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Air Pollution Control

Mr. Salter: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the 2002–03 charging schemes for local air pollution control under Part I of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and Local Authority Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control under the Pollution Prevention and Control Act 1999. [47165]

Mr. Meacher: Charges to cover the costs of local enforcing authorities in regulating processes which are subject to Part I of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 were introduced in April 1991. Interim charges for processes which are subject to the Pollution Prevention and Control Act 1999 were introduced in August 2000.

With the approval of the Treasury, and following consultation with local authority associations and industry, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has made revised schemes for England in respect of Environmental Protection Act and England and Wales in respect of the Pollution Prevention and Control Act. The schemes specify the scale of fees and charges to take effect from 1 April 2002.

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The fees and charges in both schemes have been increased by 1.8 per cent., broadly in line with inflation. However, my Department is writing to local authorities to advise them that if there is not much more widespread adoption of cost accounting practices for LAPC over the next six months this increase may be rescinded at the next review of the charging schemes later this year.

The schemes will be laid before both Houses and copies placed in the Libraries.

Policy Commission Report

Mr. Cawsey: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when the Government will respond to the Policy Commission's report. [47166]

Margaret Beckett: The Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs today held a seminar with leaders of the farming and food sectors and others with an interest in the environment and the rural economy and identified early actions to drive forward the Commission's report. A new strategy for sustainable farming and food, incorporating a definitive response to the Policy Commission's report will be published in the autumn. Actions to develop and deliver the strategy have been announced, including the publication today of Sustainable Food and Farming—Working Together: a document intended to focus discussion on key issues.

Copies of the document are available from the Libraries of the House. Details of the announcement and the document are also available in electronic form from the DEFRA website, www.defra.gov.uk.

Dangerous Substance Rules

Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs for what reason the dangerous substance rules were not updated by June 2001; and when she plans to update them. [40648]

Dr. Whitehead: I have been asked to reply.

Implementation in Great Britain of Commission Directive 2000/21/EC was through amendments to two existing regulations [Notification of New Substances Regs. and Chemicals (Hazards and Information Packaging for Supply Regs.]. The total package of amendments was completed by the implementation date of 13 April 2001.

A similar approach was taken in Northern Ireland where the package of amendments to regulations came into operation on 16 January 2002.

Rural Affairs

Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the total cost is of the XYour countryside, You're welcome" (a) launch and (b) campaign. [43082]

Alun Micheal: [pursuant to his reply, 20 March 2002, c. 380]: In my reply to hon. Member on 20 March, I said that the cost of the PR activity to support XYour

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countryside, Your welcome" was #209,000. I have now received information about other public funds which supported the campaign.

In addition to the #209,000 spent directly by DEFRA referred to in my previous answer, the Countryside Agency has paid #371,000 for regional advertising, and #10,000 towards the development of www.yourcountryside.info—the website for XYour countryside, You're welcome" campaign. The English Tourism Council also spent #8,500 on consumer research and #18,000 on a special publication of XHidden England". These figures do not include in-house staff costs, nor do they include any expenditure by the over 100 non-governmental organisations involved in the campaign. I am sorry that my original answer referred only to direct expenditure by DEFRA itself.

LORD CHANCELLOR'S DEPARTMENT

Census (1901)

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department how many transactions per second the Internet service provider responsible for the 1901 Census on-line service could provide at the time the service was suspended; and how many transactions per second it will be possible to provide once the programme of enhancements has been completed. [38538]

Ms Rosie Winterton: QinetiQ Ltd, who are responsible for the delivery of the system and service, designed and supplied a system which was to support 18,912,000 static page impressions and 4,800,000 dynamic page impressions for a peak of 1.2 million users per day. This equates to an average of approximately 274 page impressions per second. When the system is again available it is intended that it will be able to provide at least these levels of performance and be considerably more robust. Testing of the updated design and configuration is still continuing to confirm this, before the service is resumed.

Correspondence

Mr. George Howarth: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what targets his Department and the agencies it sponsors have for responding to correspondence (a) from hon. Members and (b) from members of the public; and what his Department's performance against such targets has been for each of the last 36 months in both categories. [31006]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Ministers at the Lord Chancellor's Department aim to respond to correspondence from hon. Members within 20 working days. Chief Executives of the Public Record Office and the Land Registry also aim to reply to hon. Members within 20 working days, whilst the Chief Executives of the Public Guardianship Office and the Court Service aim to do so within 15 working days. Statistics for correspondence with hon. Members for the Department and each agency for each of the last 36 months is not readily available and could only be provided at disproportionate cost, but statistics for each of the last three years are as follows:

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Percentage of correspondence from MPs answered within target
Per cent.

1998–991999–20002000–011 April 2001 to 31 December 2001
LCD Headquarters88767375
Land Registry1100919379
Public Trust Office2998378
Public Guardianship Office252
Public Record Office10010096100
Court Service HQ99939494

1 Figures for the Land Registry are for the calendar years 1998, 1999 and 2000.

2 The Public Guardianship Office was created on 1 April 2001 when the Public Trust Office ceased to exist.

fbatistics for correspondence with members of the public for the Department and its agencies for each of the last 36 months is not readily available and could only be provided at disproportionate cost, but figures are available for each of the last three financial years, and I refer my hon. Friend to the answer given by the Parliamentary Secretary at the Cabinet Office (column 453W) on 19 July 2001 for figures relating to Lord Chancellor's Department Headquarters, Court Service Headquarters and the Land Registry. Figures for the Public Trust Office, and since 1 April 2001 its successor the Public Guardianship Office, and the Public Record Office are set out in the following table.nb


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Percentage of correspondence from members of the public answered within target
Per cent.

Target1998–991999–20002000–012001 to 31 December 2001
Public Record Office10999910099
Public Trust Office1—969289
Public Guardianship Office
2—
(c) 91.9
(d) 94.8

1 The standard for dealing with correspondence in the Public Trust Office was to respond to all letters within 10 working days, or to acknowledge letters within three working days and respond fully within 20 working days.

2 The standard for dealing with correspondence in the Public Guardianship Office is to: (a) respond to 85 per cent. of letters, faxes and e-mails within 15 working days of receipt; and (b) to respond to 95 per cent. of letters, faxes and e-mails within 20 working days of receipt.


Judiciary (Solicitors)

Mr. Cameron: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department (1) how many acting members of the judiciary have been the subject of complaints for their work as solicitors in the last 12 months; and if he will make a statement; [44606]

Mr. Wills: As Head of the Judiciary, the Lord Chancellor investigates complaints about the personal conduct of both full-time and part-time judicial office holders. He does not, however, investigate complaints against solicitors who are part-time Judges when the complaints relate to their work as solicitors, as this is a matter for the Office for the Supervision of Solicitors and ultimately for the Law Society. The Lord Chancellor has no disciplinary powers in relation to solicitors. If a solicitor who is a part-time judicial office holder is subject to such a complaint, he or she is required to inform the Lord Chancellor's Department of the outcome. The Department is aware of four such complaints in the past 12 months.


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