Alex Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice in what circumstances the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority will refuse (a) at first instance, (b) at review and (c) on appeal claims for compensation by victims of rape or adult sexual assault where there has not been (i) a complaint to police, (ii) a charge brought or (iii) a prosecution. [81443]

Mr Djanogly: Each case is dealt with on its own merits using the evidence available, such as police and medical evidence, and the criteria do not change when a case is at review or appeal. The Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme 2008 makes clear that it is not necessary for an assailant to be convicted for a victim to get compensation.

Alex Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what steps the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) will take to determine whether a claimant for compensation alleging rape or sexual assault has been a victim of crime in cases where there has not been (a) a complaint to police, (b) a person charged and (c) a prosecution; and what steps CICA will take to make such a determination in cases where the defendant was acquitted at trial. [81536]

Mr Djanogly: Each case is dealt with on its own merits using the evidence available, such as police and medical evidence. The Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme 2008 (the Scheme) places the onus on the claimant to establish on the balance of probabilities that an offence has been committed. That is not the criminal standard, and it is not necessary for any charge or conviction to have been secured.

Departmental Internet

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what social media presence his Department has. [80829]

Mr Kenneth Clarke: The Department has a presence on the following social media channels:

Twitter

Youtube

Flickr

22 Nov 2011 : Column 288W

LinkedIn

Disqus

Getsatisfaction

AddThis

Drugs: Rehabilitation

Richard Fuller: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what recent assessment he has made of the performance of the drug recovery wings that his Department is piloting; and if he will make a statement. [81889]

Mr Blunt: Drug recovery wing (DRW) pilots have been launched in five prisons. An implementation study has already commenced and an interim report will be available in July 2012. A Department of Health evaluation study is expected to be commissioned on an open competitive tender basis and to start in autumn 2012.

Employment Tribunals

Ian Murray: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what estimate he has made of the effect on the number of employment tribunal cases of the introduction of a charge for registering a claim. [81429]

Mr Djanogly: We are in the process of developing proposals for the introduction of fees into the employment tribunals and Employment Appeal Tribunal and options are still being finalised. We will be consulting on our proposals shortly. The consultation document will set out the options for proposed fee structures and the indicative fee levels which might be applied. No decision will be made on the level of fees to be paid until that consultation has been completed. The impact assessment which will accompany the consultation document will provide details of the estimated impact of the introduction of fees on the number of claims received by employment tribunals.

Ian Murray: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what changes have been made to the budget of the Employment Tribunal Service since May 2010; and what assessment he has made of the effect of such changes on the average time for concluding employment tribunals. [81431]

Mr Djanogly: Employment tribunals (ETs) are administered by Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS), which has a central operating budget. The direct element of that budget in relation to ETs was £60.9 million for 2010-11 and £59 million for 2011-12. These budget figures do not include apportioned overheads. No detailed budgets have yet been agreed or finalised for future financial years.

The reduction in budget allocation between 2010-11 and 2011-12 reflects the HMCTS drive for continual efficiency improvements. It also reflected a slight decrease in workloads before the ETs. The assessment made by HMCTS is that the reduction should not lead to any lengthier period between receipt and disposal of cases. Indeed, the latest available management information shows performance against timeliness targets has improved in the first quarter 2011-12 to 62%, relative to 58% in the same quarter of 2010-11.

22 Nov 2011 : Column 289W

HMCTS publishes annual and quarterly statistics which cover workloads and performance against timeliness measures, including (where available) historic trends. This material is available on the Ministry of Justice website:

http://www.justice.gov.uk/publications/statistics-and-data/tribunals/index.htm

The most recent published information is in respect of the first quarter of 2011-12 (April to June).

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) what the total cost of HM Courts and Tribunals Service E-working project has been; [81474]

(2) how many claims were filed by HM Courts and Tribunals Service on the E-working system in each quarter since its inception; [81475]

(3) what the original target date was for completion of the HM Courts and Tribunals Service E-working project; and what his most recent estimate is of the likely completion date for the system. [81476]

Mr Djanogly: The costs covering the period from November 2008 (project start) to September 2010 (departure of the original development team) were £5,848,000 and these costs have been confirmed in a response to a Freedom of Information Act request number 70941.

From October 2010 to September 2011 the costs were £1,155,796.

Total costs to date are therefore £7,003,796.

Costs for October 2011 onwards are still under discussion between HMCTS and their suppliers as part of the scoping and planning exercise referred to the following table.

