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Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the (a) running costs of and (b) number of staff in the Department and its predecessors were in (i) 1997 and (ii) 2002. 
Alun Michael: The information requested can be found in the annual Departmental Reports. In particular, Annex 7 of the 2000 MAFF Report for 1997 running cost statistics (CM 4612), Table 6 of the 2003 Defra Report (CM 5919) for staff numbers in both years, and Table 5 of the 2003 Defra Report for administrative costs in 2002. Copies of these Reports are in the Library of the House.
Mr. Bradshaw [holding answer 15 December 2003]: The following figures show the total labour force on holdings in England where horticulture is the predominant activity (this includes specialist horticulture, specialist glass and specialist fruit). The June Agricultural Census does not record nationality, only number of people working on holdings.
|(a) Total labour force on horticulture holdings (excludes specialist fruit)||(b) Total labour force on specialist fruit holdings|
1. Figures for the other UK countries fall under the jurisdiction of the devolved authorities.
2. Figures prior to 2000 show main holdings only. From 2000 onwards all holdings are included.
3. Due to a register improvement exercise in 2001 labour figures prior to this are not directly comparable with later results.
June Agricultural Census
Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much food, by weight, is required to produce one kilo of marketable farmed cod; how much raw marine resource, by weight, is required to make one kilo of food; where that food is sourced from; and what the content of that food is. 
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Mr. Bradshaw: This Department does not collect data on feed usage and composition from the limited number of enterprises engaged in cod farming in the UK. However, we estimate that between 1.2kg and 1.4kg of feed is needed to produce 1kg of farmed cod of a marketable size.
We do not have information on the weight of the raw marine resource used in feed for farmed cod. The quantity involved will vary depending on the proportion of fishmeal used in the different grades of dry fish feed produced for cod at various stages of growth. Cod, like other farmed piscivorous species are unlikely to consume more natural marine resources through feed than their wild counterparts would consume in the natural environment.
The fish used for aquaculture feed are generally small, bony pelagic species sourced from non food grade fisheries, usually off the coasts of Peru and Chile, and in the North Atlantic, North Sea and Baltic Sea.
Mr. Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether active acoustic deterrents will be made compulsory in all static net fisheries; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Bradshaw: The UK Small Cetacean Bycatch Strategy published in March 2003 recommended that it should be a legal requirement for pingers to be used in specific set net fisheries in the North Sea and the Channel to reduce bycatch of harbour porpoises. I will be making an announcement early in the New Year on the results of consultation on the UK strategy following discussion with the Devolved Administrations.
Since the publication of this strategy, the European Commission has produced proposals for the reduction of cetacean bycatch in EU waters. These proposals include the mandatory use of pingers in set net fisheries in the North Sea and the Channel. Discussions on this regulation are still at an early stage.
Mr. Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will undertake to assist fishing businesses with the costs of purchasing and maintaining compulsory active acoustic deterrents on their gear; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Bradshaw: The UK Small Cetacean Bycatch Strategy published in March 2003 referred to funding available under the EU FIFO structural programme to encourage fishermen to adopt more selective fishing methods. This could provide part of the costs required to alter fishing practices to reduce cetacean bycatch, such as the purchase of active acoustic deterrents. I will be making an announcement early in the New Year on the results of consultation on the UK strategy following discussion with the Devolved Administrations.
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compensation payments have been made to hired fishermen since the Fisheries Council in December 2002. 
Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what penalties apply to farmers who supply incorrect details on their application forms for the Integrated Administration and Control System. 
Alun Michael: Penalties apply to farmers who have claimed a greater area or a larger number of animals than that determined. These penalties are graduated in severity depending on the level of discrepancy found. If the discrepancy is severe, this may lead to a loss of entitlement to aid for the current scheme year and once again in the following three years.
Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will list the public objectives of Regional Producers (Wiltshire) Ltd. as reported to the South West Regional Development Agency. 
Alun Michael: The South West Regional Development Agency tell us they have not received any formal public objections to the support for Regional Producers (Wiltshire) Ltd. However, the Government Office for the South West has received representations from a number of shareholders in Regional Producers (Wiltshire) Ltd. that the organisation should not at present be considered for further public support. Copies of these also have been passed to the South West Regional Development Agency, Business Links for Berkshire and Wiltshire and to Defra.
Under the terms of the Renewables Obligation Order (2002), and the Renewables Obligation (Scotland) Order 2002, licensed electricity suppliers in Great Britain are required to supply specific proportions of their electricity sales from renewable sourced electricitywith the aim of reaching the target of 10.4 per cent. in the period 201011.
For the year to April 2003, the level of the Obligation was set at 3 per cent. (The current level is 4.3 per cent.) Suppliers demonstrate their compliance with the Obligation through presenting Renewables Obligation Certificates (ROCs) for all or part of this quota to Ofgem.
