19 Jul 2000 : Column: 173W
Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will list the visits outside Britain made by his Department's permanent secretary on official business since 1 January 1999, indicating the date and purpose of the visit in each case. 
|18-19 January 1999||Brussels||Agriculture Council|
|16 February 1999||Brussels||Bilateral with German Presidency|
|22-26 February 1999||Brussels||Agriculture Council|
|5 March 1999||Brussels||Agriculture Council|
|9-11 March 1999||Brussels||Agriculture Council|
|17 May 1999||Brussels||Agriculture Council|
|30 May-1 June 1999||Dresden||Informal Agriculture Council|
|27-28 September 1999||Brussels||Agriculture Council|
|15 November 1999||Brussels||Agriculture Council|
|14-15 December 1999||Brussels||Agriculture Council|
|24-25 January 2000||Brussels||Agriculture Council|
|6 March 2000||Brussels||Bilateral with Commissioner Byrne|
Ms Quin: Thirty-seven replies were received to this consultation, and I have arranged for copies to be placed in the Libraries of the House, and also to be made available for public inspection in the Ministry library at Whitehall Place. The proposal for a Government-industry forum on non-food crops was widely welcomed. My Department is now studying the responses in detail and considering how to put the proposals into effect.
Mr. McNamara: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when he will publish the 1999-2000 Annual report of the Pesticides Safety Directorate. the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, 
19 Jul 2000 : Column: 174W
Mr. Gareth Thomas: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what recent discussions he has had with his European counterparts and the European Commission in respect of plans to establish a European Food Authority. 
The proposal to establish a European Food Authority and associated work has been discussed in various Councils this year. Department of Health Ministers and the Chairman of the Food Standards Agency have also had informal meetings with the Commission.
Mr. Bob Russell: To ask the Solicitor-General if he will order an inquiry into the handling by the Essex Crown Prosecution Service of a case of alleged careless driving in respect of a fatal accident at Colchester on 6 May 1999; and if he will make a statement. 
Ms Hewitt: Last year the Government introduced the Smart Micro Project grant, worth up to £10,000, specifically to help lone inventors--including those starting up in business--and micro firms develop simple, low-cost prototypes of new products or processes which involve technological advance or novelty. Investors may also apply for other elements of the Small Business Service Smart scheme, which offer grants of up to £45,000 for technical and commercial feasibility studies into innovative technology or up to £5,000 for technology consultation.
Dr. Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will list each departmental initiative since May 1997 requiring bids for funding together with the total resources available, the number of successful bids and the proportion this represents of total bids received; and what data he collects on the average expenditure of organisations bidding for funding through each initiative. 
19 Jul 2000 : Column: 175W
Mr. Lilley: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if the proposed universal bank operating through sub-post offices will be competing with the Alliance and Leicester Girobank in the provision of certain services. 
Mr. Byers [holding answer 17 July 2000]: A major strength of the Post Office is the extensive reach of the post office network and its ability to provide access to a wide range of banking products on behalf of its clients. The extent to which the universal bank may compete with certain services offered by Alliance and Leicester Girobank or other banks will depend on the range of basic banking services these banks wish to make available through the post office network.
Mr. Lilley: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what consultations have taken place between his Department, the Post Office and Alliance and Leicester Girobank about the establishment of a universal bank operating through sub-post offices. 
Mr. Byers [holding answer 17 July 2000]: Consultations are in progress between the Post Office and a wide range of banks including Alliance and Leicester Girobank, about the establishment of a universal bank operating through the post office network.
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, pursuant to his answer of 4 July 2000, Official Report, column 136W, on electricity pylons, if the replacement of trees felled as a result of the proposed construction of the Lackenby to Shipton overhead transmission line is intended (a) to mitigate the impact of consented development or (b) as an environmental measure. 
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, pursuant to his answer of 4 July 2000, Official Report, column 136W, on electricity pylons, who is responsible for the payment of compensation to farmers and landowners affected by the tree planting scheme. 
19 Jul 2000 : Column: 176W
energy sources for its main headquarters building; and what percentage of its electricity is supplied from such sources. 
Dr. Howells: As part of the annual tendering exercise for electricity supply, energy from renewable sources was procured for one of our buildings on the London HQ estate. This supply amounts to 26 per cent. of the electricity purchased for the London HQ buildings.
Mr. Fabricant: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what estimate he has made of the time it would take to get new computers running in the wake of a major computer disaster in his Department. 
Dr. Howells: The Department and our Agencies have a range of computer systems in use to support our day-to-day work. The responsibility for support of these is in the main outsourced to the private sector. For each of them disaster arrangements are in place to enable recovery of each system appropriate to the criticality of the business it supports. This includes the basic IT infrastructure on which each of these systems operates. The arrangements include built-in resilience, aimed at minimising loss of service generally. In the event of a major disaster impacting DTI's building, priority users have also been identified so that vital services can be restored first to these key personnel in the event of such a disaster.
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