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Mr Slaughter: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many (a) remands in custody for under 18 year-olds and (b) court-ordered secure remands were for a period of seven days or fewer between April 2009 and March 2010. 
Mr Blunt: The following table shows the number of custodial remand episodes ending with a period of seven days or fewer for (a) remands in custody for under 18-year-olds and (b) court-ordered secure remands for 2008-09. The 2009-10 data will be available when the Youth Justice Board Annual Workload Statistics are released in January 2011.
An episode refers to a period a young person has spent in custody and it is possible that one young person can start or finish more than one custodial episode at different points of each year for different offences or for changes in legal basis for detention, such as remand to sentence.
These figures have been drawn from administrative IT systems which, as with any large scale recording system, are subject to possible errors with data entry and processing and may be subject to change over time.
|Custodial episodes ended with a duration of seven days or fewer|
|Number||Percentage||Custodial episodes ended|
Mr Slaughter: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many and what proportion of children remanded in custody were looked-after in the most recent 12 month period for which information is available. 
Mr Blunt: Information on the number of children in custody in England and Wales who had previously been looked after is not held centrally. However, a joint Youth Justice Board and HM Inspectorate of Prisons report 'Children and Young People in Custody 2008-2009', published on 9 December 2009, reported on a survey of every under-18 prison establishment in England and Wales. Responses to the survey indicated that a quarter of young men and nearly half of young women had been in care at some point.
Paul Maynard: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what the reconviction rate was for those who received (a) sentences of 12 months or less and (b) sentences to carry out unpaid work for a first offence in each of the last five years. 
Table 1 shows the number and one year re-conviction rate of adult offenders with no previous offences who were discharged from a custodial sentence of less than 12 months between January and March of the last 5 years.
Table 2 shows the number and one year re-conviction rate of adult offenders with no previous offences who commenced a court order under probation supervision with a stand alone unpaid work requirement between January and March of the last three years. Figures for this breakdown are only available from 2006 following
the introduction of community orders and suspended sentence orders in the Criminal Justice Act 2003 which came into force in April 2005.
|Table 1: Re-conviction rate of adult offenders with no previous offences discharged from a custodial sentence of less than 12 months|
|Number of offenders||Proportion of re-offenders convicted (%)|
|Table 2: Re-conviction rate of adult offenders with no previous offences who commenced a court order under probation supervision with a stand alone unpaid work requirement|
|Number of offenders||Proportion of offenders re-convicted (%)|
Mr Blunt: The following table shows the one year re-conviction rate of adult offenders who were released from custody or who commenced a court order (court orders include pre-CJA 2003 community sentences, new community orders and suspended sentence orders) in the first quarter of each of the last three years that data is available for.
|One year re-conviction rate for offenders released from custody or who commenced a court order in the first quarter of each of the last three years|
|Proportion of offenders who are re-convicted in a one year follow up period|
Re-conviction rates provided here should not be compared to assess the effectiveness of sentences, as there is no control for known differences in offender characteristics. However, work has been carried out to compare like for like offenders which enable a reliable comparison of proven reoffending rates between offenders receiving short custodial sentences and offenders commencing a court order under probation supervision. The results show a 7 percentage points lower reoffending rate for offenders commencing a court order under
probation supervision. Further information on this work can be found in paper 1.1 of the Compendium of Reoffending Statistics and Analysis available at:
Quarterly Statistics for the Tribunals Service, first quarter 2010-11
and GAPS 2 reports
Bill Esterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what guidance his Department issues on the balance between penalty and rehabilitation in the sentencing of (a) first-time, (b) repeat and (c) violent youth offenders. 
Mr Blunt: Guidance on sentencing is provided by the Sentencing Council independently of Government. A sentencing guideline 'Over-arching Principles for Sentencing of Youths' was published on 20 November 2009 by the Sentencing Guidelines Council, the predecessor of the Sentencing Council.
The Government set out in legislation the sentencing framework and principles for sentencers to follow. Sentencers are required to have regard to the principal aim of youth justice, which is the prevention of offending by children and young people and to have regard to their welfare when sentencing any person aged under 18 years.
Under the sentencing framework courts are required to impose a referral order for persons aged under 18 years who are appearing in court for the first time and plead guilty. The referral order is based on restorative justice principles and must include reparative and rehabilitative elements.
Custody is available for the most serious and violent offenders from whom the public must be protected. Custody is also available for persistent offenders where their offending is considered to be serious enough to warrant custody.
