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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): A survey is currently under way in England and Wales and the vast majority will be completed by summer 2008. A similar survey in Scotland was completed in 2006. For Northern Ireland, a survey is planned to commence and be completed within the next financial year. It is proposed that all leased accommodation in Germany will be surveyed in the next 18 months. A survey of federal accommodation will be carried out over the next four years. For the permanent joint operating bases (Cyprus, Gibraltar and the south Atlantic islands), condition surveys are undertaken on a five-year rolling programme.
Further to the statement by Baroness Taylor of Bolton on 22 November (Official Report, col. 997) that the reserve will continue to pay all additional costs of operations, whether this represents a change from the Governments previous policy of the reserve paying for the net additional costs of operations. [HL721]
Further to the statement by Baroness Taylor of Bolton on 22 November (Official Report, col. 997), what is the mutually agreed total beyond which the Ministry of Defence and HM Treasury will share the cost of urgent operational requirements for the financial years 2008-09, 2009-10 and 2010-11. [HL722]
Baroness Taylor of Bolton: We continue to discuss our plans with HM Treasury. However, in light of the uncertainty of such forecasts, as a consequence of the tempo of operations, we do not expect to release into the public domain any estimates agreed with HM Treasury for planning purposes.
Further to the Written Answer by Baroness Taylor of Bolton on 22 November (WA 87), whether the commissioning target differentiates between Group A commissions, which attract a liability to call-out, and other groups that do not have a liability to call-out; and, if so, what was the target and outturn for each group for each of the last five years. [HL731]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): There is no differentiation between Group A commissions, which attract a liability for call-out, and Group B commissions, which do not attract such a liability.
Lord Bach: It is the policy of the Government to have a Civil Service that is representative of the population whom it serves. Progress has been made on gender, black and minority ethnic and disability representation in the higher ranks of the Civil Service. Details can be found on the Civil Service website at www.civilservice.gov.uk/about/diversity/monitoring.asp.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for International Development (Baroness Vadera): The Department for International Development is working with the World Bank, the African Development Bank, the Governments of the Congo basin countries and other members of the Congo Basin Forest Partnership on the initiation of the £50 million Congo Forest Fund, which will be funded from DfIDs Environmental Transformation Fund.
The Congo Forest Fund will help to slow the rate of deforestation across the Congo basin by developing the capacity of people and institutions to manage their forests and by helping local communities to find
13 Dec 2007 : Column WA79
DfID is also working with international partners on specific forestry initiatives in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Cameroon, which focus on the development of innovative forest management and finance models.
When they expect to conclude service-level agreements between the Ministry of Defence, Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform on their respective roles in relation to defence exports after the reallocation of the functions of the Defence Export Services Organisation to UK Trade & Investment. [HL702]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): The service-level agreement between UK Trade & Investment and the Ministry of Defence regarding defence exports will be concluded before the transfer of responsibilities comes into effect. This transfer will take place on 1 April 2008, as announced to the House by my noble friend Lord Jones of Birmingham on 11 December (Official Report, WS 17-18).
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): Progress on the defence industrial strategy (DIS) is measured by a set of milestones that cover both internal MoD change and industrial sectors.
Milestones for 2007 were provided to the House of Commons Defence Committee in January 2007 and were published in their Sixth Report of Session 2006-07. Future delivery milestones will be developed as part of DIS v2.0.
Whether environmental sustainability has been integrated into the agenda of issues to be discussed during this weeks European consultation by the Commission on Growth and Development, hosted by the Department for International Development. [HL876]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for International Development (Baroness Vadera): Consultations were held on 10 December with representatives from European Governments and on 11 December with NGOs, the private sector and academia. In both meetings, the issue of environmental sustainability and its relation to growth took up a significant part of the discussion. In my opening address, I noted that perhaps the biggest challenge today is to work out how the world is going to secure the low carbon growth that we need. This theme was also raised with the commission by other government representatives and by NGO and private sector participants.
We anticipate that the final commission report will deal with environment and growth in some detail, including specific references to the challenges raised by global warming. It will also deal with more local environmental issues related to growth.
Whether they will provide a summary of each topic subject to a focus group commissioned by or on behalf of the Department for Communities and Local Government and its predecessor in each of the last three years. [HL226]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Andrews): Focus groups frequently play an important role in policy formation, implementation or evaluation, as part of the normal process of public and stakeholder consultation. Information on specific exercises is not available centrally and would result in disproportionate costs to collect.
The Chairman of Committees (Lord Brabazon of Tara): The House of Lords contribution to the 2007 State Opening of Parliament is £85,840, which is 40 per cent of the total cost to the Houses of Parliament. This figure includes the cost of the removal and reinstatement of the Corus barriers.
To what extent plans to harmonise and integrate public services provided (a) by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, and (b) by the Palestinian Authority, in both Gaza and the West Bank, have so far been discussed; and whether any progress has been made in implementation. [HL635]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for International Development (Baroness Vadera): The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) already works closely with the Palestinian Authority (PA) at local, national and municipal levels, in both the West Bank and Gaza, to ensure parity of health, education and social services. For example, UNRWA contributed to the drafting of the Palestinian reform and development plan. This will be implemented over the course of 2008. There are no formal plans for the PA and UNRWA to deliver services jointly.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Andrews): An estimated 68,100 dwellings were built in areas of high flood risk between 2001 and 2005. The table below gives a breakdown by year over that time.
|Number of new dwellings built in flood risk areas 2001 to 2005|
|Total new dwellings built in flood risk areas|
|Source: Communities and Local Government completions data (2007)|
|Source data: Land Use Change Statistics data (LUCS 22A, October 2007)|
|1. There is an inevitable time lag between land use change occurring and its being recorded, therefore data are constantly being updated.|
|2. The data in the table above are based on records received from Ordnance Survey up to June 2007.|
The definition of high flood risk areas used by Communities and Local Government is the high-risk zone mapped by the Environment Agency as being at a probability of flooding, excluding the presence of flood defences, of at least one in 100 each year for river flooding and at least one in 200 for coastal flooding. High flood risk areas account for about 10 per cent of land in England, including parts of major cities such as London.
Flood risk is a major factor in the location of new development and the Governments aim is to avoid inappropriate development in such areas. Planning policy statement 25 (PPS25) ensures that flood risk must be taken into account at all stages of the planning process. Development that would not be safe in the higher flood risk areas should be directed to areas of lower risk wherever this is practicable.
Lord Bassam of Brighton: The public performance measure for rail reliability continues to improve. The number of delay minutes attributed to Network Rail has remained stable over the last 12 months. It is the duty of the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) to monitor the performance of Network Rail and to take action if Network Rail fails to meet its regulatory targets. For information on the ORRs enforcement policy, the noble Lord may wish to contact the ORR directly at the following address: Chief Executive, Office of Rail Regulation, 1 Kemble Street, London, WC2B 4AN.
Whether the resignation of the chairman of Sport England will lead to a shift of policy towards more support for competitive sport as opposed to the goal of increasing participation in sporting activities by adults of all backgrounds. [HL740]
Lord Davies of Oldham: The resignation of the chairman of Sport England will have no effect on the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sports announcement on 28 November to focus Sport England on building a world-class community sport infrastructure.
The Government want to build a high-quality community sport infrastructure in order to sustain and increase participation in sport from the grass roots up and to allow people of all abilities the opportunity to develop their sporting talents and fulfil their potential. Competitive sport and participation both play important roles in a high-quality community sport infrastructure.
Sport England is currently developing its new strategy to develop world-class community sport and boost participation in grass-roots sport, particularly among people from poorer backgrounds, women and ethnic minority communities.
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