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Written Answers to Questions

Tuesday 18 September 2012

Attorney-General

Crown Prosecution Service: Training

Caroline Lucas: To ask the Attorney-General what his involvement was in the decision to develop mandatory training for all senior Crown Prosecution Service staff who supervised prosecutions involving undercover officers; and if he will place a copy of any training materials in the Library. [121110]

The Solicitor-General: The Law Officers have had no involvement, as developing training for Crown Prosecution Service staff is a matter for the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP). I am aware that the DPP has taken a number of steps to address the issues raised in Sir Christopher Rose's report into the Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station cases, including mandatory training for a significant number of senior prosecutors.

The training materials used include information on sensitive operational matters and it would therefore be inappropriate for such material to be placed in the Library.

LIBOR

Cathy Jamieson: To ask the Attorney-General pursuant to the answer of 16 July 2012, Official Report, column 464W, on banks, when he expects to provide further information on discussions with the Crown Office and Prosecution Services in Scotland, and the Cabinet Secretary for Justice in Scotland, on the inquiry into allegations of criminal conduct relating to LIBOR. [121236]

The Attorney-General: I have nothing further to add to my previous answer of 16 July 2012, Official Report, column 464W.

Nurseries

Owen Smith: To ask the Attorney-General how many childcare places the Law Officer's Departments provide on their estate; what the cost is of providing such places; how many such places the Law Officer's Departments provided in 2010; what the cost was of providing such places in 2010; what plans he has for changes in the provision of such childcare places; and what the number of places will be once any such changes have been implemented. [121278]

The Solicitor-General: None of the Law Officers' Departments provide child care places on their estates and did not provide any in 2010. There are no plans to change this.

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Recruitment

Stephen Timms: To ask the Attorney-General to what extent the Law Officers' Departments used name- blank or anonymised sifting of applications to recruit staff in the last year for which information is available. [121552]

The Solicitor-General: The Law Officers Departments do not currently use name-blank or anonymised sifting of applications to recruit staff.

Northern Ireland

Olympic Games 2012

Maria Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether (a) Ministers and (b) officials from her Department used the Olympic Route Network for travel for official purposes during the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. [121011]

Mike Penning: The Department for Culture, Media and Sport will publish details of Government use of tickets and hospitality in the autumn, this will include use of transport services which operated on the Olympic or Paralympic Route Networks.

Prime Minister

David Laws

Thomas Docherty: To ask the Prime Minister whether it is his intention that the Minister of State at the Cabinet Office, the right hon. Member for Yeovil, will regularly attend the weekly meeting of the National Security Council. [121507]

The Prime Minister: A list of membership of the National Security Council is available on the Cabinet Office website:

http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/content/national-security-council/

Irvine Patnick

John Mann: To ask the Prime Minister (1) how many telephone calls Bernard Ingham made to the then hon. Member for Sheffield, Hallam between 15 and 19 April 1989; [121491]

(2) on which occasions the then hon. Member for Sheffield, Hallam visited 10 Downing Street in 1989. [121492]

The Prime Minister: The information is not held.

Scotland

Olympic Games 2012

Maria Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland whether (a) Ministers and (b) officials from his Department used the Olympic Route Network for travel for official purposes during the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. [121001]

David Mundell: The Department for Culture, Media and Sport will publish details of Government use of tickets and hospitality in the autumn, this will include use of transport services which operated on the Olympic or Paralympic Route Networks.

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Pay

Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what the highest paid position is in his Department. [121626]

David Mundell: The highest paid position in the Scotland Office is that of the Director of the Office.

Wales

Buildings: Cardiff

Nia Griffith: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what the cost was of flooring and floor coverings in the Caspian Point Wales Office. [121368]

Stephen Crabb: The project to relocate the Department's Cardiff base to Caspian Point has not yet been fully completed nor all invoices received and, as a consequence, while the overall cost will be within budget, we do not yet have detailed and complete figures.

Child Care

Owen Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many child care places his Department provides on its estate; what the cost is of providing such places; how many such places his Department provided in 2010; what the cost was of providing such places in 2010; what plans he has for changes in the provision of such child care places; and what the number of places will be once any such changes have been implemented. [121277]

Mr David Jones: No child care places are or have been provided on the Wales Office estate. However, all staff with children are eligible to apply for the Salary Sacrifice Scheme for Childcare Vouchers, which enables staff to choose their own child care provider and to have their child care costs reduced as a result of tax savings.

Olympic Games 2012

Maria Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales whether (a) Ministers and (b) officials from his Department used the Olympic Route Network for travelling during the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. [120996]

Mr David Jones: The Department for Culture, Media and Sport will publish details of Government use of tickets and hospitality in the autumn, this will include use of transport services which operated on the Olympic or Paralympic Route Networks.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Afghanistan

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on Taliban co-operation with the US on security and peace negotiations. [121092]

Alistair Burt: As President Obama has stated, members of the US Government, in co-ordination with the Afghan Government, have had direct discussions with the Taliban. At the start of the year, the Taliban issued a statement

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on its website expressing willingness to open a political office in Qatar. The Afghan Government have also expressed support. On 15 March, the Taliban announced they were suspending talks with the US.

Gambia

Ian Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations he has made to the Gambian Government on the resumption of the death penalty and state executions in The Gambia. [121476]

Mark Simmonds: Since his speech on 19 August when President Jammeh pledged to begin executing death-row prisoners, the UK has made its opposition to the recent and sudden use of the death penalty in The Gambia clear. Our high commissioner in Banjul has made several representations to the Government of The Gambia, including the Foreign Minister and the Attorney-General, on behalf of both the UK and the EU, both before and after the executions were confirmed. The Foreign Office has also made representations to the Gambian High Commission in London. The Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my hon. Friend the Member for North East Bedfordshire (Mr Burt), issued a statement on 25 August expressing concern over the then-unconfirmed reports of executions. We will continue to work bilaterally and with international partners to apply pressure where appropriate to help prevent further executions.

We support the concern expressed by Navi Pillay UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, about the executions, and will seek opportunities, including within the UN system, to reinforce it. In November, the UN General Assembly will vote on a Resolution in favour of a world-wide moratorium on the death penalty, which we are actively supporting.

Ian Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions his Department has had with the UN General Assembly Council on state executions in The Gambia. [121477]

Mark Simmonds: Since his speech on 19 August when President Jammeh pledged to begin executing death-row prisoners, the UK has made its opposition to the recent and sudden use of the death penalty in The Gambia clear. Our high commissioner in Banjul has made several representations to the Government of The Gambia, including the Foreign Minister and the Attorney-General, on behalf of both the UK and the European Union, both before and after the executions were confirmed, The Foreign Office has also made representations to the Gambian High Commission in London. The Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my hon. Friend the Member for North East Bedfordshire (Mr Burt), issued a statement on 25 August expressing concern over the then-unconfirmed reports of executions. We will continue to work bilaterally and with international partners to apply pressure where appropriate to help prevent further executions.

We support the concern expressed by Navi Pillay UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, about the executions, and will seek opportunities, including within the UN system, to reinforce it. In November, the UN

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General Assembly will vote on a Resolution in favour of a world-wide moratorium on the death penalty, which we are actively supporting.

Indian Ocean

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans he has to consult (a) Chagossian exiles, (b) Mauritians, (c) residents in other British Indian Ocean Territories and (d) others on Government plans for marine conservation in the Indian Ocean. [121102]

Mark Simmonds: The Government's main effort on marine conservation in the Indian ocean is the British Indian Ocean Territory's (BIOT) Marine Protected Area (MPA). Work has begun on an MPA Management Plan, informed by scientific advice to the BIOT Administration. We currently have no plans to formally consult others over the drafting of the Management Plan, but welcome constructive comments from all stakeholders. We are keen to involve Chagossians in the MPA and have started an environmental educational outreach programme, which has received excellent feedback from those involved. We also wish to have a more positive discussion with Mauritius on BIOT issues, but this remains difficult while Mauritius is bringing legal action against the UK. There are no other British Indian Ocean Territories, aside from BIOT.

Olympic Games 2012

Maria Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether (a) Ministers and (b) officials from his Department used the Olympic Route Network for travel for official purposes during the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games. [121002]

Mr Swire: The Department for Culture, Media and Sport will publish details of Government use of tickets and hospitality in the autumn. This will include use of transport services which operated on the Olympic or Paralympic route networks. FCO Ministers’ and officials’ use of the Olympic route network will be included in this publication.

South East Asia

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation members on the security situation in the South China sea. [121093]

Mr Swire: Ministers and officials from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office have discussed the South China sea with most APEC members on many occasions.

The South China sea is a vital global trade artery and the UK has a strong interest in the maintenance of stability and freedom of navigation in the region. We encourage all parties to resolve their territorial disputes peacefully, in line with international law. We call on all parties to show restraint and abide by international norms for the safe conduct of vessels at sea.

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Sri Lanka

Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what consideration he has given to the Government of Sri Lanka's National Action Plan to implement the recommendations of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission. [121559]

Alistair Burt: The Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) Action Plan contains a number of steps which, if implemented, would usefully address some of the LLRC recommendations. We now look to the Sri Lankan Government to implement the Action Plan and to take the further action on reconciliation, accountability and political settlement, as set out in the March 2012 Human Rights Council resolution.

Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment he has made of the human rights situation in Sri Lanka; and if he will make a statement. [121560]

Alistair Burt: We continue to have concerns about human rights in Sri Lanka including the intimidation of the media, political violence, and reports of torture in custody.

We regularly urge the Sri Lankan Government to improve the human rights situation and to investigate incidents that happen and prosecute those responsible.

Our 2011 Human Rights and Democracy Report contains a section on Sri Lanka which details both our concerns and acknowledges progress. This section is updated every three months, most recently in June.

United Nations

Ian Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs with reference to the oral statement of 9 November 2011, Official Report, column 290, on the Middle East and North Africa, what different considerations relate to applications for full membership of the UN made in the UN General Assembly compared to those made in the UN Security Council. [121475]

Alistair Burt: Applications for full membership of the United Nations (UN) can only be made to the UN Security Council in the first instance, according to Article 4.2 of the UN Charter. The UN General Assembly does not have the authority to make decisions on applications for full membership. In his oral statement of 9 November 2011, Official Report, column 290, the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague), was referring to the Palestinian Authority's application to the UN Security Council for full UN membership. The Palestinian leadership has recently indicated they may take to a vote at the UN General Assembly the issue of enhancing the provisions of their existing observer status in the General Assembly, not the application for full membership.

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Energy and Climate Change

Consultants

Luciana Berger: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what consultants have been employed by his Department since May 2010; and what the (a) length and (b) value was of each contract. [120737]

Gregory Barker [holding answer 13 September 2012]: The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) does not hold a central record of contracts and their value. It would incur disproportionate cost to collate this information from local records.

The value of consultancy expenditure recorded since 1 April 2010 is as follows:

 £000

2010-11

9,163

2011-12

6,690

1 April to 31 August 2012

3,554

The element of expenditure in the 2010-11 figure that relates to April 2010 cannot be readily identified without scrutinising individual invoices.

The amounts above include expenditure on external legal advice. Expenditure with consultants may relate to delivery services provided in tandem with advice. It would incur disproportionate costs to attempt to disaggregate the components.

The following tables provide the names of those companies with whom DECC has spent more than £20,000 in each year.

2010-11
 £

Parsons Brinckerhoff Ltd

1,392,151

KPMG

779,922

AEA Technology plc

711,595

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer

697,282

Parity Resources Ltd

543,345

Informed Solutions

476,393

Ernst and Young LLP

301,285

Slaughter and May

275,076

Collabro

220,213

Adam Bond Commercial Advisory Ltd

219,591

Maclay Murray and Spens

186,658

Green Park Interim and Executive Ltd

160,669

MWH UK Ltd

157,620

CRS VAT Consulting Ltd

141,214

Linklaters LLP

125,688

Morgan Law Partners LLP

94,783

Fujitsu Services Ltd

90,104

Enviros Consulting Ltd

83,381

Poyry Management Consulting (UK) Ltd

69,452

Aether Ltd

68,846

Vega Consulting Services Ltd

51,700

Deloitte MCS Ltd

50,000

Nera UK Ltd

49,841

Energy and Utility Skills Ltd

48,819

Hays Specialist Recruitment Ltd

48,344

Hitachi Consulting UK Ltd

47,000

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Hays plc

43,641

Ax Business Solutions Ltd

42,252

Sinclair Knight Merz Europe Ltd

42,084

Delib Ltd

40,000

British Geological Survey

34,060

AEA Technology plc t/a AEA Environment

33,360

Methods Consulting Ltd

33,360

IC Consultants Ltd

32,766

Fivium Ltd

30,000

Barnardo's

28,548

Davis Blank Furniss Solicitors

26,492

International Resources Group Ltd t/a Odgers Berndtson

26,469

University of Surrey

23,908

IT Power Ltd

23,069

Serco Ltd

22,086

Mott Macdonald Ltd

22,040

Element Energy Ltd

21,552

Capita Resourcing Ltd t/a Veredus Executive Resourcing

21,460

Miller and Young UK Ltd t/a Myfm

21,455

 

7,659,573

2011-12
 £

National Nuclear Laboratory Ltd

1,497,798

SNR Denton UK LLP

661,661

Mott Macdonald Ltd

462,652

AEA Technology plc t/a AEA Environment

447,843

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer

447,565

Slaughter and May

307,375

Green Park Interim and Executive Ltd

265,928

Sinclair Knight Merz Europe Ltd

200,823

Poyry Management Consulting (UK) Ltd

185,064

Parsons Brinckerhoff Ltd

183,878

KPMG LLP

150,760

Nera UK Ltd

91,015

United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS)

85,403

Adam Bond Commercial Advisory Ltd

84,881

Capita Resourcing Ltd

83,197

Aether Ltd

73,332

Elexon Ltd

73,322

Sanger Associates Ltd

71,858

Deloitte LLP

62,750

Saxton Bampfylde Hever Ltd

52,300

AWE plc

50,000

Gemserv Ltd

50,000

Morgan Law Partners LLP

48,110

UCL Consultants Ltd

48,000

Hays Specialist Recruitment Ltd

43,342

Crisis Solutions Ltd

43,000

Enviros Consulting Ltd

42,738

Gatenby Sanderson Ltd

35,691

Foresee Ltd

35,341

Penna plc

32,410

TMP (UK) Ltd t/a TMP worldwide

30,691

Matrix Corporate Capital LLP

24,000

University Of Surrey

23,532

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Ernst and Young LLP

23,474

INDECS Consulting Ltd

22,603

Capita Symonds Ltd

22,000

Risk Solutions

20,253

Landmark Chambers

20,235

Parity Resources Ltd

20,201

 

6,125,025

April to August 2012
 £

SNR Denton UK LLP

475,284

Slaughter and May

284,852

Ernst and Young LLP

249,966

Ernst and Young LLP

178,046

Deloitte LLP

153,946

AEA Technology plc

133,010

Methods Consulting Ltd

104,502

KPMG LLP

93,784

Parity Resources Ltd

73,954

Mott Macdonald Group Ltd

57,518

QCG Limited

41,194

 

1,846,058

Details of the Department's exceptions to the moratoria on spend for ICT, consultancy, recruitment, property, advertising and marketing for the period May 2010 to March 2012 are published on the DECC website. This relates to new contracts and shows an estimate of the contract value at the time it was approved where this exceeds £20,000.

http://www.decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/accesstoinform/expenditure/expenditure.aspx#

DECC uses external consultants and advisers where it does not have the expertise or resources available in-house to undertake work that is essential to the delivery of its objectives. In accordance with Government requirements, all proposals for consultancy expenditure, as defined by the Cabinet Office, since May 2010 are subject to careful scrutiny and those in excess of £20,000 are subject to a rigorous central approvals process which includes sign-off by a Minister. This process includes demonstrating that the work could not be undertaken more efficiently or effectively through other means (e.g. using internal experts) and that best value for money has been secured through the procurement process. For smaller consultancy proposals, local management are expected to undertake a similar scrutiny and approvals process before committing the Department to expenditure.