Mrs Villiers: I met pilot representatives as part of a delegation from the Trade Union Congress on 16 November. A representative from BALPA was also present at the National Aviation Security Committee meeting on 30 November, which I chaired.
Mike Penning: Although there are no requirements to have or use a bell on a bicycle while it is in use, bells must by law be supplied with all new bicycles at the point of sale. In addition, rule 66 of the Highway Code recommends the fitting and use of cycle bells. Failure to observe any of the code's provisions may be used in evidence at legal proceedings.
Fiona Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the effects of price fluctuations in renewable transport fuel certificates on market stability for biodiesel producers. 
However, the Renewable Fuels Agency is required to report annually to Parliament on the effects of the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO). The report on the year 2009-10 of the RFTO is due in January 2011. This report is expected to include data on trading of RTFCs and some assessment of the impacts of the RFTO on biofuel producers.
Norman Baker: Under the Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation (RTFO), suppliers of fossil fuel for transport are required to ensure that a proportion of the fuel they supply is obtained from renewable sources. In both 2008-09 and 2009-10, the first two years of the scheme, approximately three per cent of the biofuel supplied was from recycled used cooking oil (UCO).
The rate of excise duty for biodiesel produced from UCO is 20 pence per litre less than the rate of duty for ultra low sulphur diesel. This 20 pence tax differential was introduced on 1 April 2010 and is set to run for a period of two years.
We are currently working to amend the RTFO to fulfil the requirements of the European Renewable Energy Directive (RED). The RED provides additional support for biofuels from waste, including UCO, by double counting the contribution they make towards national targets.
Mike Weatherley: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will amend the blue badge scheme to establish a fast-track application process for the issue of badges to those receiving urgent medical attention. 
Norman Baker: Local authorities are responsible for the administration of the blue badge scheme and for ensuring that only residents satisfying one or more of the eligibility criteria prescribed in legislation are issued with a badge. The application processes adopted are for them to decide.
The Department for Transport's guidance states that local authorities may wish to consider having a fast-track application process for people who have a terminal illness that seriously limits their mobility, to make the final weeks of their life easier. However, there are no plans to require local authorities to establish a fast-track process for those receiving urgent medical attention.
John Woodcock: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the effect of the proposed increases in user tolls on the Severn Crossings on the date on which the debt incurred by the crossing concessionaire will be repaid. 
John Woodcock: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate he has made of the likely effects on usage of the (a) Severn Crossing and (b) Dartford Crossing of proposed increases in user tolls in each year of the Comprehensive Spending Review period. 
In respect of the Dartford Crossing, the details of the proposed revised charging regime, including an assessment of its impacts on usage and economic effects, will be set out for public consultation.
Norman Baker: The Department for Transport undertook a major review of all of its budgets for discretionary expenditure during May and June 2010, following the reduction in the Department's budget announced in May 2010. Although no specific target was set to reduce expenditure on conferences, the review covered all categories of administrative expenditure including hospitality, training, marketing and communications.
The review process included a series of meetings with all senior budget managers in the departmental family to determine the scope for reductions and was supported by a number of messages from the permanent secretary to all staff on the need to bear down on non-essential expenditure.
Karl McCartney: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what cost-benefit analysis his Department has undertaken of the provision of (a) first and (b) standard class rail travel for its senior civil servants when travelling by rail in an official capacity on journeys of one hour or more; and whether he has assessed the type of work which such officials can undertake in each class of travel. 
Norman Baker: No cost benefit analysis has been undertaken by the Department for Transport of the provision of first and standard class rail travel for its senior civil servants when travelling for official purposes, or the type of work which can be undertaken in each class of travel.
Senior civil servants are permitted to travel first class depending on business need and whether the additional expenditure is justified. Earlier this year the Department issued guidance to staff about reducing travel costs. Staff should use the cheapest means possible when travelling. If travelling by rail, standard class should be used unless, exceptionally, first class is cheaper. Rail tickets should also be bought in advance where possible to achieve the best deals.
Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many people failed a driving (a) theory and (b) practical test in (i) England and Wales, (ii) Leicestershire and (iii) Leicester East constituency in each of the last five years. 