The number of claims that have been filed electronically since the inception of the e-Working system in 2009 is set out in the following table.

Financial year All e-working (electronic and scanned) Filed electronically Totals

2009-10

     

Q1

6

4

10

Q2

38

51

89

Q3

110

41

151

Q4

337

69

406

       

2010-11

     

Q1

540

42

582

Q2

1,495

33

1,528

Q3

1,826

21

1,847

Q4

1,979

109

2,088

       

2011-12

     

Q1

(1)4,369

7

4,376

Q2

2,136

21

2,157

(1) High volume of HM Revenue and Customs petitions filed in this quarter

The e-Working system was originally due to complete in March 2010, with roll-out of an electronic filing, document management, payment and listings capability for jurisdictions moving into the Rolls Building. The core e-Filing and Document Management parts of the system are now live in those jurisdictions and online

22 Nov 2011 : Column 290W

payment and listings capabilities are going through an iterative development and testing cycle. HMCTS is currently working with its suppliers to agree a new package of system enhancements and upgrades including those capabilities and new features such as a web-based end user interface. The scope and timetable have not yet been agreed.

Official Solicitor and Public Trustee Office: Freedom of Information

John Hemming: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice if he will bring forward proposals to bring the Office of the Official Solicitor within the jurisdiction of the Freedom of Information Act 2000. [81839]

Mr Djanogly: We are currently considering the position of the Office of the Official Solicitor under the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act. I will write to the hon. Member with further information on this point once our consideration is complete.

Prisoners’ Release: Plymouth

Oliver Colvile: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many offenders with addresses in Plymouth on conviction were released to addresses in Plymouth in the last 12 months. [81547]

Mr Blunt: A total of 89,924 offenders were released from custodial sentences in 2010. It is not possible to say how many of these had an address in Plymouth at both the time of conviction and on release because full address information is not held centrally. The information will be held locally by offender managers, however to gather it would incur disproportionate cost.

Prisoners: Ex-servicemen

Gavin Shuker: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice whether armed forces veterans are identified routinely on reception to prisons in England and Wales. [81897]

Mr Blunt: Prison reception staff are not required to ask newly arrived prisoners whether they have served in the armed forces. However, prisoners have the opportunity to discuss aspects of their background with staff during the induction and assessment processes. Governors of more than 100 prisons have made resources available to the Veterans in Custody Support scheme, which encourages prisoners who have served in the armed services to disclose this, if they chose to do so.

Prisoners: Foreign Nationals

Sadiq Khan: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many foreign national prisoners of each nationality are being held in HM Prison (a) Brixton, (b) Feltham, (c) Holloway, (d) Isis, (e) Latchmere House, (f) Pentonville, (g) Wandsworth and (h) Wormwood Scrubs. [81488]

Mr Blunt: The following tables show the number of foreign national prisoners of each nationality being held in each of the listed prisons, as at 30 September 2011. HMP Latchmere House is now closed and was not holding any prisoners on 30 September 2011.

22 Nov 2011 : Column 291W

These figures have been drawn from administrative IT systems which, as with any large scale recording

22 Nov 2011 : Column 292W

system, are subject to possible errors with data entry and processing.

Table 1: Population in prison by selected establishment and nationality status, 30 September 2011
Establishment British nationals Foreign nationals Nationality not recorded Total population

Brixton

523

233

19

775

Feltham

537

151

36

724

Holloway

374

149

37

560

Isis(1)

458

75

5

538

Pentonville

876

379

46

1,301

Wandsworth

1,024

547

109

1,680

Wormwood Scrubs

677

433

123

1,233

(1) HMP & YOI Isis, which opened on 28 July 2010, is sited within the perimeter wall of HMP Belmarsh. Note: These figures have been drawn from administrative IT systems. Care is taken when processing and analysing the returns, but the detail collected is subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large scale recording system, and so although shown to the last individual, the figure may not be accurate to that level.
Table 2: Foreign national prison population by nationality and selected establishment, 30 September 2011
  Brixton Feltham Holloway Isis Pentonville Wandsworth Wormwood Scrubs Total

