and on Better Health and Well-being (led by Department of Health). The Government remain committed to tackling fuel poverty and promoting effective cross-departmental work to this end.
My Department's and the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform's delivery of its responsibilities on fuel poverty will be reflected in these PSAs, and also as part of my Department's ongoing performance reporting systems, which will underpin its annual report to Parliament.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will seek to maintain and strengthen the UN moratorium on the field testing and commercialisation of Terminator seed technology; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Woolas: The Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) decided in 2000 that there should be a precautionary approach in field testing and commercial development of Genetic Use Restriction Technologies (GURTs).
Terminator seeds are one example of plants that could potentially be bred using these technologies. The decision is clear that products incorporating GURTs should not be approved for field testing until appropriate scientific data can justify such testing, and for commercial use until appropriate scientific assessments with regard to ecological and socio-economic impacts have been carried out and the conditions for their safe and beneficial use validated.
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