Electricity: Smart Meters

Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what his policy is on the functionality of smart metering to support demand-side management measures for the purposes of introducing flexibility into the electricity system to support the development of a UK smart grid. [121353]

Mr Hayes: Smart meters are a critical part of the platform for the development of a smart grid and demand-side management measures. The technical specification for smart metering equipment includes the requirement to include multiple registers within the

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meters in order to support a range of time-of-use or dynamic tariffs—which support demand-side management measures. In addition, as part of the procurement processes for the provision of data and communications services, we are exploring the cost of different levels of functionality and capacity for both smart metering and smart grids requirements.

Electricity: Carbon Emissions

Kerry McCarthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change whether he plans to include a target to decarbonise the electricity sector by 2030 in the Energy Bill. [121244]

Mr Hayes [holding answer 17 September 2012]: The Government are committed to the decarbonisation of the economy, and already has a number of binding commitments to ensure that this takes place. In particular, the Government are committed to meeting a legally binding target to reduce the UK's emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) to at least 80% below 1990 base levels by 2050 as set out in the 2008 Climate Change Act, which established a long-term legally binding national framework by putting in place a system of five year carbon budgets; and the UK obligations under the 2009 renewable energy directive.

Analysis published in the December 2011 Carbon Plan suggests that the most cost-effective paths to deliver the 2050 target require the electricity sector to be largely decarbonised during the 2030s.

The Department is currently undertaking further work on the issue of decarbonisation of the power sector ahead of the progression of the Energy Bill. In particular careful consideration is being given to all the recommendations of the Energy and Climate Change Committee, including those related to the level of grid decarbonisation.

Energy: Prices

Nadine Dorries: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what assessment his Department has made of the likelihood that simplifying energy bills may increase the average cost to the consumer. [121425]

Gregory Barker: It is for Ofgem, as the independent regulator of the gas and electricity markets, to assess the impacts of any proposals it brings forward to simplify energy bills.

The Government supports Ofgem's work to simplify bills and to help consumers more easily identify the savings to be made from switching.

Nadine Dorries: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what steps he is taking to ensure energy suppliers simplify their tariffs; and if he will make a statement. [121426]

Gregory Barker: It is for Ofgem, as the independent regulator of the gas and electricity markets, to consider whether action is needed to simplify tariffs and to this end they have consulted on proposals to simplify energy tariffs as part of their Retail Market Review. Ofgem are

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due to bring forward further proposals, which take account of the responses to the consultation, before winter.

EU Emissions Trading Scheme: Aviation

Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how many free, tradable allowances will be allocated to UK aviation operators arising from aviation joining the Emissions Trading Scheme each year in Phase III and Phase IV. [121364]

Gregory Barker: Aircraft operators regulated by the UK will receive an annual total of 53,616,146 free aviation EU allowances (EUAAs) for each year of Phase III (2013-20) of the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS). This is a total of 428,929,168 EUAA's for whole of Phase III. The free allocation levels for aircraft operators for Phase IV has not yet been set.

I will place a copy of the full allocation table showing allocations to each aircraft operator in the Libraries of the House.

Olympic Games 2012

Maria Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change whether (a) Ministers and (b) officials from his Department used the Olympic Route Network for travel for official purposes during the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. [120995]

Gregory Barker: The Department for Culture, Media and Sport will publish details of Government use of tickets and hospitality in the autumn. This will include use of transport services which operated on the Olympic or Paralympic Route Networks.

Pay

Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what the highest paid position is in (a) his Department and (b) his Department's agencies. [121627]

Gregory Barker: The highest paid position in the Department of Energy and Climate Change is the post of Permanent Secretary.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change does not have any agencies for which it is responsible.

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Bees

Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will publish the paper by the Chemicals Regulatory Directorate that reviewed four separate scientific studies on the links between nerve-agent pesticides and declines in bees around the world which was discussed at the 3 July meeting of the Advisory Committee on Pesticides; what his policy is on the recommendation of the Advisory Committee on Pesticides that the findings do not provide sufficient justification for precautionary action on the use of neonicotinoids in the UK at this stage; and if he will make a statement. [120525]

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Richard Benyon: The Government take very seriously any threat to bees, which are important in their own right and as key pollinators. We have therefore kept the evidence on neonicotinoids under close and open-minded scrutiny and have made it clear that we are prepared to take whatever action is necessary. This action could include restricting or withdrawing the approved uses of neonicotinoids.

New research was published earlier this year, suggesting that low doses of neonicotinoids could have sub-lethal effects on bees with consequences for bee populations. We arranged for this to be assessed alongside the existing evidence. The assessment was carried out by experts from the Chemicals Regulation Directorate of the Health and Safety Executive; DEFRA's Food and Environment Research Agency; DEFRA's Science Advisory Council; and the independent Advisory Committee on Pesticides. A document summarising the evidence and the experts' assessment will be placed on the DEFRA website very shortly.

DEFRA's Chief Scientific Adviser has considered the expert assessments, alongside parallel work by the European Food Safety Authority, and has advised that:

Some of the studies, including those by Whitehorn et al and Henry et al, provide evidence of sub-lethal effects of neonicotinoids in the conditions applied in the research.

However, none of the studies gives unequivocal evidence that sub-lethal effects with serious implications for colonies are likely to arise from current uses of neonicotinoids.

Existing studies submitted in support of the current regulatory approvals fully meet current requirements. They do not explicitly address all of the sub-lethal effects suggested by the academic research. However, they do cover a wide range of important outcomes and, in these studies, hives exposed to treated crops did not show any gross effects when compared to control hives exposed to untreated crops.

Based on these findings, the Government have concluded that:

It is appropriate to update the process for assessing the risks of pesticides to bees in the light of developments in the science, including the latest research. This exercise should include the development of a new risk assessment for bumble bees and solitary bees, alongside an updated risk assessment for honey bees. This work is being taken forward in Europe and UK experts are active in this. The aim is to complete this highly complex task by the end of 2012.

Further research will be carried out to fill identified evidence gaps, including the questions raised about the relevance of the recent studies to field conditions. The Government has already put new research in place to explore further the impacts of neonicotinoids on bumble bees in field conditions and to understand what levels of pesticide residues and disease in bees are normal.

The recent studies do not justify changing existing regulation. However, the research that we have put in hand and the on-going work in Europe to develop the risk assessment could change the picture and it is always possible that further new evidence may emerge. As our knowledge develops, we will continue to consider the need for further research and for any changes to the regulation of neonicotinoids.

We are currently considering wider policies on bees and other pollinators and will set out our position shortly.

Fish

Mr Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent assessment he has made of the damage to fish stocks attributable to (a) cormorants and (b) goosanders; and if he will make a statement. [119756]

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Richard Benyon: It has been established that cormorants and goosanders can cause significant localised damage to fish stocks, and the fisheries dependent upon them, and to fish farms, resulting in financial losses for operators. Government-funded research in the late 1990s concluded that fish-eating birds could cause serious damage to fish stocks and fisheries, but that the birds were problems for specific fisheries rather than a general problem. Subsequent findings are consistent with this view.

