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Mr. Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the (a) revenue income and (b) estimated overhead cost of the parking charges scheme at Torbay hospital was in each of the last 10 years. 
Mr. Bradshaw: Hospital car parking charges are decided locally by individual trusts to help cover the cost of running and maintaining a car park. All trusts should have exemption and concessionary schemes in place to ensure that patients and carers who visit hospital regularly are not disadvantaged. They should also have sustainable public transport plans in place for staff and visitors.
Data on the gross income that national health service trusts receive from car parking charges paid by staff and visitors have been collected since 2000. These data are provided by the NHS on a voluntary basis and have not been amended following their collection, nor have they been actively checked by the Department. They therefore cannot be confirmed to be accurate or complete.
|Total gross income from car parking charges|
|(1) Trust did not submit data|
Mr. Woolas: UK greenhouse gas emissions have fallen by 16.4 per cent. since 1990 (20.7 per cent. including EU emmission trading scheme). We remain on course to nearly double our Kyoto Protocol target over the 2008-12 period.
The 2006 UK Climate Change Programme and the 2007 Energy White Paper set out the policies and measures for reducing emissions, and support the UKs transition to a low carbon economy. The Climate Change Bill, the first of its kind in any country, introduces legally binding carbon budgets to ensure that progress will continue.
11. Mr. Swayne: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in what circumstances it is necessary to conduct (a) an appropriate assessment and (b) an environmental assessment before development on wetlands designated as being of international importance under the Ramsar convention. 
Joan Ruddock: An appropriate assessment needs to be undertaken in respect of any plan or project which would be likely to have a significant effect on a European site. As a matter of policy, Ramsar sites in England and Wales are accorded the same protection as European sites.
In regard to environmental assessments, generally, it will fall to local planning authorities in the first instance to consider whether a proposed development requires an environmental impact assessment.
13. Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps he plans to take to increase the number of Sites of Special Scientific Interest in favourable condition by 2010; and if he will make a statement. 
Joan Ruddock: We are working closely with Natural England, and other stakeholders to achieve our public service agreement target of bringing 95 per cent. of Englands SSSI land area into favourable or recovering condition by 2010. Currently, 80.8 per cent. of the SSSI land area is meeting the target and we are confident that the 2010 target, while challenging, remains achievable.
14. Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what funding his Department is providing for veterinary clinical research in 2007-08; and if he will make a statement. 
Jonathan Shaw: DEFRA funding for animal health and welfare research in 2007-08 amounts to £39.4 million. The research programme involves more than 250 projects and covers a wide range of topics that includes both laboratory and field research. The programme is not divided into clinical and non-clinical work, and many of the projects include components of both.
15. Mr. Robathan: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent estimate he has made of the population of great crested newts in England and Leicestershire; and if he will make a statement. 
Joan Ruddock: In 2006, it was estimated that there were approximately 66,000 great crested newt breeding ponds in England. As far as we are aware, there has been no specific estimate of the number of great crested newts in Leicestershire. Estimating the number of great crested newts is problematic because of a lack of detailed baseline survey data, and because existing data are fragmented between many recording centres.
16. Tony Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when he next expects to meet representatives of the Waste and Resources Action Programme to discuss waste and climate change. 
Joan Ruddock: On 9 January 2008 I met with the chief executive of the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) to discuss its forthcoming programme of work. In addition, officials in my Department regularly meet with colleagues at WRAP to discuss a number of issues.
Mr. Woolas: The effectiveness of the Warm Front scheme and the performance of Eaga, the Warm Front scheme manager, are regularly and comprehensively audited by my Department and the independent quality assurors, White Young Green. These checks are intended to ensure that the scheme is being delivered in the best interests of both the Government and Warm Front clients.
Robert Neill: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of the maximum likely annual charge to be levied in respect of domestic waste collection. 
Since local authorities will not be able to keep any revenue which they collect through pilot schemes, they have no incentive to raise the level of the payments beyond what will encourage positive behaviour. Experience in other countries where incentive schemes are in operation also suggests that payments do not need to be high to be effective. The research report published in May 2007 shows, for example, that variable charges in the region of £30 to £50 were shown to drive behaviour change overseas.
Under a waste incentive scheme, it would be up to local authorities to set the level of charges that they believed would create an incentive. However, we will be looking at what level of charges are being proposed when local authorities come forward to run pilots.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether charges for the collection of household waste will be levied on householders occupying flats with communal bins. 
