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Mr. Morley [holding answer 18 November 2002]: Defra will be aiming to recruit approximately 660 herds in Wales and the following six English counties: Staffordshire, Cheshire, Derbyshire, Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Shropshire.
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Mr. Morley: Defra has written to the European Commission seeking a review of the recent decision not to grant funding for the UK's TSE and other animal disease eradication and control measures in 2003. We await a response.
Mr. Sayeed: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many proposals for composting initiatives have been turned down by the Environment Agency on the grounds of the Animal By-Products Order which prohibits the composting of kitchen and catering waste. 
Mr. Morley: Defra and the local authorities are the competent authorities with respect to the Animal By-Products Order and it is not the responsibility of the Environment Agency to enforce the requirements of the Order. The agency set out its position with respect to the Order in a position statement which was published in October 2001.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will list external (a) public relations/communications companies, (b) advertising and marketing companies, (c) management consultancies, (d) accounting companies, (e) banking firms, (f) individual consultants and (g) other specialist consultancies used by her Department since June 2001; what actions those consultancies or companies have performed within her Department; and what costs have been incurred through use of these consultancies/companies. 
Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many, and what proportion, of farms have diversified in each of the last 10 years, broken down by region. 
Mr. Morley : A research study on diversification is currently being undertaken for my Department and is due to be published soon. This will include a regional breakdown and an assessment of past and future trends in the level of diversification.
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Mr. Redwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the impact on home values and insurance costs of the published maps of the Environment Agency showing properties at risk of flooding. 
Mr. Morley: No assessment has been made of the impact of these maps on insurance costs. The Environment Agency have always made it clear that their maps show the indicative floodplain area, not flood risk or definitive flood boundaries, and are based on land topography taking no account of the defences which are in place. The insurance industry is aware of this, and of the need to use the maps with considerable caution.
It is advisable for any prospective purchaser of a property on a flood plain to obtain further specific detail of flooding risk from the Environment Agency. This should be done as part of the normal conveyancing process.
The agency are developing a National Flood and Coastal Defence Database, with funding from Defra. The aim of the project is to provide a single, easily accessible definitive store for all data on flood and coastal defences which should assist insurers when making commercial decisions based on risk. Additionally, new maps indicating flood risk are being developed, to which the insurance industry will have access.
Mr. Morley: Following a recent re-allocation of budgets within Defra, those for funding of flood and coastal defence measures undertaken by operating authorities have been increased to #124 million. Defra also provides funding of #4.5 million for the Storm Tide Forecasting Service and #2.5 million on research and development.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what mechanisms exist to ensure environmental policy set by her Department is reflected in decisions taken by (a) the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, (b) the DfID and (c) the DTI. 
Mr. Meacher: Policy proposals that specifically relate to environmental or sustainable development issues are considered by the Ministerial Committee for the Environment (ENV), Ministerial Sub-Committee on
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European Issues (EP) or World Summit on Sustainable Development (MISC18) Cabinet Committees as appropriate. The Cabinet Sub-Committee of Green Ministers ENV(G) also considers the impact on sustainable development of Government policies. FCO, DFID and DTI are represented on all of these committees and play a full part in them.
In addition, Cabinet Office guidance for all Cabinet Committees requires that all Cabinet papers or letters to colleagues explain how proposals meet the economic, social and environmental objectives of sustainable development, and specifically, any significant costs and benefits to the environment.
At working level, the Guidance Checklist for Policy Makers housed on the CMPS Policy Hub is the main mechanism for ensuring that all Departments are aware of environmental appraisal requirements. DEFRA and DTI are among Departments currently piloting new integrated policy appraisal tools which aim to ensure that environmental impacts are considered alongside social and economic impacts.
Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the average age of (a) entrant, (b) current and (c) departing farmers was in each of the last 15 years, broken down by region. 
Mr. Morley: Information on the age of farmers is collected four times each decade as part of the EC Farm Structure Surveys. The information readily available is given in the table. Information is not collected on the ages of entrant and departing farmers.
EC Farm Structure Surveys
Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will list the orders to be drafted relating to Bisham No. 9 footpath, when they will be published and if she will make a statement. 
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