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Written Answers to Questions

Thursday 21 March 2013

Attorney-General

Serious Fraud Office

Emily Thornberry: To ask the Attorney-General how many gifts and acts of hospitality recorded on the Serious Fraud Office's (SFO) gifts and hospitality register in (a) 2009-10, (b) 2010-11, (c) 2011-12 and (d) 2012-13 to date were received from companies that had contracts with the SFO. [148283]

The Solicitor-General: The Serious Fraud Office has compiled the information following by comparing its gifts and hospitality register with financial payments information. Individual lawyers have not been included, but group practices have.

 Number of entries from companies with which the SFO had a financial relationship during the year

2009-10

6

2010-11

3

2011-12

3

2012-13 (to date)

6

Work and Pensions

Advertising

David Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what guidance his Department issues on whether it is permitted for a political candidate to be featured on an advertisement sponsored by his Department in local newspapers or press. [149374]

Mr Hoban: The Cabinet Office, rather than the Department for Work and Pensions’ sets out guidance relating to advertising.

Cold Weather Payments

Mr Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many (a) households in total, (b) pensioner households, (c) working-age households, (d) two adult working-age households with children, (e) one adult working-age households and (f) one adult working-age households with children received cold weather payments in each of the last five years. [144118]

Steve Webb: The information is not available in the format requested. Such information as is available is in the table.

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Table 1: Number of cold weather payments to qualifying benefit units
 Number of payments

2007-08

472,000

2008-09

8,416,000

2009-10

11,870,000

2010-11

17,232,000

2011-12

5,167,000

Notes: 1. The information is not collated per household. 2. Cold weather payments are made to benefit units rather than to households or individuals. A benefit unit can be a single person or a couple and can include children. 3. Cold weather payment figures are taken from departmental records and reported in the Secretary of State's annual report on the Social Fund. 4. The number of payments is the total number paid to qualifying benefit units for all cold weather payment triggers during the period 1 November to 31 March. Qualifying individuals can receive more than one payment during this period. 5. Figures are to the nearest 1,000.

Employment and Support Allowance

Mr Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many claims for employment and support allowance on the grounds of (a) certain infectious and parasitic diseases, (b) neoplasms, (c) diseases of the blood and blood-forming organs and certain diseases involving the immune mechanism, (d) endocrine, nutritional and metabolic diseases, (e) mental and behavioural disorders, (f) diseases of the nervous system, (g) diseases of the eye and adnexa, (h) diseases of the ear and mastoid process, (i) diseases of the circulatory system, (j) diseases of the respiratory system, (k) factors influencing health status and contact with health services, (l) diseases of the digestive system, (m) diseases of the skin and subcutaneous system, (n) diseases of the musculoskeletal system and connective tissue, (o) diseases of the genitourinary system, (p) pregnancy, childbirth and pueperium, (q) certain conditions originating in the perinatal period, (r) congenital malformations, deformations and chromosomal abnormalities, (s) symptoms, signs and abnormal clinical and laboratory findings, not elsewhere classified and (t) injury, poisoning and certain other consequences of external causes were disallowed following a personal capability assessment in each of the last three years. [148082]

Mr Hoban: There are no statistics on the outcomes of personal capability assessments in the last three years. However the Department regularly publishes official statistics on employment and support allowance and the work capability assessment. The latest report was published in January 2013 and table 7 includes outcomes of initial assessments broken down by the required health conditions which can be found at:

http://research.dwp.gov.uk/asd/workingage/index.php?page =esa_wca

Mr Woodward: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how many claimants of employment and support allowance have been assigned to the work-related activity group as a result of clerical error and subsequently reassigned to the support group in (a) St Helens South and Whiston constituency, (b) the North West and (c) England in each of the last three years; [149034]

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(2) how many claimants of employment and support allowance have been assigned to jobseeker's allowance as a result of clerical error and subsequently reassigned to employment and support allowance in the (a) work-related activity group and (b) support group in (i) St Helens South and Whiston constituency, (ii) the North West and (iii) England in each of the last three years. [148993]

Mr Hoban: DWP is unable to provide the information requested as these data are not gathered at either national or local level.

Housing Benefit

John Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps his Department is taking to consider the cases of applicants for the discretionary housing payment who are unable to find smaller houses due to lack of housing stock when providing guidance to local authorities. [144967]

Steve Webb: It is for local authorities who administer the discretionary housing payment scheme to determine applications from people who are unable to meet the rent shortfall arising from the under-occupancy measure. The scheme is discretionary, and as such decisions relating to the priority of applications are best made at a local level.

Housing Benefit: Social Rented Housing

Yasmin Qureshi: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what representations he has received from charities and voluntary organisations on the effect of the under-occupancy penalty on disabled people. [149112]

Steve Webb: Ministers and departmental officials have met, and continue to meet on a regular basis, representatives from a range of charitable and voluntary organisations to discuss various aspects of the Government's plans for welfare reform, including details of the removal of the spare room subsidy for social tenants.

During the development of the measure to remove the spare room subsidy, officials from the Department for Work and Pensions met with charitable and voluntary organisations to discuss the emerging policy.

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether the rent of those parents of disabled children exempted from the under-occupancy penalty will be paid from the general housing benefit budget rather than through discretionary housing payments; and if he will make a statement. [149163]

Steve Webb: If local authorities are satisfied that an extra bedroom is required for a disabled child or children then payments will be made from the general housing benefit budget.

Where an extra bedroom is not deemed essential, discretionary housing payments may be considered, based on the circumstances and facts of each individual case.

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Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions with reference to his recent announcement exempting households with disabled children from the under-occupancy penalty, for what reasons adults requiring a separate bedroom on disability grounds are not also to be exempted. [149164]

Steve Webb: People living in social housing will be able to claim housing benefit for an extra bedroom if their disabilities are such that they require a non-resident carer (or team of carers) to stay overnight.

In addition to this an extra £25 million has been allocated to the £20 million baseline discretionary housing payment funding to specifically help those who live in specially adapted homes. The baseline funding is however available for other priority groups including those with long-term medical conditions that may create difficulties for those who would normally be expected to share a bedroom.

This policy will be monitored and evaluated over the next two years. An initial report should be available by April 2014 with the final report being available in 2015.

Diana Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the written ministerial statement from the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions of 12 March 2013, Official Report, column 9WS, on housing benefit reform, how many households in Hull he expects to qualify for the exemptions to the under-occupancy penalty on social housing. [149315]

Steve Webb: The information requested is not available at a local authority level.

Housing Benefit: Warrington

Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people in Warrington North constituency are in receipt of (a) housing benefit and (b) local housing allowance; and what the average weekly sum awarded under such benefits is. [148683]

Steve Webb: The information requested is in the following table:

Housing benefit recipients in Warrington North parliamentary constituency November 2012: Caseload and average amounts paid
 Total number of recipientsAverage weekly amount (£)

All housing benefit recipients

7,970

77.45

Local housing allowance recipients

1,490

84.16

Notes: 1. The data refer to benefit units, which may be a single person or a couple. 2. Recipients are as at the second Thursday of the month. 3. Caseloads are rounded to the nearest 10 and average weekly amounts are rounded to the nearest penny. 4. SHBE is a monthly electronic scan of claimant level data direct from local authority computer systems. It replaces quarterly aggregate clerical returns. The data is available monthly from November 2008 and November 2012 is the most recent available. Source: Single housing benefit extract (SHBE)

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Pay

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much was paid to officials in (a) his Department and (b) its non-departmental public bodies in bonuses and other payments in addition to salary in each of the last five years; how many officials received such payments; and what the monetary value was of the 20 largest payments made in each year. [148036]

Mr Hoban: The Department operates two pay-related employee reward schemes. They comprise end-of-year non-consolidated performance payments and in-year non-consolidated performance awards.

