Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer of 13 June 2008, Official Report, column 532W, on bovine tuberculosis, when he plans to respond to the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee's recent report on badgers and bovine tuberculosis, HC 130. 
Jonathan Shaw: The position remains unchanged from that reported on 13 June. We continue to consider the complex evidence on this issue and will respond to the Committee as soon as our deliberations are complete.
Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer of 4 June 2008, Official Report, column 920W, on flood control: vacancies, (1) how many vacancies for (a) flood risk engineers, (b) flood risk planners, (c) flood risk project managers and (d) other flood risk management posts there were in the Environment Agency in each region on 1 April in each of the last five years; 
Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what research his Department (a) is undertaking and (b) has commissioned on the skills required to deliver a low carbon economy; and with which other Departments and non-departmental public bodies his Department is collaborating on such research. 
Mr. Woolas: On 1 May 2008, the Government published Building a low carbon economy: unlocking innovation and skills. This sets out how the Government will make the UK one of the best locations in the world to develop and introduce low carbon and resource efficient products, processes, services and business models.
DEFRA officials are working proactively with the Department of Innovation, Universities and Skills, the Department of Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, employers, Sector Skills Councils, the UK Commission for Employment and Skills, and expert bodies representing the environmental industries. The aim is to develop our evidence and understanding of the skills implications of the transition to a low carbon, resource efficient and sustainable economy and to ensure that these at the heart of our skills system. This includes a research project, commissioned in April 2008, to review the current evidence in this area.
Mr. Woolas: Catchment Flood Management Plans (CFMPs) are intended to be high level strategic planning tools providing direction for the management of flood risk in the inland environment. They are not themselves investment plans and hence funding will not be specifically allocated to the implementation of an individual plan.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions he has had with the Environment Agency on its six policy choices for the Catchment Flood Management Plan; and what guidance the Agency has provided on the suitability of policy choices for particular areas. 
Mr. Woolas: Extensive discussions were held between the Environment Agency, DEFRA and the Welsh Assembly Government on the six policy choices for a Catchment Flood Management Plan (CFMP) and the Policy Guidance for the preparation of CFMPs was a joint publication. The Environment Agency has developed detailed guidance for policy selection for individual areas. The choice of policy requires consideration of current and potential future flood risk along with catchment opportunities and constraints, to develop objectives for the catchment. These objectives are then used to test the merits of the alternative policy choices in order to decide a preferred policy.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether the modelling of the Environment Agency on individual Catchment Flood Management Plans is available for consultation by the public. 
Mr. Woolas: The modelling used in developing a Catchment Flood Management Plan (CFMP) is not included within the consultation material made available to the public as part of the draft plan. The relevant parts of the output from the modelling is included in the draft plan.
Robert Neill: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what budget allocation to the Warm Front programme his Department (a) made in each year since the programmes establishment and (b) for each of the next three years. 
|Approximate total spend/budget (£ million)
Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what assessment he has made of the potential effect of use of biofuels in petrol and diesel on food prices. 
In April 2008, DEFRA published a report on the sustainability impact of biofuels which reviewed the existing research on the impact of biofuels on commodity and food prices. It is available on the DEFRA website.
The Government are concerned about the effect of rising food prices and the contribution that the demand for biofuels could make to that. The Government will give careful consideration to the findings of the Gallagher Review in respect of the impacts of biofuels on food prices.
Malcolm Wicks: The main Government support mechanism for biofuels comes in the form of fuel duty incentives and since April 2008, through the Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation. Further information is at:
The £47 million Energy Crops Scheme, administered by Natural England under the 2007-13 Rural Development Programme England, aims to increase the supply of biomass from perennial energy crops. Farmers can claim 40 per cent. of establishment costs for miscanthus and short rotation coppice. The crops can be used for heat and power generation and potentially for second generation transport biofuels. Similar schemes are available in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Farmers can claim the EU annual €45/ha Energy Aid payment for crops grown on non set-aside land for use in the generation of heat, power or transport biofuels. The Single Payment can be claimed for these crops grown on both set-aside and non set-aside land.
This £66 million scheme, joint-funded by BERR and the National Lotterys New Opportunities Fund scheme was Launched in February 2002. Although intended to principally encourage the development of power stations, a clear priority of the scheme was to increase usage of energy crops. These rounds of the scheme are now closed with no further applications being taken.
Subsequent rounds of the scheme are being funded by DEFRA to support the installation of biomass heat boilers and combined heat and power plants in England only. So far, around £8 million of capital grants have been awarded, with around £4 million still to be allocated. Subject to funding, DEFRA hopes to run another round later this year, with further rounds in 2009 and 2010.
BERR, in association with industry, academia and other stakeholders, also provides Research and Development (R and D) support through its Technology Strategy Board (TSB)including support work on next-generation biofuels and biorefineries. The TSB provides Government funding for innovative business-led R and D. In December 2008 it announced a £10 million call for collaborative R and D projects in the Low Carbon Energy Technologies area, including bio-energy.
Grant funding may also be available through the EUs Framework Programme 7 and Intelligent Energy Europe Programmes, which support collaborative Research, Development and Deployment into innovative energy technologies, and collaborative projects to address barriers to market entry for new energy technologies. Where projects fit with this description, further detail is available through the UKs dedicated helpline, at:
More widely, local authorities and Regional Development Agencies throughout the UK and the devolved administrations are at liberty to run and provide their own local support schemes for producers of biomass and biofuels.
Colin Challen: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what progress has been made on the commitment in the Gleneagles G8 Climate Change Action Plan to (a) study the definitions, costs and scope for capture-ready fossil fuel plants and (b) consider economic incentives for the development of such plants. 
Malcolm Wicks: The Gleneagles Action Plan invited the International Energy Agency (IEA) to work with the Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum (CSLF) to study definitions, costs and scope for capture ready' plant and consider economic incentives. A report, CO2 Capture Ready Plants, was published by the IEA in May 2007. It is available at
Conclusions from this report were included in the IEA's recommendations submitted to the G8 Energy Ministers' meeting on 8 June 2008. G8 Energy Ministers supported all the recommendations on carbon capture and storage put forward by the IEA, including a recommendation for further work to be undertaken to understand and define the concept of capture and storage ready plants and its value as a viable mitigation strategy.
Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform over what period his Department depreciates the asset value of its (a) vehicles, (b) computer hardware, (c) bespoke computer software, (d) standard computer software, (e) furniture and (f) telecommunications equipment. 
|(1) The Department does not own any vehicles.
Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how many (a) new builds and (b) major refurbishments were completed by his Department for a cost in excess of £0.5 million in (i) 2005-06, (ii) 2006-07 and (iii) 2007-08 to which the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method or equivalent was applied; how many such buildings were assessed as (A) pass, (B) good, (C) very good and (D) excellent; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Thomas: The Department has not completed any new builds or major refurbishments over the periods in question to which the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method or equivalent was applied.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform if he will list the conferences hosted by his Department in each of the last two years; and what the cost was of each conference. 
Mr. Thomas: Details of formal, standing bodies set up by Government to provide independent, expert advice to Departments and Ministers are published annually by the Cabinet Office. These bodies, known as advisory non-departmental public bodies (NDPBs), are listed in the annual Public Bodies publication. Public Bodies also contains some details on short-term advisory groups and task forces. Copies of Public Bodies from 1999 to 2006 can be viewed and downloaded from: