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The Environment Agency works closely both with the Met Office and Ordnance Survey who provide weather information and mapping information respectively. This is then used to aid the Environment Agency in their decision making on flood-related work.
Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will bring forward the timing of the decision on moving to a compulsory reporting scheme on nanotechnologies. 
Mr. Woolas: The Department intends to review the voluntary reporting scheme on nanotechnologies in October 2008, as planned. However, in liaison with industry and academia, we are currently seeking to remove disincentives to reporting by simplifying the guidance and providing assistance with completing the documentation.
Mr. Hurd: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps his Department has taken to implement EC Regulation 2037/2000 on the disposal of ozone depleting substances. 
Mr. Woolas: EC Regulation 2037/2000 on ozone-depleting substances is directly applicable in the UK. This includes Article 16, which deals with the recovery for destruction or for recycling or reclamation of ozone-depleting substances. Under separate national regulations applicable to Great Britain and Northern Ireland, any person having control of such substances has a duty to comply with Article 16. Any person who fails to do so is committing an offence.
Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent discussions he has had with (a) Ofgem, (b) energy companies and (c) the devolved administrations on the insulation of hard-to-treat homes; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Woolas: My ministerial colleagues and I have had regular discussions with Ofgem, energy companies and the devolved administrations as part of developing the Carbon Emissions Reduction Target (CERT), launched on 1 April. CERT has been specifically designed to encourage suppliers to promote innovative measures appropriate to hard to treat homes, such as solid wall insulation and heat pumps, by way of an uplift in scores. Suppliers can also use an option in the Priority Group, under which they receive a further uplift for solid wall insulation installed in the homes of those on benefits or for ground source heat pumps installed in the homes of those on benefits and off the gas grid.
Equally, the Governments review of the Fuel Poverty Strategy is exploring the role of alternative technologies in alleviating fuel poverty, including those who could not be assisted by established insulation or heating measures.
Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment his Department has made of feasible methods of insulating hard-to-treat homes; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Woolas: Finding innovative, cost-effective and attractive ways of insulating hard to treat homes will be core to both our carbon saving and fuel poverty alleviation ambitions. To inform policy development and stimulate market transformation:
we commissioned a study from the Building Research Establishment to look at the extent of hard to treat homes in England and to consider different technical options for treating them. Part one of the study (on the extent) has already been published with the second part to be published in the summer;
we included an innovation ring-fence and flexibility option under the Carbon Emissions Reduction Target to allow suppliers to trial more expensive measureswe expect 150,000 households to benefit from Solid Wall Insulation under CERT;
we are providing the Energy Saving Trust with £1 million under the Environmental Transformation Fund to support market research into several innovative efficiency products, including the development and field trials of alternative forms of solid wall insulation, and;
Warm Front, the Governments main programme for eradicating fuel poverty in vulnerable households, has mechanisms in place to locate and assess the suitability of alternative technologies for use in the scheme, with a particular emphasis on those that could potentially provide solutions for hard-to-treat properties. As part of this process, we are currently piloting solar thermal units in off-gas property.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland which of his Department's initiatives have been advertised to the public; and what the cost of each such campaign was in each of the last 10 years. 
Mr. Woodward: The information requested is not available for the last 10 years. The following table provides information on the initiatives which have been advertised to the public by the Northern Ireland Office and its agencies for the period 2004-05 to 2006-07.
|Initiatives Advertised to the Public||Cost (£)|
|(1) The NIO jointly funded these campaigns with the DHSSPS and PSNIamounts shown are the NIO's contribution to the campaigns.|
Mr. Willis: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what visits he made to (a) Harrogate International Centre, (b) International Conference Centre, Birmingham, (c) Manchester Central, (d) Scottish Exhibitional and Conference Centre, Glasgow, (e) Edinburgh International Conference Centre, (f) Bournemouth International Conference Centre, (g) the Brighton Centre, Brighton, (h) the Riviera Centre, Torquay, (i) Queen Elizabeth Centre, London, (j) Excel Conference Centre, Docklands, London, and (k) Business Design Centre, Islington, London, in the period 1 January 2005 to 31 December 2007; and what events he attended at each. 
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the hourly rates of pay of all non-permanent staff working for his Department were in each of the last 12 months; and how many staff were receiving each rate in each of those months. 
Mr. Woodward: The hourly rates paid to employment agencies for agency staff used by the Department varies from agency to agency and is not readily available, and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
The hourly rates paid to staff on fixed term contracts and on temporary contracts for less than 51 weeks in each of the last 12 months could be provided only at disproportionate cost. The following table provides a snapshot of the position in two particular months over the last 12 months.
|Hourly rate of pay||Number of staff|
David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many and what percentage of staff in his Department were making additional voluntary contributions to their pensions in each of the last two years. 
Mr. Woodward: There were 65 members of staff in the Northern Ireland Office (3 per cent. of the total number of staff employed by the Department) making additional voluntary pension contributions through deductions from their pay in February 2007.
This has decreased to 63 members of staff (but remains at 3 per cent. of the total number of staff employed by the Department) who were making additional voluntary pension contributions through deductions from their pay in February 2008.
Mr. Woodward: My Department has aligned itself with the NI Sustainable Development Strategy and Implementation Plan, launched by the then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, my right hon. Friend the Member for Neath (Mr. Hain) in 2006, and now being taken forward by the NI Executive.
The NI Executive is currently carrying out a review of its approach to Sustainable Development and as part of that process has asked Departments to revise their policy statements. The NIO is revising its policy statement and when this exercise is completed we will place a copy of the new statement on the NIO website and in the House of Commons Library.
Mr. Philip Hammond:
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many staff in his Department have attended the (a) Influencing with Integrity, (b) Emotional Intelligence, (c) Counselling Skills for the
Workplace, (d) Managing your Confidence, (e) Balancing Work/Life Realities and (f) Working Assertively training course run by the National School of Government in the last 12 months for which information is available; and at what cost. 
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