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Cabin Crew (Security)

Mr. Pike: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what steps the Government are taking to ensure flight security for cabin crew. [150644]

Mr. Robert Ainsworth: The Civil Aviation Act 1982 and the Air Navigation (No. 2) Order 1995 provide strong powers for dealing with passengers who threaten the safety or personal security of cabin crew or passengers. New powers were introduced in 1999 to ensure that anyone using threatening, abusive or insulting behaviour towards cabin crew or intentionally interfering with the crew during their duties can be punished. The effectiveness of existing measures to deal with disruptive incidents is monitored by the Disruptive Passengers Working Group, which is made up of representatives from Government, the Civil Aviation Authority, the airline industry, the police and other interested parties.

School Crossing Wardens

Mr. Truswell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what assessment he has made of the (a) contribution to road safety, (b) recruitment, remuneration and retention and (c) extension of responsibilities to include assistance to people with disabilities of school crossing wardens. [150710]

Mr. Hill: The Government fully recognise that school crossing patrols provide a valuable service to local communities, making it safe and easier for children, parents and other pedestrians to cross busy roads. However, questions as to where they should be provided and to the terms and conditions of employment of the patrol officers, are a matter for individual local authorities. My Department has made no centralised assessment of such matters.

Recent amendments to previous legislation, through the Transport Act 2000, have given school crossing patrols wider powers. When in operation, they now have authority to help anyone who seeks their assistance in crossing the road, and not just children on their way to or from school.

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Road Construction (East Sussex)

Mr. Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will make a statement on the compatibility of the stated purpose of the South Coast multi-modal study and the consideration of the construction of bypasses for Hastings. [150875]

Mr. Hill [holding answer 26 February 2001]: The Access to Hastings study reported in November 2000 and considered how transport can contribute to regenerating the local economies in Bexhill and Hastings.

The South Coast multi-modal study is currently out to tender, and aims to investigate congestion, safety and environmental problems on the south coast between Southampton and Ramsgate. The study is strategic in nature and will take into account the Access to Hastings Final Report and decisions by Ministers.

Business Rates

Mr. Blizzard: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what plans he has to review the system of business rates. [151279]

Ms Beverley Hughes: In September we published our Green Paper "Modernising Local Government Finance". It detailed a number of proposals relating to business rates including a supplementary local rate and rate relief for small businesses. The consultation period ended on 8 December. We are now considering the many responses we have received. We will publish our conclusions in a White Paper later this year.

Ministerial Meeting

Mrs. Virginia Bottomley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions when the meeting between the Minister for Local Government and the Regions, the right hon. Member for North-West Durham (Ms Armstrong) and leading members of the Town and Country Finance Issues Group concerning the Green Paper on local government finance will take place. [151132]

Ms Armstrong: We have no record of a formal request for a meeting from the leading members of Town and Country Finance Issues Group. If I receive such a request I would be happy to consider it.

Recycling

Mr. Chaytor: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what procedures he has established for auditing the quantities of recyclable material eligible for packaging recovery notes and packaging export recovery notes; and if he will make a statement. [150975]

Mr. Robert Ainsworth [holding answer 26 February 2001]: Only packaging waste handled by accredited reprocessors and exporters is eligible for packaging recovery or packaging export recovery notes. In England and Wales the accreditation is overseen by the Environment Agency, to whom those who are accredited are required to send information regularly on the

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quantities handled. Accredited reprocessors are subject to an annual inspection at the time of making their application for accreditation. Accredited reprocessors must submit quarterly returns to the Environment Agency and the Agency also makes periodic inspections, some of which are unannounced, to premises to check this information.

Mr. Chaytor: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what assessment he has made of the impact of the introduction of packaging export recovery notes on the use of recyclate by British manufacturing industry; and if he will make a statement. [150974]

Mr. Robert Ainsworth [holding answer 26 February 2001]: No assessment of this kind has been done to date. However, in the first three quarters of 2000, 93 per cent. of packaging recycled has been recycled in the UK; with the remainder being exported for recycling. Since the packaging regulations came into force, the UK has increased its packaging recovery rate from some 30 per cent. in 1997 to just under 40 per cent. at the end of 1999.

Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions (1) how much his Department spent in the last year on raising public consciousness concerning the value of recycling; [151320]

Mr. Robert Ainsworth: Prime activity to raise public awareness of waste reuse and recycling is taken forward under my Department's "are you doing your bit?" publicity campaign, which aims to persuade people to take action to protect the environment. This campaign, which is receiving funding of £9 million in this financial year covers transport, climate change, waste and water conservation. Approximately 15 per cent. of campaign expenditure is devoted to waste issues. Examples of "are you doing your bit?" waste campaign activity are at www.useitagain.org.uk and www.doingyourbit.org.uk, which I commend to the House.

In addition, my Department is providing core funding of £3.7 million to the environmental charity ENCAMS (incorporating Tidy Britain Group and Going for Green), who primarily focus their waste promotional activity around a waste theme month in October. Environmental Action Fund grants totalling approximately £415,000 are also being paid to 13 charities in this financial year to support various waste/recycling projects.

Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what steps he is taking to improve the level of recycling in the United Kingdom. [151353]

Mr. Robert Ainsworth: Waste Strategy 2000 set out targets for doubling the recycling or composting of household waste in three years and nearly tripling it in five years. These targets will be underpinned by statutory performance standards for each local authority under the Best Value regime. It also set a target of reducing the amount of industrial and commercial waste sent to landfill by 2005, to 85 per cent. of that landfilled in 1998.

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We announced in the Spending Review 2000 major extra funding for local authorities and for the new Waste and Resources Action Programme which will operate across all waste streams to foster markets for recycled materials.

Most recently, my right hon Friend the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport consulted on proposals for the next round of lottery funding (the New Opportunities Fund), including a programme to expand community sector waste reuse, recycling and composting.

Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what incentives his Department plans to introduce to assist in the production of community recycling programmes. [151317]

Mr. Robert Ainsworth: My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister announced in his speech of 24 October a further £50 million from the New Opportunities Fund to support community recycling initiatives for up to 700,000 households.

We will shortly issue guidance to English local authorities on Municipal Waste Management Strategies, which will make it clear that we expect such strategies to include the authorities' plans for partnerships with local community groups.

Serco Contracts

Mrs. Dunwoody: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will list the contracts that exist between Serco and his Department, its executive agencies and associated public bodies; and if he will list those which have existed in the last three years. [151337]

Mr. Hill: The following are current contracts between Serco and DETR, its executive agencies and major associated public bodies:


The following are contracts which have been completed during the last three years:



The information requested in respect of other associated bodies is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

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