Performance payments and awards are a key element of the Department for Work and Pension's reward strategy; supporting performance improvement, employee engagement and delivery of key business objectives. This is in line with Government policy.

For information prior to 2011-12 I refer you to the answer my predecessor gave on 18 April 2012, Official Report, column 392W.

The value of end-of-year consolidated awards and in-year awards for 2010-11 and 2011-12 for DWP staff and its executive agencies can be found on our website:

http://www.dwp.gov.uk/publications/corporate-publications/performance-related-pay.shtml

For NDPBs the total bonus payments and number of officials receiving these payments are detailed in the following table:

 2011-12
NDPBTotal value of bonus payments (£)Number of officials receiving payments

Independent Living Fund

79,053

121

NEST

302,900

115

Pensions Ombudsman

27,949

28

The Pensions Regulator

401,818

(1)

The Pensions Advisory Service

54,900

(1)

HSE

2,098,700

1,856

Remploy

1,672,038

349

(1) No details provided.

The 20 largest payments made in 2011-12 in DWP and its non-departmental public bodies are:

Number of officialsValue (£)

1

17,500

5

15,000

1

14,119

22

12,500

Personal Independence Payment

John Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the number of potential personal independence payment claimants who do not have a landline telephone in (a) Glasgow North West constituency, (b) Glasgow, (c) Scotland and (d) the UK. [148884]

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Esther McVey: The Department does not hold estimates for the number of potential personal independence payment claimants who do not have a landline telephone.

John Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the average length of time a person making an initial inquiry about claiming the personal independence payment will spend on the telephone. [148886]

Esther McVey: Seven minutes is the average time which has been assumed for a person making an initial inquiry by telephone. This is based on a range of services which DWP currently monitors; the current DLA/AA Helpline benchmark is between five to six minutes.

Social Security Benefits

Lindsay Roy: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) whether it is his policy that domestic abuse survivors accommodated in refuge services should be exempt from the benefit cap; [149329]

(2) if he will make it his policy that the full cost of rent and service charges for accommodation in refuges for survivors of domestic abuse will be paid through benefits outside the universal credit system. [149330]

Steve Webb: Help towards housing costs for those living in supported exempt accommodation will be provided outside universal credit. This will ensure we continue to provide a flexible system to help meet the higher costs often associated with providing such accommodation. These arrangements will apply to refuges that meet the definition of supported exempt accommodation.

The benefit cap will apply to claimants living in supported exempt accommodation but their housing costs will not form part of the benefit cap calculation.

Social Security Benefits: Greater London

Mr Lammy: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the answer of 11 March 2013, Official Report, column 105W, on social security benefits, which local authority IT system is used by (a) Bromley, (b) Croydon, (c) Enfield and (d) Haringey local authority. [148921]

Mr Hoban: The breakdown of the local authority IT systems used is:

(a) Bromley: Capita

(b) Croydon: Northgate

(c) Enfield: Civica

(d) Haringey: Northgate.

Social Security Benefits: Worthing

Mr Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when the new Enquire service was introduced into Worthing Benefit Centre. [146825]

Mr Hoban: Worthing Benefit Centre was one of the initial sites to trial this new system from June 2012.

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Universal Credit

John Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the furthest distance a universal credit claimant will be from an internet access device that will be installed in jobcentres in (a) Glasgow North West constituency, (b) Glasgow, (c) Scotland and (d) the UK. [149038]

Mr Hoban: No such estimate has been made.

John Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the number of free community access points that could be used by people in receipt of universal credit in (a) Glasgow North West constituency, (b) Glasgow, (c) Scotland and (d) the UK. [149040]

Mr Hoban: No such estimate has been made. There are many different ways for claimants to access the internet. Local libraries and jobcentres are just two examples of places where claimants could gain free access to the internet.

Welfare Benefits Up-rating Bill

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions with reference to his Department's impact assessment on the Welfare Benefits Up-rating Bill, what effect the Bank of England's February 2013 Inflation Report has had on (a) the estimated savings to the Exchequer from the Bill and (b) the estimated average change in household entitlement for those families with children affected by the Bill. [144869]

Steve Webb: Government use inflation forecasts from the Office for Budget Responsibility to determine the estimated savings to the Exchequer and the estimated average change in household income from the Welfare Benefits Up-rating Bill.

Work Programme

Yasmin Qureshi: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps he is taking to improve the performance of the Work Programme. [149111]

Mr Hoban: We have made it clear to all Work Programme providers that performance must continue to improve, and that we will take decisive action with those that do not deliver, for example by moving referrals to better performers.

We are also working with providers and other interested parties to identify and spread best practice, and to ensure that the programme dovetails with other provision—a good example being access to the wage incentives available to young jobseekers under the Youth Contract.

Prime Minister

Armed Forces Pay Review Body

Tom Blenkinsop: To ask the Prime Minister what discussions he had with (a) Ministers and (b) officials in the Ministry of Defence on his decision not to reappoint Professor Alasdair Smith as Chairperson of the Armed Forces Pay Review Body. [149273]

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The Prime Minister: Professor Alasdair Smith was appointed Chairman of the Armed Forces' Pay Review Body for a three-year period. That has come to an end. The decision not to reappoint reflects a Government-wide policy of non-automatic reappointment to public bodies.

Treasury

Banks: Cyprus

Chris Leslie: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the statement of the Financial Secretary of 18 March 2013, Official Report, column 620, on Cyprus, what intelligence his Department had on the discussions; when the intelligence was received; and whether a formal response was made. [149333]

Greg Clark: Ministers and senior officials are in regular contact with international counterparts on a range of issues. It is not appropriate to provide a running commentary on these discussions.

As I told the House of Commons on 18 March, the UK was not party to discussions between Cyprus and the euro area on the levy that had been proposed.

Common Agricultural Policy

Mr Laurence Robertson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what discussions the Prime Minister has had with EU Ministers on the cost of the common agricultural policy (CAP) following the recent vote in the EU Parliament; whether the changes to the CAP will have any effect on the UK's rebate; and if he will make a statement. [149301]

Greg Clark: Ministers maintain regular contact with other EU Ministers on a wide range of issues. The agreement reached at the February European Council in Brussels makes clear that the existing correction mechanism for the UK will continue to apply.

Economic Growth

Jonathan Edwards: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the written ministerial statement of 18 March 2013, Official Report, columns 32-4WS, on economic development, whether his proposed Single Local Growth Fund will be eligible for full Barnett consequentials. [149370]

Danny Alexander: Barnett consequentials for the new Single Local Growth Fund will be considered as part of the forthcoming spending round which is due to report on 26 June.

