Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what guidance his Department issues on the qualifications required of a bat ecologist; and if he will make a statement. 
Joan Ruddock: We do not hold numbers on bat ecologists but there are currently just over 800 volunteer bat workers. Volunteer bat workers who provide advice on Natural Englands behalf receive training from experienced bat specialists. The Bat Conservation Trust provides a service to Natural England in supporting these trainers. In addition they receive written guidance and instructions.
Joan Ruddock: We are currently consulting on the transposition of the EU batteries directive. When transposed, the directive will reduce the quantity of hazardous and non-hazardous waste batteries going to landfill and increase the recovery of the materials they contain. Collection targets set by the directive for portable batteries are 25 per cent. by 2012, rising to 45 per cent. by 2016. The prohibition of incinerating or landfilling industrial and automotive batteries implies a 100 per cent. collection and recycling target for industrial and automotive batteries.
Research and trials to provide evidence for the consultation and to investigate the best ways of implementing the batteries directive have been carried out on portable batteries. The waste and resources action programme (WRAP) is currently working in partnership with a range of local authorities and not-for-profit organisations that already run recycling collection services to pilot portable waste battery collection trials in the UK. Trials include establishing drop off points at places such as supermarkets, as well as other methods of collection including at the kerbside.
Supported by funding from DEFRA through the business resource efficiency and waste (BREW) programme and the devolved administrations, the trials form part of a wider effort to develop cost-effective ways for the UK to meet the targets of the batteries directive.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many tonnes of equivalent carbon dioxide emissions have been offset by the Government Carbon Offsetting Fund in each year since its creation. 
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many plastic bags (a) his Department and (b) the Waste Resources Action Programme has purchased in the last 24 months for which figures are available; and at what cost. 
Joan Ruddock: The core-Department purchases in the region of 4,100 clear plastic bags per month, for both recycling and under-desk bins. This totals some 98,400 bags over 24 months, at a cost of £6,000.
|Type of bag||Number purchased in last 24 months|
|(1) The zip-lock reusable plastic sample bags have been used at various public exhibitions to give out samples of green waste-derived compost, containing a flower bulb suitable for planting in a domestic garden, in order to demonstrate that green waste-derived compost is a good growing medium. After use for this primary purpose, these bags could be re-used for other purposes in the home or garden.|
Mr. Ellwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent discussions he has had with ministerial colleagues on steps the Government are taking to improve domestic energy efficiency. 
Mr. Woolas: We regularly meet ministerial colleagues to discuss domestic energy efficiency and its contribution to the climate change agenda. The Secretary of State met the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform on issues including this in mid- December. Progress against our domestic climate change and energy security objectives is reviewed by Cabinet Ministers though the Economic Development (Environment and Energy) Committee, chaired by the Chancellor.
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what Flood Defence Budget has been allocated to Yorkshire and the Humber for (a) 2008-09, (b) 2009-10 and (c) 2010-11. 
|Allocation (£ million)|
Mr. Meacher: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much the Government have spent on reducing greenhouse gas emissions in each year since 1997, broken down by main components of expenditure in each year. 
Justine Greening: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what role his Department had in relation to the project for the sustainable development of Heathrow; and if he will make a statement; 
Mr. Woolas: Ministers and officials in DEFRA engage regularly with colleagues at the Department for Transport on matters relating to Heathrow which affect DEFRA lead policy responsibilities: notably on air quality, noise, and climate change impacts. DEFRA officials were engaged in the project for sustainable development of Heathrow modelling work in relation to air quality, and have been involved in the noise, air quality and climate change elements of the subsequent development of the public consultation on the development of Heathrow.
John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what percentage of Warm Front assessors' recommendations have led to work being carried out (a) in Nottinghamshire, (b) Bassetlaw and (c) England. 
The percentage of instances where a heating measure recommended by a Warm Front assessor leads to assistance being provided, including where this only involves an installer technical survey being completed, is as follows:
Available data do not identify figures for the proportion of instances where a recommendation for heating assistance leads to a heating measure being installed or the repair of an existing system being completed. Further analysis of the data is taking place.
Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps he has taken to prevent a conflict of interest arising from the managing agents of the Warm Front scheme owning the contractor Iguana Services Ltd. 
Mr. Woolas: DEFRA employ independent quality assessors who audit the performance of both Iguana and eaga plc. This ensures that Iguanas position as a subsidiary of eaga does not adversely affect scheme delivery.
Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what representations he has received from recipients of assistance under the Warm Front programme in relation to the performance of contractors; what steps he has taken in response; and if he will make a statement. 
Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment has been made of the performance of eaga and its subsidiaries in operating the Warm Front programme; and what plans he has to review the operation of (a) the programme and (b) its commercial contractors. 
DEFRA also employs independent quality assessors, who provide in-depth analysis of the performance of Warm Front contractors, both as part of a regular audit cycle, and on an individual project basis where required.
Adam Price: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether he (a) informed the Permanent Secretary of the relevant Department of the donations he received as part of his campaign for the deputy leadership of the Labour party and (b) registered them with the Cabinet Office in accordance with the Ministerial Code. 
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimates have been made of whether the proposed new charges for domestic rubbish collection are expected to increase or decrease the total tax burden on families with children. 
Joan Ruddock: There are no proposed new charges for domestic rubbish collection. The Government intend to allow five local authorities to pilot waste incentive schemes. Under these schemes those who make the most effort to reduce or recycle their waste would earn a rebate. For schemes which include a charging element, those throwing away the most residual waste could pay more. The impact on families with children could depend on several factors, including the design of individual schemes, the size of the household and, of course, the amount of waste each family throws away.
DEFRA has not made any estimates of how waste incentive schemes will affect families with children. For illustrative purposes, the Impact Assessment, which is available on the DEFRA website, presented a distributional analysis which gives an example of how one type of scheme, in a local authority with particular characteristics, would impact upon families of different sizes and income levels. This assesses how financial transfers might feel to different types of households, with poorer households valuing these more highly. It does not present actual financial flows, as it was primarily included to show local authorities how they might account for impacts of the distribution of financial burdens.
The actual impact on the tax burden faced by families will depend on how the scheme is set up and how well families are able to respond to the price signal provided by the scheme. The example distributional analysis in the Impact Assessment was based on a separate study showing that larger households (e.g. families with children) tend to produce more waste
overall. As can be seen in the Climate Change Bill, local authorities piloting a waste incentive scheme must take account of disadvantaged groups. It would be up to local authorities to decide whether families with children (and any other group in society) should be treated differently under a waste incentive scheme and, if so, how. My Department intends to work with stakeholders to develop guidance on this issue.
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