Mike Penning: The number of people who failed their practical driving test at test centres located in (i) England and Wales, (ii) Leicestershire and (iii) Leicester East constituency in each of the last five years are shown in the following table:
|England and Wales||Leicestershire||( 1) Leicester East|
|(1) Leicester (Gypsy Lane ) DTC is the only test centre in the Leicester East constituency.|
|Category||England and Wales||Leicestershire( 1)|
|Number test failed||Total number test conducted||Fail rate (percentage)||Number test failed||Total number test conducted||Fail rate (percentage)|
|(1 )There is one theory test centre in Leicestershire; this is based in the Leicestershire South constituency. Note:|
Data for multiple choice and hazard perception sections of the lorry and bus tests was uncoupled in August 2008.
Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the average time taken between the (a) initial application and (b) sitting of a driving (i) practical and (ii) theory test in (A) England and Wales, (B) Leicestershire and (C) Leicester East constituency was in each of the last five years. 
Mike Penning: The Driving Standards Agency (DSA) measures waiting times for practical tests for Great Britain. The average waiting times in weeks for each of the last five years are shown in the following table:
|Car||Motorcycle||Lorry, bus and car with large trailer|
For each individual test centre, DSA measures appointment availability, which reflects the first week where 10% of appointments are available to be booked. The following table shows the annual average appointment availability for each of the test centres in Leicestershire and the Leicester East constituency, in each of the last five years:
|Driving Test Centre (DTC)||Test Category||2005-06||2006-07||2007-08||2008-09||2009-10|
|(1) Motorcycling tests at Hinckley DTC were relocated to Wigston MPTC in 2009|
(2) Leicester (Gipsy Lane) is the only test centre in Leicester East constituency
(3) Leicester Wigston MPTC opened in 2009
DSA aims to give 95% of theory test candidates an appointment at their preferred test centre within two weeks of their preferred date. This is measured nationally (England, Scotland and Wales) and performance for each of the last five years is shown in the following table:
|Preferred date (waiting time) (percentage)|
Mike Penning: No. This is a matter for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, which is the lead Department on enforcement of the "days at sea" regime under the EU's cod recovery plan.
Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent discussions he has had on progress towards Taiwan's participation in the International Civil Aviation Organization; and if he will make a statement. 
Mrs Villiers: Department for Transport officials and the UK Permanent Representative to the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) have received a number of representations from officials from Taiwan, on the issue of Taiwan's participation in ICAO. We and the EU encourage China and Taiwan to pursue pragmatic solutions to questions regarding the position of Taiwan with regard to specialised multilateral forums, including ICAO, especially where Taiwan's practical participation is important to EU and global interests.
Mrs Villiers: The Government will be in a position to make an announcement on further electrification of the Great Western Main Line in the new year, once the review of the Intercity Express programme is complete.
Gregg McClymont: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what consideration he has given to the increased use of no parking zones on main roads as part of his Department's review of the response to cold weather conditions. 
Norman Baker [holding answer 9 December 2010]: The independent Winter Resilience Review recommended that every local highway authority have a robust winter service plan, and that this be consulted on and regularly reviewed in line with current best practice. It is for local highway authorities to decide on the nature and location of any parking restrictions in relation to the implementation of their winter plans.
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) pursuant to the written ministerial statement of 7 December 2010, Official Report, columns 15-18WS, on the Rail Industry Review, what (a) passenger and
(b) trade union representation there will be on the high level working group to examine options for structural reform in the rail industry; 
Mrs Villiers: No decisions on the composition of the Secretary of State's group, or the way in which industry and passenger interests will contribute to its work, have yet been taken. A further announcement about arrangements will be made shortly.
Stephen McPartland: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what arrangements are in place for the removal of rail franchises where rail passengers are dissatisfied with the service provided by their local rail operators; and if he will make a statement. 
Mrs Villiers: Current franchise agreements include obligations for train operators to provide an acceptable benchmark level of service around train delays, cancellations and capacity. Continued failure to deliver these obligations can result in contract termination.
No similar obligation exists for passenger satisfaction, although the recent South Central contract includes obligations relating to passenger views on stations, trains and customer services where the operator is required to invest additional sums where targets are not met.
Stephen McPartland: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will bring forward proposals to provide a statutory definition of overcrowding on rail passenger services; and if he will require train operating companies to take steps to reduce overcrowding on their services. 
Mrs Villiers: There is an agreed rail industry measure for crowding which is used by train operators and the Department for monitoring purposes. We have no current plans to introduce a statutory definition of crowding. Franchise agreements generally include a requirement that train operators minimise crowding within the constraints of available rolling stock and relevant infrastructure. As part of our franchising reform, we are considering what additional or amended duties could be placed on train operators in relation to crowding.