Non-domestic Rates: Appeals

Priti Patel: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many appeals are with the Valuation Office Agency in relation to non-domestic rates which have not been placed into a sub-programme to be determined and have been pending since (a) before 2010, (b) 2010, (c) 2011 and (d) 2012. [149294]

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Mr Gauke: The Valuation Office Agency does not produce statistics on this basis, so these could be provided therefore only at disproportionate cost.

Revenue and Customs

Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people worked in customer services in HM Revenue and Customs in each of the last four years. [149303]

Mr Gauke: The majority of HMRC staff (circa 64,000 full time equivalents) have an element of customer service within their job role. A fuller response to this question would be possible only at disproportionate cost.

Revenue and Customs

Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps the Government are taking to improve the telephone and online assistance provided by HM Revenue and Customs. [149302]

Mr Gauke: In August 2012, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) announced that it would be investing up to £34 million for Contact Centres, with £9 million to be spent in 2012-13 and a further £25 million in 2013-14. This investment aims to improve performance, meeting and then sustaining the target of answering 90% of all calls by the end of March 2013. From October 2012 to February 2013, HMRC achieved its 90% target and is working hard to sustain that performance.

Earlier this year, HMRC also moved its Tax Credit helpline to a 0345 prefix service, representing 40% of its customer base. On 28 January 2013, HMRC advised the Public Accounts Committee that it also plans to start moving its remaining 0845 numbers to 03 prefix numbers. This work will start in April 2013, with its Child Benefit helpline. All other HMRC helplines with a 08 prefix will transfer to 03 prefix numbers by the end of summer 2013. This will help to reduce the costs of calls for some of HMRC's most vulnerable customers.

HMRC is also seeking to strike a better balance across its different telephony performance measures, looking at customer waiting times as well as the volume of calls answered.

From early 2013-14, HMRC will introduce speech recognition technology, meaning customers can access the correct service by what they say rather than using key pad options. HMRC is also introducing the automation of identification and verification procedures, meaning the majority of customers, will be able to identify themselves via system prompts before speaking to an adviser who can then immediately concentrate on answering their inquiry. This service will be introduced across eight of HMRC's telephone helplines.

Further improvements are also planned, including the introduction of some self-serve options and changes to processes. This will reduce the need for adviser dependant calls.

Digital solutions will also provide some customers with the option to use online services. HMRC plans to consult those customers unable to use digital services, looking at alternative solutions to develop a service which matches their needs.

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Smuggling: Fuels

Mr Gregory Campbell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer with reference to recent operations by HM Revenue and Customs staff in conjunction with Irish customs officers in border areas of Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic relating to fuel laundering and organised crime, what steps he plans to take to ensure that future operations are not compromised by advance notice of such operations being available to those engaged in such illegal activity. [149280]

Sajid Javid: HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) can not discuss operationally sensitive matters. However, I can confirm that the HMRC Criminal Investigation Directorate adopts a proactive process of operational security before, during and after all operational activity, including multi-agency and cross border operations. Our law enforcement partners operate similar precautions. HMRC has no reason to believe that those precautions have been compromised.

Leader of the House

Electronic Government: Petitions

David Morris: To ask the Leader of the House whether there is a procedure for the removal of an e-petition from the Government website if no foundation of facts is supplied in the subject of that e-petition. [149375]

Mr Lansley: The Government e-petitions site requires that petitions abide by its terms and conditions, including a condition that petitions may not be “Confidential, libellous, false or defamatory”. The Office of the Leader of the House of Commons is able to consider complaints and remove petitions from the site if they are found to be in breach of any of the terms and conditions.

The site's terms and conditions are publicly available at

http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/terms-and-conditions

For the convenience of the House, I am placing a copy in the Library.

Transport

A303: Accidents

Jim Fitzpatrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many people have been (a) killed and (b) seriously injured on the A303 in each of the last 10 years. [148958]

Stephen Hammond: The number of people that have been (a) killed and (b) seriously injured on the A303 in each of the last 10 years is given in following table:

 Casualties
 (a) Killed(b) Seriously injured

2002

11

51

2003

6

46

2004

15

47

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2005

6

33

2006

8

47

2007

11

40

2008

9

37

2009

4

25

2010

7

46

2011

5

38

Data for the year 2012 will be available in June 2013.

A590 and A595: Accidents

John Woodcock: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) how many accidents were recorded on the A590 in each of the last five years; and how many such accidents led to (a) fatalities and (b) injuries; [148984]

(2) how many accidents were recorded on the A595 in each of the last five years; and how many such accidents led to (a) fatalities and (b) injuries. [148985]

Stephen Hammond: The Department does not collect information on damage only accidents.

The number of reported personal injury road accidents on A590 and A595 in each of the last five years that led to (a) fatalities and (b) injuries is given in the following table:

Reported personal injury road accidents on A590 and A595: 2002-11
 Accidents(1)
 A590A595
 FatalInjured(2)FatalInjured(2)

2007

0

95

3

137

2008

3

75

3

110

2009

1

63

2

116

2010

1

71

6

104

2011

3

57

3

91

(1) Some of the accidents would have resulted in more than one casualty. (2) Injured—consist of serious or slight accidents.

Data for the year 2012 will be available in June 2013

Biofuels

Dan Byles: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what the total value is of Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation certificates that have been awarded for using waste derived from biomethane in each year since 2006; [148547]

(2) what recent assessment his Department has made of the available supply of waste derived from biomethane for use by the transport sector; [148548]

(3) what recent assessment his Department has made of the use of liquefied biomethane by the transport sector; [148549]

(4) what proportion of the UK supply of waste derived from biomethane was used (a) by the energy sector for electricity generation and (b) as a transport fuel in each of the last five years. [148550]

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Norman Baker: The Government recognises the potential of biomethane made from waste as a transport fuel. Both when it is compressed and when it is liquefied, biomethane consistently demonstrates some of highest carbon savings of any renewable transport fuel.

The Government's Anaerobic Digestion Strategy and Action Plan

http://www.defra.gov.uk/publications/files/anaerobic-digestion-strat-action-plan.pdf

highlighted the need to build a robust evidence base using longer term research and experience, and a detailed analysis to understand the barriers that currently restrict the use of biomethane as a transport fuel. As part of that work the Department for Transport launched the Low Carbon Truck Demonstration Trial in March 2012 to help operators establish and run fleets of alternative and dual-fuel HGVs and part-fund public refuelling hubs.

The Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO) scheme, which has been in operation since 2008, incorporates a certificate trading mechanism designed to increase the efficiency of compliance. Since December 2011, following UK implementation of the sustainability criteria for transport biofuels in the EU Renewable Energy Directive, biomethane derived from waste which meets mandatory sustainability criteria receives two Renewable Transport Fuel Certificates (RTFCs) per kg of biogas reported, double the amount for crop based biofuels.

The value of RTFCs is determined by the market. Whilst the Government monitors the value at which RTFCs are traded generally, market prices fluctuate and the Government does not hold information on the value of specific trades. This information is not required from third parties for the purpose of administering the scheme.

Biogas is eligible to receive RTFCs and volumes are reported under the RTFO. All biogas reported to date has been biomethane. RTFO Obligation years run 15 to 14 April and Table 1 below sets out verified data reported on the supply of biomethane by kilogram as reported and expressed in terms of tonnes of oil equivalent, so that the reported RTFO volumes can be compared with the figures for biogas used in electricity and heat in Table 2.

