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Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on Article VIII of the International Convention in the Regulation of Whaling. 
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Mr. Morley: The UK recognises that Article VIII of the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling provides for any contracting Government to grant any of its nationals a special permit authorising that national to kill, take or treat whales for purposes of scientific research.
We regret, however, Japan's continued use of this provision to carry out large scale, lethal "scientific" whaling. The UK believes that Japan's activities serve to undermine the International Whaling Commission's (IWC) moratorium and, at this year's IWC meeting which took place in Shimonoseki between 2024 May, we called upon them to discontinue their lethal research programme.
Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent activities have been undertaken by her Department to improve scientific knowledge about whale numbers. 
Mr. Morley: The UK delegation participates fully in the IWC's Scientific Committee including work to provide in-depth assessments of whale stocks.
Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what preparations her Department made for the International Whaling Commission annual meeting in Japan; 
Mr. Morley: The UK Government is opposed to all whaling except by some subsistence whaling by indigenous people. We strongly support the current moratorium on commercial whaling.
Before the start of the 54th annual IWC meeting we held a meeting of the Consultative Forum on Whaling with non-government organisations to discuss the UK line to take and strategy on key issues. In conjunction with the FCO we also undertook extensive lobbying of all IWC member states to build support for the continuation of the moratorium.
Alistair Burt: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions she has had with the Treasury about funding for the recommendations of the Policy Commission on the Future of Farming and Food; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Morley: The Government intends to produce a Strategy for Sustainable Food and Farming in England in the autumn. Funding for the strategy forms part of this year's Spending Review discussions. The strategy will incorporate a definitive response to the Policy Commission's recommendations, although not all of these fall to, or involve expenditure by Government.
Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many households had benefited from the New Home Energy Efficiency Scheme by the end of 2001. 
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Mr. Meacher: Since the launch of the New Home Energy Efficiency Scheme in June 2000 to 31 December 2001, over 305,000 households had work completed under the Scheme.
Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the total cost of running the Department's press office was in (a) 199697 and (b) the latest year for which figures are available. 
Mr. Morley [holding answer 10 April 2002]: Retrospective information for 199697 can not be supplied as DEFRA did not exist prior to June 2001.
Our records show a total operational running cost for the DEFRA Press Office, for the financial year 200102 of £1.6 million.
Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many press releases were issued by her Department or its predecessor (a) between 1 May and 31 December 1997 and (b) in each year from 1998 to 2001 inclusive. 
Mr. Morley: DEFRA was created in June 2001. For the period ending the 31 Dec 2001 the Press Office issued 319 press releases.
Retrospective identification and enumeration of the press releases issued prior to June 2001 by the Home Office and the former DETR and MAFF Press Offices on policy subjects now covered by DEFRA would be disproportionately costly to produce.
Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many press officers there were in her Department on (a) 1 May 1997 and (b) the latest available date. 
Mr. Morley [holding answer 10 April 2002]: DEFRA, as a Department, did not exist prior to June 2001. The DEFRA Press Office is responsible for providing media
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support to the Environmental Protection Directorate and the Wildlife and Countryside Directorate of the former DETR, the hunting and animal welfare policy issues transferred from the Home Office and the full range of former MAFF activities. To provide media liaison support for these policy and operational directorates of DEFRA, the Press Office has currently a staff of 21 press officers.
Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many people were employed in a press or public relations function in her Department and its predecessor on 1 January in (a) 1997, (b) 1998, (c) 1999, (d) 2000, (e) 2001 and (f) 2002. 
Mr. Morley: When DEFRA was created on 8 June 2001 it brought together the Environmental Protection Directorate and the Wildlife and Countryside Directorate of the former DETR, together with the full range of former MAFF policies and operational activities and certain hunting and animal welfare interests of the Home Office.
Of the retrospective statistics that have been requested, such of those as could be obtained would not provide a valid comparison of these staff resources. Moreover, such information could be obtained only at a disproportionate cost.
In DEFRA at present the number of staff engaged in Press Office activities is 27. This comprises 21 press officers and six support staff.
Mr. Breed: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to her answer of 11 February 2002, Official Report, column 584W, on LGC, if she will list (a) the dates of each contact and (b) the amount spent on each contract by her Department. 
