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Paul Holmes: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether her Department's .gov.uk websites comply with the World Wide Web Consortium's Web Content Accessibility Guidelines adopted by the Government in 2001; and if she will make a statement. 
Alun Michael: The quality and accessibility is not as high as I would like but it is our policy that our websites should comply fully with the World Wide Web Consortium's Web Accessibility Initiative's guidelines (as detailed in the Guidelines for UK Government websites). I am told that our current website designs are intended to meet in full the Priority 1 (level A) standards. Work is now being undertaken to update older content on our website that may not meet current standards in full, while further work on both technical and authoring issues is intended to raise our standards.
Mr. Morley: In collaboration with the Devolved Administrations we held a series of stakeholder workshops between August and October. We are now developing a package of specific proposals and options for general consultation. Our original aim was to publish the written consultation package this year, but as there are aspects we need to explore further it will not now be issued until 2005. We plan to have co-existence measures in place before there is any commercial GM cultivation in the UK. This is not expected before 2008 at the earliest.
Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the impact of the Hunting Act 2004 upon those whose livelihoods are (a) directly and (b) indirectly dependent on hunting; and if she will review the commencement date for the hunting ban to take account of the Minister for Rural Affairs' expressed concerns about the potential impact of implementation in February 2005. 
Alun Michael: The Government do not expect that significant numbers of people will find themselves out of work as a result of the Act and many will be able to divert into other activities. Lord Burns estimated that around 700 jobs were directly dependent on hunting and that, overall, between 6,000 and 8,000 jobs could be affected by a ban, although evidence given to the Portcullis House hearings suggested that this may be an overstatement. The Government have not made any further assessment of the economic impact of the Act.
The Government believe that a longer implementation time would have helped businesses and individuals to prepare for the ban. Our proposal to defer commencement until July 2006 was, regrettably and perversely, rejected by the House of Lords.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many written questions for her Department were unanswered when Parliament prorogued; and how many of the unanswered questions were tabled in each of the previous months of the 200304 Session. 
Four parliamentary questions had not been responded to with a substantive answer when the House prorogued. Each received a response promising to write to the MP with a reply. All four questions were tabled in November 2004.
Mr. Foulkes: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions she has had with the European Commission about the development of an action plan for ACP sugar producers as envisaged in the EC Communication on sugar published in July. 
Alun Michael: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has stressed the importance of the early delivery of a credible and effective action plan to provide appropriate adjustment aid for existing preferential sugar suppliers in the African, Caribbean and Pacific group of countries throughout discussion of the European Commission's Communication on sugar reform. As already reported to the House, she welcomed the commitment given by the Commission at the November meeting of the Agriculture and Fisheries Council to bring forward a draft by the end of the year.
Mr. Foulkes: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what representations her Department has made to the European Commission on the (a) delivery, (b) timing and (c) package of measures for ACP sugar producers in the Caribbean. 
Officials from both the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and from the Department for International Development have participated in a number of meetings with the European Commission on these issues. They have stressed the priority the UK attaches to the early delivery of a
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credible and effective action plan to provide appropriate adjustment aid for existing preferential sugar suppliers in the African, Caribbean and Pacific group of countries. They have also offered to share with the Commission the results of three pieces of independent research we have commissioned to help analyse the impacts of reform and determine how to address them. We hope these studies will contribute to discussions between the Commission and the countries concerned and help to ensure that the adjustment process is properly managed.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what his target time is in 200405 (a) to reply to letters from hon. Members and (b) for the officials in his Office to reply to letters received directly from members of the public. 
(a) My colleagues and I aim to reply to letters from hon. Members within 15 working days unless the correspondence relates to Her Majesty's Prison Service or immigration and nationality matters when we aim to reply within 20 working days.
Paul Goggins: The National Offender Management Information Project will provide the National Offender Management Service with a centralised offender database. This will help to achieve its central aim of reducing re-offending, as well as support new sentencing provisions, replace aged IT systems in Prisons and Probation, and contribute to better communication and co-operation with other Criminal Justice Organisations.
Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department on what dates in the last 12 months he has met right hon. and hon. Members to discuss potential sites for the building of new prison establishments; and which right hon. and hon. Members attended each meeting. 
Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many fires there were in Her Majesty's prisons from 1 January to the end of October, broken down by prison; and whether (a) prison staff and (b) prisoners were hurt. 
Paul Goggins: The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister is responsible for fire legislation and is the enforcing authority. Fire Crown Premises Inspection Group is the fire authority responsible for prisons and detention centres.
Paul Goggins: There is no need for an independent review. The Prison Service has already commissioned the Building Research Establishment (Fire) to undertake an independent Fire Safety Survey and Review of the prison estate. Those undertaking this work will assess the current situation with regard to fire safety, report their findings and make appropriate recommendations. The Prison Service will review the provision of professional technical advice on fire safety related issues.
Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how the Fire Safety Section of the Prison Service has been restructured; and what new arrangements for the operation of the Section came into force on 4 October. 
The Building Research Establishment (BRE) Fire was commissioned as an independent specialist body in September 2004 to carry out a survey and review of fire safety issues across the prison estate. This work concentrates primarily on fire safety risks in prison cells.
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Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what criteria are used to determine what firefighting equipment is available in each prison; and what assessment he makes of (a) the materials used in the construction, (b) the location and (c) the water pressure available in the vicinity of prisons and detention centres in making such decisions. 
Paul Goggins: Fire legislation and risk assessments determine the requirements for firefighting equipment. The materials used in construction comply with Building Regulations, Fire Regulations and British and European Standards for fire, and prison operational and security needs.
At the building design stage, the need for appropriate location and water pressure for firefighting equipment is taken into account. Measures are taken to provide adequate firefighting facilities. There may include the installation of separate water tanks, ponds, lakes; and where necessary the water system is pressurised.
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