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Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if the manufacture, assembly, testing and storage of depleted uranium ammunition is covered by (a) international environmental treaties, (b) verification and reporting under the Chemical Weapons Convention and (c) European Union and national environmental regulations; and if potentially hazardous releases or emissions have been reported to the relevant environmental and safety regulators. 
Mr. Meacher [holding answer 26 February 2001]: I am not aware of any international environmental treaties which cover depleted uranium ammunition. The Chemical Weapons Convention does not cover depleted uranium ammunition.
Within the European Union civil uses of nuclear materials are regulated under the Euratom Treaty and subsidiary legislation. The Government's position is that the Euratom Treaty does not apply to military activities. The Radioactive Substances Act 1993 makes provision for the regulation of radioactive substances. The licensing provisions of the Act are applied to companies involved in the manufacture and assembly of depleted uranium ammunition and permits have been issued covering a number of such premises. Premises occupied on behalf of the Crown for the purposes of the armed forces or the Ministry of Defence are exempt from the provisions of the Act. However, the Environment, Agency does regulate these premises by administrative rather than statutory means.
Apart from the small amount of contained firing at Foulness and Aldermaston, test firing of depleted uranium has been concentrated on two sites. One site at Eskmeals in Cumbria has not been used since 1995. The Environment Agency believes from environmental monitoring reports it has seen that there have not been any potentially hazardous releases or emissions of depleted uranium to the environment from this site. The other site is at Dundrennan in Kirkudbright, Scotland from which shells are fired into the Solway Firth. A long-term environmental monitoring programme on the effects of depleted uranium test firing has been in place in Kirkudbright since 1983. In 1993, W. S. Atkins Ltd. was commissioned to produce an independent environmental impact assessment for Kirkudbright. The report concluded that the firing programme produced a negligible effect on the local environment.
Mr. Hill: Our Ten Year Transport Plan sets out the broad agenda for improving the quality of bus services and securing passenger growth. We are underpinning this with new powers under the Transport Act 2000, now largely in force, and with additional funding through local transport plans, increased support for rural buses, a new
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urban bus challenge scheme to improve services in deprived areas and, most recently, enhanced fuel duty rebate following the Budget. In addition, regulations under the Disability Discrimination Act now require new buses and coaches used on local and scheduled services to be accessible to disabled people, including wheelchair users. We will be monitoring these initiatives to ensure that they deliver the necessary quantity and quality improvements for bus users.
Mr. Hood: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what the outcome was of the Environment Council held in Brussels on 8 March; what the Government's voting record was at the Council; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Meacher: I represented the UK at the Environment Council in Brussels on 8 March, accompanied by Sam Galbraith, Scottish Executive Minister for the Environment, Sport and Culture. The UK, along with other member states, except Germany who abstained, voted in favour of the common position on the proposed Directive on motorcycle emissions. The Council adopted three sets of conclusions.
The Presidency proposed a compromise text on a Directive to limit emissions from motorcycles in two stages, 2003 and 2006. In supporting the proposed text on tighter limits from 2003, providing between 60 and 70 per cent. reduction in hydrocarbons and 30 to 60 per cent. reduction in carbon monoxide, member states accepted my amendment to extend the deadline for "enduro" bikes to assist the small UK manufacturers in adapting to the new limits. Germany proposed binding limits for 2006 to be agreed now, in advance of the Commission's proposed limits due by the end of 2002, which will be based on a new test cycle currently under development. The UK, along with the majority of member states, agreed to accept Germany's proposed limit values for 2006 as indicative non-binding limits only and the Council achieved a Common Position, with German abstention, that meets both our environmental and our manufacturers' needs.
Short Council conclusions on climate change were agreed reaffirming the EU's commitment to reaching agreement on the Kyoto Protocol at the resumed COP6. Following a presentation by the Commission of a Communication preparing for the World Summit on Sustainable Development (Rio+10) in 2002, Council conclusions were agreed listing strategic objectives for the Summit. Council conclusions were also reached on a Communication reviewing future Bathing Water policy. These will guide the Commission in preparing its proposal for a revised Directive.