DEFRA is carrying out a review of the current policy in relation to managing the impact of predation on inland fisheries from cormorants, goosanders and red-breasted mergansers. The review is looking at the licensing process and management methods for controlling fish-eating birds where they cause, or are likely to cause, serious damage to inland fisheries. It is expected to report to Ministers this year. Once completed, the outcomes of the review will be made publicly available.

Floods: Insurance

Harriett Baldwin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when he expects to be able to announce an agreement with the Association of British Insurers superseding the Statement of Principles on flood insurance. [121145]

Richard Benyon: A number of options are under consideration to supersede the Statement of Principles, including an industry-led levy that would allow policyholders in high flood risk areas to continue to secure affordable insurance without having an impact on bills more generally.

Our priority is to resolve detailed design issues.

Discussions with the industry continue to be positive and further announcements will be forthcoming in due course.

Horse Passports

Simon Hart: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what measures are in place to ensure that horse passport-issuing organisations are collecting and storing horse passport data in a form that is usable and easily accessible should the need arise for regulatory or legal purposes. [121463]

Mr Heath: Passport Issuing Organisations are required, as part of their continued Government approval, to hold records in their own computer database. These records include at least:

Name and address of the horse owner

Date and Unique Equine Life Number (UELN) of passport issued

Name(s) of horse

Date of year of birth of horse (where known)

Country of birth of horse (where known)

Date and year of death of horse (where available)

Breed, of horse (where known)

Sex and colour of horse

Horses: Databases

Simon Hart: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which organisations responded to the formal procurement exercise to assess

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the costs and benefits of a successor to the National Equine Database; and for what reason no bidder was appointed as successor. [121453]

Mr Heath: Due to commercial confidentiality, it is not possible to identify the 19 organisations that responded to the central equine database procurement exercise. The procurement exercise was initiated in order to assess the cost of providing the services set out in the specification. A technical and financial assessment of all bids was carried out, following which it was concluded that the benefits of awarding a contract were outweighed by the cost to the taxpayer.

Olympic Games 2012

Maria Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether (a) Ministers and (b) officials from his Department used the Olympic Route Network for travel for official purposes during the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. [120997]

Richard Benyon: The Department for Culture, Media and Sport will publish details of Government use of tickets and hospitality in the autumn, which will include use of transport services which operated on the Olympic or Paralympic Route Networks.

Plastics: Recycling

Sir Tony Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what compensation will be offered to plastic packaging manufacturers if they pay for an amount of recycling under the producer responsibility obligations that cannot be delivered due to inadequate local collection services. [120920]

Richard Benyon: Producers only pay for recycling that has been delivered and reflected in Packaging Waste Recovery Notes. This is a producer responsibility system and it is the responsibility of obligated producers to ensure that sufficient material is collected and recycled to comply with their legal requirements.

Sir Tony Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether new obligations for plastic packaging manufacturers to fund recycling will be changed if local collection services cannot deliver the volumes targeted. [120922]

Richard Benyon: We are confident that the new targets can be achieved and will continue to monitor progress.

Sir Tony Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer of 20 July 2012, Official Report, column 124W, on plastics: recycling, what proportion of plastic packaging waste was exported for processing in the latest period for which figures are available; what estimate he has made of the emissions associated with transporting such waste; and what assessment he has made of the economic effect on the recycling industry in the UK of such exports. [120935]

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Richard Benyon: Data from the national packaging waste database shows that 16% of the total plastic waste arising was exported for recycling. Of the plastic packaging that was recycled, 67% was exported for recycling.

DEFRA undertook an impact assessment for the new targets which took account of the emissions associated with the transport of waste for reprocessing overseas when calculating the costs and benefits. Export of waste for recycling has a net environmental benefit compared to landfilling.

No assessment has been made of the impact of waste exports on the UK recycling sector.

Sir Tony Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer of 20 July 2012, Official Report, column 123W, on plastics: recycling, how many local authorities collect enough plastic packaging to meet his Department's 2017 recycling target; and what plans he has to ensure other councils meet the target over the next five years. [120936]

Richard Benyon: The impact assessment which accompanied the consultation on recovery and recycling targets for packaging waste for 2013-17 estimated that an additional 550kt of plastic will need to be collected and recycled by 2017 to meet the new targets. This material can be sourced from the domestic, commercial and industrial sectors.

There are no targets on local authorities for the collection of packaging waste. It is for producers to make suitable arrangements, working with waste collectors, to ensure that sufficient material is collected and recycled for them to meet their obligations.

Sir Tony Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer of 20 July 2012, Official Report, column 123W, on plastics: recycling, by what proportion local collection of mixed rigid plastics needs to increase to meet his Department's 2017 recycling target; and if he will make a statement. [120937]

Richard Benyon: Based on the analysis used to underpin the new targets, it was calculated that the recycling of mixed rigid plastics would need to increase from around the current rate of 13% to 28% in 2017.

Pollution Control: EU Law

Martin Horwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what assessment his Department has made of the effect on (a) life expectancy and (b) premature deaths avoided of steps taken to implement the EU directive on integrated pollution prevention and control and associated amendments (i) in total and (ii) in each region; and if he will make a statement; [121399]

(2) what estimate his Department has made of the effect on (a) life expectancy and (b) premature deaths avoided of steps taken to implement the EU volatile organic compounds solvents emissions directive and associated amendments (i) in total and (ii) in each region; and if he will make a statement; [121439]

18 Sep 2012 : Column 554W

(3) what estimate his Department has made of the effect on (a) life expectancy and (b) premature deaths avoided of steps taken to implement the EU large combustion plants directive and associated amendments (i) in total and (ii) in each region; and if he will make a statement. [121440]

Richard Benyon: Some assessment at national level of the general benefits to health of the directives on volatile organic compounds solvents emissions and large combustion plants was made in impact assessments prepared at the time these directives were finalised in 1999 and 2001 respectively. It was not possible to do that for the 1996 directive on integrated pollution prevention and control because of the very wide range of pollutants and installations it potentially covers. All three directives currently remain without significant amendment, although they have recently been recast into the industrial emissions directive (2010/75/EU). A draft impact assessment of that directive was published on DEFRA’s website in March 2012 as a part of the transposition consultation, and a finalised version will be placed on the website within the next few weeks.

Departmental Contracts

Luciana Berger: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the name is of each company with which his Department has a contract; what the monetary value of each such contract is; and what is provided to his Department under the terms of the contract. [120776]

Richard Benyon: Our records show that core DEFRA currently has over 500 live contracts; however, this does not include central framework contracts which are normally owned by the Government Procurement Service.

Since January 2011, central Government Departments have been required to publish contracts over £10,000 on Contracts Finder

http://www.contractsfinder.businesslink.gov.uk/

Contracts awarded prior to January 2011 will not be included.

Information on contracts prior to January 2011 and below £10,000 cannot be obtained without incurring disproportionate costs.

Luciana Berger: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what his Department's policy is on taking into account when assessing tenders submitted for departmental contracts the (a) apprenticeship schemes, (b) policies on employment of paid interns and (c) policies of payment of at least the living wage of each bidding company. [120787]

Richard Benyon: Core DEFRA policy is set out in its sustainable procurement policy statement which can be found at:

http://www.defra.gov.uk/publications/files/sustainable-procurement-policy-statement.pdf

In evaluating tenders, DEFRA takes account of information such as the bidding company's arrangements for developing employees' skills and expertise, e.g. through training, apprenticeships and graduate development programmes.

18 Sep 2012 : Column 555W

Rural Businesses

Thomas Docherty: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether the £5 million fund for rural businesses announced by the Prime Minister on 11 July 2012 has received the approval of the European Commission under its state aid rules. [121564]

Richard Benyon: The £5 million of support announced for the dairy industry in England on 11 July will be delivered through the Rural Development Programme for England, a joint European and UK Exchequer funding programme. We will therefore ensure that any available support will fully comply with EU funding requirements, including state aid regulations. The Fund is currently being developed, and will be launched in autumn 2012.