Neil Parish: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions his Department has had with the (a) Chancellor of the Exchequer and (b) Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on the forthcoming reform of the Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation. 
Norman Baker: I have corresponded with the Economic Secretary regarding possible amendments to the renewable transport fuels obligation (RTFO) to meet the requirements of the renewable energy and fuel quality directives.
Department for Transport officials hold regular meetings with officials in both the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and Her Majesty's Treasury to discuss all aspects of biofuel policy, including the future of the RTFO.
Norman Baker: The European renewable energy directive (RED) requires member states to source 10% of transport energy from renewable sources by 2020. We are currently considering options for achieving this target in the UK, and will consult shortly on proposals to amend the RTFO to meet the requirements of the RED.
The RED contains a requirement that the European Commission undertake a wide-ranging review of the directive by 31 December 2014 and propose amendments if appropriate. Any such proposal may lead to further revisions of the RTFO.
Matthew Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answer of 2 December 2010, Official Report, column 920W, if he will estimate the average number of (a) fatalities, (b) injuries and (c) personal injury road accidents per mile of the A1307 between the A143 Wratting Road, Haverhill junction and the A603 Lensfield Road, Cambridge junction in each year since 1996. 
Mike Penning: The estimated rate of (a) fatalities, (b) injuries and (c) personal injury road accidents per mile on the 18 mile stretch of road on the A1307 between the A143 Wratting Road Haverhill junction and the A603 Lensfield Road Cambridge junction in each year since 1996 is given in the following table:
|(1) Serious and slight injuries|
Tom Blenkinsop: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will estimate the amount spent by the Highways Agency on (a) grit, (b) salt and (c) potash from (i) domestic and (ii) overseas producers in each of the last five years. 
The Highways Agency's routine and winter service is delivered by its contracted service providers. The delivery of these services, including the purchase and application of salt, is paid for within lump sum payments covering a range of defined activities. The amount spent on the purchase of salt is not readily discernable from the service delivery lump sum payments and cannot therefore be provided.
Annual salt usage for the strategic road network varies greatly according to the weather experienced, typically ranging from 150,000 to 300,000 tonnes/annum, at an average cost of salt from domestic suppliers of approximately £25/tonne.
The 2009-10 winter season was the first time that significant supplies had been purchased from overseas suppliers. Detailed usage and cost information for each year is not available for the same reasons given for the purchase of salt from domestic suppliers.
Jonathan Reynolds: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he expects the first cascaded rolling stock from Thameslink services to be in use by rail operating companies in Greater Manchester. 
Mrs Villiers: Negotiations are continuing with the two remaining companies bidding to build and maintain a new fleet of trains for the Thameslink programme. It is expected that an order will be placed in autumn 2011 with the first train expected to enter passenger service in early 2015.
Charles Hendry: The main conclusion from the Severn Tidal Power feasibility study, published on 18 October, was that the Government do not see a strategic case to bring forward a Severn Tidal Power scheme in the immediate term-see:
Another conclusion of the study was that the Beachley barrage is no longer considered feasible. The estimated cost of this option has risen substantially upon investigation
over the course of the study, and its expected benefits (e.g. in terms of less environmental impact) are less than first supposed.
(a) From 3 October 2008 to 31 March 2009 the Department spent £14,474.24 on employee claims for mileage allowance.
(b) In 2009-10 the Department spent £17,783.40.
Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what contribution his Department made to the European Commission's European Sustainable Nuclear Industrial Initiative Implementation Plan. 
Charles Hendry: The EU's Strategic Energy Technology (SET) Plan is a key element of Europe's plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and for its move towards a sustainable, low carbon future. The European Sustainable Nuclear Industrial Initiative's prime objective is to develop a nuclear technology which will make the use of nuclear energy more sustainable, through more efficient use of uranium resources through recycling of plutonium, by the reduction of the radiotoxicity and reduction of the potential impact of the ultimate radioactive waste.
The Department has arranged for UK organisations, including the National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL), to contribute to the development of the Nuclear Industrial Initiative and to share UK knowledge and expertise as part of our active involvement in the EU's Strategic Energy Technology (SET) Plan. The NNL, with its wide range of nuclear skills and expertise, is well placed to represent both Government and wider UK nuclear industry interests and to identify potential opportunities as they arise.
Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change pursuant to the answer of 22 November 2010, Official Report, column 43, on climate change: developing countries, when he expects the Green Climate Fund to be (a) designed and (b) operational. 
