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Hugh Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans she has to grant an exemption to horticulturalists from the licensing scheme for trickle irrigation. 
Mr. Morley: We have no plans to exempt horticulturalists from the abstraction licensing system. The draft Water Bill published last November proposed that trickle irrigation be brought into the licensing system. The system will be revised by a Water Bill when parliamentary time permits.
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However, it was proposed in the draft Water Bill that the standard threshold above which an abstraction licence is required should be raised to 20 cubic metres per day. The draft Bill also proposed that the Environment Agency should have the power to set different thresholds in specified areas. So horticulturalists will be exempt if they abstract less than the relevant threshold amount in any area.
Mr. Breed: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will publish the results of testing of (a) seed, (b) food and (c) feed that the Government and its agencies have carried out to identify the presence of approved or unapproved GMOs in the last 12 months. 
Mr. Morley [holding answer 16 July 2001]: The Department will shortly publish a summary of the activities carried out over the last year by our GM inspectorate at the Central Science Laboratory (CSL), which will include information on audits of seed imports that the CSL has undertaken on our behalf. This will be placed on the Department's website http://www.defra.gov.uk/.
Mr. Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the impact of the inability of water to escape from the upriver side of the Robertsbridge bypass on the repeated flooding of parts of the village; what account the Environment Agency has taken of evidence from the fire brigade of the differential levels of flooding on either side of the bypass; and if she will take steps to enlarge the culverts under the bypass before the autumn. 
Mr. Morley [holding answer 16 July 2001]: Operational responsibility for flood defence rests with local operating authorities, such as the Environment Agency, and other bodies, such as the Highway's Agency insofar as highways are concerned. I understand that the Environment Agency has undertaken a pre-feasibility study of the flooding problems at Robertsbridge, including hydraulic modelling and investigation of suggestions that the bypass may have an impact. The Environment Agency's current view is that the bypass does not impede floodwaters and that there is no need to enlarge the culverts under the bypass.
Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of contingency arrangements to deal with future incidents of (a) flooding, (b) epidemics in farm animals, (c) contamination of food for human or animal consumption, (d) interruptions of water supplies and (e) other emergencies; and if she will place copies of the relevant contingency plans in the Library. 
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Mr. Morley [holding answer 16 July 2001]: The Department has contingency arrangements for response to emergencies affecting its policy responsibilities. These are subject to annual review and report to Ministers. After an emergency or exercise, a lessons learned review is carried out and revisions implemented to arrangements where required. It has not been the practice to make individual plans public because of the inclusion of personal telephone numbers. However we have an overarching plan which sets out the principal requirements for departmental emergency response plans. This is currently being expanded to incorporate the responsibilities of the new Department and the lessons learned from recent emergencies. Once completed I will place a copy in the Library.
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Mr. Dobson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will list the information technology contracts in excess of £500,000 let by her Department or its predecessor since April 1991, giving in each case the original estimated cost and original estimated completion date, the actual cost and actual completion date and the names of the contractors involved and consultants retained by her Department. 
Mr. Morley [holding answer 17 July 2001]: The full details that my right hon. Friend requests back to 1991 are available only at disproportionate cost. A list of major IT contracts valued at more than £500,000 (cumulatively) let and currently used by the Department is however shown in the table, together with supplementary information.
The Department makes best use of Framework Arrangements/Agreements with service providers and suppliers for the provision of IT goods and services, and has established strategic partnerships with several prime contractors. These ensure best value and cost- effectiveness for the Department.
To ensure probity and value for money, all procurements are also undertaken in compliance with EC public procurement rules, UK Government domestic procurement policy and best practice guidance, Government accounting rules and National Audit requirements.
|Contractor||Description||Type of contract||Start date||Contract term||Annual value|
|Lason Information Management Ltd.||Data Capture Management Services||Service Provision Agreement||August 2000||8 weeks||696,070|
|Global Crossing||Wide Area Data Networking Services||Framework||May 2000||3 years||1,800,000|
|Compuware Ltd.||Uniface Software Licensing and Support||Support Agreement||April 2000||Renewed annually||346,625|
|International Computers Ltd.||IT Supply, Maintenance and Support Services||Framework||April 1999||3 years, with option to extend to 5 years||18,202,687|
|Sema Group UK Ltd.||Applications Development Services||Framework||April 1999||3 years, with option to extend to 5 years||15,415,740|
|Sherwood International Group Ltd.||Applications Development Services||Framework||April 1999||3 years, with option to extend to 5 years||12,030,130|
|SAS Software Ltd.||SAS Software Licences||Support Agreement||January 1999||Renewed annually||127,499|
|Vodafone Corporate Limited||Mobile Communication Services||Framework||1998||3 years||458,000|
|Computer Associates||Network Licences||Support Agreement||March 1998||Renewed annually||176,250|
|Oracle Corporation UK Ltd.||Consultancy and Education Services||Service Provision Agreement||Mary 1997||Renewed annually||1,500,000|
|Oracle Corporation UK Ltd.||Gold Software Support Service||Support Agreement||May 1997||Renewed annually||520,391|
|Fujitsu Siemens Computers Ltd.||Unidata Software Licensing and Support||Support Agreement||February 1997||5 years||480,583|
|PC World Business Direct||Computer Supplies/Products||Framework||1996||3 years, with the option to extend to 5 years||240,000|
|Orion Media Marketing Ltd.||Computer Supplies/Products||Framework||1996||3 years, with the option to extend to 5 years||233,000|
|Abacus Direct Marketing and Computer Services Ltd.||Processor Controlled Keying Services||Service Provision Agreement||July 1996||2 years, with the option to extend to 5 years||111,470|
|Siemens Communications Ltd.||Telephone Systems and Services||Framework||November 1993||Reviewed 6-monthly||626,506|
|British Telecommunications Plc. Ltd.||Leased Data Circuits||Framework||May 1990||Ongoing||1,000,000|
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Sir Brian Mawhinney: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when the right hon. Member for North-West Cambridgeshire will receive a reply to his letter of 18 April, forwarded by the Prime Minister, on behalf of his constituent Mrs. White. 
Mr. Morley: Fisheries Departments' statistics record total landings of bass by the UK commercial fleet for 2000 as 407 tonnes. Data on other catches in 2000 drawn from the CEFAS fishermen's voluntary logbook scheme are currently being compiled and will be available at the end of August.
Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent discussions she has had with fishing industry representatives; and what assessment she has made in respect of stock recovery programmes in waters fished by UK regional vessels. 
Mr. Morley: I met representatives of the fishing industry immediately prior to the Fisheries Council on 18 June which discussed recovery plans. Industry representatives from the UK and other member states have attended a series of consultation meetings with the Commission as the stock recovery plans have been developed. The UK industry in particular has made a key contribution to this work. In view of the advice from the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas, the United Kingdom is fully convinced of the need to develop recovery programmes for North sea cod, west of Scotland cod, and Irish sea cod as well as for northern hake.
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