Rural Communities Policy Unit

Simon Hart: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what Government policies have undergone rural-proofing by the Rural Communities Policy Unit since its formation. [121454]

Richard Benyon: It is for all Government Departments to rural proof their own policies, with DEFRA's Rural Communities Policy Unit providing advice, guidance and support to policy officials across Government. New Rural Proofing guidance materials are being prepared and will be published this autumn to help them in this process. Notable examples of where rural proofing is already happening include:

the Government's Health Care and Support White Paper which incorporates policy proposals that address rural delivery issues;

the design of the Department of Energy and Climate Change's Energy Company Obligation, which ensures that the Carbon Saving Community element delivers energy saving measures to the most deprived households in rural areas; and

the Open Public Services White Paper, which requires Departments to ensure that issues of fairness for people in rural areas accessing individual services are taken into account when developing policies.

The Rural Statement, published on 12 September, includes a commitment to commission an external review on the effectiveness of the Government's approach to Rural Proofing. DEFRA Ministers have invited my noble Friend, Lord Cameron, to undertake this review and are currently discussing terms of reference with him.

Sewers

Geoffrey Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will consider extending the remit of Ofwat to cover charges by sewerage companies for building over newly adopted private sewers not currently subject to approval by Ofwat or any other regulatory body; and whether he proposes to take steps to ensure that such charges are reasonable. [118973]

Richard Benyon: The relevant sewerage undertaker has been a statutory consultee for building proposals that are subject to either the planning or building application

18 Sep 2012 : Column 556W

process since 1974. This is to ensure the development does not adversely affect the undertaker's assets; if it did, consequent repairs could push up customers' sewerage bills unnecessarily.

The October 2011 transfer of responsibilities regarding private sewers and lateral drains has not altered this consultation requirement. However, since it has significantly increased the relevant assets of undertakers, there are now more cases where this requirement has effect.

Charges for approving homeowners' proposals to build over public sewers are not regulated by Ofwat as they are one-off charges to those planning developments. They do not contribute to the regulated customer sewerage bill and are not covered by the Water Industry Act 1991. However, I am aware that these charges are a concern to some, and DEFRA officials are currently discussing the issue with Ofwat, industry, and other Government Departments.

White Fish: Conservation

Mrs Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what discussions he has had on increasing the minimum landing size for sea bass; [121459]

(2) what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the minimum landing size for sea bass. [121460]

Richard Benyon: I met representatives of the Angling Trust and the Bass Anglers' Sports fishing Society in June to discuss the possibility of increasing the minimum landing size for bass.

As a result of these discussions, DEFRA officials are undertaking a review of the bass minimum landing size and the findings will be presented to me in due course.

It is important to note that any proposal for altering the minimum landing size for bass will need to take into account the relevant science, the socio-economic impact of any proposal for both recreational and commercial fishermen.

Wind Power

Jonathan Edwards: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the World Health Organisation recommendations on the noise levels of turbines and their proximity to homes. [121285]

Richard Benyon: Although the World Health Organisation (WHO) provides much data on the effects of noise, the Government does not believe that the WHO has provided any specific information about the noise levels of turbines and their proximity to homes.

The implementation of the Government's policies on noise takes account of evidence from a wide range of sources, including the WHO. The Government would consider the implications of any new evidence coming from the WHO on this issue on its policies.

Jonathan Edwards: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what landfill sites are licensed to process wind turbine blades. [121286]

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Richard Benyon: Waste wind turbine blades are generally classified as non-hazardous waste and can be disposed of in most landfill sites that are permitted to accept this classification of waste.

Jonathan Edwards: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of the number of wind turbine blades that will be disposed of in landfill in each year to 2025. [121287]

Richard Benyon: Government policy is to encourage the recycling and reprocessing of waste, including end-of-life wind turbine blades, in preference to their disposal to landfill.

Wind turbines can have a lifetime of over 20 years and a variety of recycling and reprocessing options are in use or currently under development that would avoid the need for the disposal of the blades to landfill. Accordingly neither DEFRA nor the Department of Energy and Climate Change has estimated figures for the number of wind turbine blades that will be disposed of in landfill each year.

Jonathan Edwards: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the environmental risks associated with the disposal of wind turbine blades in landfill and the release of bisphenol A. [121288]

Richard Benyon: No specific assessment of the environmental risks associated with the disposal of wind turbine blades in landfill, and any bisphenol A deriving therefrom, has been made.

It is a requirement that waste destined for landfill is adequately described, characterised and in some cases tested, to assess the risk it poses in the landfill environment.

Transport

Rail: Greater Anglia

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has to include investment in new rolling stock as part of the Greater Anglia franchise for the period from 2014. [121573]

Mr McLoughlin: Our aim for the new franchise is to improve the service on offer to customers. Our policy is that bidders for the franchise are best placed to determine how to achieve this. One way that the service could be improved is through new or refurbished rolling stock. While it would not be appropriate for our Government to specify what rolling stock is used on this franchise, we will however, require the new operator to have a rolling stock strategy to support the franchise aims and objectives.

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much funding from the public purse was allocated to (a) rail services, (b) rolling stock and (c) rail infrastructure along the Greater Anglia franchise in each of the last 10 years. [121575]

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Mr McLoughlin: Bidders for franchises are required to submit bids for running a franchise against a specification that will include the provision of rail services and rolling stock. Investment in these areas is included within these bids and will offset the level of public subsidy or premium payments made by the successful operator to Government. Funding supported by the public purse in this way cannot be broken down as requested. Separately, Government may provide specific funding during the life of a franchise through the High Level Output Specification (HLOS). The subsidy/premium payments for the Greater Anglia franchise for each year from 2004 are published on the website of the Office of Rail Regulation:

www.rail-reg.gov.uk

Major investment made by Network Rail: The Office of Rail Regulation sets the funding for Network Rail in 5-year control periods. Details are published on the website at:

www.rail-reg.gov.uk

Charities

Steve Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what his policy is on the (a) grant to and (b) use by registered charities of funding from his Department for the purposes of advocacy, lobbying or campaigning; and if he will make a statement. [121403]

Norman Baker: The policy for issuing grants to third parties (including registered charities) is outlined in annex 5.1 of the Managing Public Money guidance issued by HM Treasury.

Grants are issued on evidence of need or qualification, depending on the terms of the grant scheme. The Department for Transport ensures the use of the grant in the way envisaged by setting out terms and conditions in a framework document sent to recipients to explain their responsibilities.

Dartford-Thurrock Crossing

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many vehicles used the Dartford river crossing in each year since 1991; and what the revenues raised from tolls was in each year since 1991. [121442]

Stephen Hammond: Figures for the number of vehicles using the Dartford-Thurrock river crossing each year since 1991 are available on the Highways Agency website at:

http://www.highways.gov.uk/our-road-network/managing-our-roads/highways-agency-areas/area-teams/area-5/the-dartford-thurrock-river-crossing/traffic-flow/

The revenues raised at Dartford river crossing are referred to as income when the agency produces an account for the Dartford crossing on an annual basis. Copies of the accounts, the latest covering the year ending 31 March 2011, are available in the House of Commons Library and on the agency website at:

http://www.highways.gov.uk/publications/the-dartford-thurrock-river-crossing-publications/

The annual account for the year ending 31 March 2012 is currently being prepared and should be available early in 2013.

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Prior to 1 April 2003, expenditure would be shown in the annual accounts of the Concessionaire at that time, Dartford River Crossing Limited, which built the QEII bridge and then operated the entire crossing from 1991. Copies of these accounts, if still available, may be obtained through Companies House.

