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Tessa Jowell: The Government and the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games established the Nations and Regions Group to ensure UK-wide engagement and to maximise the legacy of London 2012. This group works directly with representatives from each of the nations and English regions to maximise the sporting, commercial, cultural and other benefits of the 2012 games.
There are plans for 68 Olympic and Paralympic pre-games training camps in the north west. In addition, the Australian Olympic swimming team, the Thailand Olympic and Paralympic team and the Oceania National Olympic Committees have signed agreements to base their pre-games training camps in the north west. Old Trafford will also host rounds in the Olympic football competition in 2012.
43 businesses in the north west have won direct contracts with the Olympic Delivery Authority. some 13 projects in the north west have been awarded the Inspire mark and more than 50 organisations have participated in the open weekend.
Also, the north west has secured £3.02 million from the Legacy Trust to encourage the north west sporting, cultural and education sectors to connect with the 2012 games. To date, around 550 schools in the north west have registered with Get Set, the official London 2012 education programme.
Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many endemic species can be located in the (a) United Kingdom and (b) British Overseas Territories; and how many of those are endangered. 
Mr. Liddell-Grainger: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much has been spent on consultants advising on the Higher Level schemes in the last three years. 
Huw Irranca-Davies: The consultancy costs associated with the Higher Level Stewardship scheme cannot be identified separately from the cost of delivering the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) as a whole.
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what progress has been made on the study commissioned to explore technological or process improvements that can be made to speed up drying out and stabilising building recovery after a flood; and when he expects a programme of work based on that study to be established. 
DEFRA and the Communities and Local Government Department commissioned a desk-based study to look at current guidance on speeding up drying out and stabilisation after a flood and how it might be used better. This study is now complete. A project is being set up with the Environment Agency and the Association of British Insurers to develop a document pointing to existing advice on how best to achieve drying out. We are on track to meet recommendation 73 by spring 2010.
Mr. Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of use of water meadows in preventing flooding; and if he will make a statement. 
Huw Irranca-Davies: The impact that storing water in flood meadows may have on alleviating flooding in any particular location will depend on the hydrological characteristics of the catchment and the storage capacity and position of the flood meadow. If a water meadow is in a suitable location and has appropriate hydrology to be a flood storage area, it will be assessed in the same way as any other potential flood storage area. Therefore, where there are water meadows, or a water meadow could be created, the Environment Agency or other operating authorities assess the effectiveness of their use for flood alleviation on a case-by-case basis.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what has been the cost benefit analysis applicable to each of the flood defence schemes given approval within the last 12 months, excluding minor schemes progressed by local authorities. 
All flood defence schemes given approval in the last 12 months were reviewed for compliance with DEFRA project appraisal guidance and the Treasury Green Book. Benefit cost ratios (BCRs) are fundamental to this approach as they provide a transparent and inclusive approach to decision making that takes all
relevant factors into account. While maximising the BCR often indicates the most economically worthwhile scheme option, the decision-making process takes into account reasonable expectations about the standard of protection appropriate to the location. Therefore, while the overall BCR of the Environment Agency's capital programme is currently 8:1; this includes a wide range of individual scheme BCRs above and below the programme average.
The following table shows the benefit cost ratio for a sample of ten significant schemes that have had their business cases approved since Christmas 2008. This group represents a total spend of £51 million, and has an average benefit cost ratio that well exceeds our target of five(1).
(1) Target for Outcome Measure 1-CSR2007 (an Environment Agency performance measure set by DEFRA)
|Project title||Environment Agency Region||Benefit cost ratio||Total cost (£ million)|
Natural England was allocated £13,600,000 in 2008-09 (the same amount as in 2007-08) to cover its direct costs in delivering the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) under the common agricultural policy. The HLS scheme is but one component. In addition to this allocation, some £22,400,000 (£28,726,000 in 2007-08) was allocated to Natural England to cover the costs of DEFRA's Genesis IT system which is the IT system used to manage and administer the RDPE. These running costs include depreciation, cost of capital and third party support.
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs with reference to the answer of 19 October 2009, Official Report,
columns 1213-4W, on nature conservation: British Overseas Territories, what projects have (a) received and (b) been allocated funds from the £188,294 of funding for British Caribbean Overseas Territories under the Darwin initiative for 2009-10; and how much each such project was allocated. 
Huw Irranca-Davies: The following Darwin Initiative projects in the UK's Caribbean Overseas Territories were allocated and provided with funds from the 2009-10 Darwin funding round. For main projects and post projects, project leaders can claim for up to 75 per cent. of their annual award in advance, but the final amount is withheld pending submission of annual or final reports, and/or meeting other agreed targets.
|Project||Allocated||Approved for payment at time of writing|
Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs with reference to the answer of 20 October 2009, Official Report, column 1379W, on Overseas Territories: nature conservation, what biodiversity projects are being funded from the additional £1.5 million announced by the Minister with responsibility for the marine and natural environment my hon. Friend for Ogmore (Huw Irranca-Davies). 
Huw Irranca-Davies: This additional funding for biodiversity projects in Overseas Territories is part of round 17 of the Darwin Initiative. We expect to announce the results of round 17 in the spring.
Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs with reference to the answer of 19 October 2009, on nature conservation: British Overseas Territories, which British Overseas Territories have applied for funding under the Darwin Initiative's new Overseas Territories Fund; and in respect of what projects those territories have made such applications. 
Huw Irranca-Davies: The first round of the Overseas Territories Challenge Fund was launched on 25 November 2009. The deadline for proposals to be submitted is 19 February 2010 and once the deadline has passed I shall write to the hon. Member with this information.
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs with reference to the answer of 19 October 2009, on nature conservation: British Overseas Territories, what projects have (a) received and (b) been allocated funding from the
£27,856 for South Atlantic Overseas Territories under the Darwin Initiative for 2009-10. 
Huw Irranca-Davies: The following Darwin Initiative projects in the UK's South Atlantic Overseas Territories were allocated funds from the 2009-10 Darwin funding round. The payment made to date is also shown. For clarity, scoping projects are normally paid in arrears. For post projects, project leaders can claim for up to 75 per cent. of their annual award in advance, but the final amount is withheld pending submission of annual or final reports, and/or meeting other agreed targets. Although we can confirm actual expenditure from the Darwin Initiative, it is for the recipient organisation to confirm whether it has received the funding.
|Project||Allocated||Received at time of writing|
Anne Main: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much the Office of Water Services has spent on hotel accommodation for its officials in each of the last five years. 
Huw Irranca-Davies: It has not been possible to provide figures for hotel accommodation for the years 2004-05 and 2005-06 because previous recording methods meant it was not possible to separate such spending. Available information is set out in the table.
|Hotel expenditure (£)|
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