Table 1: Biomethane (Biogas) kilograms reported under the RTFO
 Obligation year
Used in road transport2008-092009-102010-112011-12

Biomethane (Biogas)

415,700

195,797

428,207

723,135

Thousand tonnes of oil equivalent

0.395

0.186

0.407

0.687

Of this data, 330,218 kg of biogas was reported between December 2011 and April 2012 as coming from municipal waste and was therefore eligible to receive two certificates per kg. In addition between April and October 2012, 577,873 kg of biogas was reported, all of which was derived from municipal waste(1).

Most biogas from landfill and the anaerobic digestion of food waste, sewage sludge and other organic wastes is burnt to produce electricity and heat. Energy generated from biomethane is not classified separately and cannot

21 Mar 2013 : Column 759W

be distinguished from energy generated from biogas. We expect that only a small amount of biogas is upgraded to biomethane and injected into the national gas grid. Table 2 as follows, drawn from the Department of Energy and Climate Change's Digest of UK Energy Statistics (2012 edition) illustrates the biogas volumes being used in heat and electricity in the last five years for which data is available.

Table 2: Biogas used to generate heat and electricity, thousand tonnes of oil equivalent
 20072008200920102011

Used to generate electricity

     

Landfill gas

1,533.9

1,560.3

1,624.2

1,644.5

1,633.1

Sewage sludge digestion

161.9

174.4

196.1

228.8

247.6

Anaerobic digestion

4.9

4.2

9.7

30.3

78.5

      

Used to generate heat

     

Landfill gas

13.6

13.6

13.6

13.6

13.6

Sewage sludge digestion

49.5

49.8

51.0

57.8

66.1

Anaerobic digestion

2.0

2.0

2.0

4.8

9.8

      

Total Biogas

1,765.8

1,804.3

1896.6

1,979.8

2,048.7

Source: Digest of UK Energy Statistics, 2012 edition which is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/renewable-sources-of-energy-chapter-6-digest-of-united-kingdom-energy-statistics-dukes

It is expected that there will be an increase in the availability of biogas from anaerobic digestion. Whilst there were 54 plants in mid 2011, now there are 106 anaerobic digestion plants (and about 150 dealing with sewage sludge). The Government estimated in the Anaerobic Digestion Strategy and Action Plan that about 5 million tonnes of food waste might be available for anaerobic digestion by 2020. The Department of Energy and Climate Change review of the generation costs and deployment potential of renewable electricity technologies in the UK estimated that the current feedstock for anaerobic digestion in the sewage sector is 1.37 million tonnes dry solids. (Estimates for sewage and landfill gas are available at

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/42843/3237-cons-ro-banding-arup-report.pdf)

(1 )Department for Transport Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation statistics:

https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-transport/series/biofuels-statistics

Driving Instruction: Qualifications

Jim Fitzpatrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what professional qualifications people trading as driving instructors are required to have. [148956]

Stephen Hammond: Approved driving instructors (ADIs) are required to pass a three-part qualification process consisting of a theory test, a test of driving ability and a test of instructional ability. If this is successfully completed their name may be entered into the ADI register. They must also complete a periodic reassessment of their instructional ability at least once every four years.

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Jim Fitzpatrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what NVQs are awarded by the Driving Standards Agency to qualified driving instructors who are nationally registered with the Association of Driving Instructors. [148957]

Stephen Hammond: The Driving Standards Agency does not award NVQs to approved driving instructors.

Goring and Streatley Station

John Howell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent discussions he has had with First Great Western about the cost of redeveloping Goring and Streatley station. [149183]

Norman Baker: We have had no recent discussions with First Great Western about the cost of improving facilities at Goring and Streatley station. However, we are in dialogue with Network Rail to explore whether opportunities to install lifts to the station bridge may exist as part of the electrification programme. Failing that, we will consider the case for including Goring and Streatley in the next tranche of Access for All main schemes.

High Speed 2 Railway Line

Michael Fabricant: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Stone of 1 February 2013, Official Report, column 1007W, on High Speed 2 railway line, whether the announced package of discretionary measures will be the same for property owners along phase two of High Speed 2 as for those along phase one; and if he will make a statement. [149162]

Mr Simon Burns: We are still considering the effect of Mr Justice Ouseley's judgment on our proposals for discretionary compensation. We will launch a fresh consultation on discretionary compensation as a priority.

Mrs Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the average offer made was for properties prior to an application to the Exceptional Hardship scheme relating to the High Speed 2 route as a percentage of the price at which the property was first marketed. [149199]

Mr Simon Burns: HS2 Ltd does not currently hold this information as it is not collated as a matter of course. I have asked HS2 Ltd to draw the requested information together. As soon as this has been done I will write to my right hon. Friend and place a copy of the letter in the Library of the House.

Mrs Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what level of costs his Department will be (a) seeking and (b) paying to the organisations that brought the judicial reviews against High Speed 2. [149230]

Mr Simon Burns: The Department will be claiming costs from the local authority claimants, Heathrow Hub Ltd, HS2 Action Alliance (for its main claim), and the Aylesbury Park Golf Club. The level of costs that we claim from the local authorities and Heathrow Hub Ltd will be subject to an assessment. The level of costs that we claim from HS2 Action Alliance and the Aylesbury

21 Mar 2013 : Column 761W

Park Golf Club will be up to the value of £10,000 from each, due to protective cost orders that are in place for these claims. The Department is also required to pay the costs of HS2 Action Alliance (for its property claim) up to the value of £25,000.

Mrs Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what compensation he plans to seek from Dialogue for Design following the adverse judgment against the running of the first consultation compensation process for High Speed 2. [149231]

Mr Simon Burns: The flaws identified by Mr Justice Ouseley in the Government's 2011 consultation on compensation were not related to Dialogue by Design's analysis, nor were they caused by any fault of Dialogue by Design. Therefore there is no need for the Government to take any action against them.

Mrs Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether he plans to tender for the re-run of the compensation consultation process for High Speed 2; and if he will take steps to exclude Dialogue for Design from any such consultation. [149232]

Mr Simon Burns: The Department for Transport is now giving detailed consideration to all aspects of the fresh consultation on compensation options, including any new tender.

The European procurement directive requires that companies are treated equally and in a non-discriminatory way and applications for work have to be treated on their merits on a fair and consistent basis.

Mrs Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what the estimated cost is to his Department of re-running the compensation consultation for the first stage of High Speed 2; [149233]

(2) when he plans to re-run the consultation on compensation for the first stage of High Speed 2; and if he will make a statement. [149234]

Mr Simon Burns: We are still considering the implications of the recent judgment on our proposals for discretionary compensation.

Motor Vehicles: Testing

Mr Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) how many responses were received to the public consultation in 2011 by the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) on the incorporation of EU Directive 2010/48EU on vehicle road worthiness into the VOSA MOT testing manual; [148694]

(2) if he will place in the Library copies of responses received to the public consultation in 2011 by the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) on the incorporation of EU Directive 2010/48EU on vehicle road worthiness into the VOSA MOT testing manual. [148695]

Stephen Hammond: The Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) received five responses to its public consultation on the incorporation of EU Directive 2010/48EU on vehicle road worthiness into the VOSA MOT testing manual. The results of the review will be published in April 2013 and a copy placed in the Library.

