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28 Jan 2008 : Column 74W—continued


The other information requested could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Carbon Emissions: Standards

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will increase the target for reducing UK carbon emissions to 80 per cent.; and if he will make a statement. [181344]

Mr. Woolas: The Government will put this evidence to the independent, expert Committee on Climate Change and ask it to advise, as it begins to consider the first three five-year budgets on whether our own domestic target should be increased up to 80 per cent. The Committee is being established in shadow form so that, subject to parliamentary passage of the Bill, it would be able to provide this advice as soon as possible.

Departmental Accountancy

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what items of his Department’s (a) revenue and (b) expenditure are uprated using (i) the consumer prices index, (ii) the retail prices index and (iii) other measures of inflation. [179949]

Jonathan Shaw: Information on what items of the Department’s revenue and expenditure are uprated using the consumer prices index, the retail prices index, and other measures of inflation could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

There is no presumption of uprating revenue and expenditure items as a matter of course. The Department considers the applicability or otherwise of uprating revenue and expenditure items in the context of inflation management dependent on, but not limited to: the prevailing market conditions; the nature and type of revenue and expenditure; the terms of enabling legislation; fees and charges guidance; the duration of the revenue and expenditure; the appropriate index and indices for the revenue and expenditure category; service performance and delivery and, scheme conditions. Contract clauses where agreed pertaining to inflation management are commercial in confidence.

Departmental Consultants

Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what consultancy contracts his Department issued in each year since 2005; what the (a) value, (b) purpose and (c) contractor was in each case; and whether the consultant's report is publicly available in each case. [181887]

Jonathan Shaw: This information could be provided only at disproportionate cost. I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Fareham (Mr. Hoban) on 22 October 2007, Official Report, columns 78-99W.

Departmental Telephone Services

Rob Marris: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many 0845 or similar cost telephone numbers are used by (a) his Department and (b) related departmental bodies for public access to services. [179199]

Jonathan Shaw: The information requested is set out in the following table.


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DEFRA, Executive agency or non-departmental public body Customer contact service 08XX Number

DEFRA

DEFRA Helpline

08459 33 55 77

Animal Health

National Scrapie Plan

0845 601 4858

Welfare in Transit

0845 603 8395

Pet Travel Scheme Helpline

0870 241 1710

Government Decontamination Service

08458 501323

Rural Payments Agency

Rural Payments Agency Customer Service Centre

0845 603 7777

British Cattle Movement Service

English line

0845 050 1234

Welsh line

0845 050 3456

Agricultural Wages Board for England and Wales

0845 000 0134

Consumer Council for Water

0845 039 2837

Environment Agency

National Customer Contact Centre

08708 506 506

Incident Hotline

0800 80 70 60

Hazardous Waste Registration

08708 502 858

Agricultural Waste Registration

0845 603 3113

Flood Line

0845 988 1188

Gangmasters Licensing Authority

0845 602 5021

Natural England

0845 600 3078


Departmental Travel

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many miles (a) Ministers and (b) officials in his Department travelled by (i) car, (ii) rail and (iii) air on Government business in each year since 1997. [181876]

Jonathan Shaw [holding answer given 24 January 2008]: DEFRA came into being in June 2001. The information requested for each year since 1997 could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Since 1999, the Government have published a list of all overseas travel by Cabinet Ministers costing over £500. Information for the last financial year was published on 25 July 2007. Details for the current financial year will be published as soon as possible after the end of the current financial year. From next year, the list will include details of overseas visits undertaken by all Ministers. All ministerial travel is undertaken in accordance with the Ministerial code.

All central Government ministerial and official air travel has been offset from 1 April 2006. Departmental aviation emissions are calculated on an annual basis and subsequently offset through payments to a central fund. The fund purchases certified emissions reductions credits from energy efficiency and renewable energy projects with sustainable development benefits, located in developing countries. In addition, offsetting the flights of DEFRA, the FCO, the DfID and the Prime Minister has been backdated to 1 April 2005. DEFRA has offset rail and vehicle travel since 2006 and 2007 respectively.

