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Mr. Meacher: The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs met the Norwegian Environment Minister, Borge Brende in December 2001. They discussed a number of issues, including Norway's concerns about radioactive discharges from Sellafield. The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs also exchanged letters with Mr. Brende following that meeting. I also met Mr. Brende immediately prior to the fifth North Sea Conference of Ministers in Bergen on 20 March. A number of issues were discussed at that meeting and Mr. Brende re-iterated his concerns about Sellafield discharges, especially those of technetium-99.
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Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what plans she has to amend the Game Act 1831 to enable aircraft operators to deal with game birds posing a threat to aircraft; 
(3) what directions she has issued to regional airports to deal with game birds in the closed season. 
A DEFRA Senior Wildlife Adviser has carried out a site inspection at Shoreham Airport to quantify and provide advice. An internal report is also being prepared for consideration by Ministers and I will write to the hon. Member responding in full to his questions as soon as that report has been considered.
Mr. Morley: At the office in Worcestershire, DEFRA currently employs 466 officials. The majority of these staff work either for the State Veterinary Service (dealing with animal welfare, disease control and central support functions) or for the Rural Development Service (dealing with the implementation and delivery of the England Rural Development Programme).
Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the answer of 12 March 2002, Official Report, column 942W, on EU directives, what sources of information she uses regarding implementation and enforcement in other member states. 
Mr. Morley: Information may be obtained from bilateral contacts with other member states, usually through their embassies here or our embassies there, or from UK involvement in EU inspection visits which take place in certain sectors.
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Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what level of funding her Department intends allocating to support research to help industry take advantage of new technology and higher safety, environmental and other standards of production. 
Mr. Morley: DEFRA jointly funds with industry research under the LINK banner; Government sponsors provide up to half the costs. LINK aims to enhance the competitiveness of UK industry and the quality of life through support for managed programmes of pre-competitive research and development. Funding for LINK is won in a competitive process so it is not possible to be precise about the allocation for 200203, however it is likely to be in excess of £5 million.
Alun Michael: The Rural White Paper "Our countryside: the future", published in November 2000 (Cm 4909), in Chapter 13, set out the proposed measures which the Government have now put in place, to ensure that all its domestic policies in England are rural-proofed. In summary these are:
development by the Countryside Agency of a rural-proofing checklist, sent to all Departments in April 2001, to help them take account of the rural dimension in developing policy;
publication of an annual report by the Countryside Agency on how effectively rural-proofing has been implemented across Government; the first of the Agency's reports will be published shortly.
Alun Michael: The Department accepted responsibility for the Interim Public Service Agreement (PSA) targets previously assigned to the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions. Of the PSA targets, four cover the environment, rural development,
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countryside, wildlife and sustainable development responsibilities. These PSA targets are set out on the Department's website at http://defraweb/corporate/ busplan/01psa.htm
More specific rural policy targets and commitments are set out in the Government's Rural White Paper published in November 2000, setting out the Government's vision for a living, working, protected and vibrant countryside in which everyone can enjoy a high quality of life.
Alun Michael: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to the hon. Member for South Derbyshire (Mr. Todd) on 12 December 2001, Official Report, column 920W. This announced publication of "England's Rural Future" which included a progress report on implementing the rural White Paper. This demonstrated that considerable progress had been made during the first year despite the massive diversion of effort and resources required to deal with foot and mouth disease. The same document also set out the Government's efforts to help rural recovery and our response to the reports of the rural task force and Lord Haskins. However the rural White Paper set out a long-term approach to meeting the needs of individuals, families and communities in rural areas and we continue to work towards the achievement of all the White Paper's long term goals.
The rural White Paper Implementation Plan which is on the Department's website at: http://www.defra.gov.uk/ wildlife-countryside/index.htm shows how all the commitments made in the White Paper are being taken forward. An updated version will be available shortly.
Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the cost was of printing and distributing the publication "Working for the Essentials of Life"; and what is the print run. 
Mr. Morley: DEFRA's work affects the lives of everyone and the activities and policies of many other Departments, businesses and community groups. It is important that the Department establishes and maintains high quality dialogue and communications with all whose who we deal with. "Working for the Essentials of Life"
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attempts to describe in accessible language and using professional presentation and design our work and how it affects others. The costs of printing and distributing 15,000 copies equates to approximately £2.96 per copy, a cost which is justified if we communicate more effectively and clearly with people.
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