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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Education and Skills (Lord Adonis): Information on the incidence of adoption by same sex couples where blood line is a consideration is not collected centrally. Similarly, information on the incidence of male or female same-sex couple adoption of children by gender is not collected centrally.
However, statistics on the adoption of looked-after children by same-sex couples, by gender of the couple and by gender of the adopted child will be published by DfES in the autumn of 2007 and will be accessible on the departmental website on www.dfes.gov.uk/rsgateway/contents.shtml.
Whether the European Commission required pig and poultry producers in European Union member states to cover the cost of the integrated pollution prevention and control regulations; and, if not, why this is required of United Kingdom producers. [HL2368]
The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker): There is no EU requirement for member states to charge operators for the permits they require under the Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC) Directive. Some EU member states have elected not to charge for IPPC permit applications and recover regulatory costs from general taxation revenue. Others, including the UK, have elected to recover varying proportions of the costs from the regulated industry. This is a political decision for each national government. The UK's position is in line with the polluter pays principle and guidance from Her Majesty's Treasury. The differing practices which are in place make it difficult to make comparisons of the costs to producers across the EU.
Whether United Kingdom border controls to prevent the importation of rabies will be weakened by European Union animal movement regulations; and whether they intend to ask for an extension of the current derogation. [HL2239]
The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker): I refer the noble Lord to the reply given in the other place to my honourable friend the member for Stroud (Mr Drew) on 20 February, (Official Report, col. 602W).
Whether the new European Union accession countries have as rigorous a wild bird population testing regime as the United Kingdom; and, if not, whether they will propose that a uniform European Union standard is put in place. [HL2208]
The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker): Avian influenza surveillance plans are submitted in accordance with Commission guidelines by all member states to the Commission for approval. The Commission approved the programmes of Bulgaria and Romania for the year 2007 during 2006.
Whether, in their continuing investigation on the transit of turkeys between Hungary and the United Kingdom, they have ensured that no contaminated meat was sent from the United Kingdom to Hungary for processing and packaging and that no resulting finished product was then returned to the United Kingdom market. [HL2355]
The only products imported from Hungary by Bernard Matthews Limited Foods to the Holton premises during the risk period were turkey breasts. The products came from two turkey slaughterhouses in Hungary:Saga Foods Zrt, 9600 Sarvar, Soproni u. 15, Hungary, Approval No. HU-109
The final Food Standards Agency-led report into the possible transmission of H5N1 avian influenza virus from imported Hungarian turkey meat to the UK was published on 16 February. Copies are available in the Library of the House. It concluded that there is no evidence that any meat has entered the UK food chain from the restricted zones in Hungary and that all food importing and processing activities undertaken were in line with EC law. It found that the risk to workers, in and around the Bernard Matthews food plant, was very low.
|Income Support Claimants in the London Government Office Region by Statistical Group, as at August 2006.
|1. Figures are rounded to the nearest 10; totals may not sum due to rounding.
|2. Incapacity Benefits includes those claiming incapacity benefit (IB) or severe disablement allowance, including IB credits-only cases.
|3. Lone Parents are single claimants with a child under 16 and who are not claiming incapacity benefits.
|4. Carers are claimants receiving carers allowance and who are not claiming incapacity benefits, and are not lone parents.
|5. Others are those not included in the above categories.
|6. Figures exclude residual minimum income guarantee claimants.
|Source: DWP 100 per cent Work & Pensions Longitudinal Study.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord McKenzie of Luton): As at August 2006, the most recent available information, there were 134,900 income-based jobseeker's allowance claimants in the London Government Office region.
What estimate they have made of the proportion of income which benefits claimants spend on public transport fares; and what research they have undertaken on expenditure on travel fares by benefits claimants. [HL2362]
Further to the Written Answer by Lord Triesman on 26 February (WA 28485), why the stock letter states that an otherwise stateless British dependent territories citizen may be eligible for British overseas citizenship, when Article 6(1) granted British overseas citizenship to all such persons automatically; and whether they will update the wording of the stock letter to reflect the policy set out in paragraph 25 of the nationality provisions of the Hong Kong Act 1985, Cm. 9637, laid before Parliament in October 1985. [HL2336]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Triesman): The stock letter was drafted to reflect the provision in the British Nationality (Hong Kong) Act 1997 regarding eligibility to become a British overseas citizen. This provision of the Act only applied to those who were left stateless on 1 July 1997. The stock letter has now been reviewed and amended in light of the amendments to Nepalese nationality law.
Further to the Written Answer by Lord Adonis on 27 February (WA 299), whether, in the pack of resources on climate change linked to the national curriculum, there will be material supporting the view that climate change is not being caused primarily by carbon dioxide emissions. [HL2380]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Education and Skills (Lord Adonis): The pack itself will be a wallet containing digital resources. It will signpost schools to web-based
7 Mar 2007 : Column WA51
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Truscott): The tender process for the framework agreement was competitive and transparent, in line with EU procedures. For each technology supported under Low Carbon Buildings Programme phase 2, there are three suppliers, ensuring that there is still an element of competition within the framework.
Public and charitable organisations remain at liberty to purchase microgeneration technologies from any company, and may be eligible to apply for grants under Low Carbon Buildings Programme phase 1. They will not be able to access the capital grants available under phase 2 if they do not wish to purchase technologies from framework agreement suppliers.
What assessment they have made of whether the decision to restrict to seven companies access to the phase 2 funding from the Low Carbon Building Programme will increase the cost of the installation of microgeneration systems in the public sector. [HL2388]
Lord Truscott: The microgeneration industry has consistently informed us that lack of certainty regarding future volumes is prohibiting the investments in the supply chain that are required to drive costs down. After consultation with industry representatives, we determined that to get the investment in the supply chain required to drive costs down and the microgeneration industry forward, greater certainty about future demand is required. A framework agreement was developed whereby customers would receive grants where installations were undertaken by specific suppliers. The aim is that investments made in the supply chain by those companies will benefit the industry as a whole and lower prices will filter across to all.
Tenders from prospective framework suppliers were chosen on the basis of offering best value for money and we consider that the approach taken
7 Mar 2007 : Column WA52
Whether they will review the existence of the framework agreement for phase 2 funding from the Low Carbon Building Programme, with a view to opening phase 2 funding to all accredited microgeneration installers. [HL2389]
Lord Truscott: The aim of phase 2 of the Low Carbon Building Programme is to achieve reductions in the costs of microgeneration products, against a 2005 baseline, by stimulating the industry through the guaranteed demand provided by the £50 million of capital grant funding announced in Budget 2006.
A key barrier to widespread uptake of microgeneration products is the up-front cost of installations. The industry has consistently informed us that lack of certainty regarding future volumes is prohibiting the investments in the supply chain that are required to drive costs down. After consultation with industry representatives, we determined that to get the investment in the supply chain required to drive costs down and the microgeneration industry forward, greater certainty about future demand is required. A framework agreement was developed which provides seven lead contractors, chosen through a competitive process, with this greater certainty of demand. The aim is that investments made in the supply chain by those companies will benefit the industry as a whole and lower prices will filter across to all.
Whether they have made an assessment of the likely impact of the environmental noise directive on effective co-ordination with local and regional development and transport plans; and what resources they will make available for local and regional implementation of action on noise. [HL2242]
The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker): Existing guidance already describes how the control of environmental noise is to be co-ordinated with development and transport plans. This is set out in Policy Planning Statement 1 on Planning for
7 Mar 2007 : Column WA53
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