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Natural England: Grayling Political Strategy

Greg Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what payments Natural England made to Grayling Political Strategy in each of the last five years; and on what date and for what purpose the payment was made in each case. [202296]

Jonathan Shaw: Grayling were contracted by Countryside Agency to run a series of seminars/events in 2004-05 relating to the transfer of responsibilities to other Government Offices and Agencies as a result of the Haskins Review.

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Grayling payments











Nature Conservation: Climate Change

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent steps the Government has taken to assess the extent of damage to wildlife resulting from the effects of climate change. [202525]

Joan Ruddock: Key impacts of climate change on wildlife have already been observed, including changes in the timings of seasonal events, shifts in the ranges of species, and changes to habitats and ecosystems.

In 2007, the Government responded, with others, by publishing the guidance “Conserving Biodiversity in a Changing Climate” aimed at those planning and delivering wildlife conservation in the UK. The guidance helps conservation practitioners to build capacity to adapt and, amongst other principles, acknowledges the importance of continued monitoring to enable them to identify and respond to the impacts of climate change on wildlife.

DEFRA has an ongoing programme of research to assess the impacts of climate change on biodiversity. Last year the results of two projects were published:

A review of the impacts of climate change on migratory species was published in 2005 and we are currently funding further research into identifying migratory species which could be used as indicators to monitor the effects of climate change. DEFRA has invested in the National Biodiversity Network, the UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme and the Environmental Change Network which, amongst several other objectives, also provide means of detecting ongoing impacts of climate change on biodiversity.

Radioactive Wastes: Waste Management

Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what criteria were used to determine the membership of (a) the Criteria Proposals Group and (b) the Criteria Review Panel in respect of geological screening criteria for radioactive waste disposal sites developed by his Department. [202081]

Mr. Woolas: The two groups were recruited by the Managing Radioactive Waste Safely programme sponsor bodies (DEFRA, Business Enterprise and Regulatory
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Reform, Welsh Assembly Government and Northern Ireland) following discussion with, and nominations by, the learned societies—the Royal Society, the Geological Society and the Royal Academy of Engineering.

DEFRA’s Chief Scientific Adviser was also involved and the scientific disciplines sought were geology, hydrogeology and rock mechanics. Membership represented a high calibre mix of academic and industrial practitioners.

A Committee on Radioactive Waste Management (CoRWM) member participated in the Criteria Proposal Group’s work and a technical specialist from the Environment Agency also served on Criteria Review Panel.

Further information on the Groups’ work is available on DEFRA’s website.

Rights of Way

Mr. Robathan: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which Minister authorised the establishment of the Discovering Lost Ways project; and if he will instigate an investigation into the reasons for the project not achieving its objectives. [201791]

Jonathan Shaw: The Countryside Agency established the Discovering Lost Ways (DLW) Project following publication of the Rural White Paper Implementation Plan of March 2001, using funds provided by DEFRA under the authority of the then Environment Minister, my right hon. Friend the Member for Oldham, West and Royton (Mr. Meacher).

Section 53 of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 provided for the extinguishment, in 2026, of public rights of way that existed prior to 1949, unless recorded by 2026 on the definitive map and statement maintained by the highway authority. The DLW project trialled the use of systematic data collection techniques to fulfil the Government's aim as set out in the 2000 Rural White Paper, of recording of such rights before 2026.

Natural England, the successor body to the Countryside Agency, has now reviewed the DLW Project. Its investigations found that even this systematic research approach could not remove the requirement for further detailed research into cases by the highway authority, and for a public inquiry to be held whenever the recording of such a right was opposed. As a result it considers there is no prospect of processing of the evidence collected by the 2026 cut-off date and accordingly Natural England is terminating the research contract. I do not consider any further investigation to be necessary.

Natural England is preparing to convene a Stakeholder Working Group to consider the scope for an agreed package of the reforms in this area. The Government have endorsed this as an appropriate way forward, and will consider any recommendations from the Group in due course, although this does not mean that the Government are, at this stage, committing to further legislative reform. We have written to stakeholders indicating that we will not bring section 53 into effect at least until we know the outcome of this Group's work.

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Waste Disposal: Fees and Charges

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether (a) the Waste and Resources Action Programme and (b) his Department has purchased the Handbook on the implementation of Pay as You Throw as a tool for urban waste management produced by Dresden University of Technology. [202943]

Joan Ruddock: The Library of my Department advises that it has not purchased a copy, however the handbook was considered as part of the report carried out for DEFRA into “Modelling the Impact of Household Charging for Waste in England”. This report is available on the DEFRA website.