Charles Hendry: The UK aims for the Green Climate Fund's design process to begin following agreement to do so in Cancun, recognising that this will require a COP decision agreed by all parties. We hope then for the design process to make recommendations to COP17 at the end of 2011, which would include the timetable for the fund to become operational. The UK wants the fund to be well-designed and to become operational as quickly as practicable.
John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how many former miners receive (a) concessionary coal and (b) payments in lieu of concessionary coal in Bassetlaw constituency. 
Charles Hendry: There are currently a total of 3,598 concessionaires in the Bassetlaw constituency (based on beneficiaries' addresses in post codes DN10, DNl1, DN22, S80, S81 and NG20) in receipt of either concessionary fuel or cash in lieu under the terms of the National Concessionary Fuel Scheme (NCFS) broken down as follows:
805 in receipt of concessionary fuel;
2,793 in receipt of cash in lieu.
Charles Hendry: The Government have made no assessment of the effects of the Carbon Reduction Commitment Energy Efficiency Scheme, or using a single year baseline in the scheme, on nuclear fusion energy research. The purposes of the CRC scheme is to drive improvements in energy efficiency among large energy users. Government have not assessed the opportunities for energy efficiency savings in individual sub-sectors or organisations. A single baseline year was chosen in order to minimise administrative burden and to maintain simplicity and fairness through a common starting point for all organisations.
Julian Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what steps his Department is taking to reduce the administrative burden on those establishing community renewable energy projects. 
Charles Hendry: My officials continue to engage with community groups and other organisations to identify any unnecessary administrative burdens associated with establishing a renewable energy project and to assess how they can be reduced.
The Environment Agency, for example, have been streamlining the permitting process for small hydro
schemes, including a simplified application form and a named contact within the local area team.
Mr Robin Walker: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what mechanism he plans to use to determine the technologies which are most cost-effective when refocusing feed-in-tariffs in 2014-15. 
Charles Hendry: The first formal review of FITs will be the mechanism for determining how the efficiency of FITs can be improved to save £40 million in 2014-15. This will include consideration of the relative cost effectiveness of different technologies in helping to meet our challenging carbon reduction and renewable energy generation targets.
Charles Hendry: We expect to be in a position to announce the details of the Renewable Heat Incentive scheme, including RHI tariffs and technologies supported shortly, and be open for business in 2011.
Geoffrey Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change from what date renewable energy installations will be required to be commissioned in order to qualify for the Renewable Heat Incentive. 
Charles Hendry: We expect to be in a position to announce the details of the scheme, including eligibility criteria for the installation commissioning date shortly, and be open for business from 2011.
Charles Hendry: As part of the Government's announcement on the conclusions of the Severn Tidal Power feasibility study on 18 October, we said that it is not expected that a review will take place before 2015 at the earliest.
The timing of any review will depend on a number of factors, such as increased cost of alternative technologies or new national or international targets for renewable energy or security of supply are proposed. The Severn study report set out a list of potential triggers.
Laura Sandys: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what recent reports he has received on the production sharing agreement on exploration and production rights in respect of the Shafag-Asiman gas field in Azerbaijan; and if he will make a statement. 
Charles Hendry: On 7 October 2010, BP and SOCAR, the State Oil Company of the Republic of Azerbaijan, announced that they had signed a new Production Sharing Agreement on the joint exploration and development of the Shafag-Asiman structure in the Azerbaijan sector of the Caspian sea. Under the agreement, which is for 30 years, BP Exploration (Azerbaijan) Limited will be the operator with 50% interest, while SOCAR will hold the remaining 50%.
We have received letters from 12 private individuals and one private company on this issue. However, this does not include representations where Sheffield Forgemasters might have been just one of the issues raised in a letter. To search all the correspondence that might contain a representation on Sheffield Forgemasters would incur disproportionate cost.
We are aware of the concern expressed by parts of the industry regarding withdrawal of this conditional loan but the withdrawal of the loan is no reflection on the company, the project, its management or staff or of our commitment to taking forward the facilitative actions to remove unnecessary barriers to new nuclear in the UK. In these difficult times, tough decisions have had to be made across Government. This was just such a decision.
Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change whether he has had discussions with Ministerial colleagues on nuclear industry issues in relation to Sheffield Forgemasters since May 2010. 
Charles Hendry: Nuclear industry issues in relation to Sheffield Forgemasters were discussed with ministerial colleagues prior to the collective Government decision to not proceed with the loan to the company on grounds of affordability.