The following table contains information extracted from the Highways Agency website showing the number of vehicles using the crossing in each year from 1990-91:

The Dartford-Thurrock river crossing: Traffic flow figures
PeriodTotal vehicles

Annual periods, October to September

 

1990-91

29,360,644

1991-92

34,797,684

1992-93

37,385,483

1993-94

39,947,382

1994-95

42,557,309

1995-96

44,363,898

1996-97

46,403,105

1997-98

48,455,901

1998-99

50,420,231

1999-2000

50,284,079

2000-01

50,919,256

2001-02

52,040,197

2002-03

53,047,137

2003-04

54,536,521

Annual periods, April to March

 

2003-04

53,889,168

2004-05

54,363,607

2005-06

54,480,560

2006-07

53,619,224

2007-08

53,240,629

2008-09

51,662,878

2009-10

51,247,772

2010-11

50,939,941

2011-12

50,786,299

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate he has made of the running costs of the Dartford river crossing in each year since 1991. [121443]

Stephen Hammond: The running costs of the Dartford river crossing are referred to as expenditure when the Highways Agency produces an account for the Dartford crossing on an annual basis. Copies of the accounts are available in the House of Commons Library and on the Highways Agency website—the latest covering the year ending 31 March 2011. These accounts are available on the Highways Agency website at:

http://www.highways.gov.uk/publications/the-dartford-thurrock-river-crossing-publications

The annual account for the year ending 31 March 2012 is currently being prepared and should be available early in 2013.

Prior to 1 April 2003, expenditure would be shown in the annual accounts of the Concessionaire at that time, Dartford River Crossing Limited, which built the QEII bridge and then operated the entire crossing from 1991. Copies of these accounts, if still available, may be obtained through Companies House.

18 Sep 2012 : Column 560W

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the journey time reliability figures were for (a) southbound and (b) northbound traffic on the Dartford river crossing in each year since 1991. [121444]

Stephen Hammond: The reliability of journeys on the Highways Agency's roads is measured by the percentage of ‘journeys’ that are ‘on time’. A ‘journey’ represents travel between adjacent junctions on the network. An ‘on time journey’ is defined as one which is completed within a set reference time, based on historic data for that particular section of road.

The available journey time reliability figures for the southbound and northbound traffic on the Dartford river crossing are shown in the following table:

Percentage
 SouthboundNorthbound

2012 (latest data: rolling year August 2011 to July2012)

58.3

58.9

Rolling year performance January to December 2011

56.0

59.5

Rolling year performance January to December 2010

58.6

53.4

Journey time reliability figures using the current method are not available for earlier years.

Rail: East Anglia

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has to increase rail capacity along the Great Eastern Main Line; and what measures to increase rail capacity would require primary legislation. [121572]

Mr McLoughlin: The new East Anglia franchise will be required to ensure it provides sufficient capacity to meet current and future demand. We are not aware of any primary legislation changes that would be needed to support this.

Rail: East Coast

Tom Blenkinsop: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make an assessment of the case for the electrification of the railway between the East Coast Main Line at Northallerton and Middlesbrough station when Network Rail publishes its strategic business plan in January 2013. [121553]

Mr McLoughlin: Network Rail has carried out a high level assessment of the case for electrification to Middlesbrough. Network Rail, working with the other interested parties in the industry, will now consider whether the scheme will be in the Strategic Business Plan it will publish in January 2013.

Equality Act 2010

Graeme Morrice: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he expects to implement section 165 of the Equality Act 2010; and what recent discussions he has had with representatives of disability organisations about its implementation. [121215]

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Norman Baker: We are completing our consideration of the case for commencing section 165 of the Equality Act 2010. I intend to make an announcement in the near future.

I have had no specific discussions with disability organisations, but I have received a number of letters on this issue.

First Capital Connect

Nadine Dorries: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions his Department has had with the management of First Capital Connect on improving overall customer satisfaction. [121420]

Mr McLoughlin: The Department discusses First Capital Connect's current and future actions to improve overall customer satisfaction at monthly performance review meetings; and in more depth immediately after publication of the Passenger Focus spring and autumn National Passenger surveys each year.

Nadine Dorries: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans his Department has to review overcrowding of First Capital Connect services during peak times prior to entering into agreements to renew the franchise. [121422]

Mr McLoughlin: We will consider the crowding of the existing franchises when specifying the Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern franchise. The Government's Thameslink programme has been specifically designed to relieve overcrowding and provide greater capacity, through more frequent services and higher capacity rolling stock.

Nadine Dorries: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans his Department has to use the forthcoming negotiations for renewal of First Capital Connect's rail franchise to improve customer experience. [121423]

Mr McLoughlin: One of the stated objectives for the Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern franchise is to improve overall customer experience, and we will take into account the views expressed in the recent public consultation and wider evidence from passenger research as we develop the franchise specification for this competition.

Nadine Dorries: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what representations from customers and customer groups his Department is seeking to inform its decision on renewal of the rail franchise held by First Capital Connect. [121424]

Mr McLoughlin: The Department ran the Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern consultation on its website between 31 May and 14 September and over 3,300 responses have been received. The Department also ran eight consultation events within the franchise area between June and August 2012 and details of these were cascaded to stakeholders. The Department is analysing the responses to the consultation and feedback gathered at the consultation events and an announcement of our findings will be announced in due course.

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High Speed 2 Railway Line

Mrs Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate he has made of the cost at 2012 prices of the construction of (a) Phase 1 and (b) the whole of the construction of the HS2 project. [121283]

Mr McLoughlin: The January 2012 Command Paper estimated the costs of construction of Phase 1 of HS2 at approximately £16.3 billion in 2011 prices, and Phase 2 at a further £16.4 billion in 2011 prices. No estimate has been made in 2012 prices.

Andrea Leadsom: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the distance is from the proposed route of High Speed 2 of the furthest distant property which has been accepted for the Exceptional Hardship Scheme. [121358]

Mr McLoughlin: The Department does not intend to release this information, as its release is likely to:

A. Undermine the role of the Exceptional Hardship Scheme panel and Secretary of State, cause confusion to potential applicants to the scheme and, overall, undermine operation of the scheme, and;

B. Create unnecessary blight and adversely affect the property market.

This decision was reached in accordance with the principles of the FOI Act.

Infrastructure

Mrs Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a comparative assessment of the cost of HS2 and other infrastructure projects including those related to broadband. [121284]

Mr McLoughlin: HS2 is about meeting the long term capacity challenge faced on our railways. My predecessor, my right hon. Friend the Member for Putney (Justine Greening), as Secretary of State considered alternatives to HS2 before making her decisions in January, as set out in the “Review of the Government's Strategy for a National High Speed Rail Network” which can be found here:

http://assets.dft.gov.uk/publications/hs2-review-of-strategy/hs2-review-of-strategy.pdf

The Government believes that building a new high speed network is the best way to provide the extra capacity that our country needs, supporting job creation and helping to promote sustainable economic growth.

Oxford-Bicester Railway Line

Sir Tony Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he expects to make a decision on the application by Chiltern Railways for a Transport and Works Act Order to upgrade the railway infrastructure between Oxford and Bicester. [121441]

Stephen Hammond: The Inspector's report following the reopening of the public inquiry in May-June was received on 31 August, and is under active consideration. We will issue a decision as soon as is reasonably possible.

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Pay

Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the highest paid position is in (a) his Department and (b) his Department's agencies. [121625]

Norman Baker: The highest paid position in the Department for Transport is the permanent secretary.

