Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page

The School Club Links programme is a key work strand within the national school sport strategy. The aim of this work strand is to increase the percentage of five to 16 year-olds from school sport partnership schools who are members of, or participate in, governing body or otherwise accredited sports clubs. Currently, 27 per cent of pupils in partnership schools participate in at least one sports club linked to their school—up from 19 per cent two years ago. The most common club-linked sports are football (78 per cent), cricket (52 per cent), rugby union (46 per cent), dance (40 per cent) and athletics (38 per cent). On average, schools have club links with approximately six sports.

The national school sport strategy aims to increase both the quantity and quality of PE and school sport for all pupils, whatever their particular needs or circumstances. This includes pupils with special needs and those from minority ethnic backgrounds. School sport partnerships are encouraged to target their available resources towards those with special needs or from ethnic minorities.

Baroness Billingham asked Her Majesty’s Government:

Lord Adonis: Under the current standards for qualified teacher status, every primary trainee needs to demonstrate subject knowledge and teaching ability in physical education (PE). Under the previous standards, replaced in 2002, primary trainees were able to opt out of PE.

16 Apr 2007 : Column WA28

Initial teacher training providers have been supported for the last three years by a project funded by the Training and Development Agency for Schools (TDA) to support the delivery of high-quality PE training. To date, the project has delivered individual support for teacher trainers, web-based resources, DVD resources, printed training manuals, and regional and national conferences for training providers. Primary PE has been one of the focus areas of this support.

Sport: Ministerial Visits

Lord Luke asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport did not visit Australia during the second test match of the Ashes series and therefore no costs were incurred.

Sudan: Darfur

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Triesman): The UK was instrumental in pushing for the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1591 (2005) calling for targeted sanctions, a travel ban and an assets freeze on individuals from the conflict in Darfur. UNSCR 1672 (2006) gave effect to UNSCR 1591 by imposing targeted sanctions on four individuals from all sides of the conflict.

It is completely unacceptable that there is no ceasefire in Darfur. We are working with our international partners to target further individuals responsible for atrocities and impeding the peace process, by listing them on the UN sanctions list. We are pushing for action on this issue in the UN Security Council.

Sudan: Oil Exports

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

16 Apr 2007 : Column WA29

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Triesman): The Government of Sudan have consistently failed to make good on their promises agreed at the UN high- level meeting on 16 November 2006 in Addis Ababa. This included the need for a strengthened African Union (AU)-UN hybrid force for Darfur. We are continuing to press the Government of Sudan to accept this force and are calling on our international partners to do the same.

The implementation of the existing ceasefire agreement remains a UK priority. We are looking at tougher measures, including sanctions, extension of the existing arms embargo and monitoring of military flights, to get the Government of Sudan to comply with their promises made to the international community. We are continuing to talk to international partners including the US, EU, UN and AU about this.

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Triesman: We are not taking steps to block receipt of money for oil exports from Sudan. We want to ensure that any sanctions do not impact on the comprehensive peace agreement between north and south Sudan, or those who have no responsibility for violence in Darfur.

My right honourable friend the Prime Minister wrote to Chancellor Merkel and other EU leaders on 21 March to make the case for further targeted sanctions against individuals responsible for committing atrocities in Darfur, and an extension to the UN arms embargo to the whole of Sudan, in line with the current EU embargo. We are now taking this forward with the US, other UN Security Council members and key partners.

Trade: Deficit

Lord Dykes asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: The Government’s strategy continues to be ensuring that there is strong competition in every UK market by promoting openness to free trade, minimising product market regulation and ensuring that the UK’s competition enforcement authorities are world class. Similarly, the Government actively engage trading partners to promote best practice of free trade and the reduction of international trade barriers.

Despite the UK trade deficit reaching 4.2 per cent of GDP in 2006, the economy is very different from when the deficit last peaked at 4.1 per cent in 1989. In 2006 the current account deficit was just 3.4 per cent

16 Apr 2007 : Column WA30

of GDP, compared with 5.1 per cent in 1989, and, moreover, the current account can be readily financed.

Vehicles: Excise Duty

The Earl of Mar and Kellie asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: Budget 2007 announced VED rates for this year and the next two years. In 2008-09 the rate for the most polluting cars in band G will increase to £400, with a freeze in the following year, rates for cars in bands C to E will increase by £5 in each of 2008-09 and 2009-10, as will band F rates.

The band A rate introduced in Budget 2006 for the very lowest carbon cars will remain zero and will continue to encourage take-up and assist development of the low carbon car market. The new lower £35 band B rate for low carbon cars will remain frozen until 2010-11. Rates for pre-March 2001 cars and all light goods vehicles will increase by £5 in each of 2008-09 and 2009-10.

Waste Management: Toxic Dumping

The Countess of Mar asked Her Majesty’s Government:

The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker): The original depth of the Brofiscin quarry would have been approximately 6 metres below current surface levels.

