Previous Section Index Home Page

27 Jan 2009 : Column 313W—continued

Olympic Games 2012: Construction

Alan Simpson: To ask the Minister for the Olympics what proportion of materials delivered to the Olympic park have adhered to the Olympic Delivery Authority’s target of 95 per cent. to be transported by sustainable methods. [250420]

27 Jan 2009 : Column 314W

Tessa Jowell: The Olympic Delivery Authority’s sustainable development strategy set an aspiration to transport 50 per cent. of construction materials (by weight) by sustainable means. This target is reflected in the planning obligations for the Olympic park. As at November 2008, 57 per cent. of construction material has arrived by rail and/or water.

Olympic Games 2012: Contracts

Mr. Sanders: To ask the Minister for the Olympics who is responsible for assessing the business continuity plans of contractors working at the Olympic site. [250568]

Tessa Jowell: Contractors’ business continuity plans are assessed by the Olympic Delivery Authority to ensure that they are able to perform their contractual requirements.

Olympic Games 2012: Hadleigh

Bob Spink: To ask the Minister for the Olympics what her plans are for Hadleigh's fishing lakes and ponds in the context of preparation of the facilities for the Olympic mountain bike events. [251062]

Tessa Jowell: The detailed planning on the course layout and the temporary facilities required to support the venue at Hadleigh Farm is scheduled to take place this year. As part of the town planning process technical studies will be undertaken later this year to determine the environmental and ecological impacts which need consideration, this will include consideration of the impacts on the existing fishing lakes and ponds. Furthermore the London Organising Committee will commence public engagement with the local community to understand those issues which require further consideration during the design development and planning phase.

Leader of the House

Members: Allowances

Mr. Maude: To ask the Leader of the House with reference to my hon. Friend the Member for Chichester (Mr. Tyrie) of 26 November 2008, Official Report, column 1579W, on Members: allowances, what methodology is used to estimate the date upon which Members are deemed to incur costs; and whether hon. Members may spend against the communications allowance in the period between the announcement of a general election and the dissolution of Parliament in circumstances where the invoice for such expenditure is dated of a day upon which Parliament has been dissolved. [250035]

Chris Bryant: In general, the invoice or purchase date denotes when a Member has incurred a cost to be met from the allowances.

The rules relating to the Communications Allowance, as given in the ‘General Election Arrangements—Rules for Members’, state that

Therefore, an invoice for goods or services dated after the date of Dissolution will not be paid. In addition,
27 Jan 2009 : Column 315W
material paid for from the Communications Allowance cannot be distributed in any form after Dissolution irrespective of when the invoice was raised or the costs settled.

John Mann: To ask the Leader of the House how many hon. Members have employed domestic staff using the additional costs allowance in the last three years for which information is available. [250303]

Chris Bryant: Members cannot employ staff from their additional costs allowance, although they may be reimbursed for services provided such as cleaning and garden maintenance. Typically this is done on a self-employed basis, but it would not be easy to determine precisely how many Members claim this way without incurring disproportionate cost.

Members: Offices

John Mann: To ask the Leader of the House what recent estimate she has made of the number of hon. Members renting office accommodation from political parties (a) in total and (b) who are paying in excess of £5,000 per year in rent. [250321]

Chris Bryant: Sample figures collated for the Members Estimate Committee report Review of Allowances (HC 578-II) suggest that about 26 per cent. of Members rent office accommodation from political parties. About one-third of these pay more than £5,000 per year, although a proportion of this number have additional services such as telephones and photocopiers within the total cost.

Members: Staff

John Mann: To ask the Leader of the House how many hon. Members employ staff who are also employed by a political party. [250324]

Chris Bryant: This information is not held by the House although some information applying to parliamentary passholders only is available in the Register of Interests of Members' Secretaries and Research Assistants. There are no rules which prevent Member's staff having a second employment.

Ministerial Corrections

Mr. Maude: To ask the Leader of the House pursuant to the Ministerial Correction of 11 December 2008, Official Report, column 72W, correcting the answer of 11 November 2008, Official Report, column 1129W, what role she personally played in (a) issuing the original answer and (b) issuing the correction. [250343]

Chris Bryant: My right hon. Friend is responsible for all parliamentary questions and written ministerial statements issued in her name.

27 Jan 2009 : Column 316W

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Agriculture: Subsidies

Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which 10 individuals or organisations in England received the highest payments in sterling terms under subsidies available under the Common Agricultural Policy in 2007-08. [249830]

Jane Kennedy [holding answer 20 January 2009]: The following list gives the 10 individuals and/or organisations that received the highest subsidies available under the common agricultural policy for the European financial year 2008, which runs from 16 October 2007 to 15 October 2008.

Individual/ o rganisation

Air Pollution

Mr. Davey: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which cities and towns in England were in breach of air quality laws on PM10 in (a) 2005, (b) 2006, (c) 2007 and (d) 2008; what estimate he has made of when PM10 levels will fall within the legal limit in each case; and if he will make a statement. [249756]

Huw Irranca-Davies: Under EU legislation, the UK is required to monitor the air continuously for levels of particulate matter (PM10) and to report to the European Commission on an annual basis. The UK also reports modelled data, in accordance with the legislation.

For the purposes of implementing EU legislation the UK is divided up into 43 agglomeration zones (areas with a contiguous population of over 250,000 as specified by the air quality directives) and non-agglomeration zones. There are 23 agglomeration zones in England and eight non-agglomeration zones; the latter are based on Government office regions in England.

