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Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what extra funding she is providing to local authorities to deal with the disposal of fridges; when this extra funding will become available; and if she will make a statement. [62561]

Mr. Meacher: In December 2001, we announced a payment of £6 million to go to local authorities to cover their costs up until March 2002 for the disposal of

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refrigerators. We realise local authorities are in need of further funding and intend to make an announcement as soon as possible.


Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the compatibility of the Government's commitments concerning the EC Nitrates Directive made in the Action Plan for Farming of March 2000 and the proposal made in her recent consultation document on the Nitrates Directive. [62086]

Mr. Meacher: The Government are fully committed to minimising the extra burden on farmers, consistent with its legal responsibilities. Particular action that we have taken to implement the commitments set out in the Action Programme for Farming of March 2000 includes:

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make it her policy to commission and publish a veterinary risk assessment of the greater inter-farm movements of manure arising from the proposals in the Government's consultation document on nitrate vulnerable zones. [61594]

Mr. Meacher: There are no plans at present to undertake a veterinary risk assessment of the inter-farm movement of manure arising from implementing the Nitrates Directive, as such movements already take place and the veterinary risks are addressed in existing guidance for farmers. The general principles of decreasing the risk of spreading disease while transporting manure are included in the free guidance booklets "Guidelines for farmers in NVZs" and "Manure Planning in NVZs" which we intend to send to all farmers newly affected by the Nitrates Directive. They are:

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EU Meeting (Mallorca)

Mr. Breed: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to her answer of 21 May 2002, Official Report, column 200W, if she will list the commitments that (a) the UK and (b) the European Union undertook and the timetable for meeting them. [62171]

Mr. Meacher: Neither the UK nor the European Union undertook any commitments at the informal meeting of Environment Ministers on 24–26 May in Mallorca. The presidency produced their own conclusions from the discussions on soil protection, which are as follows.

The Commission adopted their communication "Towards a Thematic Strategy for Soil Protection" on 16 April 2002, and this formed the background to the discussion at Mallorca. Member states have been considering both the communication and the Mallorca discussion in the Council working group and are likely to adopt conclusions at the June Environment Council to steer the Commission's development of the strategy.

National Vocational Qualifications

Mr. Breed: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many and what percentage of (a) large, (b) small, (c) medium and (d) micro businesses have succeeded in NVQ implementation in each of the last 10 years in rural areas. [60863]

Margaret Hodge: I have been asked to reply.

The information, in the form requested, is not collected centrally. However, the total number of NVQ certificates awarded since their introduction in 1988 is 3,568,046.

Working Time Directive

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what her policy is on the application of the working time directive to fishermen. [61502]

Mr. Jamieson: I have been asked to reply.

Fatigue is a factor in many fishing vessel accidents. My Department is working with the fishing industry to ensure the sensible implementation of the directive.

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the costs to British fishermen of complying with the working time directive. [61503]

Mr. Jamieson: I have been asked to reply.

My officials are discussing the implementation of the directive with the sea-fishing industry. Because of the nature of the fishing industry in the UK, it is not anticipated that the directive will impose unreasonable financial burdens.

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IT Contracts

Richard Younger-Ross: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what has been the total expenditure of his Department on IT systems and support in each year from May 1997 to date; how many IT contracts have been let in each of those years; of the other main

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contracting party in each of those contracts, how many have been (a) companies whose registered office is in (i) England and Wales, (ii) Scotland and (iii) Northern Ireland and (b) foreign companies; and what are the names of the companies falling within category (a). [33675]

Clare Short: The total expenditure by my Department on IT systems and support in each year since May 1997 to date is shown in the table.


IT support(8)IT goods(9)IT contracts(10)Total
May 1997 to April 19981,935,3242,060,607834,8044,830,735
May 1998 to April 19991,834,6252,367,8851,539,2905,741,800
May 1999 to April 20002,865,0382,703,5061,001,9456,570,489
May 2000 to April 20011,801,0777,646,7061,525,55810,973,341
May 2001(11)1,194,5328,093,4821,040,41210,328,426

(8) Including salaries

(9) And services

(10) Contracts including maintenance

(11) To date

It is not possible to say without a disproportionate effort where the registered offices of the various companies are based.


Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development whether she has exercised the powers conferred by the retention of a golden share in the CDC to direct the investment strategy towards the needs of poorer nations. [34757]

Clare Short: CDC's investment policy is focused on poorer developing countries, and cannot be changed without the approval of the Special Shareholder.

Departmental Sponsors

Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development (1) which hon. Members have been appointed as sponsors to her Department since 7 June 2001; and when each of them were appointed; [59967]

Clare Short: We have made no such appointments.

Public Consultation

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will list the public consultations undertaken by her Department since June 2001, stating in each case the (a) number of respondents and (b) percentage of those specifically consulted who responded. [60148]

Clare Short: Since July 2001 the Department for International Development has completed one public consultation process on a strategy paper for achieving the Millennium Development Goal on hunger. The Department received (a) 119 written replies, which represented (b) about 10 per cent. of those specifically consulted. More than 1,000 people, in the United Kingdom and internationally, were sent copies of the consultation paper, which was also placed on the DFID website.

The Department is carrying out three further public consultations on policy papers on: "Energy for the Poor"; "Better Livelihoods for Poor People, the Role of Agriculture"; and "Infrastructure for Poverty Reduction". Responses to these consultations are still being received.

The Department pursues more focused consultation exercises with outside bodies and experts on particular issues. Recent examples include a strategy for the Department's partnership with the World Health Organisation, and a policy paper on research for poverty reduction. The Department is also participating in a joint international consultation exercise with the World bank, the United Nations Development Programme and the European Commission on policies for linking poverty reduction with environmental management.

The Department regularly makes available, via its website and through parliamentary and civil society networks, briefing notes on major international meetings in which it is involved, such as the United Nations Financing for Development conference in Monterrey in March, the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on Children in May, International Monetary Fund and World bank meetings, and European Union development council meetings. Delegations also regularly consult representatives of civil society during the course of such meetings.

The Department is currently engaged in its third round of development policy forums across the UK, to share thinking and ideas on key development issues. Over 2,000 representatives from across society—including from NGOs, trade unions, private sector, faith organisations and universities—are participating in the 11 forums in 2002, which are focusing on globalisation and its potential to reduce world poverty. Specifically, participants are debating the themes of trade, environment and the private sector.

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