Afghanistan

3

13

1

1

2

3

5

28

Albania

0

0

1

1

6

7

8

23

Algeria

2

7

0

1

8

13

8

39

Angola

4

1

0

0

2

1

2

10

Antigua and Barbuda

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

1

Armenia

1

1

0

0

0

0

0

2

Australia

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

1

Azerbaijan

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

1

Bangladesh

11

5

2

1

13

7

1

40

Barbados

0

0

1

0

0

1

0

2

Belgium

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

1

Benin

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

1

Bermuda

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

1

Bolivia

0

0

2

0

0

0

1

3

Bosnia and Herzegovina

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

1

Brazil

4

0

4

0

5

2

4

19

Bulgaria

0

1

11

0

2

5

3

22

Burundi

0

0

0

0

1

2

2

5

Cameroon

0

0

1

0

1

1

0

3

Central African Republic

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

1

Chile

0

1

0

0

0

3

1

5

China

1

1

3

2

1

6

3

17

Colombia

6

0

2

1

2

4

5

20

Congo

4

8

1

1

11

4

6

35

Costa Rica

0

0

1

0

0

0

0

1

Croatia

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

1

Cyprus

3

0

0

0

1

1

0

5

Czech Republic

3

3

4

0

0

8

1

19

Denmark

0

0

0

0

1

0

3

4

Dominica

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

1

Ecuador

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

1

Egypt

0

0

0

0

0

2

1

3

Equatorial Guinea

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

1

Estonia

0

0

0

1

0

3

0

4

Ethiopia

5

2

0

0

3

2

3

15

French Guiana

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

1

France

6

3

4

4

1

16

4

38

Gambia

1

0

0

0

1

5

1

8

Georgia

0

0

0

0

1

0

1

2

Germany

1

1

0

1

2

6

2

13

Ghana

5

2

1

3

7

9

8

35

Gibraltar

1

0

0

0

1

0

0

2

Greece

0

0

0

0

2

0

3

5

Grenada

0

0

0

0

1

2

0

3

Guinea

0

0

0

0

1

1

0

2

22 Nov 2011 : Column 293W

22 Nov 2011 : Column 294W

Guyana

0

0

1

0

1

1

2

5

Hungary

1

0

0

0

2

8

4

15

India

2

0

1

0

8

6

49

66

Iran

1

3

1

0

3

8

10

26

Iraq

1

4

0

0

1

6

3

15

Irish Republic

13

5

3

2

21

16

24

84

Israel

2

2

1

0

1

3

4

13

Italy

0

0

2

1

3

4

5

15

Ivory Coast

2

2

1

1

3

0

1

10

Jamaica

37

18

15

15

35

29

15

164

Japan

0

0

0

0

0

0

2

2

Jordan

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

1

Kenya

2

0

0

1

1

4

0

8

Kuwait

0

1

0

0

0

2

2

5

Latvia

1

0

2

0

5

19

7

34

Lebanon

0

0

0

0

0

2

0

2

Liberia

1

0

0

0

0

2

0

3

Libyan Arab Jamahiriya

0

1

0

1

0

3

3

8

Lithuania

9

2

4

5

32

29

11

92

Macedonia

0

0

0

0

2

1

0

3

Malaysia

0

0

1

0

0

1

0

2

Mauritania

0

0

2

0

0

0

0

2

Mauritius

2

0

0

0

0

0

0

2

Mexico

0

0

2

0

1

4

4

11

Mongolia

0

0

1

0

0

0

0

1

Montserrat

0

0

0

0

3

0

0

3

Morocco

2

2

2

0

4

6

4

20

Mozambique

2

0

0

0

0

0

0

2

Namibia

0

0

1

0

0

0

0

1

Nepal

0

0

0

0

0

0

3

3

Netherlands

2

6

2

0

1

3

12

26

Niger

0

0

2

2

1

2

0

7

Nigeria

12

5

9

6

25

22

23

102

Pakistan

5

0

0

0

13

12

3

33

Paraguay

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

1

Philippines

0

0

3

0

1

1

1

6

Poland

15

2

7

2

27

99

43

195

Portugal

11

7

1

2

8

8

7

44

Romania

8

9

18

5

31

57

31

159

Russian Federation

0

0

3

0

2

6

5

16

Rwanda

0

1

0

1

0

0

0

2

Saudi Arabia

0

0

0

0

1

0

1

2

Senegal

0

0

0

0

1

0

1

2

Serbia and Montenegro

0

1

0

0

1

1

0

3

Sierra Leone

4

1

0

1

5

2

2

15

Slovakia

0

0

0

1

2

2

2

7

Somalia

10

13

6

4

19

16

34

102

South Africa

2

1

2

1

1

5

1

13

Spain

1

0

2

0

0

1

2

6

Sri Lanka

3

0

1

0

3

11

8

26

St Kitts and Nevis

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

1

St Lucia

0

1

0

1

2

0

1

5

St Vincent and the Grenadines

1

0

0

0

1

0

0

2

Sudan

0

0

0

0

1

1

2

4

Suriname

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

1

Sweden

0

0

0

0

1

0

1

2

Switzerland

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

Syrian Arab Republic

0

0

0

0

0

1

2

3

Tanzania

0

0

1

0

1

1

0

3

Thailand

0

0

1

0

0

0

0

1

22 Nov 2011 : Column 295W