For the period April 2006 to December 2007 inclusive from information held centrally, the miles officials travelled by rail and air are:


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Officials’ miles
Rail Air

2007

October to December

821,091

1,369,877

July to September

324,962

579,196

April to June

153,808

156,506

January to March

846,942

1,202,971

2006

October to December 2006

711,689

946,247

July to September 2006

685,881

1,303,289

April to June 2006

794,269

1,314,444


From information held centrally, the car mileage travelled by officials since financial year 2002-03 is:

Miles

2006-07

19,717,612

2005-06

22,618,001

2004-05

20,726,000

2003-04

20,381,000

2002-03

20,510,000


These figures include 50,522 miles for ministerial cars in 2006-07 and taxi mileages of 137,005 and 47,000 in 2006-07 and 2005-06 respectively. Information on car mileage includes where known data for core-DEFRA, the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aqua-cultural Science, the Government Decontamination Service, the State Veterinary Service, the Marine Fisheries Agency, the Veterinary Laboratories Agency, the Veterinary Medicines Directorate, the Central Science Laboratory, the Rural Payments Agency and the Pentacles Safety Directorate. Year-on-year figures are not strictly comparable due to the machinery of government changes that have affected DEFRA since its creation in June 2001, and from changes to departmental financial systems.

Dogs

Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what consideration he has given to changing the breeds and types banned under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991; and if he will make a statement. [177722]

Jonathan Shaw: The types of dogs prohibited under section 1 of the Dangerous Dogs Act are constantly kept under review. However, there are no plans to make any changes to the types of dogs prohibited.

Eggs: Labelling

Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the results have been of the investigations by his Department and others into the allegations of incorrect labelling of free-range eggs as announced in his news release of 15 November 2006; and if he will make a statement. [180795]

Jonathan Shaw: Investigations into possible criminal activities are continuing.

The news release of 15 November 2006 announced that DEFRA had become concerned about possible illegal practice in the egg industry. In the course of
28 Jan 2008 : Column 77W
investigations information had come to light that eggs had been incorrectly labelled, including the labelling of non-free range eggs as free range. The Government called on the egg industry and retailers to ensure that the eggs they are selling are correctly labelled. The Egg Marketing Inspectorate are continuing to focus their activities in this area, to ensure that any eggs marketed in this country are correctly identified.

EU Emissions Trading Scheme: Aviation

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what consideration has been given to the establishment of ring-fenced and self-contained arrangements for the aviation sector within the EU Emissions Trading Scheme. [181515]

Mr. Woolas: The Government support an open trading scheme, as was agreed at the December 2007 Environment Council. Under this agreement, aviation operators will be enabled to purchase EU allowances to cover emissions beyond the agreed cap, where they have not made sufficient reductions within their own sector. These additional emissions may also be covered by Kyoto project credits up to a limit of 15 per cent. of the total number of allowances surrendered by operators. The advantage of this approach is that it will enable aviation, as a sector with limited short term abatement options, to purchase allowances that have resulted from real emission reductions in other sectors to meet its obligations.

Flood Control: Finance

Mr. Kemp: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the flood defence budget allocated to the North East region is for (a) 2008-09, (b) 2009-10 and (c) 2010-11. [181563]

Mr. Woolas: The North East region is taken to mean Yorkshire (covering Yorkshire and the north bank of the Humber estuary) and Northumbria Regional Flood Defence Committees (RFDC). Their indicative allocations are shown in the following table:

Allocation (£ million)
Yorkshire RFDC Northumbria RFDC

2008-09

43.4

7.2

2009-10

51

6.7

2010-11

58.2

12.1


Allocations are from the Environment Agency to the Regional Flood Defence Committee.

These figures do not include funding for local authorities or internal drainage boards.

The Department will be seeking promotional activity on these figures to reassure the public.

Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will bring forward measures to require water companies to fund severe flooding alleviation measures. [181913]


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Mr. Woolas: Ofwat included in water and sewerage companies' price limits around £1.2 billion investment (2006-07 prices) in measures to contain and reduce the risk of sewer flooding during the 2005-10 period. This will enable undertakers to reduce the risk or impact of sewer flooding, for known or emerging problems, where overloaded sewers cause repeated internal flooding and where the companies have proposed taking action by 2010.

Ofwat expects sewerage companies to identify cost-beneficial investments in further measures to reduce flooding risks in their business plans for the next price review period (2010-15).

As part of our contribution to Ofwat’s 2009 periodic review of price limits, we have published a ‘Statement of Obligations’ describing the main statutory obligations that apply in particular to water and sewerage companies. The statement reminds the companies of their duty under section 94 of the Water Industry Act 1991, to ensure that their area is effectually drained.


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