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16 Sep 2009 : Column 2228W—continued


Domestic Waste: Waste Disposal

Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs with reference to the answer to the hon. Member for Bromley and Chislehurst of 17 November 2008, Official Report, column 98W, on domestic wastes, if he will place in the Library a copy of each document provided by Chelgate for the Waste and Resources Action Programme as part of its contract. [291306]

Dan Norris: I refer the hon. Member to the answer my right hon. Friend the Member for Liverpool, Wavertree (Jane Kennedy) gave to the hon. Member for Bromley and Chislehurst (Robert Neill) on 6 March 2009, Official Report, column 1880W.

The requested data concerns the detailed operational activities of the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), and is not therefore held by DEFRA.

Flood Control: Sheerness

Derek Wyatt: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when the effectiveness of the sea defences at Sheerness was last assessed. [291239]

Huw Irranca-Davies: The Environment Agency carried out its annual inspection of the sea defences at Sheerness in late February. The rock groyne and rock face of the sea wall were found to be in good repair. The defences are designed to provide those living and working in the area with a 1 in 200 year standard of protection, a 0.5 per cent. chance of flooding in a year. This is the standard level of protection to which new sea defences are constructed.

Non-Departmental Public Bodies

Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of the cost to his Department in (a) 2009, (b) 2010 and (c) 2011 of each non-departmental body it sponsors. [291098]

Huw Irranca-Davies [holding answer 14 September 2009]: The following table sets out the budgets-comprising administration, programme and capital spend-of the Executive and Tribunal Non-Departmental Public Bodies (NDPBs), Public Corporations and other bodies sponsored by the Department in the years (a) 2008-09, (b) 2009-10 and (c) 2010-11.

Officials are currently preparing a set of figures covering the remaining NDPBs sponsored by the Department, including Advisory NDPBs. I will write to the hon. Member with this information when it is available.


16 Sep 2009 : Column 2229W
£ million
Body 2008-09 Actual 2009-10 Budget 2010-11 Budget

Executive Non-Departmental Public Bodies

Agricultural Wages Board for England and Wales

0.16

0.20

0.20

Agricultural Wages Committee

0.01

0.01

0.01

Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board(1)

0.00

0.00

0.00

Commission for Rural Communities

6.30

6.40

6.08

Consumer Council for Water(2)

0.00

0.00

0.00

Environment Agency(3)

715.70

762.60

799.90

Food From Britain(4)

10.70

0.00

0.00

Gangmasters Licensing Authority

3.12

4.29

4.02

Joint Nature Conservation Committee(5)

1.90

1.90

1.87

National Forest Company

3.60

3.60

3.51

Natural England(6)

223.74

213.46

168.23

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

26.60

28.50

25.50

Sea Fish Industry Authority

0.30

0.28

0.27

Sustainable Development Commission

2.88

3.06

2.00

Tribunal Non-Departmental Public Bodies

Agricultural Land Tribunal (England)

0.04

0.28

0.28

Plant Varieties and Seeds Tribunal(7)

0.00

0.00

0.00

Public Corporations

British Waterways(8)

62.65

58.34

48.55

Covent Garden Market Authority(9)

0.00

0.00

0.00

Other Bodies

British Wool Marketing Board(10)

0.00

0.00

0.00

National Park Authorities and the Broads Authority

46.72

47.58

48.89

(1 )The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board is industry-funded.
(2 )The Consumer Council for Water (CCW) is funded by water consumers through a charge to water and sewerage companies in England and Wales by Ofwat. The amount is then passed to DEFRA and the Welsh Assembly Government (joint sponsor) to fund CCW's operations.
(3 )Excludes Closed Pension Fund. £20 million of capital grant was brought forward from 2010-11 to 2009-10 for flood risk management work as part of the Government's fiscal stimulus initiative.
(4 )The body was closed on 31 March 2009.
(5 )Represents costs only of DEFRA-funded JNCC work on reserved matters such as marine work beyond territorial waters, overseas territories and international conventions. Further funding is received from the Devolved Administrations.
(6 )Represents DEFRA core funding including (other than for 2010-11 where these are not yet due to be addressed) annually agreed elements for cost neutral recharges for common services such as IT and HR support.
(7 )The Plant Varieties and Seeds Tribunal is not currently active.
(8 )£5 million of capital grant was brought forward from 2010-11 to 2009-10 for infrastructure projects under the Government's fiscal stimulus initiative.
(9 )The Covent Garden Market Authority is industry-funded.
(10 )The British Wool Marketing Board is self-funded through the sale of graded wool.