22 Nov 2011 : Column 296W

Trinidad and Tobago

2

1

2

0

3

1

2

11

Tunisia

0

1

0

0

1

3

0

5

Turkey

7

2

1

0

10

5

3

28

Uganda

3

2

1

1

1

2

2

12

Ukraine

3

0

1

0

1

1

3

9

United Arab Emirates

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

1

United States

0

0

0

0

0

3

1

4

Uzbekistan

0

0

1

0

0

0

1

2

Vietnam

4

5

5

0

6

4

4

28

Western Sahara

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

1

Yemen, Republic of

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

1

Zambia

0

0

0

0

0

3

0

3

Zimbabwe

0

2

1

2

2

2

0

9

                 

Total

233

151

149

75

379

547

433

1,967

Note: These figures have been drawn from administrative IT systems. Care is taken when processing and analysing the returns, but the detail collected is subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large scale recording system, and so although shown to the last individual, the figure may not be accurate to that level.

Prisoners: Repatriation

Sadiq Khan: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many foreign national prisoners have been repatriated from HM Prison (a) Brixton, (b) Feltham, (c) Holloway, (d) Isis, (e) Latchmere House, (f) Pentonville, (g) Wandsworth and (h) Wormwood Scrubs since May 2010. [81580]

Mr Blunt: In 2010, 5,235 foreign national prisoners were removed or deported from the United Kingdom at the end of their sentence. Between May 2010 and 8 November 2011, a total of 57 prisoners were repatriated from England and Wales to complete their sentences in their countries of origin. Of the 57 prisoners, two applied for repatriation while resident in HMP Wandsworth and two applied while resident in HMP Wormwood Scrubs.

All prisoners repatriated from England and Wales are taken to HMP Wandsworth (male prisoners), HMP Holloway (female prisoners), and HMP Belmarsh, (high security prisoners), immediately prior to their removal from the United Kingdom.

Probation: Ex-servicemen

Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many probation trusts have appointed a veterans link to ensure armed forces personnel are directed to relevant welfare agencies. [81879]

Mr Blunt: It is the responsibility of each probation trust to make arrangements to address the needs of offenders who have previously served in the armed forces. To date, 18 of the 35 probation trusts have appointed a veterans link. The remaining trusts are alive to the needs of ex-service personnel and are looking at ways to address them.

Supreme Court: Public Appointments

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what steps his Department is taking to encourage greater diversity and gender equality in the Supreme Court. [82219]

Mr Kenneth Clarke: On 21 November, I issued a public consultation on judicial diversity and appointments. It includes a number of proposals that will encourage greater diversity in the Supreme Court.

Education

Child Care

Bob Stewart: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what steps his Department is taking to promote flexibility and choice in child care provision. [80147]

Sarah Teather: Local authorities have a statutory duty to secure free early education places, of 15 hours a week for 38 weeks of the year, for all three and four-year-olds. The early years single funding formula reforms, introduced by the Government in April, ensure that funding for the free early education entitlement follows the child and is driven by parental demand. Places are available in a wide range of providers including maintained nursery classes, pre-schools, full day nurseries and registered childminders to enable parents to choose the most appropriate setting for their child.

The Department is also funding trials in 18 local authorities to support the expansion of free early years education to disadvantaged two-year-olds from 2013, and a number of these trials are testing new approaches to increasing flexibility. The trials will run until 31 March 2012.

We are currently consulting on proposals to make the entitlement more flexible to increase take up and better meet families' needs. This would enable the free hours to be taken between 7 am and 7 pm (rather than between 8 am and 6 pm as currently), with a maximum of 10 free hours per day. We also propose to enable parents to take up the full 15 hour entitlement over two days (rather than the current minimum of three days).