A public policy debate was held on the Sixth Environment Action Programme, which will set out the EU's environmental priorities for the next 20 years, primarily climate change, nature and biodiversity, environment and health and sustainable management of natural resources and waste. It was clear from the debate that there was a general wish to make the Programme more specific by adding some key objectives and
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deadlines, although, since the proposal has only recently been published, there were not many concrete suggestions. Delegations also generally wish to see a short, clear programme. The negotiations on this dossier will proceed throughout the remainder of the Swedish Presidency with the aim to reach Common Position at the June Council.
A policy debate was also held on a White Paper on a future EU Chemicals Strategy. This proposes a new framework for risk assessment and management of both existing and new chemicals. It follows an initiative launched by the UK under its Presidency in 1998. Member states expressed broad support of the Commission objectives. The next stage will be detailed consideration of the practicalities of how these objectives can be met. The Presidency aim to complete Council Conclusions in June to direct the Commission in developing proposals for an effective and workable system.
The Commission and Presidency updated the Council on progress on an EU Sustainable Development Strategy. The Commission presented their Green Paper on Integrated Product Policy, which seeks to address the environmental impact of products at all stages of their life-cycle. The Presidency gave progress reports on a number of current legislative proposals expected to reach common position at the June or October 2001 Environment Councils. The Commission reported on progress in drafting a new proposal on the traceability and labelling of GMOs. The Council also had an informal discussion on climate change at the end of the day's business.
Mr. Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how much departmental money was spent (a) from 1 January 1989 to 30 April 1997 and (b) from 1 May 1997 to 31 December 2000 in connection with the Lewes-Polegate railway line. 
Between 1 January 1989 and 25 May 1996, passenger rail services on the Lewes-Polegate railway line were operated by the British Railways Board, to which the following amounts of central Government grant were paid in 1988-89 to 1996-97.
|Cash prices £ million|
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Between 26 May 1996 and 31 December 2000, passenger rail services on the Lewes-Polegate railway line were operated by Connex South Central, to which the following amounts of franchise support were paid by the Franchising Director in 1996-97 to 1999-2000.
|Cash prices £ million|
Franchise support for Connex South Central is the Franchising Director's contribution to the company's total expenditure on the provision of all its passenger services. The company is responsible for the detailed allocation of that expenditure between services on particular railway lines.
Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how many people in each of the four areas of England established for the purpose of administering the home energy efficiency scheme (a) have had new boilers fitted and (b) have had boilers repaired since June 2000; and how many are currently waiting for (i) boiler repairs and (ii) new boilers. 
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|Number of households that require new heating systems including boiler||Number of households that required repairs to existing heating systems|
|Scheme manager||Fitted and invoiced||Order with installer||Repairs completed and invoiced (of which require replacement boiler)||Those awaiting repair(11)||Those awaiting replacement boiler (11)|
|Eaga (Lot1)||736||891||1,439 (469)||739||458|
|Eaga (Lot 3)||2,161||3,639||2,912 (1,117)||1,845||1,102|
|Eaga (Lot 4)||1,092||3,216||2,265 (811)||1,107||808|
|Eastern (Lot 2)||1,956||3,952||1,358 (459)||1,986||4,879|
(11) Due to the one to six week delay between the completion of the work and the issue of invoices by contractors it is likely that work has already been completed in some of these households.
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Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions (1) how the Government ensures that the cost of work carried out by contractors under the home energy efficiency scheme does not exceed the price which would be charged by local contractors registered with CORGI; 
(2) how the Government are ensuring that grants paid to contractors for work under the Home Energy Efficiency Scheme does not exceed the value of the work done. 
Mr. Meacher: Scheme managers are contractually required to appoint insulation and heating sub-contractors following the requirements set out under the UK's Public Procurement Regulations. In the case of heating contractors, I understand that both scheme managers advertised widely in the trade press and wrote to all CORGI registered gas heating engineers inviting them to tender. The scheme managers were required to accept those tenders that were the lowest in price and technically compliant.