The highest paid position in each of the Department's seven Executive agencies is as follows:

 Position

Highways Agency

Chief executive

DVLA

Chief executive

DSA

Chief executive

MCA

Chief executive

VOSA

Chief executive

VCA

Chief executive

GCDA

Chief executive

Railways: Essex

James Duddridge: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what arrangements are in place to ensure the successful bidder for the Essex Thameside rail franchise will not reduce the quality of rolling stock; [121455]

(2) what arrangements are in place to ensure the successful bidder for the Essex Thameside rail franchise will not use inferior rolling stock without air-conditioning. [121542]

Mr McLoughlin: The choice of rolling stock is a matter for the franchisee providing it can demonstrate to the Department that it will meet the requirements of the franchise. Rolling stock is not in public ownership so the Department for Transport is not in a position to mandate its use on particular routes or franchises. This is a live competition and the Department has yet to receive bids. Before awarding a contract to operate the franchise the Department will consider a range of factors described in the Invitation to Tender documents which are on the Department's website.

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate he has made of the maximum number of passengers that rail services can accommodate at morning and evening peak times between Witham railway station and London Liverpool Street railway station. [121574]

Norman Baker: The Secretary of State has not made an estimate of the maximum number of passengers that rail services can currently accommodate in the morning and evening peaks between Witham and London Liverpool Street railway stations.

Using capacities taken from the autumn 2011 passenger counts (when the franchise was operated by National Express East Anglia) the total number of seats on board peak services between Witham and Liverpool Street at that time were:

Morning peak (services arriving at Liverpool Street between 07:00 and 09:59)—there were 19 services, with 14,352 standard class and 816 first class seats.

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Afternoon peak (services departing from Liverpool Street between 16:00 and 18:59)—there were 19 services, with 14,210 standard class and 800 first class seats.

Railways: Greater London

Geoffrey Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what (a) arrangements have been made and (b) cost estimates have been prepared in respect of relocation of the Heathrow Express maintenance depot to allow construction of the Old Oak Common interchange for the proposed fast Heathrow Express connection between High Speed 2 and Heathrow; [120985]

(2) what commitments his Department made to provide Heathrow Express with a new track access agreement beyond the expiry of the current agreement in 2023. [120986]

Mr McLoughlin: The Department has initiated discussions with BAA regarding the necessary relocation of the Heathrow Express maintenance depot which is in the site of the HS2 Old Oak Common station. The reasonable relocation costs are a component budget for the HS2 Old Oak Common station works. The access agreement for Heathrow Express services is between Network Rail and BAA. The Department has no involvement in this contract. As an open access operator it will be for BAA to apply to the ORR for future access rights for Heathrow Express services.

Geoffrey Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what costs are included in the budgets of High Speed 2, Crossrail and the Intercity Express Programme for decking over the Old Oak Common site to enable future proposed commercial development; and what effect these works will have on each of these project's anticipated timescales. [120987]

Mr McLoughlin: There is currently no budget allocation for decking over any of the proposed rail facilities at Old Oak Common. Discussions on regeneration in this area are ongoing as part of the overall project time scales.

Southeastern

Sir John Stanley: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the amount of subsidy payable to, or franchise premium receivable from, Southeastern is in respect of its Integrated Kent Franchise in the financial years (a) 2012-13 and (b) 2013-14. [121234]

Mr McLoughlin: The Integrated Kent Franchise was let in 2006 for an eight-year term, with total franchise payments from the Department for Transport to the franchisee totalling £668.6 million in 2005-06 prices.

Of this total, £24.7 million is due to be paid to the franchisee in 2012-13 and £9.3 million is due to be paid by the franchisee to the Department in 2013-14.

Stagecoach Group and Go Ahead Group

Bridget Phillipson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many meetings (a) staff of his Department, (b) current or previous Ministers in his Department and (c) he and his predecessor have had with (i) Go Ahead Group and (ii) Stagecoach Group since 1 January 2012. [121051]

18 Sep 2012 : Column 565W

Norman Baker: Ministers and officials meet regularly with both Groups and with their component operating companies in the normal course of Departmental business. This includes meetings on rail franchising and ticketing, and roundtable discussions with a variety of stakeholders on rail and bus policy that include representatives from both Groups.

West Coast Main Line

Mr Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what assessment he has made of the costs that would be incurred by his Department from taking the West Coast Main Line into public ownership for an indeterminate but limited period of time from 8 December 2012; [121546]

(2) what assessment he has made of the amount of additional staffing and support services required from his Department, consequent upon his Department taking the West Coast Main Line into public ownership for an indeterminate but limited period of time from 8 December 2012. [121547]

Mr McLoughlin: Our overriding concern is maintaining services for passengers and ensuring value for money for taxpayers. We believe the best way to do this is to award the franchise to First West Coast Ltd, as announced on 15 August 2012. However, in view of the legal challenge from Virgin Trains Ltd, we are looking at our responsibilities under section 30 of the Railways Act 1993 and, in view of the circumstances, it is only prudent to increase our focus on contingency planning.

We have asked Directly Operated Railways (DOR), a company wholly owned by the Secretary of State for Transport, to undertake contingency work in order to ensure that, if necessary, the Government could step in on 9 December 2012, when the Virgin Trains franchise expires, to ensure the continued operation of services for passengers. This work will include important aspects, such as safety, that any train operator would need to undertake before taking over operation of a franchise. Plans are in the process of being drawn up for the additional staffing and support services that will be required. The majority of this will be provided via DOR. As much of this work as possible will run in parallel to the work that First West Coast Ltd already have under way on their own planning.

It is too early to make an assessment costs that would be incurred by the Department with any confidence. However, a recent National Audit Office review of the termination of the east coast main line franchise (HC 824 Session 2010-11) estimated that around £5.6 million was spent on the termination of the franchise and mobilisation of a replacement operator. I anticipate that the costs in this case should be lower, because, for example, DOR is already established.

Further work is required on potential costs after 9 December, should the circumstances require the Secretary of State to exercise his powers under section 30. However, we would expect any revenues to exceed the costs of operation on the west coast main line.

Mr Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discretion he has under the terms of the Invitation to Tender in respect of the West Coast Main Line franchise to pause or terminate any discussions or

18 Sep 2012 : Column 566W

agreements with any of the bidders before both parties have signed the contract. [121558]

Mr McLoughlin: In the Invitation to Tender the Department reserves its rights to alter the timetable or the process, or to terminate the process at its sole discretion.

As a result of a legal challenge, which the Government intend to defend robustly, we have not yet signed the contract with First, and therefore the competition remains live. We expect to sign the contract soon.

Home Department

Asylum: Yorkshire and the Humber

Mary Creagh: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether G4S and its subcontractors have started to use Angel Lodge in Wakefield to accommodate asylum seekers; how many people are being accommodated in Angel Lodge currently; and how many people will be accommodated when Angel Lodge is at capacity. [121027]

Mr Harper [holding answer 14 September 2012]: G4S is currently in discussions with the Citrus Group and in turn with the Angel Group to utilise Angel Lodge for the use of initial accommodation for asylum seekers. At full capacity Angel Lodge can accommodate 220 persons.

Cybercrime

Andrew Percy: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent assessment she has made of the cost of cyber crime to the UK economy. [120565]

James Brokenshire [holding answer 11 September 2012]: It is very difficult to give an accurate figure to the cost of cyber crime to the UK economy.

For example, the Detica "Cost of Cyber Crime" report, published in February 2011 in partnership with the Office of Cyber Security and Information Assurance in the Cabinet Office, estimated the cost of cyber crime to the UK to be £27 billion per annum. A copy of this report will be placed in the House Library.

A truly robust estimate will probably never be established, but it is clear the costs are high and rising.

This is why the Government have committed £650 million to the National Cyber Security Programme to support economic prosperity, protect national security and safeguard the public's way of life by building a more trusted and resilient digital environment.

Deportation

Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many immigrants who were ordered to be deported were not deported on human rights grounds in each of the last five years. [121394]

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Mr Harper: The data requested are not held in a format compatible with National Statistics protocols, or produced as part of the UK Border Agency's standard reports.