As with many of the powers that councils have in relation to local services, it will be up to individual authorities, working with their communities, to decide which households a pilot scheme should cover. The decision will include whether or not to cover flats, where householders occupy communal bins.
However, the Government have stressed in our overarching framework that pilot authorities must take account of the needs of potentially disadvantaged groups in devising and running schemes. We will seek to develop and publish guidance in this area to assist authorities in their assessment of these groups.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans he has to conduct a consultation exercise before issuing guidance on charging for the collection of household waste. 
The Government are committed to producing a range of guidance to assist authorities in implementing household incentive schemes. The final timetable for producing and making guidance publicly available for comment has not been finalised, and to some extent will reflect the Bills progress in Parliament. However, this process will certainly take place before the pilots begin.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the likely effect of charges for household waste collection on families with children under the age of 12 months. 
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) who is responsible for deciding which local authorities charge for domestic waste collection; and whether such decisions will be subject to (a) parliamentary and (b) ministerial approval; 
Joan Ruddock: The Climate Change Bill includes powers for up to five local authorities to pilot incentives for household waste minimisation and recycling. Councils wishing to pilot schemes will be able to come forward with plans to fit local circumstances. These must be approved by the Secretary of State. Decisions about which local authorities will be able to run pilots will not be subject to parliamentary approval. However, all the pilot schemes will have to meet the legislative framework agreed by Parliament.
We will be working with stakeholders to develop a process for local authorities to come forward with proposals to pilot a waste incentive scheme. We have not yet finalised the details of the application procedure, and we will want to discuss this further with stakeholders. However, we would certainly expect to see a good quality plan included in an application process.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what provision he has made for those who move out of a waste charging pilot area mid-year to be partially recompensed for annual charge payments. 
Joan Ruddock: It will be up to local authorities, working with their communities, to decide how to administer charges and rebates under a waste incentive scheme. Payments could be made on an annual basis or more frequently. Where residents move out of the area, having already paid a forward-looking charge, local authorities may wish to recompense them. We will be working with stakeholders to produce guidance for local authorities on this.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of the annual average gross administrative cost in cash terms to local authorities arising from charging for the collection of household rubbish. 
Research carried out for DEFRA presented in the Impact Assessment estimates annualised costs to local authorities of running a waste incentive scheme of between £236,000 to £532,000 based on the introduction of a revenue neutral scheme affecting 50,000 households.
However, we would expect local authorities to make overall savings from running a waste incentive scheme. This is due to the savings from having less waste to collect, treat and dispose of, which are estimated in the Impact Assessment to be between £0.3 million to £1.4 million per annum, which should be sufficient to outweigh costs.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps he plans to take to counter the use of fake bin bags in areas where local authorities operate charges for the collection of domestic waste on the basis of payment by sack. 
Joan Ruddock: Where authorities are operating a sack-based waste incentive scheme they may, for example, need to consider the risk of residents purchasing and placing their waste in sacks other than those specified under the scheme.
Where this happens, local authorities may, if necessary, issue fines or fixed penalty notices to residents. However, effective communications with residents will be a more important way to avoid the use of counterfeit sacks. We will be working with local authorities to provide guidance on effective local communications.
The Climate Change Bill includes the requirement that local authorities have a fly-tipping prevention strategy for preventing, minimising or otherwise dealing with the unauthorised deposit or disposal of waste.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) whether plans for pilots for charging for the collection of household waste include (a) the use of radio-frequency identification microchips and (b) charging according to frequency of collection; 
Joan Ruddock: We have no plans to favour one type of collection method over another. It is up to each local authority, working with its community, to decide how its waste incentive scheme should operate. However, we have created powers in the Climate Change Bill to allow pilots to operate in a variety of ways, including but not limited to weight-based schemes using microchips or schemes based on frequency of collection. Authorities will also be able to operate schemes based on bin size or numbers of sacks used to contain waste.
Robert Neill: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what exemptions are planned to operate in schemes to apply charges to the collection of household waste within pilot areas; 
(2) what steps he plans to take to take account of (a) benefit recipients, (b) low-income groups and (c) other vulnerable people in (i) setting a charging regime for the collection of household waste and (ii) the design of pilot schemes on household waste collection. 
The exact details of how a scheme operates would be up to the local authorities coming forward to run pilots to decide. However, the Climate Change Bill requires authorities piloting waste incentives schemes to take account of groups which may potentially be disadvantaged unduly by the scheme. Authorities would also have the flexibility to decide which households in their area should be covered by the scheme. Where charges are part of a pilot scheme, only those producing the most non-recycled waste would pay more.
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