Helen Goodman: Following the machinery of government changes in May 2007, the Leader of the House of Commons office forms part of the Cabinet Office. Information prior to May 2007 is available only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Woolas: The Government require companies and industries to report on their Greenhouse Gas emissions, including CO2, in a standardised way. For example, all installations taking part in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme must monitor and report their CO2 emissions in accordance with guidelines produced by the European Commission.
The Carbon Reduction Commitment, which will come into force in 2010, will require companies involved in the mandatory trading scheme to monitor their energy use and report it annually in a standardised format. This will cover a large number of FTSE 100 companies.
In addition, from 1 October 2007, quoted companies have been required to ensure that their Business Review includes information on environmental matters to the extent necessary for an understanding of the development, performance or position of the company's business. The first reports under this new regime will not be published until later this year.
The Government have also supported the work of the Carbon Disclosure Project. This is a voluntary investor-driven approach aimed at encouraging companies to disclose greenhouse gas emissions data. In 2007, 91 per cent. of FTSE 100 companies disclosed to CDP. This is an increase from 83 per cent. in 2006.
Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will commission research to measure the level of carbon emissions resulting from the production of goods in China for the export market in 2007. 
Mr. Woolas: We have no plans to commission research to measure the level of global carbon emissions from the production of goods in China for the export market. Estimates of the carbon dioxide emissions from the Chinese economy as a whole are available from the International Energy Agency.
Steve Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions he has had with ministerial colleagues on the carbon dioxide emissions from operation of their Departments computer hardware. 
Mr. Woolas: While I have had no discussions, DEFRA officials are fully engaged on a cross departmental basis in taking forward initiatives to reduce the carbon and energy footprint of the Governments information technology estate.
The Chief Technology Officers (CTO) Council Green Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Delivery sub group was set up in December to review our needs and produce actionable toolkits for both Government and its industry suppliers. DEFRA participates in the CTO Green ICT working group promulgating and promoting best practice across Departments, including a Top Tips list for Green ICT shortly to be placed on the DEFRA website.
All central Government Departments are currently mandated to purchase IT equipment to minimum energy efficiency specifications. These specifications are continually under review and we are carrying out an analysis of more rigorous sustainable standards that we aim to recommend as best practice to all Government Departments in the near future.
Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs who is responsible for Eller Brook stream at the rear of the property on Ellerbrook Close, Heath Charnock, Chorley. 
Mr. Woolas [holding answer 22 February 2008]: Eller Brook at this location is classified as an ordinary watercourse. Managing flooding from ordinary watercourses is the responsibility of the local council, in this case, Chorley borough council.
Mr. Peter Ainsworth:
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what funding has been budgeted for the biodiversity elements of the Environmental Action Fund/Countdown 2010 Fund in
(a) 2008-09, (b) 2009-10 and (c) 2010-11; how much funding is available for biodiversity projects under the funds run by non-governmental organisations in 2008-09; and if he will make a statement. 
Joan Ruddock: Natural England's budget for 2008-09 was announced on 21 February and final decisions on budget allocations for the Environmental Action Fund/Countdown 2010 have yet to be made. Figures for Natural England's budget in future years will be announced in due course.
Mr. Woolas: We remain committed to the eradication of fuel poverty. Our aim in England, restated in Fuel Poverty in England: The Government's Plan for Action, is to eradicate fuel poverty, as far as reasonably practicable, by 22 November 2016. The target for the UK as a whole is 2016-18.
Tackling fuel poverty is a priority for the Government. DEFRA will continue to discharge its duties and responsibilities under the Warm Homes and Energy Conservation Act 2000 with the aim of ensuring, as far as is reasonably practicable, that people do not live in fuel poverty by the set date.
As with any target with a statutory basis, failure to achieve this carries the risk of a legal challenge. We do not take this risk lightly and remain committed to achieving the 2016-18 target across the UK.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans he has to change arrangements for field trials for GM crops in relation to transparency of operations and identification of crops. 
Mr. Woolas: We have no specific plans to change the existing arrangements for publishing GM crop trial locations on the DEFRA website. We are, however, keeping this issue under general review, because there are a small minority of people who seem to be intent on destroying any GM trials. This is a concern if legitimate and potentially beneficial research is either being discouraged or not allowed to proceed.
Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of whether qualified majority voting in the Council of Ministers will apply to UK policy on regulating growth of genetically modified crops in the UK. 
Mr. Woolas [holding answer 21 February 2008]: Decisions on proposals for the commercial cultivation of GM crops are taken at European Union level. Consistent with the EU legislation, the UK voting position is based on what the scientific evidence indicates about the safety of each crop in question for human health and the environment. DEFRA consults the relevant authorities in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland before the UK position is finalised. There are no plans for the UK position to be determined on the basis of qualified majority voting.
Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions he has had with HM Treasury on the effects reducing the Warm Front grant will have on the move away from oil installed heating systems to low carbon systems or renewables. 
Mr. Woolas: DEFRA has had no discussions with HM Treasury regarding this issue. DEFRA is continuing to actively assess the suitability of alternative low carbon technologies to integrate into Warm Front.
Jon Trickett: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the process is for servicing boilers installed under the Warm Front scheme; how often boilers and central heating appliances are serviced under the Warm Front scheme; what the response time is when boilers or central heating appliances are reported faulty under the Warm Front scheme; what the procedure is, under the Warm Front scheme, for those left without heating or hot water when appliances fitted under Warm Front break down; and whether there is a procedure for emergency situations when such boilers or heating appliances break down. 
Warm Front customers who have received a gas boiler have access to a 24 hour breakdown line, which operates seven days a week and 365 days a year. In the majority of cases this service provides either a same day or next day response. Temporary heaters will also be provided under certain circumstances.
Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the average size was of Warm Front grant approved in Tamworth constituency in each of the last three years. 
|Scheme year||Average spend (£)|
Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much he has spent in the National Bee Unit in each year since 1997; how much he intends to spend over the next five years; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Woolas: Manures and manufactured fertilisers cannot be applied in nitrate-vulnerable zones during defined closed periods. Proposals set out in the recent consultation for redefining the closed periods for organic manures have been developed using a targeted approach based on soil type, land use (arable or grassland) and rainfall. Under those proposals, the average length of the closed periods would be just over four months. There are no proposals to redefine closed periods for manufactured fertilisers.
Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) whether the public service agreement target to ensure that 95 per cent. of sites of special scientific interest are in favourable condition by 2010 remains in place; 
(2) what discussions he has had with ministerial colleagues on the public service agreement target to ensure that 95 per cent. of sites of special scientific interest are in favourable condition by 2010. 
Joan Ruddock: We remain committed to achieving the public service agreement target to bring 95 per cent. of sites of special scientific interest by area into favourable or recovering condition by 2010. This target will become a departmental strategic objective under the new natural environment public service agreement.
Within the Major Landowners Group, my officials meet regularly with representatives of other organisations with a significant role in delivery of this
target. This provides a mechanism for identification of emerging issues and ensures that they are discussed at the appropriate level.
Anne Milton: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if his Department will give consent to Guildford borough council for tree protection orders to be placed on its departmental land at Epsom Road, Guildford prior to its forthcoming sale and disposal to a housing developer. 
Joan Ruddock: As part of the preparation for a planning application at the Guildford site DEFRA has undertaken a joint survey with Guildford borough council of the trees and, under the guidance of the tree preservation officer has identified a number of trees that are worthy of retention (some having been identified as restricting the sustainable growth of others).
David Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will bring forward proposals for a statutory regime to govern the adaptation of wildlife habitats in response to climate change; and if he will make a statement. 
Last year we published Conserving biodiversity in a changing climate: guidance on building capacity to adapt, which is directed at those who plan and deliver conservation of terrestrial biodiversity.
The UK was also the first country to produce a national Biodiversity Action Plan in response to the Convention on Biological Diversity signed in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. The UK Biodiversity Action Plan comprises both species and habitats action plans. In 2007, the UK Biodiversity Partnership published a new list of priority habitats, containing 65 habitat types. These priority habitats are a focus for conservation during the next decade and the impacts of climate change will feature in conservation actions.
Mrs. Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what species are to be removed from Schedule 4 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981; what mechanisms will be put in place to monitor the effect on wild populations of such species; and what the expected cost is of such monitoring. 
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