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Cultural Exchanges (Argentina)

Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what recent discussions her Department has had to develop cultural exchanges between the United Kingdom and Argentina; and if she will make a statement. [15857]

Mr. MacShane: I have been asked to reply.

Under the Cultural Convention of 1990 with Argentina the British Council is designated as the principal agent of HMG for pursuing bilateral cultural relations. In the last year it has organised arts events mostly through partnerships with local managers, helping major festivals to identify artists from the United Kingdom; it has helped United Kingdom educational providers to exploit opportunities in Argentina, in particular for MBA courses; it has reached out to young audiences through the Buenos Aires Book Fair and book and poster exhibitions and it is developing information services via the internet. It is developing its programme of partnerships between schools in the United Kingdom and Argentina.

The next meeting of the regular Anglo-Argentina Mixed Commission to decide on the next phase of implementation of the Cultural Convention is scheduled for March 2002.

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Foot and Mouth

Mr. George Osborne: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans the Government have to compensate farmers whose cattle reached over 30 months of age as a direct result of the restriction on cattle movements imposed during the foot and mouth crisis. [11075]

Mr. Morley: The Government have considered very carefully whether it would be appropriate to pay compensation for losses incurred on cattle which went beyond the 30 month age limit because of movement restrictions imposed during the earlier part of the foot and mouth disease (FMD) outbreak. We have concluded that it would not. Statutory compensation for losses incurred as a result of the FMD outbreak is only paid on animals which have been slaughtered as a result of FMD, or on property, including animals which have been seized and destroyed in order to prevent the spread of FMD. The Government do not compensate farmers, or businesses, for other, indirect losses.

Illegal Waste Dumping

Mr. Todd: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent assessment she has made of the problem of illegal waste dumping; and what co-ordination there is with the National Assembly of Wales on controlling illegal waste dumping. [12064]

Mr. Meacher: The most recent assessment of the levels of the illegal disposal of waste was carried out by the Tidy Britain Group. The report, "Effects Of Landfill Tax: Reduced Disposal of Inert Waste To Landfill", explored the impact of the landfill tax on fly-tipping, and it confirmed that the type of waste most frequently fly- tipped is household waste. The Fly-tipping Stakeholder's Forum is also currently conducting a study on the scale of fly-tipping on agricultural land.

My Department maintains close contact with the National Assembly of Wales on all relevant policy issues including on fly-tipping. The National Assembly voted additional funds to support the Environment Agency's targeted waste enforcement project in Wales, now in its second year. This has resulted in an increase in successful prosecutions of offenders.

Scottish Devolution

Mrs. Lait: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what her policy is regarding consultations prior to the publication of proposals involving the transfer of powers to the Scottish Executive by (a) primary legislation and (b) Order in Council. [13825]

Mr. Morley: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland (Mrs. Liddell) on 14 November 2001, Official Report, column 748W.

Smog Levels

Mr. Sayeed: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment

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she has made of the recent European Environment Agency analysis of smog levels in Europe; and if she will make a statement. [13909]

Mr. Meacher: Peak ozone levels in episodes of "summer smog" are declining as a result of significant emission reductions of ozone precursors in the UK and Europe over the past ten years or so. Peak ozone levels should continue to decline as a result of the further measures which the UK and other European countries will take in accordance with the EC National Emission Ceilings Directive and the UNECE Gothenburg Protocol. There has not been as yet a decline in average ozone levels. The significance of this for public health is still under investigation.


Mr. Willis: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans she has to introduce comprehensive pollution inventories. [14528]

Mr. Meacher: The Government are strongly committed to the public's right to know about polluting emissions. The Environment Agency has a comprehensive Pollution Inventory that provides easy access to annual emissions data on 150 pollutants from over 2,000 of the most potentially polluting industrial processes in England and Wales. The public can access this information through the Environment Agency's website and from local Environment Agency offices (general line: 0845 9333 111).

The Environment Agency is working on improving the scope of the Inventory. This year the Inventory has been expanded to include emissions from nuclear sites and large sewage treatment works. Over the next year more sectors will be added including major landfill sites, more sewage treatment works, and radioactive emissions from non-nuclear sites.

The number of sites reporting will increase to around 7,000 in 2003 as a result of the implementation of the European Union Directive on Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC). The IPPC Directive requires member states to report emission levels to the European Commission so that an inventory of principal emissions and their sources, known as the European Pollutant Emissions Register (EPER), can be produced. The EPER will initially require reporting on 50 pollutants released to air and water every three years with the first year of reporting commencing in 2003.

Departmental Staff

Mr. Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many staff at her Department's office in Worcester performing comparable duties are on different rates of pay; what is the reason for such discrepancy; and if she will make a statement. [15633]

Mr. Morley: There are around 300 permanent and casual staff working at my Department's offices in Worcester. Some of these staff have transferred to the newly created Rural Payments Agency but have retained their existing terms and conditions. All permanent staff are employed under the same pay arrangements and conditions of employment. Variations in individual levels

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of pay of staff doing work of equal value occur because of a number of factors but principally because pay is linked to individual performance.

The foot and mouth disease (FMD) emergency has necessitated staff from other Government Departments being temporarily seconded to DEFRA. These staff have retained the pay, terms and conditions of their parent department. During the FMD emergency, others at Worcester have been employed temporarily on specific contractual terms (ie fee-paid temporary veterinary inspectors, consultants).

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many of the employees in (a) her Department and (b) agencies sponsored by her Department work in (i) London, (ii) areas benefiting from EU Objective 1 status, (iii) areas with Objective 2 status and (iv) other areas. [16105]

Mr. Morley [holding answer 19 November 2001]: The number of permanent civil servants employed by DEFRA and its agencies as at 1 October 2001 is given below. The figure for DEFRA includes staff who were in the process of transferring to the Rural Payments Agency. The information on the number of staff working in areas benefiting from EU Objective 1 and Objective 2 status is unavailable due to the disproportionate cost of collection.


Organic Farms

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will publish a comprehensive breakdown of the numbers of certified

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organic farms by (a) county and (b) borough in England and Wales, in the last four years; and if she will make a statement. [16046]

Mr. Morley: The information is not available in the form requested, but I shall make available to my hon. Friend lists of organic producers and processors of organic food registered with organic certifiers.

White Goods Disposal

Mr. Blizzard: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what arrangements she has made for the disposal of unwanted fridges and freezers from 1 January 2002 under European Directive 2037/2000. [15595]

Mr. Meacher: EC Regulation No. 2037/2000 on Ozone Depleting Substances will require "controlled substances" (including CFCs) in coolants and in insulating foam to be removed before recycling or reclamation of refrigeration units. Although the UK does not currently have facilities capable of extracting ozone depleting substances, including CFCs, from insulation foam, it is anticipated that some plant may come on-line as early as spring 2002. My Department is finalising measures to manage waste refrigeration equipment in the interim. Advice on storage of waste refrigeration equipment will issue shortly. We are currently considering funding options for local authorities.

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