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20 Mar 2008 : Column 1295W—continued

Eaga

Mr. Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the value was of the contracts between his Department and Eaga in the latest period for which figures are available. [194307]

Mr. Woolas: Between 1 April 2007 and 31 March 2008, DEFRA has allocated approximately £350 million to the Warm Front Scheme managed by Eaga plc.

Endangered Species: Birds

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what arrangements are in place to protect endangered birds in the United Kingdom. [195250]

Joan Ruddock: All wild birds are protected in the UK under the EC directive on the conservation of wild birds (“the Birds directive”), which is implemented in Great Britain by the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and the Habitats Regulations 1994. Similar provisions are in place in Northern Ireland.

Species that are at risk from their international trade are also subject to controls under EU regulations that implement the convention on the international trade in endangered species (CITES). In accordance with Council Regulation 338/97, such species, notably birds of prey, require the issuance of permits or certificates before they can be commercially traded internationally. Such permits or certificates are issued dependent on a non-detriment finding assessment.


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Flood Control

Mr. Graham Stuart: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which internal drainage boards he has met since his appointment; and if he will make a statement. [193739]

Mr. Woolas: We are in regular contact with all stakeholders including internal drainage boards (IDBs), and we recognise and support the invaluable role that they play.

In November 2007, I met the Beverley and Holderness, Winestead, Preston, Skeffling, Keyingham, Ottringham, Thorngumbald, Market Weighton, and Lower Ouse IDBs as part of a visit to Hull.

In addition, I attended and spoke at the Association of Drainage Authorities Annual Conference in October 2007 to which all IDBs were invited.

Floods: South West

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what internal drainage boards (IDBs) there are in the south west of England; what discussions are planned between IDBs, the Environment Agency and the South West Regional Development Agency on flooding; and if he will make a statement. [194840]

Mr. Woolas: There are six internal drainage boards (IDBs) in the south west region of the Environment Agency.

These are the West Mendip Drainage Board, Central Somerset Consortium of Drainage Boards (which includes the Upper Axe the Upper Brue), North Somerset (2005) Drainage Board, Somerset Drainage Boards Consortium (which includes the Lower Axe, Lower Brue and Parrett), the Lower Severn Drainage Board and the Braunton Marsh Drainage Board.

The Environment Agency has regular and ongoing discussions with the IDB’s on flooding matters, more recently regarding the impact of the floods of summer 2007.

The Environment Agency is working with the Regional Development Agency in partnership with local authorities on regeneration schemes. Where applicable the Environment Agency has involved the IDB’s in discussions on strategic flood mitigation studies associated with these regeneration projects.

Home Energy Efficiency Scheme

Mr. Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the average contribution made by pensioners in (a) North Durham and (b) England to the cost of the package of insulation and heating improvements available under the Warm Front scheme was in the last two years. [194252]

Mr. Woolas: Between 1 April 2006 and 25 January 2008 of those pensioner households with an excess to pay, the average contribution made to the Warm Front Scheme for (a) North Durham was £459.74, and (b) England was £502.92.


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Mr. Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what systems are in place to monitor value for money under the Warm Front scheme. [194253]

Mr. Woolas: Warm Front is subject to twice yearly performance reviews by DEFRA's independent quality assessors to ensure that the scheme is providing value for money. These assessors also provide ad hoc reviews of individual elements of Warm Front operation, as required.

Mr. Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many small firms took part in the tendering process for the Warm Front scheme. [195792]

Mr. Woolas: The scheme manager received approximately 700 expressions of interest from potential Warm Front contractors.

These companies were not categorised by size, and we therefore do not hold figures for the number which could be classified as small businesses.

Mr. Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the turnover is of each firm involved in the WarmFront scheme. [195793]

Mr. Woolas: My Department does not centrally hold information on financial turnover of firms working on Warm Front.

Home Energy Efficiency Scheme: Finance

Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much he has allocated to Warm Front for each financial year between 2008 and 2011; what Warm Front's budget was for 2007-08; and what estimate he has made of the number of vulnerable households that will have central heating installed as a result of the scheme in each year to 2011. [194945]

Mr. Woolas: The budget for the Warm Front Scheme for 2007-08 is approximately £350 million.

The scheme's budget for the 2008-2011 period is approximately £800 million, with the yearly breakdown yet to be finalised. It is therefore not possible to provide yearly estimates for the number of central heating systems installed.

However, over the entire three year period we anticipate Warm Front providing approximately 250,000 heating systems, although this will be dependent on the number of insulation measures delivered over this period.

Landfill: Liability

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when the Environment Agency first knew of the open admission to shared liability at (a) Brosfiscin and (b) other Welsh landfill sites; and what steps he has taken as a result. [195193]


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Mr. Paul Murphy: I have been asked to reply.

In the context of its investigations pursuant to part 2A of the Environmental Protection Act 1990, the Environment Agency is unaware of any admissions of shared liability at Brofiscin or other Welsh landfill sites.

Nature Conservation

Mr. Randall: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will monitor captive breeding claims of species removed from schedule 4 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981; and if he will assess the resource implications of such monitoring for (a) devolved administrations and (b) agencies. [195043]

Joan Ruddock: No decision has been taken on which species will be removed from schedule 4 to the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

Any species removed from schedule 4 but included on Annex A of the EU convention on the international trade in endangered species (CITES) regulations will continue to be closely monitored by Animal Health and its scientific advisers (the Joint Nature Conservation Committee). This is not a devolved responsibility and Animal Health carries out this duty UK-wide. As this is already part of its normal duties it will have no additional resource implications.

