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Departmental Public Participation

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what (a) listening exercises and (b) public forums his Department has held in each of the last two years; and what the (i) purpose and (ii) cost was in each case; and who the private contractor was and how much it was paid in each case. [221350]

Hilary Benn: DEFRA has held one major listening exercise in the last two years. The Citizen's Summit on Climate Change in May 2007 was managed entirely through the Central Office of Information at a total cost of £440,791. These costs were in line with exercises of a similar scale and scope.

The principal objectives and benefits included:

The summit itself was the culmination of a longer term deliberative research process with a representative sample of the population. Members of the public were recruited from across the country, exposed to all sides of the debate and asked about their attitudes and behaviour on climate change.

The final event was a major participative exercise involving the then Secretary of State, the heads of the CBI, TUC and the NCC, policy officials and around 160 members of the public. The event was covered by the media and broadcast over the internet. A full research report was produced and published to capture the key learning from the exercise. This was fed into the formal consultation process of the Climate Change Bill.

The survey of those who participated indicated:

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Insulation: Housing

Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will place in the Library the details of the assumptions behind his policy on encouraging savings in household bills from home insulation. [224512]

Joan Ruddock: I have been asked to reply.

The assumptions behind Government policy are based on the findings of the two following reports, both of which are available on the website of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs:

Assumptions from these reports have been used to update the Building Research Establishment's BREDEM model for domestic energy usage and to calculate energy savings for the following measures.

The energy savings were converted into cost savings for a standard three-bedroom semi-detached house with gas-dominated heating on a standard heating pattern and energy pricing assumed a price of 3.8p per kWh of energy saved for gas and 13p per kWh for electricity, based on consumer tariffs available in September 2008.

Illustrative value of core measures and annual energy bill savings

Cavity wall insulation Loft insulation (from empty) Loft insulation (top-up)

Estimated installation costs(1)




Annual fuel bill savings per household




(1) Estimated average overall installation costs to consumer and energy supplier under Carbon Emissions Reduction Target scheme, as published by the Energy Saving Trust.


Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent discussions he has had with the government of China on that country’s involvement in the ivory trade; and if he will make a statement. [225984]

Huw Irranca-Davies: A number of discussions took place between officials about China’s involvement in the ivory trade in the lead up to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) Standing Committee meeting, held during July 2008 in Geneva.

Seas and Oceans: Nature Conservation

Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions he has had with the EU Directorate General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries on whether the UK is empowered to curtail fishing effort in marine conservation zones in UK waters. [221638]

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Huw Irranca-Davies: A range of formal and informal discussions take place with the Commissioner on a regular basis covering a wide range of issues. Through these means the Commissioner is kept abreast of developments taking place in the United Kingdom.


Mr. Prisk: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much was claimed in expenses for taxi travel by officials from (a) his Department and (b) its executive agencies in (i) 2006-07, (ii) 2005-06, (iii) 2004-05, (iv) 2003-04 and (v) 2002-03; and if he will make a statement. [227055]

Huw Irranca-Davies: From information held centrally by the core-Department’s financial system the VAT inclusive expenditure on taxis for the financial years 2006-07 and 2007-08 is as follows:






DEFRA’s total departmental spending in 2007-08 was some £3.7 billion. Information for financial years prior to 2006-07 could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

The Department requires any use of taxis to be appropriate to business needs, represent value for money and follow civil service rules for the use of money.

Written Questions: Government Responses

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many and what proportion of written questions for answer on a named day his Department has answered on the due date in the current Session of Parliament to date. [226898]

Huw Irranca-Davies: As at 9 October 2008, we had received a total of 841 named day questions, and we answered 333 on the due date. This equates to approximately 40 per cent.

Energy and Climate Change

Carbon Emissions

Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what steps will need to be taken for the EU to achieve a 30 per cent. reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2020 from a 1990 baseline. [227838]

Joan Ruddock: It will be for EU member states to decide how they best meet their EU commitments in the event of a 30 per cent. greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction target. However, this will require a reduction in the EU-wide cap in the EU Emissions Trading System. In addition, the Government already have a wide range of policies in place, including those in the 2006 Climate Change Programme and 2007 Energy White Paper. The framework of binding carbon budgets that the Climate
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Change Bill establishes will ensure we continue to keep under review the policies and measures needed to meet both our domestic obligations under the Bill and our share of a 30 per cent. European target.

Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what his policy is on the percentage of greenhouse gas emissions reductions which should be delivered through the Clean Development Mechanism or Joint Implementation under EU climate change measures. [227863]

Joan Ruddock: The UK Government would like to see project credit access in both the EU Emissions Trading Scheme and greenhouse gas (GHG) effort-share limited to 50 per cent. of absolute effort (in the context of the overarching principle that 50 per cent. of absolute emissions reductions from 2005 must take place within the EU). This, we consider, maintains the correct balance between domestic (EU) abatement, EU leadership on climate change and the cost-effectiveness of the EU’s climate change package.