As a result of improvements over many years the limit values are met across more than 99 per cent. of the country, delivering significant health benefits. The few remaining areas where we have reported exceedences are small. The list of agglomeration and non-agglomeration zones where there were breaches of the limit values for PM10 in 2005, 2006 and 2007 is summarised as followed; provisional information for 2008 is also given as the fully ratified data are not yet available:


27 Jan 2009 : Column 317W



2008 Provisional (monitored only)

A new council directive on ambient air and cleaner air for Europe (2008/50/EC) was adopted in June 2008. Among other things it allows member states to exclude from their assessments particulate matter from natural sources (given that this cannot be controlled). This reduces the number of agglomeration and non-agglomeration zones in exceedence between 2005 and 2008 to six (plus one each in Scotland and Wales):

In light of the challenges faced by nearly all member states in meeting the limit values by the 2005 attainment date, the directive allows member states to apply for a time extension until 2011, subject to meeting strict conditions and assessment by the European Commission. A consultation on a UK application for such a time extension will be published shortly which will demonstrate that the limit value will be met at all locations by 2011.

Mr. Davey: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what notification he has received from the European Commission regarding the Government's legal obligations in respect of the air pollutant PM10; and if he will make a statement. [249763]

Huw Irranca-Davies: Last June the European Commission wrote to all member states that reported exceedences of particulate matter (PM10) limit values in 2006—all member states had exceeded values except the Republic of Ireland. They asked for information by the end of September on the steps being taken in response to breaches of PM10 limit values reported in 2006 to achieve compliance.

In light of the difficulties faced by most member states in achieving full compliance with the PM10 limit values by the attainment date (2005), council directive 2008/50/EC on ambient air quality and cleaner air for Europe, which was adopted in June 2008, provides for a notification procedure for member states to apply for an exemption from the obligation to apply the PM10 limit value until 2011.

The directive must be transposed into national legislation by June 2010 and does not contain any deadline for submitting any notification. Nevertheless, the Commission in their letter also stated that in the absence of a notification in accordance with article 22 of council directive 2008/50/EC by 31 October, they intended to propose pursuing legal enforcement action in relation to the reported breaches of the PM10 limit values.

27 Jan 2009 : Column 318W

The UK Government replied to the Commission by the end of September setting out the UK's continuing efforts to meet limit values in as short a time as possible and the UK timetable for submitting our article 22 notification to the Commission. EU limits for PM10 are met across 99 per cent. of the UK and the few remaining areas where the UK has reported exceedences at some point since 2005 are small. Our actions to improve air quality are set out in our National Air Quality Strategy, published in 2007:

We expect to publish our consultation on the UK draft notification shortly.

Bees: Research

Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs with reference to the written ministerial statement of 14 January 2009, Official Report, column 14WS, on a new science agency, whether the Food and Environment Research Agency plans to (a) undertake and (b) commission research into bee health; and if he will make a statement. [250884]

Jane Kennedy: The Food and Environment Research Agency (FERA), is a new Executive agency of DEFRA which will come into being on 1 April 2009. Overall policy responsibility for bee health, including management of any research funding, will transfer into the agency. The National Bee Unit (NBU) (which will also be part of FERA) currently delivers DEFRA's bee health programme and undertakes research in support of the programme and will continue to so as part of FERA. The NBU will also continue to apply for funds from DEFRA and other organisations to carry out projects on other bee issues.

DEFRA has recently announced additional funding for bee health research. £400,000 added to the existing c. £200,000 provision for each of the next five years. £500,000 per annum of this will be transferred to a new research programme which will consider the wider problems facing pollinators. The details of the research programme are still being negotiated with other potential funders and collaborators. We will announce further details once these negotiations are complete.


Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of the levels of emissions of (a) particulates and (b) polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons which would arise if the UK were to achieve its targets for the usage of biomass as a fuel as set in the UK Renewable Energy Strategy Consultation 2008. [249621]

Huw Irranca-Davies: The consultation on a Renewable Energy Strategy, published in June 2008, set out a variety of ways in which biomass could be used as fuel. In terms of the pollutants mentioned, those uses which are subject to regulation by the Environment Agency and others, such as large scale electricity generation, are not thought likely to contribute significantly to any emissions increase. However, research by the Government and others has shown that the uptake of biomass for heating purposes, specifically the use of wood as a heating fuel, could under certain circumstances have significant impacts on air quality.

27 Jan 2009 : Column 319W

DEFRA has undertaken an analysis of the likely impacts on air quality of achieving the levels of biomass uptake set out in the consultation. This analysis used a number of assumptions about the locations and types of units likely to be used, and about the effect this has on the use of other fuels, including coal, oil and natural gas. Given that the UK is starting from a very low level of biomass use, it has been assumed that the growth in biomass heat will be achieved by the use of modem equipment, whose emissions are relatively much lower than those of existing plant.

The evidence base used to inform this analysis suggests that, for modern, efficient units, the emission of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH) is minimal. Therefore no significant increase in emissions or ambient concentrations of PAH is expected as a results of meeting the specified levels of biomass heat.

In terms of particles, analysis of the "baseline" scenario, i.e. the emissions we would expect with no change in biomass heat uptake but assuming all other policies operate as expected, shows that the emissions of particulate matter (as PM10) drop from 18.3 ktonnes in 2006 to 13.2 in 2020. Under the most likely uptake scenario for biomass heat, emissions fall to 14.5 ktonnes in 2020, a difference of 1.3 ktonnes. This analysis is very sensitive to the type of plant used and its location. In particular, the analysis assumed that the majority of uptake, especially in the early phase, is off the gas grid, and that the fuels it displaces are mainly coal and oil used for heating purposes.

Next Section Index Home Page