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Taking all licensed electricity suppliers in Great Britain together, the proportion of the Renewables Obligation met by the actual supply of renewables in 2.00203 was 58.9 per cent. 41 per cent. of suppliers met their obligation fully; 23 per cent. met their obligation in part, and 36 per cent. failed to meet any of their obligation target through the supply of renewables.
Mrs. Helen Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on trends in populations of invertebrates in the River Nene following the pollution incident earlier this year; what evidence is publicly available of population levels; what evidence she has collated on whether species that are restricted to the affected section of the river are now extinct; whether there has been a survey for the Red Data Book of the riffle beetle Stenelimis canaliculata; whether a survey is planned; and what plans the Environment Agency has to repair damage to biodiversity as a result of the incident. 
Mr. Morley: The results of the routine biological monitoring of the River Nene in spring 2003 showed that biological water quality at Cogenhoe (NGR SP 831 615) (mid reaches of the River Nene) and sites as far downstream as Orton Staunch (NGR TL 167 973) were uncharacteristically poor. In particular, there was a general absence of water hog louse, mayflies and freshwater shrimp, normally commonly occurring freshwater invertebrate species in the River Nene. In contrast, the invertebrate community at Duston Mill (NGR SP 730 597), the routine monitoring site further upstream of Cogenhoe, suggested good water quality with these taxa found in abundance.
Results of a survey undertaken in September 2003 from sites along the River Nene show that biological water quality at Billing Road Bridge and Cogenhoe (mid reaches of the River Nene) is improving (although water hog louse and freshwater shrimp is still absent). In contrast, the invertebrate community at sites in the lower reaches of the River Nene has largely recovered, and these sites achieved their water quality target rating.
Recently an additional survey has been undertaken at the same sites. Although sample processing is not yet completed, initial observations suggest that mid reaches of the River Nene are still impacted by the pollution incident that occurred earlier in the year. Of particular concern is the continuing absence of water hog louse and freshwater shrimp.
The Environment Agency undertakes routine freshwater invertebrate surveys in spring and autumn seasons each year at specific sites along the River Nene. This information is available to members of the public upon application to the Environment Agency Customer Services Department in Lincoln (Tel. 01522 513100). Additional surveying of the River Nene and Hardingstone Dyke was undertaken to locate the source of the pollution. Data arising from these surveys is not currently available pending the outcome of the Environment Agency Special Enforcement team review of this case. Monitoring undertaken to record recovery of the River Nene and Hardingstone Dyke, is also available to members of the public, on application to the customer services department.
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Surveys have been undertaken at three-monthly intervals at important sites along the River Nene using standard methods which sample the accessible margins of the watercourse using a pond net. Key species (water hog louse and freshwater shrimp) which were absent at sites along the mid reaches of the River Nene remain absent. The Red Data Book riffle beetle Stenelimis canaliculata was not found in any samples taken in 2003, although it has been recorded very infrequently in the lower reaches of the River Nene in the past. It is difficult to say whether its absence is related to the pollution incident, as it is a deep-water species and unlikely to be sampled using Environment Agency standard methodology.
The Environment Agency have not carried out a specific survey for the Red Data Book riffle beetle Stenelimis canaliculata and have no plans to conduct such a survey. To do so would disturb the habitat, which could be damaging to this and other deep water species.
It is not normal practice to restock invertebrate populations damaged by pollution incidents; invertebrate populations usually recover through natural colonisation from tributaries and unaffected sites upstream, or natural invertebrate re-distribution.
Fish were not affected directly by the pollution incident, so fish re-stocking is not necessary. However, the longer term health of fish populations in the mid reaches of the River Nene may be affected because their food source remains depleted.
Mrs. Helen Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the impact of the pollution incident on the River Nene earlier in the year was on the invertebrate populations of Morton's Leam Special Area of Conservation; and whether the site has favourable conservation status. 
Mr. Morley: Environment Agency monitoring of the Morton's Leam SAC shows no impact of this pollution incident on the Morton's Leam, which was surveyed in July 2003. The results showed a diverse and abundant invertebrate community and the biological data suggested excellent water quality. The key species impacted by the pollution on the River Nene, water hog louse (Asellus aquaticus) and freshwater shrimp (in this instance, Crangonyx pseudogracilis) were abundant in Morton's Leam. The results compare favourably with earlier surveys, which date back to 1985.
Mrs. Helen Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on invertebrate biodiversity in the Nene water system in the last 10 years. 
Mr. Morley: The River Nene normally supports an invertebrate community consistent with that type of river. Reductions in invertebrate biodiversity occurred after the 2003 pollution incident at sites as far downstream as Orton Staunch, near Peterborough. Components of the invertebrate community remain absent at some impacted sites.
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