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Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Prime Minister, what continuing role he intends to propose for the Joint Committee on Reform of the House of Lords; and if he will make a statement. 
The Prime Minister: The Joint Committee on House of Lords Reform published a press notice on 12 November, together with correspondence between my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs (Lord Falconer of Thoroton) and my right hon. Friend, the Chairman of the Committee, (Mr. Jack Cunningham) on this issue. Copies are available in the House Library.
David Davis: To ask the Prime Minister if he will make a statement on the (a) role, (b) duties and (c) responsibilities of (i) Mr. Jonathan Powell and (ii) the Deputy Prime Minister. 
The Prime Minister: The Deputy Prime Minister and First Secretary of State deputises for me as required across the range of my responsibilities at home and abroad.
The Deputy Prime Minister chairs Cabinet Committees on domestic affairs, environment and local government; and Sub-Committees on energy policy social exclusion and regeneration.
The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has responsibility for policy on local and regional government, local government finance, planning, housing, urban policy, the Fire Service, the Neighbourhood Renewal Unit, the Social Exclusion Unit, the Regional Co-ordination Unit and the Government Offices for the Regions.
Jonathan Powell is my Chief of Staff and is appointed on special adviser terms. He has direct responsibility for leading and co-ordinating operations across Number 10 and reports to me.
David Davis: To ask the Prime Minister what arrangements are in place for delegation of Prime Ministerial duties and responsibilities if the Prime Minister were unable to perform his duties for a period of time. 
The Prime Minister: If I am absent for any reason then appropriate arrangements would be put in place as has been the practice under successive administrations.
Llew Smith: To ask the Prime Minister, if he will set out the circumstances under which he would authorise the use of UK nuclear weapons. 
The Prime Minister: As has repeatedly been made clear, the British Government would only contemplate the use or thereat of use of nuclear weapons in extreme
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circumstances of self-defence. We would not use our weapons, whether conventional or nuclear, contrary to international law.
Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Prime Minister, if he will bring forward proposals to replace the Queen's Speech with a statement to Parliament by the Prime Minister setting out the forthcoming legislative programme. 
The Prime Minister: I have no plans to do so.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the steps she is taking to promote composting. 
Mr. Morley: Defra has set up the Waste Implementation Programme (WIP) to help local authorities meet their targets for reducing the landfilling of biodegradable municipal waste under the Landfill Directive. One of WIP's programmes being taken forward by the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) is to promote kerbside recycling and composting best practice in local authorities.
This sub-programme has two components:
2. An Organics Materials Programme which provides material-specific support and investment to the growing composting sector. It aims to develop markets in compost, with headline targets of increasing the market share of compost in the landscaping and horticultural markets by 35 per cent. and 30 per cent. respectively, by end 2006. This is supported by £12.2 million over the next three years.
business development initiative for emerging compost companies;
marketing and product development targeted at the landscaping and horticultural sectors.
In addition, Defra's Waste Minimisation and Recycling Fund has supported composting schemes run by local authorities. In 200304, 21 green waste-only kerbside schemes and five composting site developments received funding.
Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what representations she has received from (a) the
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Department of Health, (b) the Health Protection Agency and (c) the Countryside Agency regarding the consultation documents (i) plans for greater access to information about crop spraying and (ii) proposals for buffer zones between spraying areas and residential properties in England and Wales. 
Alun Michael: The Pesticides Safety Directorate has not received representations from the Department of Health, the Health Protection Agency or the Countryside Agency regarding the informal consultation on plans for greater access to information about crop spraying or the formal consultation on proposals for buffer zones.
Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans she has to obtain Land Cover Map information from the Centre of Ecology and Hydrology in order to calculate the number of people in England and Wales living directly adjacent to fields sprayed with pesticides. 
Alun Michael: I have asked the Pesticides Safety Directorate (PSD) to carry out a Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA) on proposals for the introduction of no-spray buffer zones between agricultural spray operations and residential properties. That will include consideration of evidence on the number of people in England and Wales living directly adjacent to fields sprayed with pesticides.
Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what plans she has for a formal public consultation on greater access to information on crop spraying; 
Alun Michael: The Pesticide Safety Directorate (PSD) issued approximately 1,500 consultation documents for the informal consultation on greater access to information on crop spraying. In addition, a series of meetings were held with interested parties.
Some 500 written responses were submitted to the PSD, reflecting a broad range of opinions, and officials are currently processing these. Some parties, in responding to the consultation, made the suggestion of running voluntary or mandatory pilot schemes.
Consideration whether to issue a formal consultation, or to carry out pilot schemes, will be given by ministers after the responses have been analysed.
Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) how many submissions her Department has received to the consultation on Plans for greater access to information about crop spraying; and how many favoured proposals to oblige pesticide users to (a) keep a public register of what pesticides they have used and (b) notify surrounding households when they are going to spray a pesticide, identifying the pesticide; 
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Alun Michael: The Pesticides Safety Directorate has received about 500 responses to the informal consultation on options for greater access to information about crop spraying. A series of questions were asked in the consultation document, with the aim of identifying practical arrangements for notification and disclosure of pesticide spray activities. Officials are now processing the responses, which contain a broad range of views, but it is possible to identify some general trends.
The majority of respondents were broadly in favour of greater access to information on pesticide spraying activities in general terms. However many raised potential practical difficulties with respect to the implementation of the proposals, particularly in respect of the issue of prior notification.
The majority of responses favoured the proposal to oblige pesticide users to keep a public register of what pesticides they had used. In general, members of the public were in favour of direct disclosure of spray records while farmers and industry groups were broadly in favour of disclosure via a third party such as a doctor or lawyer or via a Regulatory Authority.
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