The scheme is designed so that independent surveyors visit householders and advise the measures to be installed. Orders are then placed with the sub-contractors for the package of measures to be installed in each home. The scheme managers operate monitoring systems to ensure work orders are correctly carried out to the relevant specifications.
Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions on what date and by what means tenders were invited for the management of grant payments under the home energy efficiency scheme towards the cost of heating systems; how many tenders were received; and on what criteria contracts were awarded. 
Mr. Meacher: The scheme manager contracts were awarded in accordance with UK Public Procurement Regulations. An advertisement was placed in the Official Journal of the European Community and written tenders were invited on 29 October 1999.
Six compliant bids were received. These were assessed by a tender panel, which included external representatives. The panel unanimously recommended the award of contracts to the Eaga Partnership Ltd. and Eastern HEES Ltd. on the basis of providing the lowest priced, technically compliant bids.
The contract with Eaga Partnership includes a stepped clawback provision, whereby up to 75 per cent. of any profit in a given financial year is returned to the Department. Eastern HEES Ltd. is a not-for-profit company who are committed to refunding to the Department all surpluses that occur.
Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will list those contractors authorised to carry out installations of new boilers under the home energy efficiency scheme in each of the four areas of England established for the purpose of administering the scheme. 
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energy efficiency scheme in England. There are variations in the coverage of each installer, some are national, while others provide a regional service.
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Eaga Partnership to administer the scheme for grant payments towards the cost of new central heating boilers for vulnerable people. 
Mr. Meacher: The Eaga Partnership Ltd. was awarded the contract to manage the home energy efficiency scheme in the Northern, West and South of England from the start of the new scheme on 1 June 2000. Prior to this date no grants for heating measures were available under the scheme that had run since 1991. Instead only a single main insulation measure was available.
Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what the estimated cost to public funds in 2000-01 is of the Government's advertising of the UK home energy efficiency scheme. 
Mr. Meacher [holding answer 12 March 2001]: The responsibility for marketing the home energy efficiency scheme in England rests with the scheme managers, Eaga Partnership Ltd. and Eastern HEES Ltd. The costs for this activity are included within their overall contract price. The scheme managers report that a total of £3.05 million will be spent on advertising the scheme in this financial year, including the cost of the Warm Front Team campaign.
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Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions when the television advertising campaign for Warm Front commenced in the Meridian television area; how many advertising slots are involved; and what the cost is to (a) public funds and (b) agents acting on the Government's behalf. 
Mr. Meacher [holding answer 12 March 2001]: The television advertising campaign for the Warm Front Team is being piloted in the Meridian area for four weeks from 23 February to 23 March. The campaign is intended to stimulate interest in an area where there is a low take-up of home energy efficiency scheme (HEES) grants. 85 advertising spots are planned for off peak times, when the target audience is most likely to be watching television. The cost of the television slots is around £80,000, with the advertisements themselves costing some £95,000 to produce. The HEES Scheme Managers are responsible for the quantity and type of advertising used, with the cost included within the overall contract price paid by the Department.
Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what has been the total value of work carried out in 2000-01 by contractors in each of the four areas of England established for the purpose of administering the home energy efficiency scheme. 
Mr. Meacher [holding answer 12 March 2001]: The total value of work carried out since June 2000 by contractors in each of the four areas of England established for the purposes of administering the Home Energy Efficiency Scheme is set out in the table:
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|East||North-east and north-west||London and south-east||South-west and west-midlands|
|Total value of heating and insulation work (£)||6,088,350||10,474,401||3,940,122||5,543,556|
|Total value of security work (£)||117,919||387,084||91,431||173,717|
|Total value of HEES work (£)||6,206,269||10,861,485||4,031,553||5,717,273|
|Number of households treated||16,945||29,594||12,426||17,346|
|Number of households waiting for work to be carried out||(12)18,386||(12)17,946||(12)9,250||(12)12,662|
|Total value of work waiting to be carried out (£)||(12)8,500,000||(12)16,820,086||(12)6,687,893||(12)11,905,199|
(12) Due to the one to six week delay between the completion of the work and the issue of invoices by contractors it is likely that work has already been completed in some of these households
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