The withdrawal of the loan is no reflection on the company, the project, its management or staff or of our commitment to taking forward the facilitative actions to remove unnecessary barriers to new nuclear in the UK. In these difficult times, tough decisions have had to be made across Government. This was just such a decision.
Mr Paice [holding answer 8 December 2010]: Since 1999 DEFRA has invested over £11 million on research into badger vaccines. The first injectable badger vaccine was licensed in March 2010 and is available for use on prescription. It is being used in the Government funded badger vaccine deployment project, which began in July 2010, in an area in Gloucestershire.
The badger vaccines research programme is now focused on the development of an oral vaccine, as this is likely to be the most practical application of a vaccine to a wild population. The earliest projected date for a licensed oral badger vaccine is 2015.
We also aim to have a licensed BCG cattle vaccine and a validated differential diagnostic test by the end of 2012. However, due to the need to change EU legislation before cattle can be vaccinated for TB, we anticipate that a cattle vaccine could not be used in the field before 2015 at the earliest.
Thomas Docherty: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what funding her Department plans to provide for the protection of biodiversity and the natural environment overseas in the spending review period; and (a) through what departments and (b) by what means that funding will be disbursed. 
Richard Benyon: The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs announced at the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in Nagoya that, following the spending review, DEFRA would be committing £100 million to be spent on forests in support of the REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation in developing countries) initiative, which will help to deliver biodiversity objectives.
The Darwin Initiative grant programme will continue to fund biodiversity projects in developing countries and UK Overseas Territories over the spending review period and the UK will not only sustain the existing level of funding, but increase it over this period. The fund will continue to be administered by DEFRA.
Thomas Docherty: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans she has for the level of her Department's funding for the Darwin Initiative in the spending review period. 
The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs announced at the recent meeting of the Convention on Biological Diversity in Nagoya, Japan, that the Government will not only sustain the existing level of funding for the Darwin Initiative, but now plans to increase it over the next four years. This
will enable the initiative to carry out even more of its excellent work to deliver biodiversity and sustainable development objectives.
Thomas Docherty: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether she has had discussions with the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on the role of her Department in supporting the protection of biodiversity overseas through the UK's diplomatic network. 
Richard Benyon: Ministers have discussed the outcomes of the Convention on Biological Diversity meeting in Nagoya and how to take them forward, particularly on biodiversity, development and climate mitigation and adaptation, and in the context of wider international engagement.
With regards to the UK Overseas Territories I attended the recent meeting of the Overseas Territories Consultative Council with the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my hon. Friend the Member for North West Norfolk (Mr Bellingham). Moreover, DEFRA and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office have been working closely together on the Overseas Territories Biodiversity Strategy, the Overseas Territories Environment Programme and the Darwin Initiative.
Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what mechanism she has established for non-governmental organisations to contribute views on the priorities for the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystems Services (IPBES); and whether she plans to establish a stakeholder forum for IPBES. 
Richard Benyon: We expect the first meeting of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystems Services (IPBES) to consider arrangements to receive views on its priorities including from non-governmental organisations. Once these are agreed we will consider whether we need separate mechanisms in the UK to feed in views of non-governmental organisations beyond those established internationally.
Mr Liddell-Grainger: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether the Butterfly Conservation Society is contracted by (a) Natural England and (b) English Nature. 
Richard Benyon: Natural England currently has a contract with Butterfly Conservation which funds action to conserve threatened butterflies and moths. English Nature formerly contracted Butterfly Conservation but ceased to exist in October 2006, when Natural England was formed.
Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent discussions she has had with the (a) Prime Minister and (b) Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change on the introduction of mandatory carbon reporting for businesses under section 85 of the Climate Change Act 2008. 
Mr Paice [holding answer 8 December 2010]: The Secretary of State has not had discussions with the Prime Minister on this issue. The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Lord Henley, has had discussions with the Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change, the hon. Member for Bexhill and Battle (Gregory Barker) on the matter of corporate reporting of greenhouse gas emissions by businesses.
DEFRA reviewed and rationalised its press cuttings service at the beginning of this year, resulting in significant cost savings, and the Department will continue to keep the service under review to ensure it represents good value for money.
|(1 )January to November. (2 )April to December.|
Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what expenditure (a) her Department and (b) its non-departmental public bodies incurred on sponsorship in each year since 1997 for which figures are available. 
Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent estimate she has made of the number of questions to her Department tabled in the (a) House of Commons and (b) House of Lords that remained unanswered after 10 working days as a result of observation of guidance on the timing of answers to similar questions tabled to more than one Department in the latest period for which figures are available. 
Richard Benyon: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer given by the Minister for the Cabinet Office, my right hon. Friend the Member for Horsham (Mr Maude) on 1 December 2010, Official Report, columns 184-85W.
In the case of questions that are deemed to be 'round robin', the Guide to Parliamentary Work, published by the Leader of the House of Commons states that Departments should not delay preparing an answer until 'round robin' advice is provided, and should not miss the target deadlines for this reason.
Jim Shannon: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent discussions she has had with representatives of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds on measures to control the spread of the eagle owl. 
Richard Benyon: DEFRA officials have held discussions with key parties, including the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, which advocated a need for further evidence of impacts, and reinforcing messages to reduce further unlawful releases of eagle owls.
After considering all the facts on the threat that eagle owls pose to native wildlife have not been convinced that any immediate action is needed to control them. We will continue to monitor the effect they are having and will reassess the situation if necessary.
Katy Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs by what date she expects each element of the revised European Waste Framework Directive to have been implemented. 
Richard Benyon: The transposition and implementation of the revised Waste Framework Directive (2008/98/EC) are devolved matters. I anticipate that regulations transposing the Directive in England will be laid before Parliament in January 2011. I understand that it is anticipated that transposing regulations will be laid before the Scottish Parliament later this month and the National Assembly for Wales and the Northern Ireland Assembly in January 2011. In each case the date of implementation of the transposing regulations is dependent on the conclusion of the respective parliamentary processes.
Mr Liddell-Grainger: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much the Environment Agency spent on the new sea defences in Minehead in 2010-11; and what such expenditure is planned for 2011-12. 
Richard Benyon: Minehead emergency works are scheduled to be completed by January 2011. The works involve placing 7000 tonnes of rock along a 130-metre length of coast, eastward from Warren Point towards Dunster Beach. The project will cost £500,000 and will reduce the flood risk to 688 properties in Minehead.
Mr Paice [holding answer 9 December 2010]: Uptake for Uplands Entry Level Stewardship (ELS) so far has been higher than expected. As of 7 December, there were 3,300 live agreements in place covering over 472,000 hectares of land in England's severely disadvantaged area (SDA). In total more than 3,900 applications have been received for the scheme, and Natural England are well on track to meet their target of 505,000 hectares of SDA land in uplands ELS agreements by March 2011.
Mr Paice [holding answer 9 December 2010]: The first Hill Farm Allowance payments were made in 2001 and continued until this year when it was replaced by Uplands Entry Level Stewardship. The following table provides a total of the number of applications received and the number of eligible claims paid.
|Total number of applications received||Total number of eligible claims paid|
Mr Paice: The Government receive a high volume of correspondence about the Hunting Act 2004, many of which comment on the effectiveness and continuing operation of the Act. The Government have not, however, received any recent representations on these matters from organisations on either side of the hunting debate.
Mr Bain: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent discussions she has had with the (a) Prime Minister and (b) Deputy Prime Minister on her Department's plans to bring forward legislation to repeal the Hunting Act 2004. 
Katy Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will estimate the cost to the public purse of disposing of disposable nappies in each of the last five years. 
However, using data on from the Environment Agency's 2006 report, An updated lifecycle assessment study for disposable and reusable nappies, and population estimates for England from the Office for National Statistics, the estimated cost of disposing of children's disposable nappies in England was approximately £19.1 million in 2009. This estimate does not include landfill tax.
Mr Liddell-Grainger: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what Natural England's policy is on common land in England; what common land at what locations Natural England has worked on in the last three years; and if she will make a statement. 
Richard Benyon: There are 7,000 commons in England covering nearly 400,000 hectares. Natural England (NE) has a statutory role on virtually all commons. That is because the vast majority (88%) of the land carries national or international designations, and most commons are designated as access land under Countryside and Rights of Way (CRoW) Act 2000. Because the distribution of common land is uneven, NE is especially involved in Cumbria (which has a third of all English common land), Yorkshire, the South West, the New Forest, and South East England.
NE has received Upland Entry Level Scheme applications for 125,000ha of common land in 2010 - one third of all upland commons, and is currently supporting commoners and stakeholders in Cumbria, Bodmin Moor, and on Brendon Common (Exmoor), who are considering submitting a case to the Secretary of State for the establishment of Commons Councils under the Commons Act 2006.
