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Chewing Gum

Mr. Gardiner: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the amount councils have spent in each of the last 10 years on removing chewing gum from pavements. [116003]

Alun Michael: We have made no specific assessment of the costs incurred by local authorities in cleaning gum in each of the last 10 years but local authorities have told us that costs are high.

We are currently in discussions with gum manufacturers and interested parties about measures to effectively tackle the irresponsible disposal of chewing gum.

Mr. Gardiner: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions she has had with the chewing gum industry to assess the feasibility of changing ingredients in gum so they are less likely to stick to pavements. [116004]

Alun Michael: I and my officials are in discussions with gum manufacturers and other interested parties about what to do about the irresponsible disposal of chewing gum. These discussions include reference to biodegradable chewing gum as well as practical measures to promote responsible behaviour by users.

Conservation Board

Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what public consultation will take place before a decision is taken on whether or not to establish a conservation board for the Cotswold area of outstanding natural beauty; what estimate he has made of the possible cost of such a board; what benefits he expects will result; and how local democratic accountability will be maintained if such a board is established. [114850]

Alun Michael: Before making an Order to establish a Conservation Board, the Secretary of State must statutorily consult the Countryside Agency and every local authority with land in the AONB for their formal consent.

I am currently considering establishing Conservation Boards in the Cotswolds and Chilterns Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and in addition to formal requirements Defra has held a 12-week informal consultation on the draft Order, ending on 30 May. Consultees include all constituent local authorities and parishes, the Countryside Agency and

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organisations with a direct interest in the board. The informal consultation documents are available from the Department's website and are in the House Library.

Where a Conservation Board is created, there will be some one-off costs, to be met by the Countryside Agency. As to on-going costs there will be swings and roundabouts. One issue is that boards will not be able to recover Value Added Tax payments. I am exploring ways in which the impact of this might be reduced.

The Government have taken the view that a Conservation Board will be of most benefit to larger AONBs where it would be a focus for conservation and promotion activity, would provide more efficient management and would have an increased potential to attract funding.

At least 60 per cent. of a board's membership must be drawn from constituent local authorities and parishes. The Secretary of State, will appoint the remaining members, through open competition.

Corporate Identity

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the total cost has been of the introduction of a new corporate identity for her Department; and what further costs are anticipated. [114281]

Alun Michael: It must be remembered that these changes are consequent on a major restructuring of Government Departments. The re-branding exercise is necessary to establish a new identity, which will assist in explaining the role and purpose of the new Department among staff, stakeholders, other partners and the public.

The findings of extensive research with staff, stakeholders and the public has helped Defra develop a better understanding of what our customers expect from us. This will enable us to streamline our communications and improve clarity. The final design proved popular with all groups.

The cost of developing the new Defra corporate identity is estimated to be £329,000. This includes costs for scoping the project, producing briefing material, undertaking staff surveys and public research and developing the logo. It also includes the commissioning of brand design consultancy.

Replacing or introducing internal signs in Defra premises is forecast to cost a further £200,000. Further ongoing costs will include work with third parties on joint branding guidelines development.

Guidelines for staff and external users such as suppliers and printers have been developed as well as a website redesign.


Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether it is her policy that deer found dead in parts of the country where cows have been infected with TB should be tested for that disease. [115259]

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Mr. Morley: TB in deer is a notifiable disease. Article 5 of the Tuberculosis (Deer) Order 1989 requires all deer carcases which are suspected of being affected with tuberculosis to be reported to the appropriate Divisional Veterinary Manager (DVM). This applies to all deer species, whether farmed, parkland or wild.

If lesions suggestive of TB are reported in a deer carcase anywhere in GB, tissue samples are sent to the Veterinary Laboratories Agency for bacteriological culture. If the causative organism of TB is isolated from wild deer in an area of the country that does not undergo annual TB testing of cattle, the DVM may instigate TB test checks of cattle herds in surrounding areas. This has been the standard Defra policy for many years.

Farming Diversification

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what help and advice is available in the south west region for farmers who wish to diversify their activities; and what financial assistance is in place to support these activities. [116441]

Alun Michael: Defra provides grants for farm diversification projects under the Rural Enterprise Scheme, which forms part of the England Rural Development Programme. Similar arrangements apply in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly and other Objctive I areas through the separate Objective I programme. The Department also offers assistance in the form of free planning consultancy advice to farmers who intend to pursue an eligible diversification project through the Rural Enterprise Scheme or Objective I programme.

The Department is also considering how to improve the provision of help and informationto farmers considering diversification of their business base. The Farm Business Advice Service, which remains available until March 2004, provides up to three days of freeadvice based around a business healthcheck and results in a business action plan. The service can help farmers decide whether or not to diversify and will direct them to other sources of support to help them see the action plan through. In addition, the delivery plan for the Strategy for Sustainable Farming and Food in the South West includes projects designed to help farms develop additional activities and to boost the skills needed to support this.

The support provided to farmers in the South West mirrors that provided elsewhere in England.


Mr. Martlew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans there are to protect dolphins around the coast of the UK; and if she will make a statement. [114122]

Mr. Morley: I refer my hon. Friend to my earlier answer to the hon. Member for St. Ives (Andrew George) on 20 May 2003, Official Report, column 689W.


Norman Lamb: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when she received the Treasury documents relating to the five economic tests and the 18 background studies; what

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discussions she has held with ministerial colleagues on the tests since receipt of the documents; when she expects to complete her analysis of the documents; and what representations (a) she and (b) departmental officials will make to other Departments before a decision is reached on the economic tests. [115390]

Alun Michael: The Treasury's 18 supporting studies on EMU were sent to Cabinet Ministers on 16 May. The Prime Minister and the Chancellor are holding meetings with Cabinet Members. There was an initial discussion at Cabinet on 22 May followed by a special Cabinet meeting on 5 June. The Chancellor will make a statement to the House of Commons on 9 June.

Game Birds

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether game birds shot but not collected for eating purposes are subject to the regulations governing fallen stock. [114400]

Mr. Morley: Once game birds are released from rearing pens they are considered to be wild. The carcases, or parts of carcases, of wild birds will be exempt from the scope of the Animal By-Products Regulation unless they are thought to be diseased or are used to produce game trophies.

Integrated Administration and Control System

David Davis: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many people in (a) Haltemprice and Howden and (b) the East Riding of Yorkshire are awaiting IACS payments; and what the average waiting time for payment was in the last year for which figures are available. [116761]

Alun Michael: There are no payments outstanding in East Yorkshire under the 2002 Arable Area Payments Scheme (AAPS). Data is not held at constituency level so there is no specific information available for Haltemprice and Howden. For 2002 main AAPS payments, the regulatory payment window ran from 16 November 2002 to 31 January 2003. 85.88 per cent. of claims by number were paid by 8 December 2002, and 98.25 per cent. by 31 January 2003.

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