Local authorities have a statutory duty to secure sufficient child care to meet the needs of working parents. The Government are keen to encourage local authorities to do more to keep parents informed about what they

22 Nov 2011 : Column 297W

are doing to meet this duty. We are consulting on whether a local annual report would be a more effective and meaningful way of enabling parents to hold their local authority to account for the choice and availability of suitable child care locally.

The consultation is available on the Department's website:

http://www.education.gov.uk/consultations

and will run for 12 weeks.

In addition, the Department is providing funding through the voluntary and community sector grants programme to the Daycare Trust to promote the benefits of early education and child care to parents, and to 4Children to foster the diversity of early years provision and choice for parents.

Children: Hearing Impairment

Peter Aldous: To ask the Secretary of State for Education (1) what information his Department collects on the number of people qualified as specialist social workers for deaf children in (a) England and (b) Suffolk in each of the last three years; [80943]

(2) what the average number was of deaf children supported by a specialist social worker for deaf children in (a) England and (b) Suffolk in each of the last three years; [80935]

(3) how many specialist workers for deaf children there were in (a) England and (b) Suffolk in each of the last three years. [81025]

Sarah Teather: The Department does not hold information centrally about the numbers of social workers and specialist workers working with deaf children. Data from the General Teaching Council for England show that there are currently 896 active teachers who hold the mandatory qualification for teaching pupils with a hearing impairment.

Children's Centres: Leicester

Jonathan Ashworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many children have participated in Sure Start services in Leicester South constituency since its introduction. [81305]

Sarah Teather [holding answer 15 November 2011]:The Department does not collect this information. Local authorities have a statutory duty to ensure there are sufficient children's centres in their area to meet local need, so far as is reasonably practicable. It is for local authorities to commission children's centres and to monitor and evaluate the use and impact of their services.

Home-Start

George Freeman: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what recent discussions he has had with representatives from Home-Start; what assessment he has made of the effects of Home-Start on families in Norfolk; and if he will make a statement. [81327]

Sarah Teather: Home-Start UK receives a grant from the Department for Education to support its provision of services to local Home-Start schemes. Officials regularly

22 Nov 2011 : Column 298W

meet Home-Start UK to discuss work under this grant agreement to ensure financial propriety and value for money,

Local Home-Start schemes provide vulnerable families, who may feel isolated from the local community, with practical and emotional support. No assessment of the effects of Home-Start on families in Norfolk has been commissioned by the Department for Education.

School Meals: Standards

Mrs Hodgson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education whether he plans to commission research on adherence to nutritional standards for food served in free schools. [81136]

Sarah Teather: Free schools have the same legal status as academies which are not bound by the nutritional standards, although the standards provide a benchmark of good practice. The Secretary of State has asked the School Food Trust to look at the approach taken by academies to providing healthy school food for their pupils, including a mixture of established and new academies. We have no plans for separate work looking just at free schools.

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Agriculture: Conditions of Employment

Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent discussions she has had with ministerial colleagues on the potential effects on agricultural workers of proposed changes to employment regulations. [80894]

Mr Paice: The Government are committed to reviewing employment enforcement and compliance law over the lifetime of the current Parliament. As part of this process, DEFRA officials work closely with colleagues in other Departments to assess the effect of employment law proposals on agricultural workers. However, there have been no recent cross-departmental ministerial discussions on this issue.

Agriculture: Finance

Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans she has to ensure an unproblematic transition from classic agri-environment agreements schemes such as the Environmentally Sensitive Areas and Countryside Stewardship schemes to successor agri-environmental schemes such as the Uplands Entry Level Schemes and Higher Level Stewardship within the constraints of available staffing and funding. [81238]

Mr Paice: Natural England takes a proactive approach to ensure there is a seamless transfer for farmers with expiring Environmentally Sensitive Area (ESA) and Countryside Stewardship Scheme (CSS) agreements into the appropriate Environmental Stewardship (ES) agreement. That approach involves contacting agreement holders at least a year before their agreement is due to end and offering free advice about their options.

22 Nov 2011 : Column 299W

To date, 85% of the area formerly under an ESA or CSS agreement has successfully transferred into an ES agreement.