Mr. Morley [holding answer 25 April 2002]: Pursuant to the answer of 11 February 2002, Official Report, columns 8889W, on LGC, the dates of each contract are as follows:
|Speciation, bioavailability, biopotency and functional markers for D vitamers||1 June 1998||31 March 1999|
|Development of methods to detect protein standardisation of cows' drinking milk||1 September 1998||30 November 1999|
|Methods for the detection of rectified grape and apple juice in fruit juices||1 April 1999||30 September 1999|
|The immunological determination of meat content||1 May 1997||31 October 1998|
|Evaluation of a DNA Method for Meat Species Identification||1 April 1997||31 March 1998|
|A novel method for the detection of neuronal tissue from beef by the identification of tissue specific DNA modification||1 April 1997||30 September 1998|
|Differentiation of species of meat in particular cooked products by DNA methods||1 April 1998||30 September 1999|
|Evaluation of a suite of methods to distinguish cheese analogues from genuine cheese||1 April 1998||31 March 1999|
|Optimisation and validation of DNA assay for detect of select non-muscle tissues in meat products using tissue specific DNA modification||1 November 1998||30 November 1999|
|Vitamin B6 improvements in extraction and determinationResolving inaccuracy and bias from its measurement||1 April 1997||31 March 1998|
|Development and validation of two analytical procedures for the quantitative determination of fatty acids||1 April 1997||31 March 1998|
|Further studies on the determination of heme and non-heme iron||1 April 1998||31 March 1999|
|Develop and validate a routine HPLC method for the determination of folates and folic acid in foods||1 April 1999||30 June 2000|
|Development and validation of rapid viable pathogen testing and enumeration by a simple and low cost new method||1 October 1997||23 August 1998|
|An improved analytical method for gellan gum||1 June 1998||31 March 1999|
|Development and validation of procedures to detect and quantify the use of dimethyl dicarbonate in non-alcoholic drinks||1 September 1998||31 August 1999|
|Biomarker assessment of benzoate consumption||1 May 1999||31 March 2000|
|A regiospecific immunoassay screening test for contaminants from food contact plastics||1 April 1997||31 March 1999|
|Develop a novel molecular typing method for comparison of food borne pathogens using VTEC as a model organism||1 May 1999||30 April 2001|
|Efficacy testing of disinfectants used in the food industry against a range of pathogens including E coli 0157||1 May 1998||31 October 1999|
|Processing LINK Offers of Grant||1 August 1999||31 July 2002|
|Organochlorine residues in poultry resulting from the use of hyperchlorinated water in poultry washes||28 October 1997||27 April 1998|
|Chain of custody audit at Institute of Animal Health||1 October 2001||31 March 2002|
|Development of a Sensitive and Specific Molecular Typing Method for the Epidemiological Study of Salmonella||1 January 2000||31 March 2002|
|Investigation of glufosinate residue analysis in potatoes, soya products, legume and maize||1 November 2000||31 August 2001|
|Development of methods for the determination of thyreostats in poultry and bovine livers||1 January 2001||31 March 2001|
|BSE Testing in Cattle||1 November 2001||31 October 2002|
|Analytical Work on Veterinary Residues in Foodstuffs of Animal Origin||1 January 1999||31 December 2003|
|National Scrapie Plan 'Blood Sampling'||8 October 2001||7 October 2004|
|Feasibility Study of the Determination of Oestrone, etc. in Drinking Waters||20 May 1998||20 June 1998|
|Analysis of Oestrone, Oestradiol and Ethynyl OestradiolSupervision of Performance Tests||16 October 1998||31 October 1999|
|Investigation of Solvent Contamination Incidents and Provision of Scientific Advice on Drinking Water. Quality and Health Issues||16 October 1998||31 August 2001|
|Leaching of Lead from Approved u-PVC Water Supply Pipes||21 January 1999||5 July 1999|
|Consolidate two GCMS methods for the determination of three oestrogen steroids in water and review of the potential for determining the same steroids using LCMSMS||6 March 2000||31 May 2000|
|Exposure to chloropropanol isomers via polyamines||15 October 2001||31 March 2002|
10 Jun 2002 : Column 891W
The amount spent on each contract cannot be disclosed for reasons of commercial confidentiality. From information held centrally the total value of the contracts is £15,750,792. Inquiries on the values of individual contracts should be directed to the Chief Executive of the Laboratory of Government Chemist.
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