Mr. Lilley: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change whether he plans to publish a revised impact assessment relating to the Climate Change Bill to take account of the amended target to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 80 per cent. [229323]

Joan Ruddock: An updated Impact Assessment for the Climate Change Bill will be published following Royal Assent, and will reflect the final content of the Bill.

Mr. Lilley: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change whether emissions from (a) aircraft, (b) shipping and (c) cement manufacture are included in (a) the targets to be set in the Climate Change Bill for reductions by (i) 2020 and (ii) 2050 and (b) in the target to reduce emissions by 20 per cent. below the 1990 level by 2010. [229698]

Joan Ruddock: Emissions from domestic aviation and shipping, and from cement manufacture in the UK, will be included in the Climate Change Bill’s 2050 and 2020 targets. They are also included for the purposes of assessing progress towards the Government’s goal to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 20 per cent. against a 1990 baseline by 2010. Emissions from international aviation and shipping are not included in either the Bill’s targets, or the 2010 goal.

Climate Change: Research

Mr. Djanogly: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change (1) how much the Government have spent on research into climate change since 1997; [227851]

(2) how much the Government have provided by way of grants or subsidies to organisations, companies and people involved in climate change research in each financial year since 1998. [227853]

Joan Ruddock: The UK’s leading role in delivering climate change policy has been built on its world-leading research and the Government are committed to continuing support in this area. The Government support research
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into a wide range of climate change issues, including climate change science and innovations for mitigation and adaptation, but no centrally-collated figures are available for total expenditure.

The majority of Government expenditure in climate change research is provided through the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC). NERC receives funding from the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS). NERC’s funding of climate change research in 2007-08 was about 28 per cent. of its net spend of £389 million, approximately £109 million. In addition, universities also invest funding received from the Higher Education Funding Councils, some of which is invested in this area.

DEFRA’s total expenditure on climate change research (including projects of a cross-cutting nature which are of relevance to climate change) over the last six years was £132.8 million (£13.7 million in 2002-03, £17.7 million in 2003-04, £22.0 million in 2004-05, £23.7 million in 2005-06, £24.7 million in 2006-07, and £31.0 million in 2007-08). Figures for earlier years are not readily available.

Energy Savings Trust

Mr. Streeter: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how many of the directors of the Energy Savings Trust are from energy producing organisations. [225995]

Joan Ruddock [holding answer 13 October 2008]: The Energy Saving Trust currently has four non-executive directors who are from energy producing organisations.

Mr. Streeter: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what system is in place for ensuring that the Code for Sustainable Homes and the Code of Practice operated by the Energy Savings Trust give appropriate weight to innovative gas saving products. [225998]

Joan Ruddock [holding answer 13 October 2008]: The Energy Saving Trust does not operate the Code for Sustainable Homes, it is the responsibility of Communities and Local Government.

The Energy Saving Trust operates the “Domestic Energy Efficiency Advice Code of Practice”. This does not specify the absolute weight to be given to advice on any particular class of product or service; rather it emphasises that advice must be based upon, and relevant to, the requirements and circumstances of the recipient.

Fuels: Trade Competitiveness

Andrew Selous: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what steps he is taking to ensure a competitive market for petrol and diesel. [229213]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: The Government are committed to the operation of competitive markets, as the most efficient way of ensuring supply. The supply of transport fuels is a commercial matter, which is subject to UK competition law under the Competition Act 1998. The regulation of supply of transport fuels to consumers is therefore the responsibility of the Office of Fair Trading (OFT), who continue to monitor the UK petrol market to ensure that these markets remain competitive.

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Industrial Diseases

Mr. Touhig: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what assessment he has made of the reliability of the medical assessment procedure in assessing claims under the coal miners' compensation scheme. [229218]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: Respiratory specialists and experienced medical practitioners undertake medical assessments in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and vibration white finger respectively. It is important to take steps to ensure consistency of diagnosis and this is done by providing training specific to each condition and also by auditing the Medical Assessment Process assessments. Specialists are trained to understand each assessment form and its objectives to establish the level of disability caused by chronic pulmonary disease or vibration white finger, assess the impact of any other condition and calculate how much of the disability is due to working in coal mines. Required qualifications for the specialist are set out in each claims handling agreement.

Processes are in place, agreed between both the claimants’ solicitors and the Department, to facilitate the independent auditing of the medical assessment process. The audits are carried out firstly by the lead doctor (who delivers the training) and then by the Medical Reference Panel. The audits are done on a monthly basis and look at a sample of six reports from each respiratory specialist or experienced medical practitioner.

A quality review is undertaken by an independent organisation for medical assessments conducted under the Coal Health Compensation schemes. The Medical Review Panel is also available if any solicitor wish to dispute the medical findings in particular claims.

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