21 Mar 2013 : Column 762W

Motorways: Litter

Andrew Gwynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) pursuant to the answers of 1 March 2013, Official Report, column 695W and 11 March 2013, Official Report, column 21W, on motorways: litter, what monitoring has taken place of the Highways Agency Area 10 contractors' obligations to exercise his duties under section 89(1) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 in the last six months; [148797]

(2) when the Highways Agency Area 10 contractors' obligations to exercise his duties under section 89(1) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 will next be monitored; [148798]

(3) what the outcome was of the last monitoring of Highways Agency Area 10 contractors' obligations to exercise his duties under section 89(1) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990; [148799]

(4) what steps he plans to take to ensure that breaches of his duties under section 89(1) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 do not occur in the future; [148800]

(5) what steps he plans to take to ensure that that the motorway verges, hard shoulders, central reservations, slip roads and embankments on the M60 between the River Tame at Denton and junction 23 at Audenshaw are kept to the appropriate standards of cleanliness as laid out in the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and the code of practice in the future; [148801]

(6) what steps he plans to take to ensure that the motorway verges, hard shoulders, central reservations, slip roads and embankments on the M67 between junction 1 and the River Tame at Denton are kept to the appropriate standards of cleanliness as laid out in the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and the code of practice in the future; [148802]

(7) what steps he plans to take to ensure that that the motorway verges, hard shoulders, central reservations, slip roads and embankments on the M60, M67 and A57 roundabout at junction 24 at Denton are kept to the appropriate standards of cleanliness as laid out in the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and the code of practice in the future; [148803]

(8) when the cleanliness standards at the M60 between the River Tame at Denton and junction 23 at Audenshaw will next be checked by officers of his Department; and if he will report the findings of those checks to the House; [148804]

(9) when the cleanliness standards at the M67 between junction 1 and the River Tame at Denton will next be checked by officers of his Department; and if he will report the findings of those checks to the House; [148805]

(10) when the cleanliness standards at the M60, M67 and A57 roundabout at junction 24 at Denton will next be checked by officers of his Department; and if he will report the findings of those checks to the House. [148806]

Stephen Hammond: To ensure compliance with the requirements of the Environmental Protection Act 1990, the Highways Agency assesses the sweeping and cleaning performance of its maintenance contractors. This is undertaken through an evidence based performance management regime. Contractor performance reviews happen monthly.

21 Mar 2013 : Column 763W

The Highways Agency's most recent review of its contractor's performance in inspecting and removing litter from motorways in Area 10 was undertaken at the end of February 2013. The contractor's performance was assessed to be of the required standard. These performance management arrangements are ongoing with the aim of ensuring that the Environmental Protection Act 1990 continues to be complied with.

The contractors are employed to undertake work on the strategic road network in England on the Agency's behalf and adopt a risk-based approach to dealing with litter to make most efficient use of resources. This means that those parts of the network that historically suffer the worst litter problems are inspected more frequently.

The Highways Agency's contractor for Area 10 is required to alert the responsible council if it observes significant litter accumulations on the all purpose trunk road network. Tameside metropolitan borough council is responsible for removing litter from the A57 trunk road circulatory carriageway at junction 24 of the M60.

Andrew Gwynne: (1) what his legal obligations are under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, section 89, with regard to litter on motorways; [148938]

(2) whether the cleaning regime specified for the M60 and M67 motorways is designed to meet his duty to keep the motorway clear of litter and refuse contained within the litter code at paragraph 9.1 or to meet the last resort response times as specified in the litter code at paragraph 9.4 and table 1; [148940]

(3) how his Department monitors the performance of the M60 and M67 maintenance service provider to ensure that the service level set in the contract is delivered both to specification and to meet his legal duty as contained in the Environmental Protection Act 1990; and if he will make a statement. [148941]

Stephen Hammond: The Highways Agency is obliged by the Environmental Protection Act 1990 to ensure that motorways and other land in its ownership are, so far as is practicable, kept clear of litter and refuse.

The contractual specification for Area 10 is designed to meet obligations for all motorways within that geographical area, including the M60 and M67, to keep them clear of litter and refuse. This is in accordance with paragraph 9.1 of the code of practice and to meet the last resort response time in accordance with paragraph 9.4.

The Highways Agency assesses the sweeping and cleaning performance of its maintenance contractor for motorways in Area 10. This is undertaken through an evidence-based performance management regime, with contractor performance reviews happening monthly.

Railways: Finance

Diana Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much his Department spent on rail infrastructure in (a) East Yorkshire, (b) Yorkshire and Humber region and (c) London in the last five years. [149316]

Mr Simon Burns: The Department for Transport does not hold information on rail infrastructure spending on a regional basis. However, the Treasury's Public

21 Mar 2013 : Column 764W

Expenditure Statistical Analysis (PESA) tables do provide regional breakdown of total transport spend. These breakdowns can be found on the HM Treasury website at the following link:

http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/d/pesa_complete_2012.pdf

Railways: North West

Andrew Gwynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what assessment his Department has made of the need for additional capacity at Stockport station and Heaton Norris junction to facilitate service reprogramming resulting from Northern Hub and electrification work around Greater Manchester; [149211]

(2) what assessment his Department has made of the need for signal modernisation at Stockport to increase cross-over slots at Heaton Norris junction; [149212]

(3) what assessment his Department has made of capacity constraints at Stockport station and Heaton Norris junction. [149213]

Mr Simon Burns: Network Rail, working with operators and other key stakeholders, has assessed the need for additional capacity across the whole of the Manchester area as part of the Northern Hub strategy. It has not identified any capacity constraints and therefore a need for additional capacity or signal modernisation at Stockport station or Heaton Norris.

Andrew Gwynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what assessment his Department has made of the potential for redirecting rail services between Stockport and Stalybridge and beyond to facilitate the reprogramming resulting from Northern Hub and electrification work around Greater Manchester; [149214]

(2) what assessment his Department has made of the potential for redirecting rail services between Stockport and Manchester Victoria and beyond to facilitate the reprogramming resulting from Northern Hub and electrification work around Greater Manchester. [149215]

Mr Simon Burns: It is for local authorities and passenger transport executives to determine whether a new local rail service is the best way to meet local transport needs. Transport for Greater Manchester has not identified that the provision of a regular service between Stockport and Stalybridge or Manchester Victoria is a priority for the authority; therefore, no detailed work has been carried out to assess the potential for such a service as part of the Northern Hub strategy.

Roads: East Sussex

Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the compatibility of the economic case for the Bexhill to Hastings link road, with his guidance to the local transport boards that only in exceptional circumstances can schemes with lower than high value for money be funded; what his criteria are for determining such exceptional circumstances; if he will publish the details of any exceptional circumstances that apply to the Bexhill to Hastings link road; and if he will make a statement. [148907]

21 Mar 2013 : Column 765W

Norman Baker: The Department is still assessing the economic case of the “full approval” application for the scheme submitted by East Sussex County Council in December 2012. Any expenditure carried out to date by the Essex County Council has been at its own risk.

Value for money plays an important part in our investment decisions but it is not the only consideration. Our assessment of schemes follows a wider, staged approach as set out in The Transport Business Case in line with HM Treasury's recommended “five case” model (strategic, economic, commercial, financial, and management cases). The Department takes into account the evidence in all five cases when making investment decisions.