Jim Shannon: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what factors her Department has identified for the increase in the number of otters in the UK in the last five years; and whether her Department has provided incentives to encourage an increase in the otter population. 
Richard Benyon: The fifth otter survey published by the Environment Agency in October suggests that the welcome recovery in otter numbers is due to a combination of reduction in levels of toxic pesticides and the general improvements in water quality and consequent increase in fish stocks.
DEFRA has supported the Biodiversity Action Plan for otters which includes working with the Environment Agency and Natural England towards meeting water quality objectives on all rivers across England, so they can support healthy fish stocks and improve riparian habitat management. Such improvements will help biodiversity as a whole, improving the quality of habitat for many species, including the otter. In addition Natural England funds work under the Higher Level Stewardship Scheme which improves habitats for otters through general habitat management works and reducing pollution risks.
Simon Kirby: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will accelerate her plans to introduce a ban on beak trimming for laying hens; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr Paice: The removal of the ban is an interim solution. In the long-term we want to see a ban on routine beak trimming. The Government have taken heed of the strength of feeling on this issue during the consultation and since then and decided to adopt the Farm Animal Welfare Council's recommendation of setting a review date of 2015. We will assess the output of this work, with a view to banning routine beak trimming in 2016.
Research on how to reduce the risk of injurious pecking in flocks is ongoing and without the results of this work being available, it was appropriate to identify a provisional date to ban beak trimming rather than place a new date in the Regulations. The Beak Trimming Action Group will be tasked with developing an action plan to work towards a future ban on beak trimming. Conclusions from the research project and results from industry study tours will also be presented to the Group to consider.
Mr Liddell-Grainger: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what funding her Department provides to local authorities in order to enable them to fund rights of way applications; and if she will make a statement. 
Under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 all surveying authorities are required to ensure that all public rights of way in their area are recorded on the definitive map and statement (the local authority's
legal record of public rights of way) as accurately as is reasonably practicable. Not all surveying authorities have completed this task and they therefore still receive applications to record public rights of way on the definitive map and statement. Local authorities are funded for this work through the unhypothecated Environment Protection and Cultural Services block in the revenue support grant.
Mr Liddell-Grainger: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what her policy is on the power of local authorities to charge fees in relation to rights of way applications. 
Richard Benyon: Applications for definitive map modification orders are primarily made in the public interest, in order to assist the local authority in its duty to keep the definitive map and statement (the local authority's legal record of public rights of way) as accurate as is reasonably practicable. Local authorities are funded for this work though the Revenue support grant. There is therefore no need, nor provision, to enable a local authority to recover any costs incurred in processing such an application. In the case of an application for a public path order there is provision for the local authority to recover some costs, as the applicant usually gains some benefit from the stopping up or diversion of a way.
Thomas Docherty: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what progress has been made on the establishment of a Rural Communities Policy Unit in her Department; and if she will make a statement. 
Richard Benyon: The new Rural Communities Policy Unit in DEFRA came in being on 1 December 2010, when 14 staff were formally transferred from the Commission for Rural Communities to join DEFRA'S existing rural team. A number of further posts will be filled by the end of January 2011.
Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether she has made representations to the government of New Zealand on the prohibition on the practice of shechita in New Zealand; what response was received; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr Paice: No representations have been made to the Government of New Zealand on the prohibition on the practice of shechita in New Zealand. Decisions on such matters are for the New Zealand Government.
Mike Weatherley: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs from which countries wood was imported for use as biomass in (a) 2007, (b) 2008 and (c) 2009; and how much wood each country supplied in each year. 
I refer my hon. Friend to the answer given by the Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change, my hon. Friend the Member for Bexhill and Battle (Gregory Barker) on 1 December 2010, Official Report, columns 801-02W.
From April 2009, the renewables obligation required generators over 50 kilowatts to submit an annual sustainability report to Ofgem setting out the available information on their biomass feedstocks, including country of origin. Information for the first reporting period have been compiled by Ofgem and are available from their website at;
Where data on import origin are available these indicate that there are seven countries reported to export wood to the UK, primarily in pellet form, as set out in the following table. The total tonnage of wood imported to the UK over the 2009-10 reporting period was 131,937 tonnes, over 90% of which came from Canada. In comparison, the UK supplied over 1.9 million tonnes wood. Figures are not available for previous years.
|Reported country||Reported tonnage|
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