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Dr. Pugh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment the Government have made of incentives which could be adopted to encourage local authorities to promote kerbside and other methods of plastic recycling. 
Joan Ruddock: Additional funding for local authorities, including through the private finance initiative, has led to a major increase in kerbside recycling facilities. The Governments Waste Strategy for England 2007 set a new national target for reducing the amount of household wastes not reused, recycled or composted, and increased national targets for the percentage of household waste recycled and composted. It also set a target for the amount of municipal waste recovered.
David Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans he has to meet with representatives of English, Scottish or Welsh local authorities to discuss the disposal of radioactive waste; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Woolas [holding answer 8 October 2007]: I spoke at the Local Government Association conference The long-term management of radioactive wastesthe role of Local Government on 6 September 2007. There are also regular meetings between DEFRA and the Nuclear Legacy Advisory Forum (NuLeAF), the special interest group of the Local Government Association, to discuss radioactive waste issues.
The Government are consulting publicly on a framework for implementing the geological disposal of higher activity radioactive waste. In launching the consultation document on 25 June 2007, DEFRA Ministers wrote to all local authorities in England and Wales to inform those who may have an interest in responding.
Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what plans her Department has to implement the proposals set out in its recent report on Councillor Involvement in Planning Decisions in respect of biological treatment infrastructure. 
Yvette Cooper: Since the report did not recommend changes to the procedure for considering planning applications, but rather pointed to existing good practice, we do not propose to take any further implementation action.
Mr. Iain Wright: For 2006-07 spending on hospitality by Communities and Local Government, I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to the hon. Member for Upper Bann (David Simpson) on 8 May 2007, Official Report, columns 120-21W. In our predecessor department, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, spending on hospitality was £38,803 in 2003-04, £42,126 in 2004-05 and £54,932 in 2005-06. Recorded hospitality expenditure is higher in 2006-07 than in previous years, due to coding parameter changes on the Departments financial system, which means that some catering expenditure is also included.
Mrs. Lait: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what her Deprtments expenditure was on away days located outside her Departments buildings in the last year for which figures are available. 
Mr. Iain Wright: Expenditure related to staff away days is not identified as a separate item on the Department's accounting system, and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. However, any such expenditure could reasonably be expected within the expenditure total for conferences. The total expenditure on conferences for Ministers and civil servants incurred by Communities and Local Government in the period 1 October 2006 to 30 September 2007 was £498,273.
Mrs. Lait: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Surrey Heath of 25 June 2007, Official Report, column 164W, on Home Information Packs, if she will place in the Library a copy of written representations made by (a) Rightmove and (b) Countrywide in relation to home information packs. 
Yvette Cooper: Responses to public consultations from the Countrywide Assured Group plc. on the content of the home information pack and the home information pack in low demand low value areas have been placed in the Library.
Mrs. Lait: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the oral answer to the hon. Member for Surrey Heath of 25 June 2007, Official Report, column 160W, on home information packs, how many voluntary home condition reports have been purchased. 
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether the sale of a freehold interest of a leasehold residential property requires (a) an energy performance certificate and (b) a home information pack. 
Yvette Cooper: A home information pack, including an energy performance certificate, may be required where a residential property consisting of a single dwelling is marketed for sale with vacant possession, either freehold or under a long lease.
Mr. Walter: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether buyers selling their homes through a property location agent are required to commission a home information pack; and if she will make a statement. 
Yvette Cooper [holding answer 17 September 2007]: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to the hon. Member for Beverley and Holderness (Mr. Stuart) on 9 July 2007, Official Report, column 1273W.
Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if a room described as a (a) study, (b) spare room and (c) HIP replacement room would be classed as a bedroom for the purposes of the requirements for three or four bedroom homes to have a home information pack. 
Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what procedures are in place for a home owner to appeal against the information and grading provided in an energy performance certificate; what the estimated average cost of such a procedure is; and whether the register of energy performance certificates may be amended. 
Yvette Cooper: All accreditation schemes are required to have redress procedures which are free to the consumer. Schemes have a duty to ensure assessment standards are high and that any appeals are dealt with in a fair, swift and effective manner. If an EPC was found to be inaccurate a new one would be reissued and lodged in the register.
