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Departmental Job Vacancies

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many job vacancies there were at (a) administrative assistant or equivalent, (b) administrative officer or equivalent, (c) administrative executive officer, (d) higher executive officer, (e) senior executive officer, (f) grade 7 nbprincipal and (g) all positions above grade 7 level in her Department for jobs located in (i) London and (ii) the south east between 1 April 2001 and 31 March; and what is the total employment for each civil service grade. [76566]

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Alun Michael: Defra came into existence in June 2001 as a result of machinery of Government changes. It took several months to incorporate all staff of the new organisation into the Department's HR system. Therefore, the information requested is not available for the period in question.

Fissile Materials

Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what notification she has received from (a) Nirex, (b) the Environment Agency and (c) the Health and Safety Executive/Nuclear Installations Inspectorate in respect of concerns over fissile materials limits in intermediate level wastes being conditioned for packaging. [75458]

Mr. Meacher: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State, has not received any notifications of representations from UK Nirex, the Environment Agency or the Health and Safety Executive on this issue.

Horticulture Research International

Mr. Swayne: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the level of her Department's funding for Horticulture Research International was in each of the last five years; and if she will make a statement. [74661]

Mr. Morley: Defra funding at Horticulture Research International (HRI) relates to specifically commissioned R&D projects and work won by HRI through our R&D competitions. We have also given HRI grants for capital and other purposes. A summary of the total funding provided by Defra (and, prior to 2001–02, MAFF) in each of the last five years is given in the table. I also refer the hon. Member to the reply given in relation to question 192.

DEFRA funding of Horticulture Research International over the period 1997–2002

YearR&D payments(4)CMF(5)Restructuring and pensionsCapital and other paymentsTotal (# million)

(4)Figures given on an accruals basis are shown in HRI's accounts.

(5)Capital Modernisation Fund


Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps the Government are taking to stop the illegal trade in ivory. [76094]

Mr. Morley: Commercial trade in ivory is currently prohibited under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). In order to prevent illegal trade, the UK has strict controls which are actively enforced by HM Customs and Excise. Between 1 April and 30 September 2002, Customs made 55 seizures of ivory, including two weighing 26.6kg and 445kg. Under the Customs and Excise Management Act (1979) the illegal import or export of ivory can result in an unlimited fine and/or up to seven years imprisonment. Similarly, under the Control of Endangered Species (Enforcement) Regulations (1997) the illegal, commercial use of ivory within the UK can lead to an unlimited fine and/or up to two years imprisonment.

The UK has also provided #60,000 towards the Elephant Trade Information System (ETIS) which provides information on the worldwide illegal trade in ivory. ETIS has just produced a detailed report which will be considered at the twelfth Conference of CITES Parties (CoP12), in Chile, next month, when the issue of whether to allow the resumption of trade in ivory from five southern African states will be discussed. The UK will not support any proposal which seems likely to undermine the conservation of the elephant, or lead to an increase in the illegal killing of elephants.

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Land Drainage

Mrs. Helen Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what mechanisms she is using to monitor the conservation duty on internal drainage boards in the Land Drainage Act 1994; and what action she is taking to enforce this duty. [76387]

Mr. Morley: In November 1999, following Ministerial agreement with the Environment Agency, the Local Government Association and the Association of Drainage Authorities, the Government published a number of High Level Targets (HLT) for flood and coastal defence operating authorities. These targets were adopted by Defra on its creation in June 2001.

High Level Target 1 requires all flood and coastal defence operating authorities to produce a publicly available policy statement setting out plans for delivering the Government's policy aims and objectives. Section 2.3 of Defra's guidance on preparing these policy statements requires internal drainage boards to state in their policy how they will comply with statutory environmental obligations and contribute to relevant biodiversity targets.

HLT9 and 10 are designed to ensure that all operating authorities meet their obligation to 'further the conservation and enhancement of natural beauty and the conservation of flora, fauna and geological or physiographical features of special interest' as required under Section 61A of the Land Drainage Act 1994.

HLT9 requires all operating authorities, in addition to their statutory obligations when carrying out flood and coastal defence works, to aim:

They are further required to report all losses and gains of BAP habitats resulting from their flood and coastal defence operations to the Environment Agency. The agency report on the collated information annually to Defra.

Under HLT10, all operating authorities are required to complete and implement Water Level Management Plans, in partnership with English Nature, for sites designated under the European birds and habitats directives and for sites of special scientific interest. The Environment Agency is required to report annually to Defra on operating authorities' progress in implementing and reviewing WLMPs against their published programme.

Recycling Scheme

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will list the local authorities that operate a door-step recycling scheme; and what plans she has to encourage more local authorities to take up this initiative. [75558]

Mr. Meacher [holding answer 21 October 2002]: We are clear that there needs to be a significant increase in kerbside recycling. We have provided significant extra funds to local authorities through the standard spending

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assessment and a separate ring-fenced fund for recycling and waste minimisation. We are currently assessing the second tranche of bids for funding from that budget. The Prime Minister's Strategy Unit is currently reviewing waste strategy and its funding and is due to report shortly.

The following authorities reported that they undertook some form of kerbside recycling scheme in the 2000–01 Municipal Waste Management Survey:

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