Origin Marking: Israel

Martin Linton: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what timetable he has set for consultation on the labelling of goods originating in Israeli settlements. [291396]

Huw Irranca-Davies: The Government have been exploring the possibility of improving the clarity of labelling of produce from the West Bank. Earlier this year, the Cabinet Office held a meeting with a group of interested parties to discuss the possibility of introducing some voluntary guidance, so that consumers could better understand which products came from occupied Palestinian territories. The Government are carefully considering the next steps following that discussion.


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Water Charges

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the proposed charge allowed by Ofwat for water companies in the 2009 Price Review is for (a) staff costs and (b) other costs. [291352]

Huw Irranca-Davies: The table sets out what Ofwat has assumed in its draft determinations for water companies' employment costs and other operating expenditure for all water companies in England and Wales for the period 2010 to 2015.

Costs (£ million)

Employment costs

2,194.9

Other operating expenditure

16,268.3

Total

18,463.2


Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Afghanistan: Elections

Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of whether the recent elections in Afghanistan were free and fair. [291267]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The 20 August 2009 Presidential and Provincial Council elections in Afghanistan were the first Afghan-run elections for over 30 years. That the insurgents were unable to disrupt this important day is a tribute to the Afghan National Security Forces and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation's International Security Assistance Force. The Afghan people want and deserve the right to decide the future of their country and we and the international community are committed to helping them achieve this. Credible elections, that represent the will of the people, demonstrate that the Afghan Government have the authority to rule.

We and the rest of the international community are following the elections result process closely. There have been allegations of fraud but it is important that we wait for the Election Complaints Commission to complete their investigation processes into allegations of fraud, and for the election observation missions to report their conclusive findings. In this intervening period, we call on all parties to exercise patience and respect the process for which so many Afghans made their support clear on polling day.

The UN, the relevant Afghan authorities and international observation missions have taken every possible measure to prevent fraud. The Afghan Independent Election Commission, the UN and the international community worked hard to ensure that there was a level playing field for candidates, and that these elections could be as credible and inclusive as possible. Multiple safeguards such as photographs and fingerprints were in place to minimise fraudulent registration and voting.

There were over 400 international observers on the ground, including 100 from the EU. 7,000 independent monitors were also registered with the Independent Electoral Commission by the Afghan Free and Fair Elections Association. The UK has helped fund election observation missions and 23 of our staff participated in the EU observation mission.


16 Sep 2009 : Column 2231W

Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions on the subject of Mr. Al-Megrahi he has had with the Scottish Executive Justice Minister in 2009. [291327]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has not had any discussions with the Scottish Executive Justice Minister on the subject of Mr. Al-Megrahi.

Africa: Armed Conflict

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent reports he has received of the activities of the Lords Resistance Army in (a) Sudan, (b) the Democratic Republic of Congo and (c) the Central African Republic; and if he will make a statement [291403]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: On 28 August, the UN reported that an estimated 125,000 people had been displaced by the Lords Resistance Army (LRA) in the Haut Uele district of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in the last three weeks. The LRA has also forced an estimated 8,000 Congolese to flee to neighbouring Southern Sudan and the Central African Republic (CAR).

There has also been a recent increase in LRA attacks in Southern Sudan, close to the DRC border, which have displaced thousands of Sudanese, adding to the severe humanitarian situation in the region. Since March 2008, mere have been reports of periodic LRA incursions into the South East of CAR.

UN teams are monitoring the situation and assisting the refugees and internally displaced people. The UN peacekeeping mission in DRC. MONUC, has increased its presence in the DRC region where the LRA is active and is helping the Congolese army with logistics. Regional cooperation on this issue is ongoing.

British Nationality: Torture

Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what guidance his Department follows in response to reports of British nationals having been tortured abroad. [291421]

David Miliband: Consular staff are specifically trained on what action to take in response to any allegation of mistreatment, and there is clear guidance for such cases.

This guidance includes the identification of possible signs of torture and mistreatment, as well as the procedures to be adopted in such circumstances. The first step when a British national is detained overseas is to seek and secure access by our consular staff. Our staff are instructed to ask our nationals whether they have suffered abuse or mistreatment, and to look out for signs of mistreatment even where an individual does not raise it. They are required to follow up all reports of mistreatment whether they come from the individual themselves, from their friends, family or representatives, or from other sources. What form this follow up action will take will depend on the individual circumstances of the case. Most obviously, we can raise our concerns with the relevant authorities. Whatever action we take the objective remains the same: to end the mistreatment, and have the incident investigated and the perpetrators of any abuse brought to justice.


16 Sep 2009 : Column 2232W

In many countries we also raise more general concerns around the mistreatment and abuse of detainees as part of our wider human rights dialogue.


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