|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Mr. Quentin Davies: I refer the right hon. Member to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Minister of State for the armed forces to the hon. Member for Moray (Mr Robertson), is the Defence in the UK Debate on 26 March 2009, Official Report, column 478).
Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent estimate he has made of (a) the book value of the Royal Hospital Haslar site and (b) the anticipated annual maintenance cost of the vacated site. 
Mr. Kevan Jones [holding answer 23 March 2009]: The "existing use" value of the asset for Defence purposes was last estimated as £17 million in 2005. The current market value of the asset is different, but difficult to assess, given current market conditions. However, it is not Ministry of Defence practice to release assessments of market value, as to do so could influence the market and not serve the interests of taxpayers generally.
If the Haslar site were to be "mothballed" the estimated annual maintenance cost would be less than £1 million. However, the Department is planning a marketing campaign for this summer and is committed to finding a purchaser who can deliver a viable and sustainable future for the Haslar site.
To this end Defence Estates is working closely with Gosport borough council. In particular, we are keen to ensure that plans for the re-use of the site have regard to the historical setting of the listed buildings and grounds. An inquiry led by the Prince's Regeneration Trust last November examined the opportunities and potential. All proposals to acquire the site will be carefully evaluated, particularly as regards their approach towards conservation and heritage issues.
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what level of priority his Department gives to the completion of his Department's programme of work on the protection of critical infrastructure from flooding in relation to work on the implementation of the other recommendations of the Pitt Report. 
Huw Irranca-Davies: In undertaking to act on every one of his recommendations, the Government endorsed the importance given to this area of work by Sir Michael Pitt. While the Government will give a fuller progress report in June on all that we have done since we published our action plan on 17 December 2008, I have provided some examples of what has been done to protect critical infrastructure from flooding.
The energy sector began work on improving resilience to flooding in the autumn of 2007, with an initial focus on electricity substations being extended to include both gas and oil installations. The Energy Networks Association, working with the Government and the electricity industry, has produced a report on the steps that can be taken to further safeguard electricity substations. The matter is being given full consideration at present with the industry regulator in the scope of the current distribution companies' price review.
In addition, work has been put in place to take forward lessons from the 2007 floods in relation to water companies. All companies have considered resilience in their draft business plans, which were submitted to Ofwat in August. The plans vary, as expected, reflecting the size of the company and the specific challenges presented by their locations. In total, almost £1 billion of investment has been proposed to increase resilience.
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what progress the Environment Agency has made on establishing the system for opting-out of flood warnings recommended by the Pitt Report. 
Huw Irranca-Davies: The Environment Agency systematically registers customers with its free flood warning service using publicly available information (names, addresses and telephone numbers). Customers are given the opportunity to opt out of this service. The Environment Agency pre-registered 55,605 new customers and only 521 customers chose to opt out of this service, giving an overall retention rate of 99 per cent.
For the Environment Agency to provide a full opt out flood warning service it needs access to ex-directory information. Since the publication of the Pitt Review, the Environment Agency has re-instated negotiations with the telecommunications companies holding ex-directory data. The Environment Agency is working hard to move to a fully opt out flood warning service by the end of 2009.
Mr. Greg Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many of the 15 urgent recommendations of the Pitt Review into the summer floods of 2007 have been implemented; and which ones are yet to be implemented. 
Huw Irranca-Davies: The Government began to implement Sir Michael's Pitt's urgent interim recommendations in December 2007. In April 2008, Sir Michael noted that strong progress had been made against the majority of these recommendations, and that further work was needed in some areas, which has since been continuing.
Huw Irranca-Davies: It is impossible to quantify leakage in this way. Where leaks occur, they can be potentially very serious and lead to breaches. British Waterways therefore acts quickly to plug any leaks when they are identified. Some seepage is, however, natural on both canals and rivers. With regard to erosion, canals are by definition man-made, engineered structures which do not suffer from erosionas opposed to wear and tearin the same way as rivers. This is in part due to the materials used in their construction, the slower flow of water and the strict speed limit imposed on waterway craft.
Huw Irranca-Davies: British Waterways (BW) keep a register of licensed boats. All boats on its waterways must have a licence. BW patrols the waterways regularly to check for unlicensed boats. It also publishes an online boat checker where members of the public can check whether a particular boat has a valid licence.
Mr. Ancram: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of the number of narrowboats which used British Waterways canals in (a) 2007-08 and (b) 2006-07. 
Figures provided by British Waterways
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what posts in each UK mission in Europe have been (a) downgraded and (b) ended in each financial year since 2000. 
|(1) Data not available for locally employed staff.|
(2) Cut positions in Vienna and Warsaw include staff who transferred to facilities management provider, Interserve, in the first phase of the North West Europe Facilities Management Project in December 2008. In Vienna the following staff transferred to Interserve: LEII, LEIII (x2), LEIV (x2), LEV (x8). In Warsaw the following staff numbers transferred to Interserve: LEII, LEIII (x4), LEIV (x4) and LEV (x3).
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|