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Waste Management: Domestic Wastes

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate was made of the proportion of households potentially liable for charges for the collection of household waste in (a) the impact assessment produced by his Department and (b) the research by Eunomia which informed his Department's policy. [193869]

Joan Ruddock: Powers announced in the Climate Change Bill will allow up to five local authorities to pilot incentives to encourage waste minimisation and recycling.


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The decision to pilot a waste incentive scheme rests with the local authority. The local authority will also decide the boundaries of the pilot within its area and the Secretary of State will approve the five pilots. Therefore, we have made no assessment of the proportion of households potentially liable for charges under a waste incentive scheme.

For modelling purposes, the impact assessment and the research by Eunomia consider the situation where 62 per cent. of households are covered by a scheme. However, this is not an estimate of how many households will in fact be covered at any point in the future.

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what powers he proposes for waste collection authorities seeking to levy charges for the collection of household waste to issue fines or penalties to individual households who do not pay the charges; and what maximum penalty or sanction is proposed. [193892]

Joan Ruddock: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave him on 14 January 2008, Official Report, column 871W, and the hon. Member for Bromley and Chislehurst (Robert Neill) on 11 March 2008, Official Report, column 222W.

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what representations his Department has received from the Environmental Services Association on (a) new charges for the collection of household waste and (b) fortnightly rubbish collections in the last 12 months. [194403]

Joan Ruddock: The Environmental Services Association responded to the consultation on incentives for household waste minimisation and recycling. All individual consultation responses are publicly available from the DEFRA information resource centre.

Waste Management: Fees and Charges

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what powers local authorities have to charge for the compulsory provision of wheelie bins. [194495]

Joan Ruddock: The provisions relating to local authorities’ powers to charge for the receptacles for household waste are set out in section 46(3) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

Section 46(3) states:


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Waste Management: Prisons

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what obligations waste collection authorities have to provide free disposal of waste from prisons. [193933]

Joan Ruddock: There is no duty on a waste collection authority to dispose of any waste. Waste disposal authorities are required by section 51(1)(a) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 (ERA) to dispose of waste collected by waste collection authorities.

Under paragraph 16 of schedule 2 of the Controlled Waste Regulations 1992 (CWR) waste from prisons or other penal institutions is classified as household waste. However, like all other ‘schedule 2’ wastes the duty to collect only begins when the authority is asked to collect the waste and it can charge to cover the cost of collection.

A local authority cannot charge for disposal of household waste regardless of the source.

Waste Management: Standards

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans he has to introduce an accreditation scheme to ensure adequate environmental standards in waste treatment facilities. [194894]

Joan Ruddock [holding answer 17 March 2008]: DEFRA has no plans to introduce such an accreditation scheme.

Most waste treatment facilities are already required to operate in accordance with a permit, issued by the Environment Agency, designed to ensure high levels of environmental protection. In addition, only people who are ‘fit and proper persons’ are authorised to operate waste facilities and managers must be able to demonstrate that they are technically competent. Facilities are inspected by the Environment Agency in a manner that takes account of the risk the site presents and the performance of the operator. Inspection also takes account of accreditation under environmental management systems.

From 6 April this year, waste treatment facilities will be permitted under the Environmental Permitting Regulations. This is a new modern permitting system which brings all regulated waste activities under a single, consistent and risk based permitting and compliance regime.

Prime Minister

Military Bases

Dr. Fox: To ask the Prime Minister (1) which UK military bases and installations he has visited since June 2007; and what the (a) date and (b) purpose was of each such visit; [193888]

(2) how many times he has visited the military managed ward at Selly Oak Hospital since it was established. [193889]


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The Prime Minister: I have visited members of the armed forces both in the United Kingdom and abroad, and have met injured personnel on these occasions. Visits to injured personnel and to hospitals are undertaken privately.

Duchy of Lancaster

Grassroots Grants Programme

9. Jim Sheridan: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will make a statement on the grassroots grants programme. [195054]

Phil Hope: Grassroots Grants will enable the smallest, volunteer-led organisations to thrive and direct their energies to the particular challenges they see in their local community. Grassroots Grants is a ground-breaking £130 million programme, combining an £80 million small grants fund—which will run for three years—with a £50 million endowment, which will mean a sustainable source of small grants for years to come.

Third Sector Organisations

10. Mr. Chaytor: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will make a statement on the role of the third sector in delivering public services. [195055]

Edward Miliband: Third sector organisations have the potential to play an important role in the design, development and delivery of public services. This is reflected in our recent reforms in offender management, employment and health and social care. However, the third sector should never be an excuse for cutting Government funding to public services.

Post Office Closures

11. Mr. David Jones: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster whether the Social Exclusion Task Force has assessed the likely effect of post office closures on levels of social inclusion. [195056]

Phil Hope: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave earlier today to the hon. Member for North-East Milton Keynes (Mr. Lancaster) and the right hon. Member for Wells (Mr. Heathcoat-Amory).

Olympic Games

12. John Robertson: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the allocation of funding for the Olympic Games on the funding of the voluntary sector. [195057]

Phil Hope: The Olympics will bring important benefits and the Big Lottery Fund has introduced important safeguards to protect the amount of funding available to voluntary sector organisations.

The fund has ensured that no existing lottery projects will be affected and that the original estimated £2 billion over the next five years will continue to be available for the third sector.


