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Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many staff were seconded between (a) PWC Consulting and PricewaterhouseCoopers, (b) Ernst and Young, (c) Deloitte and Touche, (d) KPMG and (e) Andersen and his Department in (i) 19992000, (ii) 200001 and (iii) April 2001 to the latest date for which figures are available. 
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Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many members of staff were employed by her Department on secondment from non-Governmental organisations in (a) 1999, (b) 2000 and (c) 2001. 
Mr. Morley: The Department employed three members of staff on secondment from non-governmental organisations in 1999, four in 2000 and six in 2001. Secondments refer to all continuous interchange activity of three months or more.
Mr. Collins: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on how many occasions since 1 May 1997 (a) departmental and (b) non-departmental special advisers have travelled abroad in an official capacity; and if she will list the total cost, including (i) travel, (ii) accommodation and (iii) subsistence allowance, for each occasion. 
Mr. Morley [holding answer 27 February 2002]: Between 1 April 2000 and 31 March 2001, special advisers in the former Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food travelled abroad on 12 occasions, at an average cost of £515 per trip. Information for the period 2 May 1997 to 31 March 2000 is already in the public domain. All travel by special advisers is undertaken in accordance with the rules set out in the Ministerial Code, and the Civil Service Management Code.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on what help is available through (a) her Department and (b) the Countryside Agency to local community councils. 
Alun Michael: Support for rural community councils is now provided by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs through the Countryside Agency. £2.984 million was paid in 200102; from 200203, under a new three-year service level agreement, £3.334 million will be available each year. Rural community councils may be eligible for funding under other programmes run by DEFRA and the Countryside Agencyfor instance if a particular rural community council puts forward a successful bid to run a project under the England Rural Development Programme or within one of the programmes run for us by the agency, but no separate record is kept of money they may have received from such sources.
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Mr. Jack: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement indicating what her understanding is of whether part of Article 15, Paragraph 5 of EC Regulation 2037/2000 applies to foam-insulating materials used in pre-2001 manufactured refrigerators and freezers. 
Mr. Meacher [holding answer 4 March 2002]: Article 16(5) of EC Regulation 20372000 requires member states to promote the recovery, recycling and destruction of ozone-depleting substances and to assign to appropriate bodies responsibility for ensuring compliance with the provisions of paragraph 1. Since the obligations under paragraph 1 are also applicable to paragraph 2, the Government's interpretation of paragraph 5 is that it applies in its entirety to insulating foam blown with ozone-depleting substances in any refrigerators or freezers.
Mr. Morley [holding answer 5 March 2002]: The Department's employment practices and procedures are monitored on a regular or rolling basis by gender as well as by ethnicity, disability and full time/part time categories.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many staff in his Department's press office have received (a) termination and (b) redundancy payments in each of the last four years. 
Mr. Morley: This is a matter for the Lessons Learned Inquiry. I understand that verbatim transcripts of the public meetings held in Okehampton, Builth Wells, Lockerbie, Newcastle and Carlisle are available on the inquiry website. The transcript of the public meeting held in Harrogate will be published shortly. The inquiry is not otherwise taking verbatim notes of interviews.
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(3) what research the Government are conducting into cloud seeding; and if she will make a statement. 
Mrs. Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions she has had with the Home Office about the level of penalties for convictions of persons having imported meat illegally into the UK; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Morley: We have had no discussions with the Home Office about the current level of penalties, which on conviction are up to two years imprisonment and/or a fine of up to £5,000. This Department is leading an initiative to address the disease risks posed by illegal imports of meat, and our work will look at what additional or improved deterrents might be put in place.
Mrs. Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when she intends to make her first assessment of the impact of her Department's recent poster campaign at United Kingdom seaports and airports on the dangers of illegal meat imports and associated penalties; how she intends to measure its effect on the number of illegal meat imports made through UK points of entry; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Morley: We are continuously reviewing the impact of our poster campaign. We are undertaking market research to help assess the impact of the posters and provide information on how public awareness can be improved still further. We will also be monitoring and sharing information with enforcement bodies during this time to assess the effects on the number of illegal imports. We have improved our intelligence gathering and sharing of information and there is increased vigilance among enforcement officers.
We have commissioned a risk assessment of the animal disease risks posed by illegal imports of meat, the results of which will provide information about what further action to reduce the risk is needed and where this will be most effective.
We are also amending secondary legalisation to generalise powers to search suspect consignments, including personal baggage. We are actively looking at other measures such as warnings on landing cards, use of detector dogs and better use of x-ray technology.
Mr. Sayeed: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what representations she has received concerning recent shipments of Brazilian mahogany to the UK; and if she will make a statement. 
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Mr. Morley: Representations have been received from members of the public, from 10 Members of Parliament and from Greenpeace. In addition illegal logging in Brazil has been the subject of recent parliamentary questions.
Greenpeace sought to take the Department to judicial review in order to compel DEFRA and HM Customs and Excise to seize a recent importation of Brazilian mahogany. The judgment refusing Greenpeace's application is now the subject of appeal.
I can assure the hon. Member that we continue to take a strong stance on illegal logging and welcome the Brazilian Government's efforts to tighten controls on the concessions and logging facilities. In particular we totally support the temporary moratorium by the Brazilian Federal Environment Agency on transport and commercialisation of mahogany. My officials are in contact with their opposite numbers in the Brazilian CITES Management Authority and I hope that they will be able to meet shortly to discuss bilateral measures to combat illegal trade. The shipments concerned did have the required documentation complying with Brazilian law and following inquiries made were confirmed by the Brazilian authorities as genuine and in line with CITES regulations.
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