The last portion of the quarry to be filled was the eastern end. The quarry was not entirely filled and a properly engineered cap was not fitted. The ground is now covered with patchy scrub, grass and trees.

I am advised that the total area of contaminated land is around 1.26 hectares and that it contains some 72,000 cubic metres of waste material. As this estimate is based on the best available information, revision of these figures is not thought to be necessary at this time.

16 Apr 2007 : Column WA31

The Countess of Mar asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Rooker: The Brofiscin quarry has been designated as a special site because of the substances present and the specific geology of the site (carboniferous limestone). This is not related to the volume of waste that was accepted at the site.

The costs incurred to date by the Environment Agency (EA), which include site investigation, drilling, monitoring, analytical costs and interpretation, are approximately £800,000. Additional legal costs have been incurred for counsel and advice with regard to the proceedings in the United States, to the sum of £17,000.

The EA is also conducting extensive inquiries to determine who should bear responsibility for remedial actions and associated costs.

A full interpretative report is due to be published by the EA in April. The report will bring together the findings of the recent drilling work and monitoring to present a three-dimensional picture of the quarry. This will help us to understand the extent to which contamination is migrating into the surrounding rock, groundwater and surface waters. The EA, Rhondda Cynon Taff County Borough Council and the Welsh Assembly Government will be liaising on possible further work at the quarry based on the findings of the April report. It is not, therefore, currently possible to assess the likely total expenditure.

The Countess of Mar asked Her Majesty’s Government:

Lord Rooker: In Wales, responsibility for policy on waste management and contaminated land lies with the National Assembly, which receives specialist advice from the Environment Agency (EA) and the Food Standards Agency (FSA). In relation to Brofiscin quarry, the EA has looked at all the available reports—including those listed in my Written Answer to the noble Countess on 8 March (WA 72)—in developing a conceptual site model. The Welsh Assembly Government are providing funding for the development of the model to aid in the assessment of potential remediation options.

In relation to the Maendy site, consideration was given to the report of a study carried out by the Department of the Environment in 1975.

16 Apr 2007 : Column WA32

In respect of the Solutia site at Newport, a report was produced in 2005, which included the assessment of opportunities for bio-accumulation of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) within the food chain due to releases to the Severn estuary. The FSA reviewed this assessment and concluded that the operation was unlikely to have any unacceptable effects on the food chain.

The EA has no information in its records concerning the origins of any wastes deposited at the Rayleigh site. This site was operated and closed prior to 1974 and neither the EA nor the predecessor authority for waste (Essex County Council) was responsible for the day-to-day regulation of the site. The information that the EA holds on pre-1974 landfills is provided to it by the district council that authorised such sites, usually by way of planning permission.

For the landfill site known as Bennett Bank, near Dalton-in-Furness, Cumbria, a pollution prevention and control (PPC) application was submitted on 7 May 2004 and contained an environmental setting and installation design report (ESID) together with a hydrogeological risk assessment (HRA), a stability risk assessment (SRA), a landfill gas risk assessment (GRA) and a habitats impact assessment. These reports would have all contained analytical data that the EA used in considering the application for a PPC permit for the Bennett Bank landfill sites.

During the permitting process, further questions were asked in support of the technical aspects of the application on 9 and 16 July 2004. The responses to these contained further analytical data and were material considerations used by the EA in deciding to grant a PPC permit for the facility, a decision made on 7 November 2005.

Water Supply

Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker): My department currently has no plans to issue guidance to the Environment Agency as a result of the amendment from the European Commission to paragraph 3 of Article 8 of the EC Water Framework Directive (WFD)(2000/60/EC).

16 Apr 2007 : Column WA33

The amendment changes procedures for the Article 21 committee of the WFD (and introduces the new regulatory procedure with scrutiny) including that for adopting technical specifications and standardised methods for the analysis and monitoring of water status. The Environment Agency (alongside other UK competent authorities) will continue to advise the UK Government through the UK Technical Advisory Group on the WFD on technical matters which arise in the Article 21 committee.

The intercalibration process required by the WFD should lead to a common understanding across the European Union of good ecological status in water bodies. It is expected that the Article 21 committee will be asked to adopt a Commission decision on the results of the intercalibration exercise for the first river basin planning cycle during autumn 2007.

It is envisaged that the classification scheme in various parts of the UK will be finalised in the months following the adoption of the intercalibration decision by the Article 21 committee.

16 Apr 2007 : Column WA34

Water Supply: Ofwat Price Review

Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer asked Her Majesty’s Government:

The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker): Preparations for the next periodic review of water price limits are currently in the early stages. Defra will be working with Ofwat and other stakeholders throughout the review.

This summer, Defra will be publishing a water strategy document outlining the Government’s priorities for the water sector. Later on this year, we expect to clarify for water companies the obligations that they must meet. Early in 2008, we will issue general guidance to Ofwat on its contribution towards the attainment of social and environmental policies.

Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page