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Publicity and Advertising

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much (a) her Department and (b) each agency and non-departmental public body sponsored by her Department spent on (i) publicity and (ii) advertising in each year from 1995–96 to 2002–03 (estimated); and if she will make a statement. [92249]

Alun Michael: DEFRA as a Department did not exist prior to June 2001.

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The Department's centralised publicity expenditure is not recorded in the format requested. Our expenditure for publicity, which includes advertising, publications, events, shows and direct information literature mailings, in financial year 2001–02 was £6.64 million. The allocation for publicity in 2002–03 is £4.1 million.

A breakdown of the expenditure for each agency and non-departmental body sponsored by the Department could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Sewage Treatment Works

Mr. Ben Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when she expects conclusions to be reached following the consultation on the control of odour nuisance from sewage treatment works. [94161]

Alun Michael: I expect to be able to make a decision on the way forward in the coming months following consideration of the responses.

Sickness Absence

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the rate of staff (a) absenteeism and (b) sickness was for her Department, its predecessors and each of its agencies and non-departmental public bodies in each year from 1990–91 to 2002–03; what the target set is for her Department; and if she will make a statement. [93497]

Alun Michael: The information requested in respect of absenteeism is not available, and may be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Records are not yet available for the number of days lost due to sickness absence in 2002, but these will be announced in due course. Sickness absence figures for previous calendar years are published in the Cabinet Office annual report "Analysis of Sickness Absence in the Civil Service", copies of which are placed in House Libraries.

Figures for the most recently available years for the former Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and the former DETR are shown as an average per staff year. These are:

Days

MAFFDETR
19907.5 9.4
19918.710.3
19928.010.2
19938.410.7
19947.49.4
19959.111.2
19967.810.4
19977.89.7
19988.78.7
19999.38.7
200099
20017.210.5

Figures for sickness absence in the Department's non-departmental public bodies are not held centrally, and may be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

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The Department is committed to the effective management of sickness absence, and to meeting its Service Delivery Agreement of reducing sickness absence to 6.9 days for 2003.

Staff Numbers

Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the need to change the staffing complement in her Department working on (a) climate change, (b) energy efficiency, (c) renewable energy and (d) radioactive waste policy. [93901]

Alun Michael: Defra is currently discussing its budget for the coming financial year, and decisions on this annual process will be taken by the end of February. No decisions have yet been taken. Public spending is constrained and it is inevitable that choices and options are aired.

We have set out our clear objectives, in "Working for the Essentials of Life". Like other Government Departments, we continually look for efficiency and effectiveness in delivery and to ensure that taxpayers' funding is allocated to support priority areas.

Transport (Environmental Impacts)

Mr. Rendel: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent discussions she has had with the Department for Transport with regard to environmental impacts from transport. [94180]

Mr. Meacher: Ministers and officials from the Department have frequent discussions with the Department for Transport about issues which might have environmental impacts. Recent discussions have covered consultation on airports capacity in the South East, the development of policy on aviation, the 10-year Transport Plan progress report, the Government's public service agreement targets for reducing carbon dioxide emissions and to improve air quality, and the Multi Modal Studies.

Water Framework Directive

Diana Organ: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps she is taking to ensure that the water framework directive is implemented to meet its deadlines. [94160]

Mr. Morley: The Government published detailed proposals last October in a second consultation paper.

FOREIGN AND COMMONWEALTH

Human Trafficking

Mr. Wood: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps the Government are taking to address human trafficking in (a) Europe and (b) throughout the world. [93145]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: Organised immigration crime is on of the Government's highest priorities in the fight against organised and international crime. A multi-agency task force, known as 'Reflex', co-ordinates UK

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action against organised immigration crime. Since April 2002, 17 organised crime groups have been disrupted and a further 69 investigations are on-going. In addition to contributing to the work of the UN, OSCE, IOM and others on this issue, the UK has contributed over £600,000 in the last three years to assist partners worldwide in tackling this criminal trade.

Iraq

Mr. Redwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs which countries have indicated that they will make a military contribution to the UN to enforce Resolution 1441, should the UN require military force. [93597]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: We are not aware that the UN has made any such request. Nor would we expect it to in advance of a Security Council decision. No decision has been taken to launch military action against Iraq and military action is not inevitable. We hope that the Iraqi regime will choose to resolve this conflict peacefully, by complying fully with UN resolutions.

Mr. Redwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs which countries have been invited to join a military coalition to deal with the problem of Iraq. [93614]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: No decision has been taken to launch military action against Iraq and military action is not inevitable. We hope that the Iraqi regime will choose to resolve this conflict peacefully, by complying fully with UN resolutions.

Kosovo

Mr. Wareing: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what evidence he has received of (a) drug trafficking and (b) white slavery in Kosovo; and if he will make a statement. [93618]

Mr. MacShane [holding answer 29 January 2003]: Her Majesty's Government estimate that about 80 per cent. of the heroin received in the United Kingdom is trafficked through the Balkans from Afghanistan. The available information on trafficking routes suggests that a large majority of this heroin transits other Balkan and central European countries (for example, Bulgaria, over 2,000 kilograms seized in 2000) rather than Kosovo.

We remain concerned at the trafficking of women and children through the region, including Kosovo. The United Kingdom's law enforcement agencies work closely with regional partners, including in Kosovo, to identify, disrupt and dismantle criminal networks targeting the UK. In 2002, the Trafficking and Prostitution Investigation Unit of the UNMIK Police conducted 353 raids on premises where people trafficking was suspected of taking place. 61 premises were closed down, 234 arrests were made and 92 persons were charged with trafficking offences. 89 victims were repatriated and 1,727 people were added to a database used to help target efforts to tackle trafficking from major source countries.

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The United Kingdom has supported a number of counter-narcotics and anti-organised crime projects in the Balkans and central Europe (over £700,000 this financial year).

Mr. Wareing: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his estimate is of the number of Serbs who have fled Kosovo since KFOR forces entered the province; and what his estimate is of the numbers who have returned. [93619]

Mr. MacShane [holding answer 29 January 2003]: According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), 159,000 Serbs have left Kosovo and, according to the United Nations Office for Returns and Communities, nearly 3,500 Serbs have chosen to return to the province since KFOR forces entered Kosovo.

Mr. Wareing: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many Orthodox churches in Kosovo have been destroyed since KFOR forces have been present in the Serbian province; and what steps are being taken to bring the perpetrators to justice. [93620]

Mr. MacShane [holding answer 29 January 2003]: Figures for the number of churches destroyed in Kosovo vary. Following extensive inquiries, UNMIK, KFOR, OSCE and UNHCR believe that 110 churches have been destroyed since KFOR entered Kosovo in June 1999.

I told Kosovo Albanian leaders during my visits to the province that the destruction of churches and all religious sites were acts of barbarism which bring shame and dishonour to all concerned. KFOR and UNMIK continue to take action against extremists. In support of combating extremism, UNMIK also conduct programmes promoting multi-ethnicity.


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