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27 Nov 2007 : Column WA107



27 Nov 2007 : Column WA107

Written Answers

Tuesday 27 November 2007

Afghanistan: Military Fatalities

Lord Roberts of Llandudno asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): Since operations began in October 2001 there have been 84 service fatalities in Afghanistan, as at 21 November 2007.

Records of the number of UK military fatalities together with the names and service details are kept up to date on the Ministry of Defence website, at the following address: www.mod.uk/DefenceInternet/Fact Sheets/OperationsFactsheets/OperationsInAfghanistanBritishFatalities.htm.

Airports: Delays

Lord Dykes asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bassam of Brighton: The Government certainly support any initiatives to reduce unnecessary queues and delays for air passengers. On 21 November, we published a report, Improving the Air Passenger Experience, and we have asked the Civil Aviation Authority for its views on how to improve the transparency of check-in times and other aspects of performance related to getting through the airport.

Armed Forces: Reservists

Lord Rogan asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): There have been no instances between January and October 2007 where reservists have not been paid their salary. However, delays or errors in individual payments can occur as the result of late or incorrect inputs by unit human resources staff, and can also be due to the failure to follow the correct payroll processes.



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There are no known systemic problems. Two separate JPA errors have, however, resulted in the delayed payments of home-to-duty travel claims during this period. The first error resulted in 416 payments being made in July instead of June, and the second resulted in 10,752 payments being made in September rather than August.

To provide the details of each individual case would require the examination of 11,168 records and could be provided only at disproportionate effort.

Armed Forces: War Pensions

Lord Roberts of Conwy asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): The Service Personnel and Veterans Agency strives to ensure that all decisions made are in accordance with the rules of the scheme and in accordance with the evidence.

Building Regulations: Energy Performance

Lord Beaumont of Whitley asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Andrews): Many local planning authorities have responded enthusiastically and taken positive steps in response to the Written Ministerial Statement of 8 June 2006. In commenting on their own survey of local planning authority policies, the Town and Country Planning Association highlighted “an impressive surge in onsite renewable energy policies”. This suggested that more than 170 local authorities were “working up policies to require developers to generate clean, safe energy onsite in new developments”.

Buses

Lord Bradshaw asked Her Majesty's Government:



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Lord Bassam of Brighton: Bus operators may appeal against the reimbursement arrangements proposed by local authorities for concessionary fares schemes. They do not appeal against the funding allocated to local authorities by central government. As of 15 November, there remain to be determined 83 appeals by bus operators against local authorities' reimbursement arrangements. In 2007-08, 102 appeals were submitted but 19 have since been withdrawn. Of the appeals now under consideration, 41 were submitted in March, 27 in April, three in June, one in July, two in August, one in September, seven in October and one in November. Before an appeal can be determined it is essential to gather robust information about the scheme from both the appellant and the relevant travel concession authority.

In the majority of cases the appeals relate to local schemes which offer more generous concessions than the statutory minimum—by, for example, offering countywide travel and/or a start time before 9.30 am. Such enhancements are funded locally.

The appeals will be determined by an independent adjudicator, appointed on behalf of the Secretary of State for Transport, in due course.

Corruption

Lord Lee of Trafford asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): The five largest sums of money attributed to cases of fraud, theft and corruption successfully prosecuted by the Ministry of Defence Police in the past year are as follows:

£4.500 million

£1.500 million

£0.052 million

£0.041 million

£0.016 million.

The values shown are not necessarily the result of like-for-like outcomes. They relate to cases where a demonstrable loss has occurred and those where an attempted fraud has been successfully prosecuted and a potential saving arises from the attempt being disrupted. The average value of all such cases is not held centrally.

The Defence Irregularity Reporting Cell is not involved in the conduct of investigations or the outcome of successful criminal prosecutions.



27 Nov 2007 : Column WA110

Crime: Drug Dealing

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Rooker: Data for 2006 and the first nine months of 2007 are not yet available. The following table gives the number of prosecutions in Northern Ireland for drug dealing for the calendar years 2001 to 2005.

Data are collated on the principal offence rule; therefore only the most serious offence with which an offender is charged is included.

Prosecutions for dealing in drugs1 2001-05
Number prosecuted

2001

184

2002

122

2003

150

2004

215

2005

173

1 Includes supplying, possession with intent to supply, being concerned/offering to supply, producing, importing or exporting a controlled drug.

Cultural Olympiad

Lord Clement-Jones asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: The Government expect the necessary funding to deliver our commitments for the Cultural Olympiad to be available.

Potential sources of funding include DCMS non-departmental public bodies following the positive outcome of the Comprehensive Spending Review, Legacy Trust UK, sponsorship and other sources; for example, regional development agencies and local authorities.

Energy: Biofuels

Lord Teverson asked Her Majesty's Government:



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Lord Bassam of Brighton: Under the renewable transport fuel obligation (RTFO), which will come into effect in April 2008, all transport fuel suppliers will be required to report on the carbon savings offered by, and wider environmental and social impacts associated with, any biofuels in respect of which they wish to claim renewable transport fuel certificates. The precise reporting requirements will be a matter for the Renewable Fuels Agency (RFA). The Government consulted over the summer on its detailed draft recommendations to the RFA in this area, and are due to publish a summary of responses very shortly. The information provided in these reports is likely to become publicly available, which should create a real incentive on transport fuel suppliers to source only those biofuels that can be proved to come from sustainable sources.

Further, the Government announced on 21 June 2007 that from 2011 they aim to reward biofuels under the RTFO only if the feedstocks from which they are produced meet appropriate sustainability standards. The Government will be able to do this, however, only if that is consistent with the mandatory EU-wide sustainability framework for biofuels which is currently being developed by the European Commission. The Government are actively lobbying the European Commission to ensure that this framework is sufficiently robust. The Government will also need to ensure that any such requirements are compatible with World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules and European Union technical standards requirements. Mandatory requirements relating to social issues such as minimum wages, for example, are likely to be inconsistent with WTO rules.

The RFA will have a duty to report annually to Parliament on the effects of the RTFO on carbon emissions, agriculture, other economic activities, sustainable development and the environment generally. The Government will monitor how markets are affected by growing biofuel demand and will tailor their policies accordingly.

Energy: Renewables

Lord Beaumont of Whitley asked Her Majesty's Government:



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The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office & Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (Lord Jones of Birmingham): Buyout payments under the renewables obligation do not contribute towards the national percentage of renewable energy generation in the United Kingdom.

Lord Beaumont of Whitley asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Jones of Birmingham: Total energy includes energy used for electricity generation, heating and transport. The contribution of renewable sources to total energy can be measured in two ways, either in primary fuel input terms or in final consumption terms. The table below shows percentages on both bases.

Renewable energy as a percentage of total primary energy supply (1)Renewable energy consumption as a percentage of final energy consumption (2)

1997

0.9

..

1998

0.9

..

1999

1.0

..

2000

1.0

0.9

2001

1.1

0.9

2002

1.2

1.0

2003

1.3

1.0

2004

1.5

1.2

2005

1.7

1.3

2006

1.8

1.6

(1) Source—BERR, Digest of United Kingdom Energy Statistics 2007
(2) Source—Eurostat. The definition includes consumption by the energy industries and distribution losses for electricity and heat. Data are not available for 1997 to 1999. 2006 is a BERR estimate using Eurostat definitions.

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