Not all ESA/CSS agreement holders will be eligible for Higher Level Stewardship and, where this is the case, farmers are being strongly advised to consider signing up to the Entry Level Stewardship (ELS) strands of ES. Natural England offers free specialist assistance through individual farm visits to those considering ELS to assist with appropriate option choices and provide information on the application process.

Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps she has taken to ensure that Environmental Stewardship schemes take account of both the preservation of traditional farming and of conservation. [81245]

Mr Paice: Environmental Stewardship (ES) has a pivotal role in DEFRA's priorities to enhance the natural environment and to improve the quality of life.

ES objectives cover both wildlife conservation and the preservation of traditional farming practices, including: the maintenance of important traditional landscape features such as hedgerows and dry stone walls; encouraging conservation of existing traditional orchards and planting of new trees using traditional varieties; protection of the historic environment (including protection of archaeological features and restoration and maintenance of traditional farm buildings); and protection of natural resources (through improvements to water quality by reducing soil erosion and surface water run-off).

Following the 2010 spending review, spending on Higher Level Stewardship, which is targeted at delivering the highest possible environmental benefits, will increase by more than 80% by 2013-14 compared to 2010-11. This represents a significant endorsement of the scheme and its potential. It ensures the protection and maintenance of the environmental benefits delivered to date, and allows for further growth of these benefits.

DEFRA is continuing to work with Natural England and stakeholders to improve ES' environmental effectiveness and value for money.

Agriculture: Sky Lanterns

Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent assessment she has made of the risks to crops and farm animals posed by sky lanterns. [80779]

Mr Paice: We are aware of the concern among farmers and the wider agricultural community about the potential risks of lanterns. We are continuing to work with other Departments and the agricultural industry to address them.

Sky lanterns can seriously injure or even kill cattle because the animals sometimes eat the lanterns' wireframes. There is also the problem of litter caused when the smouldering remnants of lanterns fall into farmers' fields.

In the summer I asked the British Hospitality Association to advise hotels, restaurants and other venues to discourage customers from using sky lanterns because of the problems they are causing in the countryside. We also take steps to make the public aware of the problems which sky lanterns can cause before using them.

22 Nov 2011 : Column 300W

Animal Welfare: Circuses

Cathy Jamieson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent assessment she has made of legal advice as to whether a ban on wild animals in circuses would be lawful under (a) EU law generally and (b) UK directive 2006/123/EC. [80262]

Mr Paice: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Cambridge (Dr Huppert), during the oral answers to questions on 13 October 2011, Official Report, columns 467-68.

Animal Welfare: Dogs

Mr Mike Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps she has taken to encourage consistency in the fees charged by local authorities for the return of stray dogs. [80723]

Mr Paice: Under the Environmental Protection (Stray Dogs) Regulations 1992, local authorities are entitled to charge the owner of a stray dog all expenses incurred during the dog’s detention, plus a prescribed amount of £25. The length of each dog’s detention may vary and additional costs such as veterinary treatment may also be incurred. It is therefore difficult for every local authority to charge a similar amount.

Mr Mike Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate she has made of the number of dogs placed in animal welfare establishments in each of the last five years. [80724]

Mr Paice: The Government do not keep figures for the number of dogs handed into independent animal welfare establishments. However, the Minister for Animal Welfare, Lord Taylor, has frequent meetings with representatives of these organisations and we are aware of the rise in the number of dogs that they are caring for.

Biodiversity: Finance

Barry Gardiner: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) how much her Department has spent on measures to protect biodiversity in each year since 2000; and what her Department plans to spend on such measures in each year until 2014-15; [80139]

(2) what the budget is for implementation of Biodiversity 2020: A Strategy for England's Wildlife and Ecosystem Services; and how that budget will be spent. [80309]

Richard Benyon: Details of the main elements of biodiversity expenditure are provided in the following table. These figures represent spend by DEFRA programmes and the wider DEFRA network but do not include staff costs. They also include total agri-environment scheme expenditure, of which a major share is judged to be spent on biodiversity.