We want to ensure that the value for money of the devolved local authority major schemes programme is maintained and therefore would expect that Local Transport Bodies (LTBs) would only in exceptional circumstances agree to fund schemes with lower than “high” value for money.

If LTBs wish to retain the flexibility to fund schemes assessed at less than “high” value for money, their assurance framework should clearly set out the circumstances under which funding for such schemes would be considered, and outline any additional scrutiny or conditions that would apply.

Sunderland Port

Grahame M. Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the level of (a) public and (b) private sector investment in the Port of Sunderland was in each of the last five years. [149488]

Stephen Hammond: The Department does not hold information on public or private sector investment in the Port of Sunderland.

Telephone Services

Fabian Hamilton: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether his Department's customer service telephone lines are restricted to those beginning 0870. [149029]

Norman Baker: The Department currently only operates one 0870 telephone number, which is for general enquiries to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency. This is a local rate number.

The majority of calls from the public to the Department and its agencies are handled through its contact centres which largely use free phone 0800 and local rate 0300 numbers.

International Development

Nepal

Dan Jarvis: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assistance her Department has provided to Nepal in each of the last three years. [149239]

Mr Duncan: DFID has an operational plan for Nepal which commits up to £331 million of UK official development assistance during the period 2011-15. This operational plan is available on the DFID website.

21 Mar 2013 : Column 766W

DFID's assistance to Nepal is set around four pillars which we believe are critical to secure long-term peace and development: (1) Governance and Security; (2) Inclusive Wealth Creation; (3) Service Delivery (Health, Education and Water and Sanitation); and (4) Disaster and Climate Change Resilience.

In 2010-11 DFID disbursed £57.8 million of bilateral development assistance to Nepal. In 2011-12 DFID's disbursement was £62.2 million. In 2012-13 DFID plans to disburse £55 million.

By 2015 the UK's development assistance, in partnership with the Government of Nepal, will have created 230,000 jobs; lifted 570,000 people out of poverty; averted 108,000 unintended pregnancies, ensured 110,000 people benefit from safe latrines and will have made 4 million people better able to cope with natural disasters.

Overseas Aid

Mike Crockart: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what proportion of international aid provided by the Government is spent on resources provided by the Ministry of Defence. [148933]

Mr Duncan: The Ministry of Defence (MOD) is able to provide assistance to DFID during times of humanitarian crisis overseas. A memorandum of understanding to this effect was signed in 2007 and reconfirmed in autumn 2012. DFID is not currently drawing on MOD resources to assist with overseas humanitarian disasters.

Palestinians

Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development whether UK aid contributes to the Palestinian Authority TV channel. [149077]

Mr Duncan: There is no Palestinian Authority (PA) TV channel. The “Palestine TV” channel is commissioned by the Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation (PBC) and reports to the Office of the Palestinian President. It is subject to official directives that make clear that it must avoid any content of programs that endorse or propagate violence. Otherwise it has editorial independence and its output does not represent PA policy.

Mr Hollobone: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what information has been provided by the Palestinian Authority on the total in monthly salaries paid from the Treasury of the Palestinian National Authority to (a) civil servants, (b) military personnel and (c) prisoners in the last 12 months for which figures are available. [149246]

Justine Greening: The Palestinian Authority Ministry of Finance publishes information on all its expenditure on its website. Details of spending by Ministry and sector for the whole of 2012 are available at the following link:

www.pmof.ps/en/

Mr Hollobone: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development (1) what audits her Department has undertaken on monthly salaries paid from the Treasury of the Palestinian National Authority; [149247]

21 Mar 2013 : Column 767W

(2) which Palestinian Authority civil servants receive salaries from the Palestinian Authority that are part-funded through UK aid; and what arrangements are in place to monitor those payments. [149242]

Justine Greening: UK support to the Palestinian Authority (PA) is used to pay for the salaries of civil servants who meet defined eligibility criteria, including being screened against international and ad hoc sanctions. Use of UK funds is independently audited.

Telephone Services

Fabian Hamilton: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development whether her Department's customer service telephone lines are restricted to those beginning 0870. [149027]

Mr Duncan: We do not use a 0870 number.

Communities and Local Government

Centre for Global Eco-Innovation

Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much European Regional Development Fund funding has been paid to Inventya Ltd for work associated with the Centre for Global Eco-Innovation in the last period for which figures are available. [149285]

Brandon Lewis: Inventya has been paid £38,862 European Regional Development Fund funding for the period up to 30 September 2012 for work associated with the Centre for Global Eco-Innovation.

Inventya, as a delivery partner, contract is £861,207 of which the European Regional Development Fund will contribute £430,603.50. A further claim is pending payment for the period up to 31 December 2012 of which Inventya is due European Regional Development Funding of £20,915.

Local Government Finance: Northamptonshire

Andy Sawford: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what amount (a) Corby Borough Council, (b) East Northamptonshire District Council and (c) Northamptonshire County Council (i) received in formula grant in each of the last four years and (ii) will receive in formula grant in 2013-14. [149004]

Brandon Lewis: Formula grant funding for each year is given on our website at:

http://www.local.communities.gov.uk/finance/0910/grant.htm#set

http://www.local.communities.gov.uk/finance/1011/grant.htm#set

http://www.local.communities.gov.uk/finance/1112/grant.htm#set

http://www.local.communities.gov.uk/finance/1213/grant.htm#set

Changes in local authority funding and function mean formula grant figures for one year cannot be compared directly with those for a different year. An

21 Mar 2013 : Column 768W

example is the transfer of funding for concessionary travel from districts to counties in two-tier shire areas in 2011-12.

From April 2013 formula grant is being replaced and councils will get to keep 50% of total business rates growth.

Telephone Services

Fabian Hamilton: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether his Department's customer service telephone lines are restricted to those beginning 0870. [149018]

Brandon Lewis: The Department does not use 0870 customer service numbers. It has a public inquiries number with the prefix 030.

030 numbers were specifically designed for not-for-profit organisations, charities and public sector bodies to offer consumers a single point of contact nationally. Calls cost no more than calls to geographic (01 and 02) numbers and must be included in inclusive minutes and discount schemes in the same way.

Energy and Climate Change

Biofuels

Dan Byles: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what the total value is of those feed-in tariffs and renewable fuel obligation certificates that have been awarded to the energy sector for using waste derived from biomethane in (a) 2011-12 and (b) the previous five years. [148667]

Gregory Barker: Electricity generated from biomethane is eligible for the prevailing levels of support available to anaerobic digestion (AD) generating stations accredited under the feed-in tariff (FIT) and renewables obligation (RO) schemes. Biomethane generation is not classified separately from other forms of AD generation and so the value of any support awarded cannot be distinguished from the total value of the support awarded to AD stations through these two schemes. The total value of the feed-in tariffs and renewable obligation certificates awarded to AD generating stations in the six years from 2006-07 is set out in the following table. Figures have been rounded to the nearest £100,000.

Financial yearValue of feed-in tariffs issued (£ million)Value of ROCs issued (£ million)

2006-07

0

0.5

2007-08

0

0.7

2008-09

0

0.7

2009-10

0

5.0

2010-11

0.2

11.7

2011-12

7.2

16.4

The FIT scheme was introduced on 1 April 2010, so only figures from 2010-11 onwards are shown. FITs spending data are not collected at technology level. However, DECC has estimated spending for AD schemes based on generation reported to Ofgem for each of 2010-11 and 2011-12, multiplied by the tariff rate payable for those years. The figures in the table do not include spending on exports (the value of which to the supplier can be greater than the tariff paid).

