|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the Department's response to the recently published Bright Report on genetically modified organisms; and how this will inform policy on co-existence. 
Mr. Morley: The BRIGHT project (Botanical and Rotational Implications of Genetically Modified Herbicide Tolerance) was an independent research trial run by a consortium of academic and industry partners, with part-sponsorship from Defra and the Scottish Executive.
We have referred the BRIGHT report to the Advisory Committee on Releases to the Environment and we will consider it in the light of their advice. The results of the project do not have any particular implications in respect of co-existence between farms. But they do confirm that it may be important to control oilseed rape volunteers where a farmer wants to grow non-GM oilseed rape in a field previously sown with a GM variety.
Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how she plans to monitor the impact of the guidance issued by the Tenancy Reform Industry Group on landlord/tenant aspects of the Common Agricultural Policy reforms from January 2005. 
The guidance note for landlords and tenants on CAP reform produced by the Tenancy Reform Industry Group, which was issued in mid November, has been well received by the industry. We hope that all parties will take into account the advice provided by the Group when reaching decisions on issues relating to CAP reform.
13 Dec 2004 : Column 801W
Defra will monitor the impact of the guidance note by maintaining its close relationship with the industry organisations represented on the Tenancy Reform Industry Group, in particular the Tenant Farmers Association, the National Farmers Union, the Country Land and Business Association, the Central Association of Agricultural Valuers and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. We will work with these organisations to understand the experience of their membership. The information will be collated and shared with all members of the Group.
Defra has also invited tenders for research to be carried out during 2005 and 2006 on the potential impacts of CAP reform on the diversification activities of tenant farmers in England. While the research is intended primarily to focus on the effects of CAP reform in opening up opportunities for farm diversification by tenant farmers, the specification for the project also covers investigation of the wider impact of CAP reform on the landlord/tenant relationship.
Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when she expects the consultation on the designation of (a) Bolton Fell Moss and (b) Solway Moss as special areas of conservation to be concluded. 
Mr. Bradshaw: The public consultation raised scientific objections about the candidature of Solway Moss and Bolton Fell Moss, in particular the composition of the topography. Given the complex nature of the objections raised, it is not possible to give a definite date for their resolution and subsequent conclusion of the consultation.
Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what information she has received from the Environment Agency in respect of the number of determinations of sites as contaminated under Part IIA of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. 
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on what discussions she has had with the dairy industry on the impact of increased production costs on dairy farmers. 
Ministers frequently meet representatives from all parts of the dairy industry, most recently at the Dairy Supply Chain Forum on 24 November. Ministers are aware of the current concerns about increased costs for producers and processors.
13 Dec 2004 : Column 802W
Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will list the resources that have been allocated under each departmental heading and subheading in the 2004 departmental report following the Spending Review 2004 for each year to 200708. 
Alun Michael: At present, final internal management decisions (following the Spending Review 2004) on budgets, for 200607 and 200708, plus revisions to 200506, are still being made. The next Departmental Report due to be published in spring 2005, will set out information on budgets up to 200708 and show how they are allocated to deliver the department's functions and objectives. The Report will also reflect any organisational changes which have taken place over the last year.
Alun Michael: As part of its preparations for implementing the Gershon value for money agenda in Defra, Pareto or detailed expenditure distribution analysis of departmental expenditure on professional services is now being undertaken, and will be made available publicly in due course. The analysis will define expenditure on accountancy services as a proportion of departmental expenditure on professional services.
Alun Michael: Figures for costs alone can be misleading if not placed within the wider context of unit price changes, areas occupied and changes in actual consumption. Increases or decreases in unit charges and area occupied can mask efforts to improve energy efficiency. It is also useful to separate costs of electricity and heating fuels.
Energy costs for the years 200203 and 200304 are given in table l as follows, together with the corresponding consumption data and average fuel prices: figures are given separately for electricity and heating fuels, as well as for the total energy.
|Electricity||Heating fuels||Total energy|
|Consumption (M kWh/y)|
|Average price (p/kWh)|
Electricity costs have reduced by 9 per cent., following a corresponding decrease in average price, and a 1 per cent. reduction in consumption. Heating fuel costs have risen by 3 per cent. because of an increase in price (4 per cent.) offset by a 1 per cent. drop in consumption.
Table 2 as follows shows that despite a small decrease in floor area the Department's electricity consumption per square metre has increased. This is partly due to additional work being carried out in its laboratories and consumption of heating fuels per square metre has increased by 1 per cent., for similar reasons. Increasing use of IT and moves to open plan working, leading to higher staff occupation rates per square metre and therefore higher IT and air conditioning loads, are also thought to be contributory factors to increased electricity consumption per square meter.
|Floor area ('000 m2)||385||378||-2|
|Heating fuel/m2 (kWh/m2)||289||292||1|
Alun Michael: In line with Cabinet Office guidance, Defra completed an Equal Pay Review and submitted this together with an action plan to Cabinet Office in April 2003. The review covered core-Defra and two of its agencies, Pesticides Safety Directorate and Veterinary Medicines Directorate, for which the core-Department has pay remit negotiating responsibility.
The review found that there were no significant pay gaps within the Department provided that Defra's multi-year pay settlement was fully rolled out for future years up to and including 2005/06. Defra is now in the third year of the four-year settlement.
Senior managers will be considering the implications of Defra's Equal Pay Review Action Plan in conjunction with developing new pay arrangements for Defra for 2006 and beyond, following the end of the current multi-year pay settlement.
The Rural Payments Agency (RPA) submitted an Equal Pay Review and action plan to Cabinet Office in 2003 in accordance with Cabinet Office guidelines. A further Equal Pay Review has now been completed together with a revised action plan. This review and implications of the action plan on RPA pay systems is currently being considered by senior managers and the Trade Unions.
13 Dec 2004 : Column 804W
The Central Science Laboratory completed its Equal Pay Review in April 2003 and the resultant action plan was submitted to the Cabinet Office in May 2003. No significant pay gaps were identified as a result of gender difference but the issues continue to be subject to consultation with the Trade Unions. Subsequent pay settlements have been subject to equality-proofing.
In line with Cabinet Office guidance, the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS) completed an Equal Pay Review and submitted this together with an action plan to Cabinet Office in April 2003.
The review found that there were no significant pay gaps as a result of gender difference. There were individual problems as a legacy from earlier pay arrangements; these were addressed in the action plan. Implementation of the action plan is the subject of on-going discussions with the Trade Unions.
The Veterinary Laboratories Agency completed its Equal Pay Review in April 2003 and the resultant action plan was submitted to Cabinet Office in May 2003. The review found that there were no significant pay gaps as a result of gender difference. Implementation of the action plan is the subject of on-going discussion with the Trade Unions.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|