In addition, the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) informs me that it has not purchased a copy.

Work and Pensions

Children: Daycare

Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the number and proportion of children in lower-income working families accessing child care through extended schools; and what progress is being made towards meeting the sub-target of his Department's Public Service Agreement target 3. [200820]

Mr. Timms: The data requested are not available.

Information relating to what progress has been made towards meeting this public service agreement target is available in the departmental Autumn Performance Report 2007. This is available in the Library and can also be viewed at:

Figures showing progress towards Public Service Agreement 3 will be available when the results of the 2007 Childcare Survey are published by the Department for Children, Schools and Families later this year.

Disability Living Allowance: Appeals

Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the average length of time for an appeal against refusal of disability living allowance to be determined was in the latest period for which figures are available; what is the longest time a person has been waiting for an appeal to be heard; how many people have been waiting (a) three, (b) six or (c) more than six months for a hearing; and if he will make a statement. [202097]

Bridget Prentice: I have been asked to reply.

Information is compiled for appeals against refusal for disability living allowance (DLA) and attendance allowance (AA) together. To separate the two would incur disproportionate cost and therefore the answer has been provided for both DLA and AA.

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The table provides an indication of waiting times. These figures may be slightly overstated due to data reconciliation across two different databases.

We are unable to provide the longest waiting time for an appellant in a DLA case as the historical data are not robust due to inconsistencies across the aforementioned two databases.

Average length of time and waiting times for an appeal against refusal for disability living allowance and attendance allowance, 2007-08
Number Percentage

Average length of time for an appeal for disability living allowance and attendance allowance

9.5 weeks

Number of people waiting:

(a) up to three months



(b) three to six months



(c) more than six months



The Tribunals Service

Disability Living Allowance: Finance

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the cost of disability living allowance (a) payments and (b) administration was in each of the last five years. [201465]

Mrs. McGuire [holding answer 24 April 2008]: Information on administration costs is not available prior to 2006-07. The available information is in the following tables.

Disability living allowance expenditure
£ million
Nominal terms Real terms (2008-09 prices)













2007-08 (Forecast outturn)



DWP Expenditure tables.

Estimated disability living allowance administration costs
£ million





PDCS Management Information.

Disability Living Allowance: Standards

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what plans he has to review the (a) effectiveness and (b) administration of the disability living allowance. [201466]

Mrs. McGuire [holding answer 24 April 2008]: Disability living allowance remains under continual review to ensure that it continues to provide help with the extra costs that people with disabilities face.

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We are also continually monitoring the way that disability living allowance is administered to ensure that it continues to meet the needs of our customers.

The introduction of the Pension, Disability and Carers Service will enable us to provide a more integrated and seamless service. We will be introducing a wider programme of reviews and interventions, and will continue to provide improved training for decision-making staff to help ensure the accuracy of disability living allowance awards.

John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what progress his Department has made towards improving the accuracy of estimates for the take-up of disability living allowance amongst disabled people. [200784]

Mrs. McGuire: We commissioned the Policy Studies Institute to investigate possible methods of estimating take-up of disability living allowance. Its initial feasibility study was published in July 2007, “The take-up rate of Disability Living Allowance and Attendance Allowance: Feasibility study” DWP report 442 and recommended a survey-based approach, subject to further development and testing of the feasibility. Since then we have commissioned the Policy Studies Institute to continue this approach and work is currently ongoing.

Incapacity Benefits: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will review the process by which assessments are made of whether people with myalgic encephalopathy may receive benefits; what account the process takes of the rate of successful appeals against decisions to deny benefits in such cases; and if he will make a statement. [201837]

Mrs. McGuire: We have already reviewed the process for assessing whether people with medical conditions, including myalgic encephalopathy, may receive incapacity benefits.

The new work capability assessment for employment and support allowance will be a fair, robust and accurate assessment of limited capability for work which takes account of all conditions, including those that are long-term and that fluctuate such as myalgic encephalopathy.

Updated medical guidance on myalgic encephalopathy for disability living allowance decision makers was published in July 2007. There are no current plans for further revision of the process.

The process for employment and support allowance and disability living allowance does not take account of the rate of successful appeals. However, we will continue to monitor new research and evidence, including relevant case law, in this area.

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