21 Mar 2013 : Column 769W

Dan Byles: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what recent assessment his Department has made of the financial incentives available per unit of biomethane if utilised for (a) electricity generation through the Renewables Obligation, (b) electricity generation through feed-in tariffs and (c) transport through the Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation. [148794]

Gregory Barker: Biomethane is almost pure methane which is obtained by cleaning up the biogas generated by anaerobic digestion (AD). Biomethane is typically used to generate heat or as a transport fuel. It is not typically used to generate electricity because it is much cheaper to generate electricity directly from the biogas. However, if a generator wished to use biomethane for electricity generation, such generation would be eligible for support under the relevant AD band in the renewables obligation (RO) and AD tariff in the feed-in tariff (FIT) scheme. The incentives available through the RO and FIT for AD electricity generation have been revised following comprehensive reviews of those two schemes. The details were published in July 2012(1). DECC has not assessed the availability of support for biomethane under the renewable transport fuel obligation (RTFO) as responsibility for that schemes rests with the Department for Transport.

(1)https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/supporting-large-scale-renewable-electricity-generation

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/tariffs-for-non-pv-technologies-comprehensive-review-phase-2b

Cheaper Energy Together

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what proportion of bids from local authorities to the Cheaper Energy Together scheme have been (a) successful and (b) unsuccessful in each region since the inception of the scheme. [149344]

Gregory Barker: The Cheaper Energy Together collective switching fund was open to local authorities and third sector organisations in Great Britain. The Department received 114 applications, 76 of which were from local authorities. The following table shows the number of local authorities in each region or devolved Administration that applied and were successful or not.

Region/Devolved administrationNumber of local authority applicationsSuccessfulUnsuccessful

East Midlands

10

2

8

East of England

11

4

7

Greater London

5

2

3

North East

6

2

4

North West

9

4

5

South East

12

3

9

South West

6

3

3

West Midlands

6

2

4

Yorkshire and the Humber

4

2

2

Scotland

1

0

1

Wales

6

0

6

21 Mar 2013 : Column 770W

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change which local authorities applied for Cheaper Energy Together funding; and which bids were (a) accepted and (b) rejected. [149345]

Gregory Barker: The Cheaper Energy Together collective switching fund was open to local authorities and third sector organisations in Great Britain. The Department received 114 applications, 76 of which were from local authorities. The following table shows the local authorities that applied and whether they were successful or not.

Local authority(1)Successful (Yes/No)

Cherwell District Council

No

North Norfolk District Council

Yes

Breckland Council

No

Tunbridge Borough Council

Yes

Nottingham City Council

Yes

Nottinghamshire County Council

No

London Borough of Barking and Dagenham

No

Lincolnshire County Council

No

Northumberland County Council

Yes

Newcastle City Council

No

South Lakeland District Council

No

Peterborough City Council (Bid 2)

No

Aylesbury Vale District Council

No

Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council

No

London Borough of Havering

No

Cyngor Gwynedd

No

Blackburn and Darwen Borough Council

Yes

South Tyneside Council

Yes

Ceredigion County Council

No

Ashfield District Council

No

Exeter City Council

Yes

South Ayrshire Council

No

Peterborough City Council (Bid 1)

Yes

Birmingham City Council

Yes

London Borough of Islington

No

Oldham Council

Yes

London Borough of Tower Hamlets

Yes

Derby City Council

No

Wiltshire Council

Yes

Wootton Parish Council

No

Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council

No

Rutland County Council

No

Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames

Yes

Monmouthshire County Council

No

Derbyshire County Council

No

Cardiff Council

No

Allerdale Borough Council

No

Plymouth City Council

No

Norwich City Council

Yes

Sheffield City Council

Yes

South Holland District Council

No

Corby Borough Council/Electric Corby

Yes

Colchester Borough Council

No

Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council

No

Kings Lynn and West Norfolk Borough Council

No

Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council

No

Portsmouth City Council

No

21 Mar 2013 : Column 771W

Eastleigh Borough Council

No

Calderdale Council

Yes

Dorset County Council

No

Suffolk County Council

No

Carlisle City Council

No

Blackpool Council

No

Bournemouth Borough Council

No

Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead

No

Stoke on Trent City Council

No

Reading Borough Council

No

Cornwall Council/Eden Project

Yes

East Riding of Yorkshire Council

Yes

Coventry City Council

Yes

Gateshead Council

No

Hull City Council

No

Cheshire East Council

Yes

Southampton City Council

No

Northampton Borough Council

No

Sunderland City Council

No

Southend on Sea Borough Council

No

North Warwickshire Borough Council

No

Broadland District Council

Yes

Cheshire West and Chester Council

No

Isle of Wight Council

Yes

Luton Borough Council

No

Newcastle under Lyme Borough Council

No

Woking Borough Council

Yes

Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council

No

Eastbourne Borough Council

No

(1) Some local authorities applied as a consortium. Only the lead local authorities are listed here.

Drax Power Station

Barry Gardiner: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change (1) what assessment he has made of the potential emissions reductions expected from the Drax coal to biomass conversion project; [148898]

(2) what evidence his Department received on potential emissions reductions resulting from the Drax coal to biomass conversion; and on what dates that evidence was received. [149032]

Richard Benyon: I have been asked to reply on behalf of the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Drax is regulated through an environmental permit issued by the Environment Agency under the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010. Any proposed change in the operation of the installation has to be assessed by the Environment Agency so that, if appropriate, the permit can be varied to deal with the change.

Assessments of applications to vary an environmental permit are made available to view on the public register maintained by the Environment Agency.

In February this year the Environment Agency received an initial application from Drax for a permit variation to allow conversion of part of the plant from coal firing to biomass firing. The application did not contain sufficient information for the application to be progressed.

21 Mar 2013 : Column 772W

The Environment Agency is currently in discussions with the operator to allow a time limited trial to be undertaken to ascertain the information required before a further application, which assesses the actual change in sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and particulates emissions, is made.

Electricity Interconnectors

Patrick Mercer: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what progress his Department has made on plans to extend electricity cable links between the UK and France; and if he will make a statement. [149259]

Mr Hayes: Interconnection between Britain and other countries can bring a range of benefits to Britain. Government currently have no direct role in planning, building or extending interconnection. The market in Britain is commercially-driven with a number of different companies involved. We are aware of a number of developers planning links with France that would increase the capacity beyond the 2GW that already exists.

Energy: Billing

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what plans his Department has to require energy companies to put people aged over 75 on to the lowest tariff. [149343]

Mr Hayes: Ofgem's Retail Market Review proposals will ensure that all consumers are on the cheapest tariff in line with their preferences.

The Government have also introduced clauses into the Energy Bill so that they can act to implement these important reforms in the event that Ofgem's proposals are frustrated or unduly delayed.