For non-CITES species, Natural England will consider whether stringent sales controls are required. Natural England will also consider whether individual licences would be appropriate for species based on threats to their conservation status.

Planning Permission: Upchurch

Derek Wyatt: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what legal advice the Environment Agency has sought in the last week concerning activities at 4 Gun Field in Upchurch, Sittingbourne. [196029]

Joan Ruddock: Legal advice sought internally by the Environment Agency instigated an investigation into the nature of the materials and operations at 4 Gun Field Upchurch.

Plastic Bags: Landfill

Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what his most recent estimate is of the number of plastic shopping bags sent to landfill in (a) Ribble Valley constituency, (b) Lancashire and (c) England in each of the last three years. [193336]

Joan Ruddock [holding answer 11 March 2008]: No information is collected by DEFRA on the tonnage of individual products consigned to landfill.


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River Severn: Floods

Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what progress is being made in establishing the Wet Washland scheme to protect Shrewsbury and other towns on the River Severn from future flooding. [194680]

Mr. Woolas: The Environment Agency is currently working on a feasibility study for the River Severn Flood Risk Management scheme (which was formerly known as the Wet Washland scheme).

This will assess the technical, environmental and economic viability of a stand alone flood storage area immediately upstream of Shrewsbury and will combine with the proposed Shrewsbury North West Relief Road scheme. The study will be completed at the end of April 2008.

Smuggling: Wildlife

Mr. Allen: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when he expects HM Revenue and Customs to publish its Customs CITES seizures report for 2007; and if he will make a statement. [195223]

Joan Ruddock: DEFRA will publish the HM Revenue and Customs seizures for 2007 on the UK CITES website by August 2008. HM Revenue and Customs also publish summary seizure data for the financial year in its departmental annual report, which is due to be published this spring.

Water: Fees and Charges

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of the average domestic water bill in England and Wales in cash terms, including sewerage charges, in (a) 2007-08 and (b) 2008-09. [193896]

Mr. Woolas: The average household water bill including sewerage in 2007-08 is £312 (in 2007-08 prices).

The average household water bill including sewerage for 2008-09 will be £330 (in 2008-09 prices).

These figures include bills for both unmetered and metered household customers.

More information about average bills for 2008-09 is available on the Ofwat website.

Water: Meters

Ann Coffey: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what provisions of the Water Industry Act 1999 enable customers to request the installation of individual water meters in sheltered accommodation. [195721]

Mr. Woolas: There are no specific provisions in legislation for sheltered accommodation. Where a tenant of a property has a fixed term tenancy lasting longer than six months, or is an owner-occupier, and is directly liable for the charges related to their water supply to the relevant undertaker, they are able to
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request a meter be installed without charge. Companies can refuse to install a meter where it is not practicable or is unreasonably expensive to fit one.

Duchy of Lancaster

Aviation

Mr. Maude: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (1) what the policy is of (a) the Cabinet Office and (b) Downing street, on whether air flights should be made by standard class, business class or first class travel; [191116]

(2) what criteria are used to determine whether those undertaking air travel on behalf of (a) his Department and (b) the Prime Minister's Office are entitled to travel standard, business and first class. [191231]

Mr. Watson: For the purposes of this answer, the Prime Minister's Office is part of the Cabinet Office.

Cabinet Office policy requires officials to use the most cost effective class of air travel appropriate to the business need which takes account of the level of work that needs to be done during the flight and the importance of minimising fatigue. Standard class should normally be used but where the circumstances are justified, including longer flights, officials may travel in a higher class. Seats may be up-graded to a higher class where this does not involve additional cost.

As part of a series of initiatives to reduce expenditure on travel, the policy is currently being reviewed.

Departmental Data Protection

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster whether new guidance on information security has been issued to staff in his Department since 1 October 2007. [180413]

Mr. Watson: The Cabinet Office takes security very seriously and constantly reviews, and monitors its high level procedures and processes to minimise risks to all its assets.

In December 2007 guidance was issued to staff regarding the implementation of additional procedures being introduced to protect the storage of data on removable media and on the use of laptops and other storage devices.

Mr. Maude: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if the Cabinet Office will collate and publish a list for each Government department, executive agency and non-departmental public body, of which public authorities process personal data in processing centres directly or via contractors outside the European Economic Area. [181312]

Mr. Watson: The Data Protection Act 1998 includes provisions to ensure that personal data benefits from adequate protection when it is transferred outside the European Economic Area by UK data controllers. Data controllers are responsible for ensuring they comply with the provisions of the Data Protection Act with regard to the transfer of personal data to non-EEA
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countries. This means that the primary responsibility for putting in place and monitoring appropriate arrangements is on the individual department or other public body that acts as data controller.

Information on which public authorities process personal data in processing centres directly or via contractors outside the European Economic Area is not held by the Cabinet Office.

As part of cross-Government work on data handling, the Government have committed to put in place a programme to tighten procedures for any data stored outside the UK —written ministerial statement of 17 December 2007, Official Report, column 98WS. An update on this commitment will be included in the final report, expected in spring 2008.


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