The Home Office publishes immigration statistics annually and quarterly, which are available from the Home Office Research and Statistics website. This includes information on removals. The latest statistics can be found in the Library of the House as well as on the following website:

http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/publications/science-research-statistics/research-statistics/immigration-asylum-research/immigration-q2-2012/

Draft Communications Data Bill

Steve Rotheram: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Justice on the implications for individual privacy of the draft Communications Bill. [120697]

James Brokenshire [holding answer 13 September 2012]: Home Office Ministers have had regular meetings with ministerial colleagues and others as part of the process of developing the Draft Communications Data Bill. As was the case with previous administrations, it is not the Government's practice to provide details of all such meetings. The Draft Bill also followed the standard process to obtain cross-Government clearance prior to publication.

Steve Rotheram: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what safeguards she proposes to introduce in the Communications Bill to ensure the privacy of (a) e-mails and (b) text messages. [120698]

James Brokenshire [holding answer 13 September 2012]: The Draft Communications Data Bill relates only to the who, when and where of a communication (such as an e-mail or text message) and does not include its content. Communications data are used by the police and intelligence agencies in the investigation of all types of crime, including terrorism.

The Bill retains and extends the safeguards and oversight arrangements for the acquisition of communications data that exist under current legislation. There are proven safeguards and oversight—and penalties in other legislation—in place to prevent misuse of these powers. The Bill is designed to comply with article 8 of the European convention on human rights.

Specifically, communications data may only be acquired from a communications service provider (who will collect and retain it for 12 months) for a specific purpose set out in primary legislation (such as preventing or detecting crime, in the interests of national security or for the purposes of preventing death or injury in the case of an emergency) and only by public authorities that have been approved by Parliament. Data can only be acquired by these authorities in specific cases where it is necessary and proportionate to do so and where that authority has followed a strict authorisation process for that individual request.

Communications data requests are also subject to oversight by the Interception of Communications Commissioner, including through inspections of public

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authorities. He provides a (published) annual report to the Prime Minister. Most communications data are personal data and are, therefore, also subject to the same general data protection safeguards (such as the Data Protection Act 1998) as any other personal information. The Information Commissioner would have a statutory responsibility for overseeing the security of communications data retained by communications service providers under the legislation.

Entry Clearances: Overseas Students

Mr Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many versions of guidance on the operation of the highly trusted status sponsor scheme under Tier 4 of the points-based immigration system have been issued to educational institutions since the inception of the scheme. [119911]

Mr Harper: The UK Border Agency issued dedicated guidance on the operation of the highly trusted status sponsor scheme (HTS) when the scheme was launched in April 2010. Since April 2011 highly trusted sponsor arrangements have been integrated within the general Tier 4 sponsor guidance that is issued to sponsors.

There have been eight revisions of the Tier 4 sponsor guidance since April 2011 but not all of these revisions affected the HTS provisions.

G4S

Lyn Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many meetings Ministers in her Department held with representatives of G4S between 11 May 2010 and 27 July 2012. [119011]

James Brokenshire: Home Office Ministers and officials have meetings with a wide variety of international partners, as well as organisations and individuals in the public and private sectors, as part of the process of policy development and delivery. As was the case with previous Administrations, it is not the Government's practice to provide details of all such meetings.

Human Trafficking: Children

Ann Coffey: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many referrals were made from UK Border Agency caseworkers to the National Referral Mechanism for potential child victims of trafficking in each of the last five years. [121022]

Mr Harper: The National Referral Mechanism (NRM), which is the UK's multi-agency framework to help identify and support victims, started operating on 1 April 2009. A breakdown of minors referred by the UK Border Agency (UKBA) since April 2009 can be found in the following table. Comparable estimates are not available prior to this date.

 Minors referred to the NRM by UKBA/Border Force

2009(1)

43

2010

62

2011

67

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2012(2)

71

Total to date

243

(1) Referrals from 1 April 2009 to 31 December 2009 only. (2) Year to date only (1 January 2012 to 12 September 2012). Notes: 1. This data is based on management information and as such has not been quality assured as part of the production of National Statistics outputs. It is provisional and subject to change. 2. Data includes referrals by both Border Force and UK Border Agency officers. 3. Information systems do not allow the data to be further broken down by operational division (enforcement teams, caseworking, Border Force etc.).

Immigration Controls: e-Gates

Alison Seabeck: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many e-Passport gates are available for use across UK points of entry; and how many such gates she expects to be in use by the end of 2013. [120939]

Mr Harper: There are currently 63 e-Gates at 15 terminals in nine airports across the UK, including all four terminals at London Heathrow.

Border Force is currently assessing the use of technology including e-Gates at UK points of entry, however there is no expectation that the number of e-Gates in use will fall below current numbers by the end of 2013.

Immigration Controls: Olympic Games 2012

Chris Bryant: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate she has made of the cost to the public purse of re-employing retired UK Border Agency and UK Border Force officers to work during the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics. [117383]

Mr Harper [holding answer 16 July 2012]: In total UK Border Agency re-employed 106 former staff for deployment to the border during the 49 days of the Olympics and Paralympics period. The total in year cost for that deployment is currently estimated to be £962,000 including training and mentoring costs.

Stewart Hosie: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many UK Border Agency staff from (a) Scotland, (b) Wales, (c) Northern Ireland, (d) locations in England outside London and (e) overseas are being seconded to Heathrow, Gatwick and London City Airports for the duration of the London 2012 Olympics. [117890]

Mr Harper: The UK Border Agency redeployed approximately 105 members of staff whose usual place of work was outside of the London area to Gatwick, Heathrow or London City airports during the Olympic period. The figure includes 53 from the north west region, 43 from North Yorkshire and Humberside, three from Scotland and Northern Ireland, five from Wales and south west and one from the midlands.

Stewart Hosie: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many temporary staff have been contracted by the UK Border Agency to provide

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additional staffing support over the duration of the London 2012 Olympics; and what training will be provided to such staff. [117891]

Mr Harper: The UK Border Agency created a temporary flexible contingency pool that was deployed during the Olympic period. This comprised:

106 former staff;

252 current staff; and

352 staff on temporary loan from other Government Departments. This, in turn, was made up of:

120 from HM Revenue and Customs;

200 from MOD police and; and

32 from Serious Organised Crime Agency.

In addition, 260 staff per week were temporarily seconded to the border from other parts of the UK Border Agency and Home Office HQ for the seven-week Olympic period.

All staff working on the border throughout the Olympic period were required to have received and passed border officer training.

Any staff deployed to the front line received the training required to operate effectively and were only carrying out tasks for which they had been trained.

Stewart Hosie: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate she has made of the cost to the UK Border Agency of contracting temporary staff to provide additional support during the London 2012 Olympics. [117892]

Mr Harper: The estimated cost, including the cost of travel and hotel accommodation, to the UK Border Agency and Border Force of contracting temporary staff to provide additional support during the London 2012 Olympics is approximately £6 million.

Immigration: Children

Ann Coffey: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps she is taking to ensure that details of all unaccompanied migrant children who go missing are circulated on the Police National Database. [120757]

Mr Jeremy Browne: There are currently no plans to extend the scope of the Police National Database to include details of missing unaccompanied migrant children.

However, the Government's Missing Children and Adults Strategy makes clear that all missing children are vulnerable and that where any child is reported missing to the police, effective action is needed to protect and find missing children as quickly as possible.

Should an unaccompanied child go missing from social services care, the UK Border Agency is informed and the local police will commence a missing person's investigation. High risk missing children cases will be immediately logged on the Police national computer and all missing persons cases over 72 hours must be reported to the National Missing Persons Bureau (MPB) and logged on the Missing Persons Database.