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Child Poverty

13. Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what work the Social Exclusion Task Force has conducted on the level of child poverty. [195058]

Phil Hope: The Government has succeeded in arresting and reversing the long-term trend of rising child poverty. Compared to 1998 there are 600,000 fewer children living in relative poverty and 1.8 million fewer living in absolute poverty. The joint DWP/DCSF Child Poverty Unit takes responsibility for analysis of child poverty trends across Government. The Social Exclusion Taskforce is conducting complementary research focused upon the experience of multiple disadvantage by children and their families.

Social Exclusion

14. Mr. Allen: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families on the creation of a national assessment centre for early intervention policies to tackle social exclusion; and if he will make a statement. [195059]

Edward Miliband: Early intervention is a key principle being championed by the Social Exclusion Taskforce and we continue to work with partners across Whitehall, including the Department for Children, Schools and Families as well as outside organisations, in identifying and testing innovative approaches to preventing social exclusion.

Charities Act 2006

Greg Clark: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will revise the implementation plan for the Charities Act 2006. [194581]

Phil Hope: The Charities Act 2006 implementation plan is published on the website of the Office of the Third Sector. It was last updated in November 2007, and is due to be updated again in April 2008. The website itself is updated more frequently, and stakeholders can stay in touch with developments by subscribing to an e-mail update service.

Charity Commission: Appeals

Greg Clark: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster when he expects the Charity Tribunal to be operational; and if he will make a statement. [194580]

Phil Hope: The Charity Tribunal was brought into force on 18 March 2008, by The Charities Act 2006 (Commencement No. 3, Transitional Provisions and Savings) Order 2008 (SI 2008 No. 751 (C.32)). It is operational from that date.

Voluntary Work

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what steps the Government have taken to ensure high performing voluntary services are recognised for their contribution to the community. [194802]


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Phil Hope: The Government recognise high performing voluntary services for their contribution to the community through the Queens Award for Voluntary Service. The Queens Award is unique by being the only Award of this kind in the UK honours system and is equivalent to an MBE.

To date there have been nearly 600 of these prestigious Awards given to groups of volunteers in the UK who all agree that this not only means reward for their hard work but recognition and standing in the local community.

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what recent steps the Government have taken to encourage people to volunteer. [194804]

Phil Hope: Over the 2007 Comprehensive Spending Review period the Government will be investing over £137 million in programmes to encourage people to volunteer, such as the national youth charity v, Goldstar, Volunteering for All, and strategic funding to organisations such as Volunteering England and the Mentoring and Befriending Foundation.

The Government recently announced plans to invest £4 million in new training programmes for volunteers, and £2 million to create a new access to volunteering fund for disabled people, in response to recommendations by the Commission on the Future of Volunteering.

The Office of the Third Sector is also working across Government to reduce the barriers that prevent people from volunteering by, for example, working with the Department for Work and Pensions to ensure benefit claimants can also volunteer.

Voluntary Work: Finance

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what steps the Government have taken to consult the third sector on decisions on relevant Government funding changes. [194803]

Phil Hope: The Government are committed to the principles set out in the Compact.

The Compact Code on Funding and Procurement sets out that Government undertake to give enough notice of the end of grants or contracts. This should be a minimum of three months. The Code also sets out that the Government undertake to implement longer term funding arrangements where these represent good value for money and to provide whenever possible an opportunity for the voluntary and community sector to contribute to programme design.

The Office of the Third Sector's plans are set out in the final report of the third sector review The Future Role of the Third Sector in Social and Economic Regeneration: Final Report (Cm 7189), published in July 2007. This report followed extensive consultation with the third sector, with 93 open consultation events held, reaching over 1,000 organisations and over 250 written responses received.

The new local government performance framework embeds the role of the third sector in local decision-making. The third sector is an essential partner in local strategic partnerships and as such takes part in decisions about priorities to be funded through the local area agreement.


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The framework also includes the duty to involve. This means that local authorities consider, as a matter of course, the consultation and involvement opportunities they will need to provide and that they take action to engage with the full diversity of groups in their area, including consideration of what support might be needed for these groups to be involved.

Health

Alcoholic Drinks: Misuse

Peter Bottomley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to provide further (a) training and (b) guidance for relevant healthcare professionals on the identification and management of alcohol abuse. [191289]

Dawn Primarolo: The Department has funded the production of guidance to support the effective delivery of high quality training on substance misuse, including alcohol, within undergraduate medical education in the United Kingdom. “Substance Misuse in the Undergraduate Medical Curriculum” was developed with the involvement of all of the UK medical schools, was overseen by an expert steering group and published by the International Centre for Drug Policy in April 2007.

The Foundation programme, which describes the syllabus and competencies for junior doctors to understand the effects of alcohol on health and psychological wellbeing of the patient and family members, the effects of alcohol on pregnancy, to know about local support groups or agencies and to demonstrate competence in taking alcohol histories and advising on safer drinking levels or drinking cessation. The Department is currently involved in the development of new learning resources across all aspects of the Foundation programme including this one.

The Government have invested £3.2 million to commission a two year trailblazer research project on the identification and management of alcohol abuse. The outputs will include guidance on the most effective screening tools and revised support materials for healthcare professionals as well as those in criminal justice settings.

The Department is developing a web-based e-learning module which will train health professionals in the routine identification of alcohol misuse and how to advise patients on reducing their drinking or, if necessary, refer them to appropriate specialist treatment. The module will be available to clinicians across the entire national health service by the summer and will subsequently be made available to other health and social care professionals.


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