22 Nov 2011 : Column 301W

22 Nov 2011 : Column 302W

Expenditure (£ million)
  2000-01 2001-02 2002-03 2003-04 2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10

DEFRA: Agri-environment schemes

80.1

81.3

104.9

129.8

167.8

187.2

254.6

323.3

349.4

351.1

                     

Other DEFRA expenditure:

                   

Biodiversity Programme

n/a

0.1

0.2

0.1

0.1

0.1

2.5

2.3

2.8

3.2

Research

0.2

1.2

2.3

1.7

1.5

1.9

6.5

5.0

6.3

5.8

                     

Environment Agency

3.9

3.9

4.0

3.9

5.9

10.5

11.6

7.3

23.5

25.5

Forestry Commission

18.1

20.1

15.1

14.4

14.7

17.7

22.8

28.1

33.3

32.0

Natural England

34.0

43.9

57.2

57.2

55.5

57.3

54.1

52.7

52.4

56.9

Joint Nature Conservation Committee

1.0

1.0

1.1

1.2

1.4

1.8

1.8

2.1

1.7

2.1

DEFRA network total

137.3

151.5

184.8

208.3

246.9

276.5

353.9

420.8

469.4

476.6

                     

DEFRA Global Biodiversity expenditure

3.0

3.0

3.0

4.0

5.0

7.0

10.1

11.0

6.7

7.1

Kew—UK spend

0.7

0.8

0.8

1.0

1.2

1.1

1.1

1.2

1.3

1.1

Kew—Global spend

20.4

22.1

22.9

28.8

32.6

28.2

30.6

30.6

33.9

28.8

We do not have a single dedicated budget for biodiversity protection measures, nor “Biodiversity 2020”. Funding for both comes from a wide range of sources within DEFRA, and from arm’s length bodies and beyond, and much of the contributing action goes beyond the measures directly focussed on biodiversity. In view of this and the current financial climate it is not possible to predict what these budgets will be in future, nor what proportion will be spent on biodiversity measures. We are developing a delivery plan for “Biodiversity 2020”, to be completed in early 2012, which will set out the actions to be taken to implement the strategy.

Biofuels: Pollution

Barry Gardiner: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will bring forward proposals to prohibit the combustion of chromated copper arsenate wood in biomass power stations. [81509]

Richard Benyon: Plants that use waste fuels, including treated wood containing heavy metals such as chromium, arsenic and copper, are already subject to the very stringent operating requirements of the Waste Incineration Directive (2000/76/EC). This provides a high level of protection for the environment and human health.

Barry Gardiner: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether she plans to measure levels of (a) black carbon and (b) arsenic emissions from biomass generating plants in the UK. [81510]

Richard Benyon: If a biomass generating plant has a rated thermal input of greater than 20 megawatts, it is subject to regulation under the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010. These require the regulator (the local authority for plants of less than 50 MW, otherwise the Environment Agency) to set emission limit values and associated monitoring requirements for any pollutant likely to be emitted in significant quantities. Emission limit values for particulate matter act as a surrogate for black carbon emissions. There is currently no internationally agreed measurement standard for black carbon and definitions of what constitutes black carbon vary.

If a biomass generating plant, irrespective of its rated thermal input, burns waste (other than untreated waste wood and certain other specific types of waste), it must also meet the stringent requirements of the Waste Incineration Directive (2000/76/EC). This includes a requirement to carry out at least two measurements a year of arsenic emissions to air.

Bovine Tuberculosis: Disease Control

Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what meetings officials in her Department have had to discuss the proposed badger cull based on shooting since January 2011; and with whom. [80781]

Mr Paice: In addition to internal meetings, since January 2011, DEFRA officials have met representatives from the following organisations to discuss the proposals for badger control:

Association of Chief Police Officers

Badger Trust

British Association of Shooting and Conservation

British Veterinary Association/British Cattle Veterinary Association

Country Land and Business Association

DEFRA's Science Advisory Council

Independent scientific experts

22 Nov 2011 : Column 303W

National Beef Association

National Farmers Union

National Gamekeepers' Organisation

National Trust

Royal Society for the Protection of Birds

Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

TB Epidemiology and Wildlife Risks Programme Advisory Group

TB Eradication Group for England

TB Science Advisory Body

Tenant Farmers Association

Wildlife Trusts.

Other Government Departments and agencies:

Home Office

Cabinet Office

Sir John Beddington (Government's Chief Scientific Adviser)

Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency

Food and Environment Research Agency

Natural England.

Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what meetings (a) she and (b) officials in her Department plan to have to discuss the proposed badger cull based on shooting in the next six months; and with whom. [80782]

Mr Paice: The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Meriden (Mrs Spelman), is planning to meet again with key stakeholder groups before announcing a decision on the badger control proposals. It is likely that officials will also meet with a number of key stakeholders, but there are currently no firm plans for such meetings.