Mrs. Lait: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what recent representations she has received from the Royal Institute for Chartered Surveyors on the enforceability of home information pack regulations; what response she has made; and how she plans to enforce the regulations. 
Yvette Cooper: We have had a number of discussions with the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors in the last 12 months on all aspects of home information packs. Section 166 of the Housing Act 2004 places a duty on local trading standards authorities to enforce the home information pack duties in their areas.
Mrs. Lait: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what her Departments estimate is of the number of fines to be issued each year against (a) home owners and (b) estate agents for breaches of the home information pack provisions. 
Mrs. Lait: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what meetings representatives of her Department have had with (a) Flint Bishop solicitors and (b) Labour Legal Services in the last 12 months; and what representations her Department has received from each organisation in relation to home information packs in that period. 
Our records show that the Department for Communities and Local Government has had no meetings with or representations from Flint
Bishop solicitors or Labour Legal Services in the last 12 months on home information packs.
Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what guidance her Department has produced on the (a) minimum and (b) maximum liability to be paid out on an insurance policy underwriting the accuracy and completeness of a personal search, in a Home Information Pack, not provided by a solicitor. 
Yvette Cooper: The HIPs (No. 2) Regulations 2007 introduce, for the first time, stringent requirements for all those compiling property searches, including requirements on insurance cover for third parties and liability in the event of financial loss.
The Procedural Guidance which supports the HIPs (No. 2) Regulations 2007 sets out that all those compiling property searches must have suitable insurance arrangements in place with an insurer authorised under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000.
Mrs. Lait: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will place in the Library a copy of the XML Schema for the proposed register of energy performance certificates. 
Yvette Cooper: The XML Schema for the Register of Energy Performance Certificates forms part of the Certification Scheme and Accreditation Scheme Technical Standards and is publicly available on the Departments website at:
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what discussions she has had with other ministerial colleagues on the provision of policy guidance for the needs of existing homes for energy improvement in any forthcoming policy papers; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Iain Wright: The Government have a wide ranging programme to encourage energy efficiency in existing homes, through policies and programmes run by this Department, the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform. In line with appropriate practice, any policy guidance issued on energy efficiency matters will be considered collectively. Most recently, for example, Ministers from CLG, DEFRA and BERR jointly issued the Energy Measures report, guidance to local authorities which, amongst other matters, covered how local authorities can promote energy efficiency in their areas.
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) what steps her Department is taking to encourage developers to
use water resilient flooring and fittings in houses built in areas with a high risk of flooding; 
Mr. Iain Wright: On 15 May Communities and Local Government published a technical guide, Improving the Flood Resilient Performance of New BuildingsFlood resilient construction. This guide provides information on how homes can be constructed so that, if they are flooded, it should be easier to clean and repair them and enable early reoccupation. This guide includes information on flood resilient flooring, threshold and floor levels. The Department will consider the options for further action in relation to the flood performance of buildings in the light of Sir Michael Pitts inquiry into the effects of the summer floods.
Meanwhile all development is subject to Planning Policy Statement 25, Development and Flood Risk (PPS25) which aims to locate development away from flood risk whenever possible. In those areas where virtually all land is within high flood risk areas and there are few, if any, low risk sites for development, PPS25 imposes new requirements for resilience that ensure that buildings in higher risk areas are safe and less susceptible to flood damage.
The mitigation process described in PPS25 includes the use of resilient or resistant construction. With regard to raising floor levels, while this can assist, it is not without adverse consequences: raised floors can make access and egress more difficult, especially for older people or the infirm; placing buildings on mounds can displace flood water, causing problems elsewhere; raising buildings can create a void under the building where flood water accumulates, bringing problems of removing flood water and contaminants after the flood subsides.
Mrs. Lait: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many representations her Department has received on compensation payments for home inspectors and energy inspectors. 
Mr. Ellwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what financial provision has been made for local authorities which are conducting pay and grading reviews in order to comply with the Equal Pay Act 1974. 
Under the Equal Pay Act 1970, an employer must provide equal pay for the same work or work which is considered objectively to be of equal value. The Local Government Association has sought additional borrowing flexibility for local government through capitalisation. In response, on 28 September 2007 the Government issued £500 million of
capitalisation directions to 46 authorities for the purpose of spending on equal pay back-pay.
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