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what the average household energy bill was in each region of the UK in each year for which figures are available. [149357]

Gregory Barker: DECC publishes data on average gas and electricity bills in major towns and cities in its Quarterly Energy Prices publication, in table 2.2.3 (electricity) and 2.3.3 (gas). These tables can be found at the following link, with data going back as far as 1998:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/annual-domestic-energy-price-statistics

These are based on assumed consumption levels of 3,300 kWh per year of electricity, and 18,O00 kWh per year of gas. Data are collected by Public Electricity Supply (PES) region for electricity and Local Distribution Zone (LDZ) for gas. However, because these differ in coverage, data are reported for a major town/city within the area.

Energy: Competition

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how many customers switched energy supplier in each (a) local authority area and (b) region in each of the last three years. [149350]

21 Mar 2013 : Column 773W

Gregory Barker: DECC does not hold data on the number of customers that have switched supplier in each local authority and region. DECC does, however, publish data on the total number of switches of gas and electricity supplier on a quarterly basis. These can be found in table 2.7.1 of the “Quarterly Energy Prices” publication. This table can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/quarterly-domestic-energy-switching-statistics

DECC also publishes data on the proportion of customers in each region that are no longer with their home supplier (i.e. have switched away since the market opened up). This can be found in tables 2.4.1 (electricity) and 2.5.1 (gas) of the “Quarterly Energy Prices” publication:

21 Mar 2013 : Column 774W

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/quarterly-domestic-energy-price-stastics

Fuel Poverty

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what proportion of household income was spent on fuel for each decile of income in each year for which figures are available. [149347]

Gregory Barker: Data on the proportion of household income spent on fuel and light (excluding motor fuels) for each income decile group from 2006 to 2011 can be found in the following table:

Percentage
Income decile200620072008200920102011

Lowest 10%

10.2

11.0

11.7

12.6

12.3

11.6

2

6.9

6.9

8.2

8.2

8.5

7.5

3

5.6

5.4

6.0

6.6

6.7

6.1

4

4.1

4.3

4.8

5.4

5.3

5.2

5

3.5

3.6

3.8

4.2

4.4

4.5

6

2.8

3.0

3.2

3.6

3.7

3.7

7

2.4

2.6

2.7

3.3

3.1

3.1

8

2.1

2.2

2.3

2.9

2.6

2.6

9

1.8

1.9

2.0

2.2

2.2

2.2

Highest 10%

1.2

1.3

1.2

1.4

1.4

1.5

Overall

2.5

2.6

2.7

3.1

3.1

3.1

Before 2006, data are on a calendar year basis, and so are not directly comparable. Data are taken from the Living Costs and Food Survey, run by the Office for National Statistics. More information on this survey can be found here:

http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/guide-method/surveys/respondents/household/living-costs-and-food-survey/index.html

Green Deal Scheme

Luciana Berger: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change (1) how much his Department contributed in each category of expenditure to the cost of marketing material for the Green Deal low cost living house at the Ideal Home show 2013; [149297]

(2) how much his Department paid to Media 10 Ltd to promote the Green Deal low cost living house at the Ideal Home show 2013; [149298]

(3) how much his Department paid to George Clark to promote the Green Deal low cost living house at the Ideal Home show 2013 and for writing the forward to the Your Green Deal brochure. [149299]

Gregory Barker: DECC is sponsoring the low cost living house (LCLH) at the Ideal Home show. The sponsorship package with Media10 cost £60,000 excluding VAT and includes:

Naming rights of the Low Cost Living House across all marketing material (e.g. Low Cost Living House in association with Green Deal); visible branding in and around the LCLH to demonstrate which energy efficient measures are available under the Green Deal; six dedicated promotional staff to hand out Green Deal literature, including one Home Manager to support the staff and talk to visitors; an article and advertising space within the LCLH brochure; and certain other rights, including the right to distribute a mini-magazine explaining the Green Deal, including a forward from George Clark.

The mini-magazine was produced by Freud; the cost of creation, copywriting, design, and producing a print run of 100,000 was £10,000, including the fee and image rights for the foreword from George Clark.

We will place a copy of the mini-magazine referenced in the Libraries of the House.

Heating

Luciana Berger: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change when he plans to publish his heat strategy. [149331]

Gregory Barker: The Government will be setting out their plans on heat shortly.

Annual Leave

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how many officials in (a) his Department and (b) each of its agencies and non-departmental public bodies qualify for privilege days; and what the total cost to the public purse was of the number of privilege days utilised each year by such officials. [147737]

Gregory Barker: Following changes implemented in the Department of Energy and Climate Change on 1 March 2013 there are no delegated officials at grades AA to grade 6 who qualify for privilege days.

As of 28 February 2013 a total of 30 staff in the Departments non-departmental public bodies qualify for 1.5 privilege days per year at an average annual cost of £7,733.

21 Mar 2013 : Column 775W

The terms and conditions of employment of senior civil servants (SCS) are determined centrally by the Cabinet Office who are currently reviewing the entitlement to privilege days as part of civil service reform. In the interim 105 SCS staff in the Department currently retain an entitlement to 1.5 privilege days per year at an average annual cost of £44,954.

Natural Gas: Storage

Graham Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what assessment he has made of (a) the implications of geological faults on phase two of the High Speed 2 route from Birmingham to Manchester and (b) the potential effect of high- speed trains on underground gas storage facilities. [148995]

Mr Simon Burns: I have been asked to reply on behalf of the Department for Transport.

Phase two of HS2 is at a very early stage of design and is an initial preference for the route. At this stage of the process, preliminary geotechnical desk-based evaluation has been undertaken but no detailed surveys have taken place. Further work on this will be carried out in developing the design following consultation.

With regard to underground gas storage facilities, HS2 Ltd is aware of existing and new infrastructure constraints where the information has been publically available. It is in contact with the relevant local authorities on the initial preferred route to understand the impacts of the proposed line in those areas. Further work on this will obviously continue as the design is developed following consultation.

Graham Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change if he will update the regulatory framework for underground salt cavern gas storage facilities to account for the potential risks posed by such storage facilities being in proximity to operating mines. [149001]

Mr Hayes: Planning controls and safe construction and operation of salt cavern gas storage facilities are covered by the Seveso II Directive. Planning aspects of the directive are implemented through planning legislation, which deals with the siting of such facilities. The safety aspects of the directive are implemented through the Control of Major Accident Hazard (COMAH) Regulations 1999 (as amended) administered by the HSE. The Seveso II Directive will be superceded by a new Seveso III Directive which will be implemented in the UK in 2015 through updated planning and health and safety legislation. There will be full consultation on the new legislation which is currently under development.

Graham Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change if he will require underground gas storage operators to demonstrate their ability to meet their financial responsibilities in the event of being found liable for an underground gas storage failure. [149002]

Mr Hayes: There are no such plans, though we would expect gas storage operators to have in place public liability insurance to cover any potential liabilities as a matter of good business practice.

21 Mar 2013 : Column 776W

Graham Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change if he will impose financial responsibility requirements on natural gas storage operators to ensure that costs of cavern failure, gas leakage and any resultant harm to persons and property are allocated to operators. [149003]

Mr Hayes: Storage operations are subject to a robust regulatory regime that is designed to ensure that they are carried out to the highest standards. The Government have no plans to change the current law on liability in this area.

Graham Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change whether data relating to (a) geological formations and (b) testing prior to undergroud gas storage operations are considered to be matters of national security which would be redacted from safety reports. [149070]

Mr Hayes: The Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure determines whether or not such issues are considered to be matters of national security, on a case-by-case basis.